You know those adults who love to tell ridiculous stories to gullible children, just to see how far their credulity can be strained? I'm married to one. My 7 and 4 year olds have already developed a thick shell of skepticism, as they know that there's at least a 50% chance that anything Ahpa tells them might be at least embellished or at most entirely fictional. Not all children are onto him, though. My friend's 11 year old son, who is adored by my children, was his most recent victim. The boys were playing together in our backyard last Sunday. Husband was throwing a wiffle ball for them, and when they lost interest in wiffle ball and decided to play with the stomp rocket, he decided to do some gardening in the front yard.
A bit later, he returned to the backyard, eating a giant Korean pear. Have you ever seen a Korean pear? It's shaped more like an apple than a pear, and it's as big as a grapefruit. The first time I saw one, I thought immediately of the episode of "Gilligan's Island" in which the castaways discover radioactive vegetables growing on the island. I saw it when I was 9 or 10, and it made a very deep impression on me. I mentioned it at the time to my husband, who yelled "yes! The one with the three-fingered carrots, right?" That was the one. The pears were immediately renamed radioactive pears, and I'm only half-joking when I call them that. Those pears freak me right out. Anyway, husband is eating the pear, and 11yo says "whoa! What's that, Mr. P?"
"It's a radioactive pear"
"Really? Like REALLY radioactive?"
"Isn't that really dangerous?"
A pause, as my husband inspects the pear. "I'll find out, won't I?" Munch munch munch.
"Whoa. Where do they make them radioactive? Korea?"
"Yep. All the fruit and vegetables there are radioactive. The people are used to it."
Wow indeed. I'm waiting for a call from his mother after he decides to write a science report on the mysterious ability of Korean people to withstand radiation. I only hope he doesn't attempt any in vivo research.