On a busy weekday morning as members of the Free-Ride family prepare to get out the door:
Elder offspring: Let's check if you have psychic powers.
Younger offspring: How can you check if I have psychic powers?
Elder offspring: We'll see if you can tell which Pokemon is on the card before I flip it over.
Younger offspring: I don't think I can do that.
Elder offspring: (to Dr. Free-Ride's better half) Can you do an experiment with me?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: There's not really time right now -- I'm trying to get ready for work. What kind of experiment?
Elder offspring: I'm going to use Pokemon cards to give you a psychic test. That's OK, we can do it tonight.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Kiddo, every evening is a psychic test.
* * * * *
Dr. Free-Ride: So, what's the deal with this sudden interest in "psychic powers"? What are psychic powers anyway?
Elder offspring: Well, there's being able to read minds, and moving objects with your mind, and teleportation ...
Dr. Free-Ride: And who actually does those things?
Elder offspring: Oh, it happens all the time in Pokemon.
Dr. Free-Ride: Pokemon, eh? Do you suppose people actually can do any of those things in real life?
Elder offspring: I don't know. I think people assume that they can't, so they never try.
Dr. Free-Ride: Hmm ...
Elder offspring: So probably, people would need to try to actually see what they could do with the power of their minds.
Dr. Free-Ride: You mean they'd have to do experiments?
Elder offspring: Yeah, like trying to tell the Pokemon on the card without seeing the card.
Dr. Free-Ride: I suppose that's reasonable. No reason not to try controlled experiments to see what you can find out.
Elder offspring: I'd want teleportation more than mind-reading, though.
Dr. Free-Ride: Oh? What would you use it for?
Elder offspring: I'd use it to get a Nintendo DS.
Dr. Free-Ride: Uh, wouldn't the person it belonged to miss it?
Elder offspring: No, a new one?
Dr. Free-Ride: Well, the person who made it in order to sell it would be the one who missed it. Wouldn't teleporting yourself a Nintendo DS be a lot like theft?
Elder offspring: Yeah, I guess you're right. OK, I'd use teleportation to bring a Pokemon out of the game and into the real world.
Dr. Free-Ride: Is that a good idea?
Elder offspring: Or to teleport myself into the Pokemon world!
Dr. Free-Ride: Really? What if you got stuck there? What if there was danger?
Elder offspring: I'd just teleport myself out when I wanted to.
Dr. Free-Ride: You have an awful lot of confidence in your ability to control this power you're not even sure you have.
* * * * *
Younger offspring: (calling from the living room to the kitchen) Are we having nachos tonight?
Dr. Free-Ride: As a matter of fact, we are. How did you know?
Younger offspring: I thought I smelled tomatoes.
Dr. Free-Ride: I am chopping tomatoes.
Younger offspring: And when I smelled the tomatoes, I used my psychic powers to know that they were for nachos.
Dr. Free-Ride: Uh, doesn't it seem more likely that you thought about the things I make that include chopped tomato and guessed which one of them we were going to have?
Younger offspring: No, I knew it was going to be nachos.
Dr. Free-Ride: Couldn't have been a lucky guess?
Younger offspring: Uh uh.
Dr. Free-Ride: What else can you tell with your psychic powers.
Younger offspring: When you're mad.
Dr. Free-Ride: You don't think you figure that out from my tone of voice or the look on my face?
Younger offspring: No, psychic powers.
Dr. Free-Ride: I'm thinking you're not giving your standard-issue powers of observation and reasoning enough credit here.
Poor, poor Pokemon! Blastd by rationalists for their psychic powers, and blasted by creationists for evolving. Good thing the Pokemon creators have millions of dollars to assuage their hurt feelings!
Just wanted to pop in and say, "Thanks" for teaching your children so well. I really enjoy your Friday Sprog blogs and I wish more parents spent the time and effort making their kids question everything in such a rational and thoughtful manner.
Keep up the good work!
Reminds me of when I was a kid, desperately wanting psychic powers of my own. Eventually I learned that keen observation and simple deducation could make it look like I had psychic powers to the other kids, but they soon wised up to me.
Okay, I'm dying to know:
Do the Sprogs have psychic powers or not? Will we be seeing the Elder Offspring in a forthcoming episode of Pokemon?