As our children get older they pass various milestones in discovery, bringing either happiness or sadness to their little lives. As parents we dread these small moments of enlightenment watching hopelessly as our kids shed their innocence like an old snake skin. Ultimately they start questioning the very things that they have held true in their tiny hearts for so long like precious pieces of a secret magic saved for very special moments. We find ourselves holding onto some small traditions long after the children have seen through the charade but we persist in a hope that somehow the magic will be still there in their bright eyes as they discover the following morning that Santa did indeed drink his milk and eat his cookies, or perhaps they will trace the path of the powdery, talcum powder smelling, Easter bunny Paw prints in a hunt for hidden chocolate eggs.
“Dad, he drank all of the milk and ate all of those special chocolates I found in your bathroom. Where are you running to Dad?”
I am from Australia and inevitably every child from a commonwealth nation will ask the following question of their parents. Many of you will already have heard this from your own children but I will at least share my experience to ensure others are a little more prepared than I was with this difficult and awkward conversation.
“Dad, given the fact that all commonwealth countries follow the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy and most royal powers, Royal Prerogative included, are actually administered by the appointed viceroy and not the Queen herself, does she actually exist?”
We have no option at this stage but to come clean and explain that the Queen is actually a fictional character concocted by Pepsi at the turn of the century to compete with the marketing monster Santa Claus which had been created and stylized so successfully by Coca Cola a few decades earlier. As we look into their teary eyes as they come to grips with this shocking revelation we assure them at least Pepsi and Coca Cola are real and offer them an icy cold can of one of these highly caffeinated beverages to calm their fast little beating hearts. Just like Santa, the Easter Bunny, lobsters and Bigfoot we make up fictional characters and mythical creatures to protect our children from the harsh truths of life and the Queen is one of the best examples.
“So Dad, when we left out that can of Spotted Dick during the Queens last visit to Australia and we saw those teeth marks in the can the following morning it was not really her? Did you bite the can Dad to trick me?”
Last week our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pretty much let the cat out of the bag by not curtsying to the Queen, a sure sign to our kids that the Queen is not real. Most of you will have used the usual shopping centre Santa story that whilst this Queen was not the real Queen she was a helper as the real Queen can not be everywhere all the time. For those lucky few this will have been enough to stop the awkward questions but for many the lie will have begun to unravel.
“Yes son, of course the notion of a family being the figure heads for many nations just by birthright is absurd but it was easier than explaining how the different democratic systems operate in the various commonwealth nations. Don’t even ask me about the difference in the two houses of parliament and what role each plays in the law making process.”
“You smell of booze you underpaid hobo and that Queen costume is appalling. Take this imaginary bouquet of flowers as a sign of my respect and please inform your costume company that next time we expect much better for the money spent.”
I suspect a significant proportion of my readers are from the North American regions and are busily preparing Halloween costumes based around these mythical creatures and fictional characters. I imagine many of your children will be parading about dressed as the Queen scaring the local neighborhood children with ghoulish stories of undeserved wealth and anachronistic protocols. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
The innocence of children and their beliefs. Yes, this CD is real and I am sure Ms Day failed to see the irony in what she had produced in audio form. Gave me a chuckle and an apt way as any to conclude this post.