I had a surreal happening today.

With the purchase of a ticket to the Metallica concert in Sioux Falls in September you got a free copy of their album Hardwired... to Self-Destruct. I bought two tickets so I got a digital copy for my phone and a CD. The CD arrived today and my youngest has confiscated it.

Esia is 5-years-old and has loved Metallica since I tried to get him to stop screaming by blasting "Enter Sandman" two years ago. It worked but not for the reason I thought. He liked it and just wanted to listen.

Like most young kids, when they find that one song or album they like, nothing else is worth considering. So the "Black Album" was all we ever played until a couple weeks ago when I said "Have you ever heard Master of Puppets?" which is my favorite album.

I knew he hadn't but he seemed interested so I switched my Zune HD over to the first track, "Battery." He was a little bored with the classical guitar at the beginning, but when it started to thrash he loved it. Instinctively he rolled down the window and banged his head. "My God," I thought, "It's in his blood, too!"

So when I picked him up at preschool today I showed him the CD. He didn't say a word. He saw the familiar but slightly distorted Metallica logo on the cover and just studied the crazy faces. He opened it up and upon seeing the pair of discs he looked at me said "There's two of them?" More is better, right?

We pulled into the driveway listening to the first disc. He told me he didn't want me to get shut off the truck yet.

"I want to keep listening," he said.

We sat in that truck in the driveway for just shy of 30 minutes and listened to the rest of the tracks on the first disc. The entire time he calmly sat studying the album art as he took in the music. I looked over at him at one point and it instantly took me back to when I would be sitting in my friend's car after picking up a new CD, or we both bought the same one, and looking at the liner notes as we give the whole album that first listen. When "Halo on Fire" finished we went into the house.

Most of the rest of the day he spent it listening to those CDs, with the exception of the very first track, "Hardwired." I gave him a stern warning that he was not to listen to track one on disc one because I don't need him telling daycare that "We're so [effed], [S.O.L.]"

Then in the midst of writing this post I pulled up the music video on Youtube for "Now That We're Dead." Esia came over, crawled into my lap, and stared at the monitor, occasionally asking the names of the band members.

If he was just a little bit older, like maybe 7-years-old, I would take him with me to the concert on September 11. But he'll be just shy of six and probably won't be into it for what will likely be close to a 3-hour show. Hopefully some day I'll be able to take him to a Metallica show and watch him lose his mind.

I think he's ready for his first t-shirt.


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