Monkey Boy’s February writing journal came home. He’s required to write every morning at school at least five sentences on any given prompt. As read I read through his journal, most days it was clear what the prompt was, such as, “What Did You Do Last Weekend?” or “Will the Groundhog See His Shadow?” We’ve always known that he’s quite a storyteller. He weaves a good tale, and now it seems as though his strong opinions and storytelling skills are crossing genres from oral to written.

His first February journal entry was a rather interesting op-ed piece on Groundhog’s Day, a complex commentary with multifaceted possibilities woven through the piece along with an somewhat predictable segue at the end:

 I think the groundhog will not see his shadow. The sun might not come out. The sun might come out, but it might be covered by clouds. I do not like winter. I hope spring comes soon.

For all Monkey Boy’s distaste of winter, he does appear to like winter sports. The very next journal entry read:

 My weekend was amazing. I had a fun weekend. I went snowboarding. I had a piece of cake. I had fun. 

This journal entry was a piece of very straightforward prose, in the style of writing only. See, I remember that weekend. We all had fun. However, we did not go snowboarding. We have never gone snowboarding. We did not have cake. We watched the Superbowl and ate chips and salsa.

A few days later, his journal entry read:

Today my parents told me they’re getting a cat for me. I want a grey striped cat. It is cute. It’s cuddly. Cats are kind. Cats are comfy. 

Let me just set the record straight. We didn’t tell Monkey Boy we were getting him a cat. We already have a cat. He is grey and has stripes. He is cute. I guess he’s kind for a cat. It’s not like he cleans the house or fixes us dinner. If he happens to miss his litter box, he does try to bury his refuse on the tiled floor by covering it up with loose gloves or socks he finds around the house. I suppose that’s kind, in a strange cat sort of way. What I do not understand is what Monkey Boy meant by comfy, though. The cat is not comfortable as in he afford us security or frees us from vexation or doubt. As far as I know, none of us wear the cat around like a soft, furry bathrobe.

A week or so later on February 13, the next journal entry read:

This weekend is my mom’s birthday. It will be fun. It will have a cake and a piñata. I am happy. I am very happy.

There’s clearly a pattern emerging in his writing style. He is not only meeting the length expectations for the journal entry, he’s finding his voice. We are getting to know this author and how he likes to express himself. He’s a happy boy. He’s a very happy boy. He likes cake.

However, there are a couple of major flaws with his prose. My real birthday is in late March. We didn’t celebrate my birthday that mid-February weekend. We did not have cake or a piñata. At first, I thought Monkey Boy might have recorded prophetic vision, or maybe he decided that he was getting me a piñata for my birthday a month or so in the future and was bursting with excitement to share the news with the world. He is not a very good secret keeper, and it had been a long time since I took a good whack at a paper mache animal filled with candy. That could be fun. But when we celebrated my real birthday in March, we did not have a piñata. Ren’s not a prophet or a bad secret keeper, just a storyteller.

I was beginning to wonder about the boy, but it wasn’t with his style. His style is clear, straightforward and informative, to the point without a lot of fanfare or superfluous adjectives and rarely exceeding the required five sentences minimum. However, his style was not entirely truthful. I wondered if he just made stuff up to write about it because his real life was so utterly boring. Was our everyday ordinary so forgettable that he needed to create his own world of excitement filled with parties and cake and pinatas and snowboarding and gifts?

I read through the next several pages and found my answer in his last journal entry, although I was not entirely sure what the 2nd-grade writing prompt was that day.

If I were evil I would be very evil. I would want to rid the world of laughter. I would love nonhappiness. Bye bye laughter forever. But I am a good person. I like a good joke. 

That it explains. In case you missed the subtle nuance in his rather complex writing style, all those other stories were fabricated. All those highly descriptive and fantastic journal entries were all simply a good joke to promote happiness and laughter. Well done, Monkey Boy, well done.

Still, how come I didn’t get a piñata for my birthday? That’s just not a very good joke.