Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Book of Questions: 002

The Book of Questions (by: Gregory Stock) is just that - a book of questions. The only answers are the ones we, the reader, come up with on our own in isolation or with a group of friends. These are guaranteed to shift the conversation with loved ones in whole new directions. For me, I decided to take it upon myself (I'm always looking for things to add to my blog) to go through every single question...80% of the...okay, about half of the questions and post my response. To be honest, I have only looked at a few of the questions (there's a total of 292) so far so this could be interesting. Hopefully it is for you.

Question: What would you do if your six-year-old daughter's favorite toy; a talking doll, started trying to convince her that she needed a new friend - the next doll in the company's line.


It's been a couple of months since I received this book and even though I intended to read some of it since then, I haven't. At all. I did, however, remember reading this question at the time and not feeling very eager to write about this. I don't like the question. It just did flood me with any ideas. But I did set a goal so I must proceed. Besides, I imagine writing about something that doesn't interest you may actually be good for you. I had no desire to run hills during soccer practice in high school, but I suppose they were good for me. Or not, considering my coach thought it wise to bench me my senior year.

Let's hope deciding to follow through on this goal is a better decision than that was. I decided to write it as a screenplay. I realize to write a proper screenplay there are many rules to follow. I followed them...very loosely. After all, this is not about format. This is about a talking doll...actually it's about a father taking advantage of a teachable moment.

*If this is the first time you are reading my blog...don't judge my writing solely on this post.


FADE IN:

EXT. A cloudy evening in WOODBRIDGE, Virginia. The day witnessed several inches of snow on the ground. Neighbors are scattered throughout the neighborhood shoveling fresh snow by porch-light.

INT. BEDROOM - BEDTIME

It's nighttime in Woodbridge, Virginia. A young girl is nestled in her bed. Adhesive stars glow on the ceiling. Stuffed animals lie nearby and her favorite DOLL is wrapped in her arm. Instrumental music CD is playing.

DADDY, late 30s, pulls the covers up under the chin of his DAUGHTER, 6.


DADDY
Would you like to say a prayer together tonight?

DAUGHTER
(yawning)
Yes, Daddy. You start.

DADDY
I started last night, but okay. Now I...

DAUGHTER
Daddy?

DADDY
Yes?

DAUGHTER
My doll-baby...

DADDY
I thought you have it?

DAUGHTER
No...

DADDY
You don't?

DAUGHTER
No...

DADDY 
Where is it?

DAUGHTER
No, Daddy. I have it.

DADDY
Okay, good. Now...

DAUGHTER
Daddy?

DADDY
Yes?

DAUGHTER
My doll...told me something.

DADDY
(playing excited)
She did! Wow! What did she say? Is she mad
that I left her out in the van on that
really cold night?

DAUGHTER
No. She...

DADDY
Is she upset that I didn't dress her and
she had to lay around naked all day?

DAUGHTER
(giggling)
No, Daddy. Stop.

DADDY
What is it then?

DAUGHTER
My doll told me that she needs a friend.

DADDY
Oh, she said that? Are you two fighting?

DAUGHTER
(serious)
No. She gets lonely when I'm at school.

DADDY
I see. That would be lonely.

DAUGHTER
She said there's this new doll at the stores
right now that's just like her, but only
better!

DADDY
How does she know this?

DAUGHTER
Daddy, I told you this before. She talks and
she's magic and she knows this kind of stuff.

DADDY
Right. Of course. I don't know what
I was thinking.

DAUGHTER
It's a really cool doll, Daddy.
I sawed it on TV.

DADDY
What makes it so cool?

DAUGHTER
Well, she talks AND she walks.

DADDY
Impressive.

DAUGHTER
That's not all. She eats food. Real food
and she even poops in her diaper.

DADDY
I'm not sure if I want a pooping
doll around the house. Sounds messy.

DAUGHTER
I would change her diaper, Daddy.

DADDY
Oh, I know you would. But tell me, 
why does she feel this new doll
is better than she is?

DAUGHTER
(shrugging)
Hmmm....she didn't say?

DADDY
Oh. Because it kinda concerns me.
Makes me kind of sad.

DAUGHTER
You're sad?

DADDY
Well, if your doll thinks this other
doll is so wonderful, that's great, but
if she feels this doll is so wonderful
because she feels she's not wonderful 
herself then...

DAUGHTER
(confused)
What?!

DADDY
Does your doll, when she talks to you,
seem like she's happy with herself?

DAUGHTER
I guess so.

DADDY
Do you know how Daddy tells you 
that it's important to love yourself?
And that looking at yourself and telling
yourself that you're beautiful is important?

