Last week, Gage offered to help me finish a room in the basement. I gave him my hammer, hoping to encourage a future master craftsman. He clobbered me in the genitals.
When I could see again, it was clear that my grandson was destined to become a collector for the mob.
As a father, I never worried about spotting future career behavior in my daughters. I figured they would have careers as mothers. Shows you what I knew back then.
Being a grandfather hasn't changed my attitude. My granddaughter might want a career, but I know Gage will need one. So what he'll be good at is always in the back of my mind.
It's the same question that once plagued my father and grandfathers. Was there something I would be good at, something suited to a surly laziness?
Gage's father, Scott, is convinced my grandson will play in the NFL, almost certainly for the Washington Redskins, and definitely as a first-round draft pick.
Toward that end, Gage lugs a football everywhere. He plays with it in the tub, takes it to bed and thumps Papa in the face with it at inopportune moments.
The NFL is no place for my grandson. For one thing, he's too smart to bash heads like that.
I'm thinking the Olympics. Track. On Sunday, Gage ran around the island in the kitchen for 20 minutes muttering "Uma-thumpa." Maybe it's an early form of product endorsement.
Gage has also discovered that if he holds onto the cat's tail on a parquet floor, the cat can only scramble in place like a gerbil in a wheel. Personal trainer?
Lately, he's started going through my pockets demanding "purple," his word for "candy." Saying one thing and meaning another? Please, not a sales rep.
What about medicine? He's obsessed with his belly button and gets mad when I won't let him shine a flashlight into mine.
Aeronautical engineering is a distinct possibility. He seems fascinated by the idea of hanging onto the ceiling fan. Then again, maybe it's meat-cutting. He points at the fan and says "Doggy."
Farming could be in his future. He likes to eat dirt and bugs. He also pulled up his grandmother's hyacinths.
Certain behaviors have no obvious career attachments. For example, he hates having his diaper changed. And he pours root beer down his pants.
He loves throwing things down the stairs. Short of being a bouncer, I'm not sure what this is good for.
Mostly he hates being told what to do. He shrieks an ancient form of Gaelic whenever reminded of a rule.
Let's see. My grandson is defiant, inquisitive, libelous, prone to anarchy, indifferent to the feelings of others and oblivious to filth.
Oh, no. He's a journalist.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.