“Look Daddy, there’s Diego!” the Bean said pointing to a poster of that animated hyperactive kid who’s the cousin of that other animated hyperactive kid. Last month, he called out Tinkerbell by name from an ad in the mall. Before that, he correctly ID’d Spongebob on a box of cereal in them supermarket. I have no idea how he knows these characters. They do not have a presence in my house.
It should come as no surprise to you that growing up I was a TV junkie. It was commonplace for me to zone out in front of the big glowing box for hours, literally tuning out the rest of the world. It got so bad that my parents not only had to limit my TV viewing time, but they locked me out of the house to insure that I would get some fresh air. It’s very likely that my son has inherited my Geek Boy genes, but I’d always figured that I had plenty of time before they kicked in and he’s ignoring me while bathed in the glorious glow of an HD signal. So WonderWife™ and I are very careful to limit the amount of time we plop the kid in front of the set. As a result, his exposure to pop culture is limited to Yo Gabba Gabba, Curious George and a handful of Pixar movies. But I guess nature finds a way and my son’s heritage is poking through.
The Bean’s ability to absorb pop culture is astounding. He was only exposed to Elmo for an instant and he was easily able to identify him a week later, unprompted. After a single trip to Disneyland, the Bean could recognize Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald, even though we only encountered two of them in the park. He was even able to name a minor character like Daisy Duck. How did that happen? I must admit that some pop culture he knows because of me. How else would he be able to point out Homer Simpson? And he knows that the red-suited hero on his scooter is Spider Man.
But for the most part, the Bean is a pop culture sponge. And he’s soaking up more every day. I have to admit that a part of me is quite impressed that he's becoming like me. The other part is worried that he's becoming like me.