Identity Crisis

Pippa’s grandpapapapapapapa gave the family a collection of DVDs of the PBS series, Jeeves and Wooster for Christmas, and last weekend Pip set about watching. She watched the first, chuckled, laughed, and smiled — then crept over to my seat on the couch, batted her eyelashes, and asked, “What will we do next?” (The correct answer, of course, was “watch another episode.”)

There can hardly be a more precious sound to a parent’s ears in all the world than the sound of their child’s unguarded laughter. If watching Jeeves and Wooster makes Pippa’s laughter peal out, then we will watch another episode. Case closed.

The drawback of this viewing marathon, however, is that it’s engendering something of an identity crisis for me. For a long time, I’ve introduced myself as a postmodern Victorian — but now I’m wondering whether I might not be closer to a postmodern Edwardian. [The best solution, probably, is to say that I’m the kind of person who would devote significant deliberation over the question of whether he is more precisely a postmodern Victorian or a postmodern Edwardian. . . .]

5 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. So that makes you, what, a postmodern Georgian?

    And yes to repeated behvioural patterns that have our children laughing like a bubbling brook. My kids especially react well to films where the villian gets his comeuppance. The smile grows and grows until the moment of triumph when they simply fall on the floor in spasms of laughter. It’s so formulaic, but it makes my heart sing everytime.

    And also they like Buster Keaton.

  2. I don’t think I go as far back as Georgian, though heaven knows that these matters aren’t amenable to precise definition. Now I have another cultural epoch to factor in. . . .

    As to Buster Keaton, he totally rocks. The boys watched our videotape of a special on Buster Keaton’s life so many times that I know the narration practically by heart. And I could watch The General over and over.

  3. Wondering whether you’re Edwardian or Victorian makes you, in my opinion, remarkably charming. 🙂

    And huzzah for Jeeves and Wooster! I’m a huge Hugh Laurie fan; clearly you’re raising Pippa right.

  4. My little SweetPea (not so little any more, at age 9) is also enamoured of Jeeves and Wooster, and it warms my heart, too.

    Though I have to say that the most heartwarming day ever was the day — she was four, I think — that her daycare teacher reported that she’d spent the afternoon outdoor play time walking up to other kids, asking, “Is this a piece of your brain?”. (See for explanation.)

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