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The stay-at-home dad: Would you rather? 1st grade edition

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| February 13, 2021 1:00 AM

“Would you rather be devoured by sharks or ripped apart by alligators?”

My 7-year-old son takes pleasure in imagining me in horrible, life-threatening situations. I’m pretty sure he’s never seen Samuel L. Jackson’s big scene in “Deep Blue Sea” or any second of the “classic” crocodile opus, “Lake Placid.” Nevertheless, I feel like I’m in terrible danger.

He hasn’t quite figured out the basics of what makes a good “Would you rather?” question. Yes, you can go the unpleasant route, forcing a participant to choose between two or three less-than-ideal scenarios. But with my son, it’s basically just “Choose between one of several grisly deaths.”

Even when I guide him through improving his scenarios, my son reverts back to the gore. Case in point: The opening question of this column. The original conversation went like this:

Him: “Would you rather have to swim up a hole filled with sharks or swim up a hole filled with alligators that are trying to eat you?”

Me: “I’d choose the sharks because they aren’t trying to eat me. Sharks don’t usually like eating people, unless they are genetically enhanced sharks that can swim backwards and chase around LL Cool J.”

(Sidenote: Some might think I exaggerated a bit with that LL Cool J reference, but no. This is how I talk to my children.)

Him: “No the sharks are trying to eat you too.”

Me: “Oh, okay. I’d still choose the sharks because I might be able to punch them on the nose. I don’t know how to wrestle away from an alligator.”

Him: “No, the sharks will definitely eat you.”

Me: “Ok, so I’ll choose the alligators.”

Him: “No the alligators will eat you too.”

Me: “So I’m getting eaten either way. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.”

While I admit I can be a bit uncreative at times, I struggle to imagine either scenario in such a way as to determine how I want to be shredded apart by monsters. Really it seems like it’s a question of scale. If we’re talking a Jaws-size Great White Shark vs. a normal sized alligator, I’d like to hope that Jaws could finish me off faster. I wanna die quick.

My 3-year-old son, bless his heart, tries to join the “Would You Rather?” game too. His choices make no sense, but at least I remain alive in most scenarios. Usually he just looks around his room and spouts the first three or four things he sees.

My 3-year-old: “What you raduh be? A kitchen? A jaguar? A cheetah? A puppy? Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... a pencil!?”

Puppy is almost always an option. I mostly choose puppy, and my son typically then gives me a “yip” of appreciation.

One variant for him is “Where would you rather go?” Sample scenario:

My 3-year-old: “Where you raduh go? A rainbow you slide off into a waterfall? In the clouds in the sky? Orrrrrrrr… Paw Patrol!?!”

When he says “Paw Patrol,” I assume he means the town in which the show is set - Adventure Bay. It’s a pretty nice town on the ocean, and the Paw Patrol is constantly rescuing the city’s hapless citizens. I feel like I could thrive in a town so full of mediocrity.

I’ll tell you one thing though, I’d take no nonsense from Humdinger and his Catastrophe Crew from Foggy Bottom. I’d rather be ripped apart by sharks or alligators than live in that garbage town.

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad to four kids, ages 3-9. He is tired. He can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com.