Liam McKinney-Clark

I’ve seen it all in my time. Been a lot of places, done a lot of things. Had my share of scrapes here and there, too. Those experiences taught me so much more than I ever could have imagined and shaped me into who I am today, the kind of person who just knows right away what’s red, what’s orange, that circles are round—all that stuff. Yeah, you might say that where basic shapes and colors are concerned, I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Kinda comes with the territory for a guy my age.

Eighteen months is a long road to travel. It changes you. At first, I had no idea what a square was. Now, when I see one, I just point to it and say, “Square!” Easy. Same goes for triangles, hearts, stars—the whole shebang. You hand me a wooden puzzle with six different-shaped pieces, and I’ll not only tell you what every shape is—I’ll put each one right where it’s supposed to go. No sweat.

So take it from a guy who’s been around long enough to know the lay of the land: Slow down and enjoy the journey.

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You make mistakes, sure, but that’s how you learn. One day, you embarrass yourself by calling the color blue “yellow” in front of everybody you know. But then a month or two later, you’re an old pro. You know that blue is “blue” and yellow is “yellow” without even having to think about it. Believe you me, pal, when you’re pushing the big 2, that kind of stuff is second nature.

But it didn’t come easy. It took time to get there. For weeks and weeks, I pored over every board book I had on the subject, stopping only to chew the corner of a page now and then. You might look at me today and see a guy who knows right away when something is purple, but I haven’t always been this savvy. I once had a new pair of jammies for a month before the fact that they were purple even dawned on me. Nowadays, though, I’ll trot into the living room nude, hoist them over my head, and tell you exactly what color they are.

Boom. Just like that. No problem.

And let me tell you, buddy, I can do this all day. A wheel? That’s a circle. Cows? They’re black and white. And, hey, as far as cows are concerned, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Basically anything you want to know about farm animals, you can come to me. Just name one—any one—and I’m already doing the sound it makes. That ain’t the half of it, either. I can let you know when a fire truck is going down the street. I can point out a choo-choo train from a moving car. Piece of cake.

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I’ll level with you, though: I’ve seen some things in my time I wish I could un-see. There was that big scary dog that made me cry. And the bowl of Cheerios I knocked from my high chair that fell onto the floor and went bang-bang. But if I could travel back in time to three months ago, would I do things differently? No way. Overcoming those challenges is what made me the person you see today.

So take it from a guy who’s been around long enough to know the lay of the land: Slow down and enjoy the journey. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Go chase some bubbles. Eat a grape. Bubbles and grapes are circles! Grapes are green, except sometimes they’re red!

Okay, now it’s time for bye-bye.

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