FATHERS OF INVENTION SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR

My daughter came home from school one day with one of those wild rumors that she had heard at school. It was from a very reliable source, she insisted. She had heard it from so-and-so on the playground who had heard it from so-and-so on the school bus. (I’ve always regarded the school bus as a fount of trustworthy information, haven’t you?) This particular nugget of truth was something about how the school principal had a secret bowling alley in the basement of the school. I said, “The school doesn’t have a basement.” But this only served to prove her point – it was a “secret bowling alley” so the fact that no one thought there was a basement proved the existence of the secret bowling alley there!
This is when we first introduced the concept of the Crazy-o-Meter. I asked, “How does that rate on the Crazy-o-Meter?” and I held up my forearm and moved it back and forth like the needle on a meter. Holding up her own forearm and tilting it pretty far to one side, she had to admit that it did sound like a pretty crazy idea. We discussed how the more crazy something sounds, the more likely it is to be a rumor, and maybe she shouldn’t repeat it.
Since then, we’ve asked, “How does that rate on the Crazy-o-Meter?” several times. Then at Christmas, my daughter surprised me by making me a Crazy-o-Meter! Now we don’t need to use our arms to indicate craziness.

 

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