Watching the Mildly Inappropriate Parts of 'Predator' with a 7-Year-Old

Yesterday, I had just settled into a comfy recliner for a little downtime after a long day of standing on my feet at Colin's Coffee, when my 7-year-old son Owen came into the family room and challenged me to a one-on-one game of basketball in our driveway. Now, I am nothing if not a "hands on" Dad and have no problem spending hours at a time playing with the little man. Not only is it quality father-son time, I view it as building an emotional firewall for the day when he finally glimpses his college savings account ($76.34). Anyway, on this particular day, busting my ass chasing him all over the court wasn't sounding very appealing, so I stalled for time with a classic parenting diversion tactic.....

"Hey, O, guess what's on? Predator. Want to watch a little bit to see what it looks like"

I was fairly confident this would stop him in his tracks and allow my dogs some precious extra minutes to stop barking. See, for the past three years, every time we went to the library, Owen would grab the Alien vs Predator DVD off the shelf and ask, "Dad, am I old enough to watch this yet?" and I would answer, "No." The upshot of this is that he was dying to get a glimpse of the Predator, as any self-respecting first-grade boy should be. As with life, timing is everything, so today he was in luck. My strong desire to stay reclined triumphed my need to be a responsible parent. So we switched over to AMC.

Now, I'm not a total jack-ass, I didn't give him carte blanche to watch the whole movie. I just kind of flipped back and forth to scenes I felt were only mildly inappropriate for a child his age. Needless to say, he got the gist of the flick pretty quickly. Futuristic alien hunts and kills soldiers until Arnold kills alien. Standard stuff, really. At one point, after the Predator has showcased his laser guns and invisibility by dispatching Apollo Creed and some other dude with relative ease, the native American warrior decided he was going to take matters into his own hands and kill the Predator... his way.

He rips off his shirt, tosses his machine gun in the river, pulls out his knife and holds it in the air pointing towards the Predator. Owen, who hasn't said a word in 10 minutes, summed up the situation and suddenly said: "Dad, this doesn't seem like a very good time to go old school."

"No, Owen, it sure doesn't," I said. I had never heard him use the expression "old school" in my life.

About 20 seconds later we get to hear the scream of the Indian warrior being killed by the Predator. "Well at least he learned a valuable lesson he can use in heaven," Owen said. "You can't fight old school if the other guy is fighting future school."

Or, put another way, don't bring a knife....

... To a laser fight.

BTW, we did then go play basketball. Owen acting as the Ohio State Buckeyes beat me (Duke) in 72-68 in OT. Personally, I think I got some bad calls but what can you do. got to go now. Customer!

Colin Gawel plays in the band Watershed. He owns a small coffee shop where he bugs his smart friends to send him things to post on Pencilstorm. His son Owen still isn't allowed to check out Predator vs Alien from the Library. More things Colin at