April 02, 2011

• • • — — — • • •

“Enlightenment Days,” With-a-Why said. “That’s what we need. We’re not using our brains and our senses to their full capacity.”

I looked at my youngest son. He was serious.

“We’ll spend our first Enlightenment Day communicating only in Morse code,” he said. “That would be a handy skill to have.”

“I guess,” I said. He's my fourth kid, so I know better than to resist these kind of schemes, even when they seem just a little bit crazy. Resistance is futile.

“Then we could have one day where we only speak French. Nothing but French,” he said. “And I know a program that could teach us perfect pitch. That would be another Enlightenment Day.”

Since I've never been able to carry a tune, the chance of me learning perfect pitch in merely 24 hours seemed just a bit optimistic, but I nodded as if he'd proposed something completely reasonable.

“We could wear blindfolds for a day,” I offered.

“Maybe this Sunday we could begin with the Morse code day," he said.

“I’ve got an Ultimate tournament Sunday," said Shaggy Hair Boy. He was playing the piano as we talked. "I don’t know how the rest of the team is going to feel about me communicating only in Morse code.”

“And I need some time to brush up on Morse code,” I said.

“You can use music to remember some of them,” With-a-Why said. “Like the letter V. Just think of Beethoven’s 5th. Dot dot dot DASH.” He hummed it first, then played it on the piano.

With-a-Why is a very focused kid. By the end of the day, he had printed out charts of Morse code and taped them to the front door, the back door, the kitchen window, and the bathroom mirrors. Enlightenment Day clearly includes the apartment where my two older kids live: they began posting facebook messages in Morse code. By the time I went to my piano lesson on Friday, Beautiful Piano Teacher was asking for a Morse code chart so that she could join in.

Both With-a-Why and I have been delighted to find out how different words sound and look in Morse code. Mom is all dashes: -- --- -- My personal favorite is the word shit which translates into a serious of dots followed by a single dash: • • • • • • •  • • –  Well, maybe you have to say that aloud to get how perfect that is.

My students, who noticed me studying Morse code before class, offered suggestions of their own. “How about an Enlightenment Day where you tape your thumbs to your palms?” one student said.

The woman next to him tried picking up her pen with just her fingers. “Look, without thumbs, I can’t even get my pen cap off.”

I walked over, picked up her pen with two fingers, and pulled the pen top off with my teeth. See, that’s the kind of skill you can learn on Enlightenment Day.

14 comments:

Cindy said...

I love this idea! How about an Enlightenment Day where you can always speak in quotes from famous people? My English teacher made us do that once.

... .... .- --. --. -.-- .... .- .. .-. / -... --- -.-- said...

... .... --- ..- .-.. -.. -. - / .- .-.. .-.. / - .... . / -.-. --- -- -- . -. - ... / -... . / .. -. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. .

jo(e) said...

.... .- / .... .- / -.-- --- ..- /.- .-. . / .-. .. --. .... -

landismom said...

I am constantly amazed by & in awe of your brilliant children.

Lilian said...

I saw you guys all over facebook talking in morse code so I kind of knew about this. You guys are awesome!

Anonymous said...

The word "she" is cool too.

*** ***** *

All dots and no dashes.

Lomagirl said...

I'm curious about how this works orally- you just say- dash, dash, dash, space, dot, dash, dot? for example? (Don't know what I just said.)
I love the creativity of this- and your whole hearted participation.

jo(e) said...

Lomagirl: Well, that's how we *were* saying it.

But now I'm told by my son that the proper way is to say "dah" for a dash and "dit" for a dot, with the "dah" being three times as long as a "dit." And when the "dit" is not the final part of a letter, it gets shortened to "di." Then for the spaces between, you leave a space that's the same length of time as a dot.

The letter C, for example, becomes, "DAH-DI-DAH-DIT"

YourFireAnt said...

How about a day wherein everything is sung?


;-)

jo(e) said...

FA: Oh, my kids will LOVE that suggestion.

Of course, I can't carry a tune so I'll just be torturing everyone around me ....

YourFireAnt said...

- .... .--' ... .-- .... .- - ... .... . .... .- .. -.. !


;-)

Magpie said...

I love this whimsy.

Crimson Rambler said...

and a day to say everything in iambic pentameters (which isn't all that hard when you get into it)...thank you for sharing your awesome kids!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

This is so cool! We used to do this when we were kids, but it's been a LONG LONG time!