Hitting the Road Jacks

The killer rabbit from Monty Python, available in plush for $16.99 at http://www.thinkgeek.com

The Midgets are old enough that I’ve begun bargaining about what music we all listen to in the car.

Mbot: “I want the beat music!”

This means something–but not anything–with a loud, insistent beat, preferably dance music. When I hit the button for Lady Gaga’s Pokerface, there was a wail from the backseat. “No that’s Gbot’s music! That’s not my best beat music!” So he had noticed, too, that Gbot often, especially when he is diaperless, prances around chanting, “P-p-pahty, yeah. Bang bang!” I tell you, he did  not learn the dance moves from me.

So I searched for Justin Timberlake while I explained that first, we would listen to Mommy’s quiet music, then we would listen to Mbot’s beat music, and then we would listen to whatever Gbot wanted to listen to. So while a very lovely violin concerto played on KBAQ, the local classical station–that I used to be able to listen to all the time, with no input from the backseat–I asked, “Gbot? What do you want to listen to?”

Gbot: “Mona Mona Mona!”

Me: “Uhhh…What’s the rest of it?”

Gbot: “Hid da woad, jaa, doncha come bah no mona mona mona mo….”

Mbot: “But that’s not my best!”

Hit the Road Jack” must appeal to the under-thirty-month set, because before Mbot discovered Justin Timberlake–who we do not listen to very often, mind you, but it made an impression–Ray Charles used to be his best.

“What’s a road jack?” he asked every time. “And why did they hit it?” And every time I would explain. It’s a giant monster rabbit, I said. Who’s really mean.

I wasn’t even thinking of Monty Python at the time. I was just trying to figure out how to avoid babbling about complex and unhealthy adult relationships. But it makes me wonder about the moment that Eric Idle and his boys thought up the killer rabbit. Were they in a car with their kids? Probably not. The carnivorous Leporid might have hopped to life when they were in a car with each other. Or in a room with each other. They might have been arguing over what to put on the eight-track tape.

In a very real way, the Bots and I are a creative team. A noisy, obstreporous, pants-wetting crew, but a team nonetheless. We might not be available on Netflix, but thinking about us this way might help me when the milk’s been spilled, the wine glass has been broken, the Play Doh’s been ground into the rug, and someone else’s beat music is on too loud.

Who’s on your team?

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