The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #111, January 2013

Parents have forever spelled out words to conceal certain aspects of conversation from younger children; "Don't mention the D-E-A-D-W-O-M-B-A-T in front of the children, dear." Ahead of the curve, Erik, now 7, has learned to spell out words he doesn't want Peter, his 4-year-old brother, to hear: "Dad, can I play with the I-P-H-O-N-E while P-E-T-E-R takes a B-A-T-H?"

Peter, in turn, discovered quite some time ago that the utterance "N-A-P" is a harbinger of doom. He's pretty quick at this game and has broken a few more pieces of the code.

Last week Erik was talking to Becca about something he didn't want me to weigh-in on, and accordingly he spelled out a few things he didn't want D-A-D-D-Y (who was in the room) to comprehend.

Although this made me laugh, he's got the right idea. It won't be long before he really can out spell me. But spelling is the least of my worries. And I'm not talking about popular media: I'm already way behind, in my complete ignorance of gangnam style or whatever.

What I am talking about is the real stuff. Knowledge.

I recently learned that the core of Erik's first grade curriculum is based on a dopey-looking tome called "What Your First Grader Needs to Know." Upon first glance, I doubted whether a book whose cover was so design-challenged could be worthy of his study. Then I peeked inside and discovered it contained all sorts of stuff I know nothing about: Details of the formation of the Electoral College, the specific gravity of Osmium, and the structures and functions of the limbic system. This is what kids are expected to learn in the public schools today, and, not knowing any better, they actually learn it. While I spent Kindergarten eating paste, Erik read dozens of books and that was just the beginning. The pace is scary. Our prospects are scary.

I'm thinking of a specific 1960s Twilight Zone episode, where all the adults cater to every whim of an extraordinary six-year-old boy (played by Billy Mumy), who, when displeased, would simply "wish" those he's unhappy with "into the cornfield," never to be seen from again. Between accelerated learning programs and kids' ability to instantly master any new technology, the children of today's corn will similarly have us enslaved tomorrow if we're not careful.

Remember Bill Watterson's comic strip Calvin and Hobbes? Whenever Calvin asked his dad a question about how the world works, he'd give a nutty answer, like explaining relativity (where time slows down when you travel at great speeds) with talk of changing time zones, where it gets earlier if you fly west.

Maybe Watterson was trying to tell us something. Perhaps he was suggesting that we should take every opportunity to misinform today's youth in order to forestall their eventual world-wide domination of those of us who remember the compact disc or the pay phone. But then Watterson mysteriously resigned, and was never heard from again (as if he were wished into a corn field). And, of course, the Family Circus comic strip is now drawn by creator Bil Keane's son, Jeffy.

Want to know what you can do to stem the tide? Well, begin by hanging out in kid-proof areas called bars. I might recommend joining myself and the entire Auto Body Experience when we return to the Eagles Club #34 on Friday, January 18. The parking is free, the drinks are cheap, and for a $6 cover we'll play our own special brand of kid-confounding music from 8-11 PM.

The alcohol also helps. It scrambles your brain waves in such a fashion that children find them indecipherable, and may consequently be less likely to wish you into the corn field.

Want to take things a step further? You might also wear garlic cloves around your neck, so long as you're cool with dancing by yourself. Good luck!

Love, Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, Knights of the Auto Order

Find the Eagles Club at 2507 E 25th Street in Minneapolis. Call 612-724-9714 or visit www.minneapoliseagles34.org
For more details, contact: www.facebook.com/autobodyexperience or www.autobodyexperience.com and let us know you're coming on our FaceBook event page.
Oddly enough, the Auto Body Experience is still trying to sell you their CDs and T-Shirts: www.autobodyexperience.com/buystuff/buystuff.htm

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