“What do you think of the statues being taken down?” I ask my children while we’re doing the washing up.
“I don’t know why we have statues at all,” says my daughter.
“It’s hard to know where to draw the line. I guess nobody is all bad,” I say.
My son is straight back with,
“Yeah, maybe we should have a statue of Hitler because he was kind to his dog.”
This makes me laugh.
“He fancied himself as an artist too,” I tell them. “Although a critic, not knowing Hitler was the artist, once said that the way he painted people suggested he wasn’t all that interested in them.”.
I also tell my children that when I was growing up we had a book of Hitler’s paintings at home.
“Why the hell did you have that?” My daughter asks.
“I don’t know. It’s one of those questions I never asked. You’ll think of things you want to ask me when I’d dead,” I tell them.
“You should write an FAQ and leave it with your will,” my daughter suggests.
“But it won’t be an FAQ, will it? Because none of you will have asked.”
Enthused by her idea my daughter starts to try out some questions.
“What are your favourite socks?”
“No idea, and you wouldn’t want to know that anyway,” I tell her.
“If you could only have one cheese for the rest of your life, what would it be?” She says.
“We’ve had this conversation before. Parmesan because, at a push, it can double as a cheddar,” I tell her.
“I’d have mozzarella,” she says.
My son is appalled,
“You’d choose mozzarella? It doesn’t taste of anything.”
She closes her eyes, smiles, and says, “Pizza”.
Joining in my son asks, “If you could only have pasta with oil which shape would you choose?”
“That’s easy,” I say, “Linguine or possibly tagliatelle. I don’t want any big shapes.”
My daughter again, “If you do your FAQ you can have a “Kahoot” at your funeral.”
Kahoot is a game used a lot in schools where questions can be posed and answered via an app on your phone.
She seems delighted at the idea, but my son goes quiet.
“I’m not sure you’ll feel much like doing a Kahoot at my funeral, although it’s nice to imagine you happy,” I tell her.
She finds the Kahoot theme music on her phone and I imagine it playing as the curtains close over the front of my coffin while the mourners tot up their scores.
On a training course someone once asked me how often I think about death. It was a surprising question and my answer surprised me even more,
“Every day, more than once these days,” I said.
Trying to pull the conversation back to the subject of protest and statues I tell my children that I can’t understand why people of my generation don’t admit to endemic racism because of the culture and conditioning in which we grew as children during the 1970’s.
“We’re better off saying that we know we are racist, even if it’s mostly unconscious, but that we really don’t want to be,” I tell her.
“It has to change though,” says my son.
“It feels like we’ve been saying that for most of my life,” I tell him.
With the kitchen tidy, I am scrolling through social media and spot a post from a friend with a picture of an oak sapling he has just planted.
I wonder how big it will have grown by the time they’re playing Kahoot at my funeral and then how much bigger by the time we no longer need to talk about statues.