A Question for Christopher Harper (Playing on the Black Keys)

ChristopherDIANE  BINKLEY:  Yes, I have a question for Christopher Harper, the delightful youngest child in the book, Playing on the Black Keys.  But first, if I could, I’d like to make an observation.  Christopher, in many ways you seem more grown-up than your father.  I guess my first question would be, do you think so?  The second question is harder:  There’s a thing…out in the woods that you’re not supposed to talk about…  Do you know what I’m talking about?”

CHRISTOPHER:  “Yes.  You’re talking about the Man Tree.  Dad and I had a talk about a year ago…right after he crashed the plane.  He explained that it was all right now.  Nothing bad would happen by my talking about it.”

DIANE B:  That’s good.  I’m glad to hear it.  Do you still go out there?”

CHRISTOPHER:  To the Man Tree?  Yes, sometimes.  Sometimes if Mom and Dad have a fight.  Sometimes if I just want to be alone…well, not alone, but with someone who won’t talk my ear off.  The Man Tree is a good listener, but…”

DIANE B:  But what?”

CHRISTOPHER:  It’s kinda hard to explain.  When I was younger, like a year or two ago, I had an idea of him as…like some kind of super hero, or like he could do a lot of stuff…kid stuff.  And I don’t think he can.  But there’s something…bigger or…quieter.  When I go out there, I sit and think.  And really, really good answers come to me when I’m out there.  He’s good at helping that way.  But, he’s not a conversationalist.  No way.

DIANE B:  And your Dad?

CHRISTOPHER:  Well…  He’s my dad.  He’s bigger and he’s done a whole bunch of stuff.  But…I don’t think it’s very important for him to be grown-up.  It’s more like the opposite.  I think he’s afraid of growing up too much.”

DIANE B:  And you?

CHRISTOPHER:  I don’t know.  I think I’m pretty grown up right now.  I don’t think I’d want to take it too much farther.  I’ve never heard a grown-up say it, but, is there such a thing as being too grown up?

DIANE B:  I don’t know, Christopher.  And Christopher, may I ask you some questions sometime in the future?”

“Sure.  Bye…”

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