“New metaphors are capable of creating new understandings and, therefore, new realities.”
—Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By
The 4.99-year-old has never been completely in touch with his body.
It seems to help him to think of himself as a machine: When he was obsessed with combustion engines, we’d use the four-stroke cycle as a metaphor to get him to poop, as in, “Okay, you ate dinner, that was the intake stroke, now it’s time for your exhaust stroke.” (Don’t ask me about the compression and power strokes.)
Now he’s going through a major robot phase, so he pretends to be a robot, and when he wants attention or affection he’ll ask us to “open up his panel” and fix his electronics. In the morning, he’ll say, “My battery was really low last night, but now I’m recharged.”
A few days ago, we had the boys all strapped into their seats and car wouldn’t start. My wife discovered that one of them had switched the dome light to ON and it had slowly drained the battery.
I’d never jumped a car before. I learned that there’s an order to which you connect the jumper cables. (BGGB: Bad +, good +, good -, block.) Once you get the car started, if the battery’s still good, you have to drive the car for a while in order for it to recharge.
This seemed like a decent enough metaphor: If your internal battery’s dead, you can jump it with a healthy battery, say, a friend, or a book, or a movie, etc., but then that battery can’t do all the work for you. You have to do the work of staying in motion, get things back up to a healthy level. You need gas, good tires…
See, all metaphors can only go so far. Best of all, I think, is getting beyond the metaphor completely, if that’s possible. Being a human in your body.
No batteries, just a renewable energy.