Favorites are big with my kids right now. “What’s your favorite, Pokémon?” the Little Man asks me. “What’s your favorite Star Wars character?” “What’s your favorite video game?” It is amusing to hear them ask, but it is more interesting when I turn the question back on them. “What is your favorite TV show?” “What is your favorite book?” The Little Miss answers decisively. The Little Man hedges with answers like, “I like all of them the same.”
Favorites don’t mean the same thing to me as an adult as they did when I was a child, a teenager, even when I was in my twenties. In those earlier times favorites were absolutes. They were laws of the universe, unchanging and immutable once fixed firmly in place.
My favorite movie was The Right Stuff. My favorite book was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. My favorite baseball team was the New York Yankees. My favorite baseball player was Reggie Jackson. The Yankees are still my favorite baseball team. But three out of four of my favorites are no more.
Later, my favorite movie was Contact, based on Carl Sagan’s book. It was the first movie that I recall where the movie did justice to the book. My favorite drink used to be milk. I still like milk a lot, but I wouldn’t call it my favorite drink. Coke is my favorite drink today. My favorite baseball player is Derek Jeter. My favorite writer used to be Isaac Asimov. Today my favorite writer is Stephen King. My favorite book is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. My favorite movie is White Christmas, and my favorite crooner is Bing Crosby. My favorite actress is Grace Kelly.
My favorite place to visit is Maine. But I like visiting Florida in the winter. My favorite way to travel is by car. It’s easier than flying. My favorite car is a Kia. We’ve had two Kia, and I’ve loved both of them. My favorite car used to be a Saturn.
The Little Man will often ask me, “Daddy, what’s your favorite food?” I tell him that it depends on my mood. “It’s okay to have lots of favorites.” I think that’s true, although it took me half a lifetime to learn that. I recognize that what is my favorite today, might not be my favorite tomorrow. When I was younger, I was doggedly loyal to my favorites. These days, I enjoy them for what they are, knowing that as time passes and I experience new things, new favorites are always on the horizon.
My favorite ice cream is chocolate, but sometimes I order vanilla just to mix things up. They are putting in a Five Guys down the street from my house, but I have yet to find a place that beats In-n-Out when it comes to a burger and fries.