The Circle is Complete
I didn't try to dissuade him. Instead I told him a story about when I was a kid. Some friends and I had gone to see a movie called The Hellstrom Chronicle. It was part science fiction, part horror movie and part documentary. The gist was that humanity was doomed to extinction. We would inevitably be done in by insects.
I can't recall much about the film except an amazing scene in which a colony of termites were attempting to save their queen from an invading army of of ants. In any event, I was freaked out by the film in a way that only makes sense to an impressionable 10-year old mind. For weeks afterwards I was worried about a bug Armageddon that would wipe out all human life.
I must have confessed my anxieties to my mother because somehow my father found out--and I know I never would have said anything to my dad about being afraid. He was in no sense the sympathetic or understanding type. Nevertheless, he took it upon himself (for the first and only time in my life) to stop by my bedroom for a father/son talk.
It began like this: "Your mother says you're afraid of bugs"
"Bugs. She says you think bugs are going to take over the world."
Me, blinking, looking down.
"What the hell's wrong with you? Bugs. Jesus Christ. You gotta knock this crap off."
End of discussion.
I related this little piece of my childhood to my son this morning and he laughed. I told him that I hoped I was a bit more willing to consider his point of view than my own father had been. He didn't say anything, but later, just before he left for school, he kind of snickered and said, "Jeez, dad, bugs? That's pretty dumb."
I have now been scoffed at by two generations. The circle really is complete.