My three children had a friend over and they were playing a game of death on the beach.
Yes, a game of death.
They would act out what it would be like to get killed by an atomic bomb. Or by a machine gun, an arrow, a sip of poison, or by eating putrid food or too many hot dogs, or by getting told off by your mum and dad.
It made for great fun and superb acting.
Their bodies flew through the air and then rolled and tumbled in the sand, after which their arms and legs would wiggle as life drained out.
When satisfied with their performances, they’d spring up and ask another father and me to call out yet another way to die.
My 10-year-old son loved this acting so much that he came bounding up to me afterward as we were walking over the sand dunes to the car to go home.
He said enthusiastically, “I know what I want to do when I grow up.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Be an actor,” he said.
“Yeah, because I’m good at pretending to die, and that’s acting.”
Then he said, “Watch this,” and he run ahead of me and tripped in the sand, fell, rolled and came to a stop.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
He didn’t respond, his body still and his eyes closed.
I put my foot on his bare belly and claimed him as my victim.
He didn’t flinch.
So I continued walking up the dune, and then I heard him catch up to me, and he said, “You see, I’m good at acting!”
He took off running again and then hurled himself down the steep slope on the other side of dune in another brave stunt in his new dream.