Reasons why I am spiritually a 65 year-old professor: I read Shakespearean plays before I go to sleep. This is usually around 9:00 pm (my bedtime). I also write long rants when I think the notes are wrong.
Reason why I am spiritually a 13 year-old boy: Every time a character says “How now,” I write, “brown cow.”
Just…just imagine Sam Vimes loving his totally nerdy son.
Going to middle school science fairs to support his nerdy son. Imagine Young
Sam earning a blue ribbon for his display on the learning aptitudes and social
constructs of swamp dragons. And Vimes is still in his watch uniform, looking
scruffy and unbearable proud. The next day he gloats about his son at anyone
who will listen, subjecting every watchman within a ten mile radius to a description
of his son’s project and how great it was. The officers start calling him Papa
Vimes when they think he can’t hear them. Only Vimes does hear them, one day
when he’s walking a little quieter than he usually does. He doesn’t say
anything, but he makes a mental note to do his best to earn that title every
Imagine Young Sam causing mischief and making trouble, as
children are wont to do, and Sybil warns him with “Just wait until your father
Sam Vimes the disciplinarian. Coming home after a long day
of dealing with crooks and shouting at his watchmen and hearing about his son’s
malfeasance. He’s too tired for shouting, so he sits his boy down and they
Talk. They talk about right and wrong, and they talk about owning up to your
mistakes, and they talk about what it means to be the son of a duke and all the
expectations therein. And before they turn in for bed, Vimes pauses and adds “Also,
if you do that again, I will actually send you to live with the goblins.”
Imagine Young Sam learning that the threat of living with
the goblins isn’t empty. One day he’s getting into fistfights on the street and
the next he’s on a coach to visit Miss Beedle and learn the ways of the
Goblins. He’s only there for a week, and when he comes back Papa Vimes is on
the front porch, smoking a fat cigar and saying “You’re lucky it was only the
goblins this time. Next time it’ll be the dwarves. Carrot’s father is always
looking for extra help around the mine.” Young Sam shapes up real fast, and
learns about other cultures while he’s at it.
Imagine Vimes reads to his little boy well after Young Sam
gets the hang of reading for himself. They plow through all of Miss Beedle’s
best sellers, and then into heavier books. They go through chapter books, then
young adult fiction, and eventually novels. In fact, they never really stop
sharing books; six o’clock, as Young Sam grows up, becomes the meeting time for
the smallest book club in Ankh-Morpork. Imagine Young Sam and Vimes both read
enough on their own that they just meet up at six to talk about the book they’re
going through. Imagine them buying their own copies of the next book in a
series, the Discworld equivalent of Harry Potter, and racing each other to
finish it. The victor wins, and the loser gets the ending spoiled for them.
Imagine Sybil putting an end to that because her boys need to sleepsometime.
Imagine Young Sam getting into University (muggle university
because Sam Vimes cannot be having with wizarding mojo). His parents show up to
see him off and Sybil, as pragmatic as always, is super stoic and chill. She
kisses her son goodbye and reminds him to wear his warm jacket and the lumpy
socks she knits him. But Sam.
Oh man, Sam.
In full Watch uniform, Sam Vimes is bawling. Absolutely
losing his shit. There are tears. There are completely unintelligible strings
of words. There are hugs that lift Young Sam clear off the ground, which is
amazing because Young Sam has that Ramkin height and has dwarfed his father for
some years now. “Dad…Dad, stop. C’mon, now. I live, like, twenty minutes from
home. I’ll visit every weekend. Yes, I promise. Put me down. Dad. Dad! You’re embarrassing me!”
Sam Vimes the awkward helicopter parent, with Sybil in the
background like “Cut the cord! Your boy is fine on his own!” Sam Vimes showing
up at his son’s dorm at odd hours to check on the building’s security. In
uniform. Always in uniform.
Sam Vimes the literal terror of all Young Sam’s romantic
pursuits. He doesn’t bother polishing his sword and sitting on the front porch.
No, he sits down with all of Young Sam’s girlfriends as they crop up and they talk.
