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Rant #416
(published January 8, 2009)
Make Talk
by Fritz Swanson

(for Jason Polan)

We went to the Apple store this weekend to get my iPod Touch fixed. I never listen to music because I just read the Internet on it, but then I tried to listen to some music and the headphone jack was bunk. It was crazy and static-y, and people on the Internets said that there was an issue with the Touch jacks.

So, we went in on a Saturday, and it was the second time ever that my son, Oscar, has been in a mall, and it was totally wigging him out. We went in the store and he took me directly to the Apple TV, because we had looked at it once the last time we were in the mall, his first time in the mall, and he remembers EVERYTHING.

He made me set him on the counter by the Apple TV and he said, "Make Batman."

I found the episode of the Batman Animated Series that is on the demo unit and started it up.

"Look, there is Mr. Freeze," my wife, Sara, said helpfully.

"Make talk," Oscar said.

I clicked on the remote a few times but couldn't make things happen. Then I looked all around the TV for controls. An Apple drone came up and asked "Can I help you?"

"Nah," I said, not looking at him, "The man just wants Batman to talk."

"Yeah," the drone replied, "we keep the volume off on the TV. It's noisy enough in here as it is."

"Make talk!" Oscar told the drone, insistently, but then he just slid off the counter.

Then I found out that we needed to make an appointment, so I did that. We had to wait forty-five minutes to see a tech about the Touch. So, we went back out in the mall. We hadn't eaten lunch, so we got Oscar a pretzel, and I got Sara a pretzel, and we looked at the animals surrounding what used to be Santa's cottage. Oscar watched a girl feed part of her pretzel to one of the sparrows that lived in the center of the mall. Oscar tried to call the bird, insistently, but the bird didn't pay attention to anyone not throwing pretzel.

We went back to the Apple store forty-five minutes later, and Oscar was basically through with the mall. We waited by the counter while people talked about their computers.

Oscar started oinking loudly like a pig.

Sara shushed him.

"Too LOUD!" He yelled. "Too many people!"

We asked him what oinking was going to do.

"Oscar bad pig. Make people go away."

"If you are a bad loud pig, then you think the store will clear out?" Sara asked.

"Yes!" Oscar said, holding his hands over his ears as people talked.

Sara leaned in and whispered, "They won't leave, Oscar. They'll just be mad at you."

Oscar quieted down.

I saw the next tech. He got out a scope like they use to look in your ear at the doctor's office. "Lint," he said. "I got a tool for this in the back." He left. He came back. He gave me a pair of headphones and the iPod worked.

"I feel very sheepish," I said. The man said, "It's okay. Easy fix."

As we were leaving, Oscar whispered under his breath, "oink oink oink"

"Are you being a bad pig?" I whispered.

"No," he whispered back. "Oscar good pig. Oscar quiet."

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