My son, at six fifteen this morning, started signing a song:
“INFINITY BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL, INFINITY BOTTLES OF BEER. IF ONE OF THOSE BOTTLES SHOULD HAPPEN TO FALL INFINITY BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL.”
Which, actually, I thought was rather impressive. Here he is, a young lad of six, who understands the mind-blowing nature of the infinite. If I hold nine marbles in my hand and someone takes one away from me, I no longer have nine marbles. Leo gets this. He has sisters. And they are constantly taking his stuff – which can be described in the equation below:
(my stuff) -1 = (less stuff that is now mine)
(my stuff) -x = tantrum, where x=anything greater than one
This is all common knowledge.
So for Leo, at six, to come to grips with the concept that the infinite is infinite, where 1+infinity= infinity and infinity-1=infinity – – I can honestly say that it took me well into my high school years to truly grasp that.
(Okay, fine, that was a total lie. I still haven’t grasped it.)
Anyway, there was Leo, in his room, ten minutes later IF ONE OF THOSE BOTTLES SHOULD HAPPEN TO FALL.
And then, later, at six forty-five: INFINITY BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL.
And at six fifty-two. YOU TAKE A MILLION DOWN AND PASS THEM AROUND, INFINITY BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL.
And so forth.
Finally, at seven oh two, I’d had it. “LEO!” I roared. “You need to think of a new song.” He was already dressed for school, and was looking particularly angelic in his pile of legos as he gazed back up at me.
“You don’t like my song?” he said.
“No,” I said. “I really really don’t. I didn’t like it at six fifteen, and I didn’t like it a six thirty, and I don’t like it now. If you really need to sing, please think of something else.”
“Okay,” he said.
I nodded and sighed, spinning on my heel and going back into the hallway to my room. And somewhere between the moment when I found my pants (which were bizarrely shoved under the bed) and before I found my favorite tee-shirt, Leo was belting out a whole new song.
“INFINITY BOTTLES OF REEDS GINGER BREW ON THE WALL, INFINITY BOTTLES OF REEDS GINGER BREWWWWWWW.”