Well, the girls talk and he interrogates. “What are your intentions toward my
son? Where do you work? Where do you live? What’s your blood type? Where were
you on the night of the twenty-fourth of Grune? Answer the question, Cindy!” Sometimes the girls burst into tears,
and then Young Sam needs to Have Words with his father. Things get a little
better when Vimes quits pulling out his notebook during these unofficial
interrogations to take notes.
Students at university learn not to break the law the hard
way. After some unlicensed thievery that divests Young Sam of his luggage
(passed down from three generations of Ramkin travelers, thank you very much)
and the commander’s baton his father let him have as a keepsake (“Oh no, guess
I won’t be able to carry that during one of Vetinari’s stupid parades. Woe is
me. Well, no sense in crying over spilt milk.”) the Commander of the City Watch
doesn’t come down himself to investigate. Oh no, he sends Detritus. For three
days the dorms are awash with gravelly booming of “It was you what dunnit!
Loads o’ people seen you do it! Admit it!” The perp never comes clean, but the
crime rate at school plummets dramatically, and Nobby was able to find the
luggage via his usual mode of investigation (i.e. checking door handles and
peeking in windows).
The baton, sadly, never reemerges, though Nobby swears he
didn’t nick it, but left it on the commander’s desk. Vetinari issues Vimes a
new one. Covered in gilt, with plumes exploding out one end.
Imagine Young Sam coming out as Not Straight. Maybe’s he’s
bi, or pan, or anything in between. Imagine Young Sam going through that whole
speech. The trepidation. The anxiety. The long awkward moment where he can see
his father process that new information. Will there be shouting? Will he have
to live with King Ironfoundersson for a few weeks? And then Vimes nods and is
like “Okay, but don’t tell any of the Watch about this.”
“Um…why…does that matter?”
“Son,” Vimes sighs. He clasps Young Sam’s shoulder, and it’s
the most awkward gesture either of them has had to endure, because the Vimes
family isn’t really big on feelings. “I’ve known you were a little different
for some time. It doesn’t bother me; I love you. You know that, right?”
“Yeah, Dad. I love you too.”
“Good man!” Young Sam and Vimes both grimace, because that
is not the proper response. The awkwardness intensifies. “Also there’s a
betting pool at work about when you’d tell someone and I don’t get to cash out
for another week. Don’t tell your mother!” And then Vimes flees the room like
it’s on fire.
Imagine Young Sam getting married. Imagine the pomp and
ceremony. Imagine how much Sybil beams and how beautiful and eloquent her toast
to the happy couple is. Imagine Sam, in his uncomfortable ducal regalia. By
now, Young Sam is so inured to his father’s lack of chill he doesn’t even bat
an eye during his father’s happy weeping. Everyone sits silently as Vimes goes
through his speech as the Duke and the groom’s father, even though the whole
thing is completely incoherent for the sniffling. Sam lifts his glass of
sparkling cider and the guests lift their flutes of champagne and the man just
loses it. Sybil’s in the background trying not to laugh.
Imagine that even after Young Sam is grown, with his own
career and house and family, he still keeps up the tiny book club with his
father. Maybe Young Sam married a woman. Maybe he married a man. Maybe he
married a nonbinary person, or an ethereal embodiment of some key principle.
But either way he goes to his dad when he needs to vent. “Dad! I have never
been so betrayed! The love of my life thinks Znape was a good person!”
“And they think Bumblemore was a good role model for Larry
“Unbelievable. Did they even read the books!?”
Imagine Sam Vimes used to show up at his son’s house unannounced,
in uniform, with the excuse of checking his building’s security. But now he
shows up promptly at six o’clock. Imagine amateur literary critic Sam Vimes
showing up on his son’s doorstep every evening to read to his grandbaby, a
well-loved, well-chewed copy of Where’s My
Cow under his arm. Imagine Sam Vimes, gnarled and grizzled and white with
age. Alcoholism and shift work have not been kind to his visage, but if you
look past the scars you can see laugh lines around his eyes. Imagine Sam Vimes
sitting in a smallish room with yellow ducky wallpaper, a soft blue blankie
draped across his bowed shoulders and a familiar book laying open across his
knees, a tiny baby girl tucked under his arm so she can see the pictures. Young
Sam stands out of sight in the hallway and grins to himself. Because his dad
still does all the sounds, just like he always used to.