So we’re driving along. I’m eating an apple. My daughter is eating an apple. Why not? Apples are lovely. Who doesn’t like apples? My son, that’s who.
I’ve tried for so long to convince him how lovely apples are. I change tak. I tell him if he eats an apple he’ll get a special present. Now he’s interested. I know. It’s poor parenting. Or so you would have thought. “Chocolate biscuit?” he asks.
Even for a parent as flawed and corrupt as me, giving my son a chocolate biscuit as a reward for eating an apple seems a bit… wrong. Then something amazing happens in my brain. I don’t know what exactly. I say this: “How about, if you eat this apple, I give you… an apple?”
He looks at me. “No…” He says uncertainly. “I… don’t like apples.”
This is where the real moment of insane genius occurs. Any normal, sane person would quit this nonsense at this point. Not me. “How about two apples?” I suggest.
My son is quiet. There are two forces in his brain now. His pretend dislike of apples, that he has maintained for four years simply to aggravate me, and his overwhelming desire to beat me at everything and make me look foolish. “No.” He says finally, but I sense wiggle room in that no. I suddenly see a chance for an incredible, astonishing, baffling victory, not just over this apple, but over his entire anti-apple effort, and his successful, four year long campaign against me.
“How about… four apples?” I say dramatically.
For a time he can’t answer. He’s trapped. Then, finally, unable to resist the chance to call my bluff and win a huge four apple victory, he says, “Yes.”
He eats most of an apple, grinning.
I know. I’m scared too.