"Man, I wish we were only four hours from Disney World," my friend from the Atlanta area gushed.
"Why?," I replied with bewilderment.
"Because then it would be so much easier to get to Disney," he said. "Now, whenever we take the kids, it takes nine or more hours. It's a nightmare to make that trip once a year."
I sighed, then offered: "You're an idiot."
My friend - who has young children about the same ages as my kids - had just recounted a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom and how expensive it was, and how much everything costs, and how much he spent, and how Visa sent him a "Thank You" card.
"How am I an idiot?," he asked after my declaration of his idiocy.
For the sake of brevity, I decided to narrow the scope of his query and answer solely on what he had intimated in the last 10 minutes.
"Well, first a question: How do your children know about Disney World?"
"Well, they see it on TV," he replied.
"Okay, but how do they know where it is?"
"Uh, well, I guess we told them it was in Florida," he responded hesitantly.
"That's where you're an idiot."
I then went on to explain my policy.
See, kids don't know too much about geography - they're stupid like that. That's why they are always asking "are we there yet?" They have no concept of space, distance or time, and some children can't even read or write that well. It's an ignorance, that as a parent, should be taken advantage of - while you still can. Eventually, they'll learn where the states, countries, and continents are - usually around 11th or 12th grade. At that point, when my kids figure out that Orlando and Disney World is a mere four hours away from their home, I plan to respond to their requests for Disney with two words: Grad Nite.
Meanwhile, I stick to my policy.
"Daddy, I want to go to Disney World," my six-year-old son pleads. "Why can't we go?"
"Well, son, I'd love to take you, but it's too far away" is my standard reply.
"How far is it?"
"It's in China, son. Disney World is in China."
"How far is China?"
"China is a kajillion miles away," I say with a straight face. "It's on the other side of the world."
"A kajillion miles," he repeats, mulling the two unfamiliar words. "Is that farther than when we went to Macon that time?"
See, I told you. They have no clue.
My 9-year-old daughter, having more schooling, has started to question my policy.
"Well, Daddy, if Disney World is in China, how come the Johnsons go every summer?"
Having more schooling than her, I have prepared a bevy of outrageous lies for just such an occasion.
"You're probably not aware of this, but Mr. Johnson works for the CIA, and the government sends him and his family to China every year for covert operations," I say matter-of-factly. "They go to Disney World while they are there. You can never mention that, or more importantly, ask his daughter that's in your class about that, or their cover will be blown, and they could possibly be beheaded."
I think she bought it. But increasingly, the family isn't buying into my policy.
"Mommy, when Daddy goes to Heaven, can we go to Disney World?"
My wife, after listening to my policy for years, answers her son with, "I don't know if your Daddy is going to Heaven."
Len Robbins is editor and publisher of The Clinch County News.