Friday 17 October 2014

Daddy, you don't understand

I don’t know which idiot introduced my children to the world of Milkshake on Channel 5. Until recently they had seemed perfectly happy with CBeebies, which offers a similar mix of cartoons, interspersed with commentary from preternaturally cheerful young adults. I enjoyed observing these to see if there were any conceivable diversity box that the HR department had failed to tick when making their selection of the “talent”, but I never managed to catch them out.

Critically, being on the BBC, CBeebies also contains no advertising breaks.

Now my boys benefit from Peppa Pig and Thomas and Friends, the undoubted highlight of their morning viewing, which even a trainspotter like me has to admit captures many essential aspects of British steam railways very accurately. If one can overlook the fact that locomotives, carriages and wagons don’t actually speak.

However, they also get bombarded every fifteen minutes or so with an intense burst of advertising, from which I deduce that the campaign for gender neutral toys really does have a very long way to go.

This morning I noticed that the evil capitalist advertisers had already started sowing the seeds of what might constitute an ideal Christmas gift. So, as a distraction technique from something that looked likely to prove particularly expensive, I interrupted my elder boy’s consumption of his boiled egg to ask whether he had given any thought to what he might like for Christmas this year.

“Yes, I’ve made a wish,” I thought he replied.

“A wish, eh? Well, I hope your wish comes true.”

He gave me a penetrating look. “No, Daddy, I’ve made a LIST.”

“Well, the thing is, Charlie, Mummy and Daddy have just bought this house and we haven’t got any money, so you might not be able to get everything on your list this year.”

He had been sitting some way off on the pew we inherited when we bought our converted chapel, having left space for Mummy to sit down between us. Only she was too busy making his packed lunch to do so.

But now he moved along right next to me, and brought his face unusually close to mine. He was wearing the pitying look of someone addressing a very confused elderly person, and he spoke clearly and slowly.

“You don’t understand, Daddy,” he asserted. “You don’t NEED any money to buy Christmas presents.”

“Really. Why’s that?”

“Because Santa makes them.”

Having thoroughly depressed myself by taking a look at my bank balance this morning, I very much hope that he turns out to be right.

1 comment:

Exiled Reiver said...

I used to de-tune my steam age television in the run up to Christmas so my little ones could only watch BBC1 & 2. I told them there was a problem with the other TWO (just 2) channels. Thus they were protected from the evils of commercialisation, as well as learning guile and deceit. Oh, and to be selective in believing Daddy. Valuable life lessons.