DAUGHTER
Yes. I tell her that all the time.

DADDY
I'm glad. It's good to use our words
to uplift one another.

DAUGHTER
Up...what?!

DADDY
Uplift. Make people feel good for
who they are.

DAUGHTER
Like when you say nice things to me?

DADDY
Yes..and when you say nice things to me.

DAUGHTER
(smiling)
Like "I love you"?

DADDY
(leaning in to kiss her forehead)
That's my favorite. Goodnight Sunshine.

DAUGHTER
Daddy?

DADDY
Yes.

DAUGHTER
Aren't you forgetting something?

DADDY
You want tickled?

DAUGHTER
Noooooo. The doll. At the store.

DADDY
Oh. We're back to that are we?

DAUGHTER
Can I get it?

DADDY
We'll have to talk about it.

DAUGHTER
That means no.

DADDY
Not necessarily, but we've talked about
this before. Just because you want something
doesn't mean it's okay just to go and get it.

DAUGHTER
You and Mommy do.

DADDY
We do? Like what?

DAUGHTER
Everything.

DADDY
There's lots of things that Daddy
would like to have, but sometimes other
things are more important.

DAUGHTER
Like what?

DADDY
Well, I'd like to buy some new shoes
or even a new desk for my office, but
those things cost money and when
it comes down to it, I can live without 
those things. There are things we want
and the things we need. Both are okay to
have if your heart and head are in the
right place.

DAUGHTER
(making a face)
That would hurt.

DADDY
What would?

DAUGHTER
If your heart was in the wrong place.

DADDY
(making a face)
Oh, yeah, it would.

DAUGHTER
(giggling)
Like in your toes.

DADDY
That would be gross.

DAUGHTER
And disgusting.

DADDY
Definitely.

DAUGHTER
Daddy?

DADDY
Yes, Hon?

DAUGHTER
What do you buy at church?

DADDY
What do you mean?

DAUGHTER
I sawed you put money in the
shiny plate. What were you buying?

DADDY
Oh, that was called an offering
or tithing. I was giving money to God.

DAUGHTER
What do you need to buy from God?

DADDY
The wonderful thing is, I don't
have to buy anything from God. None 
of us do. Jesus already paid the price
for us to be forgiven and have
eternal life.

DAUGHTER
Eternal life?

DADDY
Life forever. With God.

DAUGHTER
So why the money?

DADDY
It shows we put Him first. And
it shows we have faith in Him.

DAUGHTER
Daddy?

DADDY
Yes, Hon? It's getting late, okay?
Last question.

DAUGHTER
Can I have the doll?

DADDY
Hmmm. You said your doll that you
have now really wants you to get it?

DAUGHTER
She won't stop talking about it.

DADDY
I see. She's been hanging around Mommy 
too much.

DAUGHTER
What?!

DADDY
(smiling)
Nothing.

DAUGHTER
Well, Daddy? Can I?

DADDY
Well, we don't know anything about 
this doll. We don't know what kind
 of choices she will make. What if she 
makes bad choices? You know how Daddy 
tells you to respect everybody, but
only hang out with people that make
good choices?

DAUGHTER
I do do that.

DADDY
Well, let me ask you this: What do you
think are some qualities or good things
that this doll needs to have or do?

DAUGHTER
Like be nice?

DADDY
Yes, but what are some things
that would make her a nice person...
or talking doll? What are some things
Mommy and Daddy teach you?

DAUGHTER
Tell the truth.

DADDY
That's a good one. If we hang out
with people that lie then we can't
really trust them. Can we?

DAUGHTER
(shaking her head)
Uplift.

DADDY
That's a great one! We want
her to say things that make us 
feel good.

DAUGHTER
What about sharing?

DADDY
What do you think about that?

DAUGHTER
Definitely important.

DADDY
Anything else?

DAUGHTER
Put money in the shiny plate.

DADDY
(smiling)
Yes, it's important to put God first. 
But here's another question...and 
this is the last one of the night...what 
if she has a hard time doing all 
those things? Do we put her back? 
Maybe get another one instead?

DAUGHTER
(shrugs)

DADDY
When you broke something of mine, 
did I put you back and send you
back to the store?

DAUGHTER
(giggling)
Noooo.

DADDY
What did I do?

DAUGHTER
You said "I love you no matter what."

DADDY
Because I do. And just because someone
messes up doesn't mean we give up on them. 
Sometimes the best thing we can do is 
model how to make good choices.

DAUGHTER
Model?

DADDY
Show them..the best we can how to 
be and do the best we can.
Get it?

DAUGHTER
Got it.

TOGETHER
Good!

DADDY
Now how about that prayer?













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