My five year-old son's best friend is named Mr. Berserver. He showed up around my son's fourth birthday. Now I've never met him, but he sounds like a hell of a guy. He lives underground in a giant tunnel house and is a world class Hide and Go Seek player. He drives a pink Cadillac, and, while sometimes he works a shift or two at Taco Bell, his main profession is teaching people how to tell jokes.
I'm not always fond of him. He's been known to sneak into our house and color on the entryway tiles with crayons, or put the stopper in the bathroom sink and flood the place. But in general, I like him.
He reminds me of a good friend I had when I was my son's age. His name was Gemco Beans, named after the store, of course. Gemco didn't drive a fancy pink Cadillac, but he did have his own plane. One that looked suspiciously similar the Fisher Price one in my room. He also shared Mr. Berserver's strange habit of doodling in inappropriate places.
Gemco and I went on all kinds of adventures. He had the magical power to turn my backyard into any place imaginable. And, man he could tell a story. I'm pretty sure that Gemco gave me my first lesson in storytelling.
There have been studies showing how kids with imaginary friends have more active prefrontal cortexes and are more able to express abstract thought than their peers. It appears that some of us were just born to make stuff up.
I guess that's why I don't get too mad when I have to clean up another one of Mr. Berserver's messes. I know he's teaching my son a hell of a lot more than just how to tell jokes.