Over dinner tonight we indulged in some shamefully fluffy and inconsequential chatter about current male movie stars. Yes, I know. Okay, you want specifics; I knew it. So here goes. Well, y'see, we had idly drifted into said conversation following a stimulating exercise in which Great Scot and I sought to culturally enlighten Fa and Beatrice about the now-expired fad game known as "The 7 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon" which was so wildly and inexplicably popular some years back. See, we've always sort of loosely held a rather brave philosophical position that our homeschooled offspring shouldn't suffer too much cultural naivete as a result of our decision to give them a home-centered upbringing, which explains why Great Scot has been known to do things like careen our Suburban toward the nearest truck stop without warning when he, in his Peppy Road Trip Dad persona, launched into "On The Road Again" only to discover to his woeful dismay that neither of his native Texan daughters knew who Willie Nelson is. (Anybody out there need a $4 cd of Willie's Greatest Hits? We're not above re-gifting. Really.)
So young Spuddy Buddy, who had seemed to be ignoring our insipid discussion, suddenly affected something disturbingly akin to world-weary pop-culture finesse, and somewhat authoritatively chimed in something or other about Matt Damon. Matt Damon?
We all paused our violent attack upon the Mexican chocolate bread pudding and stared at him in deflated wonder. Uhh, when did our young Spuddy Buddy, our sweet, innocent boy as yet so blissfully unburdened by celebrity awareness (beyond the world of major league baseball, that is) acquire cultural familiarity with the likes of Matt Damon? I mean, we haven't exactly been in the habit of plopping him down in front of Jason Bourne flicks. And he's homeschooled, for pete's sake. Aren't homeschooled eight year olds supposed to still be culture nerds? By definition? Aren't they supposed to chat over dinner about the psycho-social implications of the Trojan War followed by really festive guessing games about which of Henry VIII's six wives were beheaded? So how come he's turning out to be so hip and cool that he blithely drops Matt Damon into dinner conversation? I was determined to get to the bottom of this. Enquiring Minds Want To Know.
Me: Umm, how do you know about Matt Damon?
Spuddy: Everybody knows about Matt Damon.
Me: Well, I doubt that gross generalization, but the point is how do YOU know about Matt Damon?
Spuddy: Seriously, I guess everybody just does.
Me (trying a change in inflection): Okay, but HOW do you know about Matt Damon?
Spuddy: Oh, you know... from hearing people in stores talk about him.
Me: Honey, people in stores do not typically hang around talking about Matt Damon.
Spuddy (becoming ever more spudly about it all): Oh, y'know, a lot of times they do.
Me: Hold on a second here. I've been in more stores than I can count and I do not recall ever hearing any people in any store anywhere talk about Matt Damon. I mean, in what sort of store do people stand around talking about Matt Damon?
Spuddy: ::pause:: Well... there were a couple of gas stations in Alabama.
So now we know what people do at gas stations in Alabama. I feel sure this morsel of regional sociological data will prove useful at some point in your life.