After Sunday brunch, we often go to the fish store next to the restaurant. This store is fantastic. One of the tanks has a bubble underneath that we can climb into and look around at the fish.
Another tank looks like this.
“Daddy,” CJ asked, “why is that ship at the bottom of the tank?”
“It’s a wreck.”
A few more whats and whys later, CJ asked me if I had ever been in a shipwreck. I said no. She asked me if I knew anyone who’d been in a shipwreck. I said no. She asked me if I knew any shipwreck stories. I knew two: the Lusitania and the Titanic. Both shipwrecks were terrible, but the Lusitania was worse because it happened on purpose. So I told her about the Titanic.
By the time we drove home, I had told CJ everything I knew. But she wanted more. So over the next few months we bought books and watched videos (highly sanitized). And now CJ knows a ridiculous amount about the Titanic.
- She knows that the Titanic was built in Ireland. And that’s the only thing she knows about Ireland.
- She knows that the Titanic carried 20,000 pounds of onions. CJ hates onions, so she hopes that nobody had to eat them before they sank.
- CJ knows the Titanic had two sister ships. According to plan, one of the sister ships was to be named the Gigantic, but after the Titanic sank the builder changed the sister ship’s name to something less similar, the Britannic. The Britannic sank anyway, leaving no survivors. After the Britannic, passengers continued to ride the other sister ship, the Olympic. What were they thinking?
- CJ knows that, had we been on the Titanic, her chances of survival would have been 1 in 2. Mommy’s would have been 3 in 4. But my chances, as a man, would have been just in 1 in 5. I wrote a little song about this called “Goodbye, Daddy, Goodbye.” Sure it’s tasteless, but not as tasteless as this.
We bought a wooden Titanic kit, which we glued together and painted. “What color should it be?” I asked. “All different colors,” CJ said. “How about we recreate the colors of the real Titanic?” I asked. “All different colors,” CJ repeated.
I pleaded my case further. I lost.
I bought her a bathtub ship, called the Gigantic, which helps her to reenact the shipwreck. Apparently CJ is not the only kid who wants to do this.
Here she is combining the Gigantic with other props to tell the story of the Titanic’s end.