Will he be an artist or an athlete? Will he play piano or play sports? The father and the uncle stand over the boy and discuss. They fold their arms and contemplate while the boy looks up at them, five, smeared with spaghetti.

He has a good arm, the father observes. He can throw a baseball like nobody's business. He asks deep questions, the uncle counters. He asks where light comes from and why people fall in love. Will he run galleries or marathons? Will he shoot photos or baskets? The father and the uncle discuss this over family dinners and barbeques. They fold their arms and contemplate while the boy splashes in the pool.

The father buys him a football helmet for his birthday. The uncle buys him a synthesizer. The father and uncle watch each other warily. He's the fastest kid I've ever seen, the father observes. Look at this drawing he made, the uncle counters. It's an octopus and it's amazing. Someday he will win the Superbowl, the father says. Someday he will write a great novel, the uncle says.

No, the father says, he will not.