Child POV: response to “Superman and Me”

We read Sherman Alexie’s “Superman and Me” essay on learning to love to read in class. My teacher encouraged us to note Alexie’s use of the child’s voice as we read it in such sentences as “Superman is breaking down the door.” We were then assigned to write our own piece in a child’s voice.

I hated writing this. But that was back in September. And when I dragged it out again in January for the class’s final public reading I actually quite liked it.

I’m still as a stone,

I’m still as a mouse,

I’m still as a statue,

Except for my mouth.

Mummy helped me write that out today. I said it to her before but now I put it on paper myself. Then I put it in Daddy’s computer, but Mummy typed. I’m too slow because I have to find the letters in their little spaces and they don’t come in order. They go like this: Q W E R T Y U I O P A S D F G H J K L Z X C V B N M, which isn’t right. I don’t know why. Mummy calls it the QWERTY keyboard because of the first six letters. QWERTY. She says it helps you type faster but I don’t think so. You have to spend all that time rearranging the alphabet so that it starts with Q and ends with M. If it were better why didn’t Anne teach us the alphabet beginning with Q? If it is faster why put A in front? Probably because the song works better. They need to teach people the song to help them remember and the whole thing is messed up without ELEMENO in the middle. You can’t say ESDEFGEE. It’s too hard to remember. And longer to say. And everything’s about time, I think. The freeway saves time and I like it. But Mummy won’t let us have the windows down anymore on the freeway. P’s drawing flew out the window when he was still in Bamboo Yard you have to keep the windows closed so you won’t lose anything else. I wish Mummy hadn’t made that rule. It was fun to throw goldfish out and hurt your neck spinning to see them fall behind the car like flying fish. I guess. I don’t know exactly what a flying fish is. Sarah says they are fish with wings like a butterfly. I don’t believe that because if you get a butterfly’s wings wet it can’t fly and it hobbles around on the ground just like Tiny Tim and then it dies. It wouldn’t be smart to give a fish wings that couldn’t get wet. So they have to be waterproof ones, like a duck. I know duck’s wings are okay in the water because there are a lot of ducks that come swim in our pool sometimes. The boy ones are prettier than the girl ones, but Daddy explained to me I should call the boys drakes, even though they look nothing like dragons and the girls hens, though they aren’t the same as chickens. He told me that while pushing me on the swing and sing Sailing, Sailing Over the Bounding Main. But he never says Jack, he says me, because that is my song. Even though I don’t know what the Bounding Main is. P’s song is Yankee Doodle, but Mummy just uses the tune. The words are very different and are about Perrin drinking milk which he does a lot. I’m glad my song isn’t about milk. Milk is okay, but sailing is better. And whatever the Bounding Main is, at least it sounds better than a heifer, which is a cow. Cows and milk. Bounding Mains and ships. We are very different people, even though everyone asks if we’re twins. No! I am older! Mummy calls us Irish Twins though. She says it’s because we’re only fifteen months apart. I’m convinced it’s sixteen. But it still doesn’t make a difference because we were born in whole different years and that means that we can’t be twins, even Irish ones. And I’m American-English anyway. Not Irish. We did a project in LL Yard on where we were from and I didn’t color in Ireland, so I know. Only America and England and Germany and Holland and Canada and the one above England that’s connected but has a different name. I made them all blue and was careful not to color outside the lines because JT’s looked like something spilled red all over the paper and I didn’t want my paper to bleed like his even though it would have been blue blood. That is why I am the leader. I am more careful and know about things like the Bounding Main. I had to sing the song for JT because he didn’t know it. But I had to sing Jack not me because he doesn’t know the real thing. We ran with our arms out for sails while we sang it, but I had to explain about tacking when we turned into the wind because otherwise he would have been a motor boat which isn’t right. JT said he preferred motor boats anyway because they have engines like jet planes so he ran straight across the yard and waited for me to tack. He always waits for me, which is why we are friends. I am the captain, he is the first mate and no one gets left behind.

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