Witness: The Beginning of a Career

Last night Blaisey and I got to watch Naomi's first ever basketball game -- she was awesome. She completed a fast break and hit a jump shot, which officially means, she's already outscored me up through my ninth grade year. I was always more of an assists guy, you know.

Meanwhile, Blaisey and I had just got out of school, so we sat underneath the hoop and shared animal crackers.

"What's this one look like?" She'd ask.

"Oh, an elephant, I guess."

Bite, chew chew chew. "Nope. It's an elephant without a trunk."

"What's this one look like?"

"That's a rhinoceros." I thought more confidence would be equally more convincing.

"Nope." Bite, chew chew chew. "It's a rhinoceros without a horn."

"What's this one look like?"

"A space alien."

"Dad, you're not playing right."

"Okay," I said, "a monkey?"

"That's not a monkey."

"Oh. A cat?"

"It's not a cat either."

"Is it a monkeycat?"

She shook her head slowly and reexamined the little animal. She said, "You know what, dad? That dog'll hunt." Bite, chew chew chew. "Too bad it's a monkeycat without any legs. You almost had it."

Bite, chew chew chew. "Now it's a monkeycat without any legs or a face." Bite, chew chew chew. "Or a tail." Bite, chew chew chew. "Now what do you think it is?"

"I guess it's just a monkeycat's belly."

"Dad," she said, shaking her head with disappointment, "it's just a belly. How could anyone know what kind of animal it belongs to?"

Naomi's team won 32-29 in a game that could have just as easily gone the other way. And I've pondered it enough -- this eternal question -- I'll turn it over to you all: how many things must one chew off an animal before it becomes simply a belly?

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