Monday, February 23, 2004


Helena spends a lot of time pretending these days.

She's copying a lot of behaviour, including dance moves, which are particularly challenging since she refuses to walk, or even stand, unsupported.

She pretends to eat, picking up and savouring imaginary morsels. She pretends to read, her finger following the text and flipping pages. She "participates" in conversations. She pretends to use the computer, happily tapping away at the keyboard and mousing away. She pretends to use the phone — our real cordless phone. The primary-colour toy phones simply won't do (well, sometimes, in a pinch).

She holds the phone correctly and babbles away. Sometimes she punches in a string of numbers. I guess this is her best impression of me using the phone. She looks like she knows what she's doing and having a conversation. I haven't a clue what she's saying, and I can't imagine what must be going through her head when she does this.

Helena's computer skills leave much to be desired. Her documents are all nonsense, but she goes through the motions as well as many coworkers I've had.

All of this confirms some niggling suspicions I've had over the years — If you pretend you know what you're talking about, people will believe you. If you pretend you're a grownup, people will treat you like one. If you pretend you're sociable, smart, and funny, people might actually think you are. Act happy and you'll be happy. Mind over matter. There are days I pulled off remarkable things, cuz I believed I could and I convinced those around me. It's all a big game of pretend.

Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to "act " like he's presidential material, and, frightening though the thought is, he might make it happen.

Ralph Nader continues to act like an idiot, and the voting public knows that he is one.

From this day forth I will pretend to be a competent and all-knowing supermom with a successful editing career.

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