Since Jack began Kindergarten a few weeks ago we have been besieged by a daily salvo of abstract drawings, watercolor paintings, crayon colored projects, and alphabet activity sheets most of which end up wallpapered proudly to the refrigerator with dinosaur magnets or, when we can distract Jack long enough, occasionally wallpapering the inside of a Hefty Bag. Last week his class read a book called “Froggy Goes to School” and the class project after the teacher read the book was for each student to pick his or her own animal and to draw that animal going to school.
On the paper he brought home there was a little red construction paper school house glued at an angle in the center and what I determined to be a tiger approaching the schoolhouse. The only reason I thought this was because he had written the word Tiger across the top of the sheet of paper. It was also the only reason because his tiger didn’t look like a tiger, it looked like a penis; an inquisitive green penis on its first day of school. Former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Potter Stewart once said that he couldn’t define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. Well, if anyone would like to see it, it’s magnetized to our freezer with a stegosaurus.
It was soon afterwards that Jack came home with what he told us was a drawing of a cheetah. Written in the upper right hand corner by his teacher was the word cheetah thereby confirming his claim. But once again, the cheetah did not look like a cheetah; it looked liked a penis; a red penis with spots. So, either it was actually a picture of a classic British dessert or the cheetah had contracted a severe case of genital herpes.
Then a few days ago I had the chance to attend a parent teacher night. His entire class had drawn and decorated the classroom with pictures themed “My Autumn Adventure.” In many of the pictures you could tell, however crudely, that the children were picking apples, playing football or jumping into leaves. And then I found Jack’s picture and it looked like a penis; a penis with a rainbow shooting out of it. I think the rainbow was supposed to be pile of colorful leaves, but it didn’t look like a pile of leaves it looked like a rainbow shooting out of the head of the penis.
Did Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and all the other Italian Renaissance Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles demonstrate their talents as children by painting, sculpting and sketching male genetalia? I don’t know, but what I do know is that Jack’s homework folder looks like a Mapplethorpe Exhibit.
Does Jack know that his drawings look like Ron Jeremy’s doodles in the margins of the script for Shaving Ryan’s Privates? I don’t know, but I do know that the administration is now requiring him to put fig leafs on any drawings that are hung in the classroom. (Yes…Jack’s drawings are hung.)
Is this just a stage of expression and development that all children go through? The artistic lens through which he sees and interprets the world? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m afraid to fold his most recent drawings for fear I’ll afflict the cheetah and the tiger Peyronie’s Disease?
Earlier tonight he was drawing at the dining room table and I asked him what he was drawing. He said it was Spiderman. “If it’s Spiderman Jack, where’s his web?” I asked. He turned the paper toward me, pointed at the sketch and said, “This is where the web comes out Daddy.” Let’s just say that Spiderman’s web has an abnormally high sperm count.