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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Douglas on March 10, 2009


"Did you know Daniel turns 18 this week?"

That was my favorite question last week; it was always entertaining to watch the expressions of surprise - even shock - on people's faces.

"I thought he was, like, 14 or something."

And that was the typical response to the question.

My nephew Daniel, though he is now 18 years old, looks like he's about 13 or 14 - except for that almost-invisible scruff on his chin and above his lip.

He acts like he's 6.

He speaks primarily in sign language, though half of his signs are DSL (which, in this case, stands for Daniel Sign Language) instead of ASL, so the only way to understand him is to already know what he's trying to tell you.

Not exactly conducive to deep and productive conversation.

He calls me GuhGuh (which is short for Uncle Doug). His parents are MumMum and DaDa, his brother is BubBuh, his sister-in-law is LaLa, and his nephew is BayBee, which must be a mouthful for him, since it doesn't consist of a single syllable repeated twice.

One of his favorite movies of all time is Monsters Inc., and since he is able to say both eye and ball, Mike Wazowski came to be known by the much simpler name of EyeBall, a fitting name for the little green guy. Over time, the term eyeball came to mean anything that is excessively cool and awesome.

If he ever tells you you're an eyeball, you know you're something special.

Another of his favorite movies is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Sometimes he grasps concepts that will surprise you; if you understand enough signs to follow what he is saying, he'll gladly tell you that Aslan is like Jesus, who died and rose again.

If Daniel was doing this writing prompt, he would tell you that the person he most admires is Spider Man. Interestingly, though Daniel will tell you that he wants to be Spider Man when he grows up, he absolutely, emphatically does not want to be Peter Parker. Which just goes to show that sometimes he'll surprise you with the concepts he doesn't grasp.

Daniel likes to sing, though most people don't understand the words he's singing. If you ever here him singing "muh buh daa muuh waa baaa GOOO...woowoo aaa muh mmuuh WAAAY," you can rest assured that he's actually singing Jingle Bells. "Go" and "way" are two of the words in the song he can actually pronounce, and he does so with great eagerness and determination.

In a world that values intelligence, education, and genius above the greater qualities of honesty, compassion and affection, people who don't know him won't give Daniel a second glance. But once you get to know him, you'll begin to understand that God has given him great gifts in exchange for the ones he is lacking. He is unpretentious in all things, and his capacity for love is utterly boundless. He has a deeper sense of satisfied contentment than most of the people who feel sorry for his lot in life.

Sometimes I think the world would be a far better place if we were all like him, because...well, because he's an eyeball.

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