Monday mornings are usually prime pug-snuggle time, but on this particular Monday morning I could tell Sid had something on his mind. After a few minutes of belly-scratchin’, Sid looked off into the distance and said, “Mom, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be not a pug.”
“Not a pug?” I replied. “A pug seems like a pretty good thing to be.”
“Yeah, being a pug is cool,” said Sid, “but there are so many things out there that are all going about their day, being what they are, and I’ll never know what it’s like to be any of them. I only get to be a pug. And you only get to be you. And Dad only gets to be Dad. Doesn’t that make you feel, you know, a little sad? Ew, sorry for the rhyme.”
“No problem, buddy, and, yeah,” I sighed, while scratching his ears, “sometimes that does make me sad. But, you know what’s great? Every now and then I can pretend to be not me. Like, when I’m writing a script, or doing improv, or even just dressing up for Halloween. I can put myself in something else’s shoes and for a little while I can see what life might be like if I were something other than me.”
“Pretend, huh? Can I pretend to be not a pug? Uh, I mean, not forever, of course. I don’t want to miss dinner.”
“Of course! Pretending is just a temporary change. Zero commitment! What do you want to pretend to be?”
Sid thought hard for a moment. “There are sooo many things…”
Sid proceeded to imagine life as a meerkat, tipping back for a good lean while resting his arms awkwardly on his belly.
“Man, being a meerkat is a pain in the neck!” he quickly exclaimed.
Then Sid pretended to be a snail, slowly extending his neck while bugging out his eyes in opposite directions.
“Snails must be dizzy all day long,” he sighed, “and talk about patience! It must take them years to get to their food bowl!”
Then Sid pretended to be a rose bush, unfurling his tongue into a pretty pink bloom.
“Tho this ith what it’th like to be a rothe?,” lisped Sid, valiantly attempting to stay in character. ”Being a rothe thinkth!”
Then, for whatever reason, Sid pretended to be Brian’s yoga ball.
“Not bad,” reasoned Sid, “although I imagine my opinion of this would change if Dad were actually sitting on me all day long.”
“What are you pretending to be now?” I asked.
“I’m pretending to be YOU pretending to be a person who can play guitar!”
“Wow, Sid,” I laughed. ”That’s pretty meta! Well done!”
“I don’t know what meta means,” Sid groaned, “but all this pretending to be something that’s pretending to be something that’s pretending to be something is making my brain hurt!”
So, Sid took a break from pretending while I gave him a nice head massage.
And after spending a moment or two deep in thought, Sid looked up and said, “You know, Mom, I think I might actually be pretty lucky. I get to be a pug.”