Posting “You know you’re a TCK when…” last week jogged a memory loose. It was the line, “You watch a movie set in a foreign country, and you know what the nationals are really saying into the camera” that did it. My story doesn’t involve language, but an unexpected knowledge of international politics.
When Younger Daughter was 7 or 8 years old, we watched the movie “Zoolander.” (We’ll have a discussion about my fitness as a parent some other time.) “Zoolander” is one of those movies you know perfectly well is utterly ridiculous, but you catch yourself laughing all the same. This is why I can never be a film snob.
The plot is unimportant — it’s really just an excuse for Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson to mug for the camera — but it involves a wackadoodle plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The four of us had pretty much lost interest in the action by the time the assassination attempt took place, but Younger Daughter suddenly sat bolt upright and pointed at the television.
“Wait a minute!” she said, surprised. “That guy’s not the Prime Minister of Malaysia!”
Chef Boyardee and I stared at her in disbelief. “Who’s the Prime Minister of Canada?” I quickly asked her, thinking that perhaps I’d been underestimating her genius all these years. She shrugged “I dunno,” and went back to watching the TV with one eye and playing Super Mario with the other. So much for my “mother of the wunderkind” fantasy.
She’s 15 now, and when I researched this post by asking if she knew the name of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, she shook her head absently and continued texting while simultaneously juggling several Facebook chats, listening to her iPod, watching YouTube videos and doing her homework. I reminded her about the “Zoolander” comment, and she laughed. “We lived in Southeast Asia then,” she said. “His photo was probably on the news a lot.”
So maybe she doesn’t read the international section before the comics, like those TCKs in my previous post. There’s still time for that. For now, I’ll content myself with the fact that at least she knows where Malaysia is. And I’m happy to report that these days, she knows the name of Canada’s Prime Minister as well.