Let’s go to the movies

Out of respect for my fellow man, I’ve largely kept my children out of public. It turns out the general public doesn’t appreciate being called “grandma” or solicited for cheese every thirty seconds. Being a major celebrity, the paparazzi would love to get pictures of them and sell to the highest bidder. I respect my family’s privacy far too much to allow that, especially if I’m not getting a cut.

To protect my children I’ve had to give them cool aliases (“Sausage Face” and “Bullet Tony”), even though my wife has repeatedly said aliases “aren’t necessary”, “those are awful”, “you’re not a celebrity” and “give me back my sunglasses and get my scarf off your face you look ridiculous.” This shows you the lengths she goes to try to maintain a normal life.

When our the three-year-old proved she could handle the responsibility of being a human being and not a dinosaur in public her good behavior had its share of privileges. You know, kind of like prison. So my wife thought it’d be a good idea if I took my daughter to a movie.

In public. With other people around. By myself.

I was on board from the start.

“Why do you always give me the suicide missions?” I said, encouragingly.

“Here we go,” she replied, rolling her eyes. I pressed on.

“Science tells us she’s not going to remember it,” I said, factually. “Her brain isn’t developed enough.”

“What’s the last movie WE went to?”

“It was…um…well…I don’t see how that’s relevant,” I replied as she gave me a satisfied look that made me want to mush her face in pie.

“It’ll be fun.”

“That’s what you said about going Christmas shopping with you last year and you know how that turned out.”

“I can’t believe you knocked down all the mannequins.”

“You KNOW that one mannequin reminded me of my 8th grade math teacher! He had it coming.”

“Just go to the movie.”

“Maybe when she’s older. I’ll make it up to her by going with her on all her dates.”

“You’re going.”

“Absolutely not.”

When we got to the movie theatre, I needed to make a decision on what movie we’d ignore for two hours. Apparently, you’re not allowed to take a toddler to the movie “12 Years a Slave.” Excuse me if I think three-years-old is a good age to learn about the horrors of slavery.

“Fine,” I said to the judgmental ticket agent. “But somehow it’s okay for you to sell kids tickets to a movie where a guy’s wife and kids are brutally murdered by a serial killer, the attack leaving only one son, who is physically disabled. Then that son is kidnapped and the father has to chase the kidnapper thousands of miles with the help of a mentally disabled character. And THAT’S OK.”

He looked at me.

“Are you talking about Finding Nemo?”

“Maybe.”

He sighed in a way that suggested I totally had him there.

“So, two to Frozen?”

“Yes, please. I can’t see what horrors await.”

I quickly found it’s a lot more difficult for a man to sneak snacks into a movie theatre than a woman, as I don’t carry a giant bedazzled knapsack like I’m some kind of trendy Sherpa. Evidently a briefcase looks suspicious, particularly if there are Twizzlers wrappers sticking out of it. Before we left, my daughter said she wanted pretzels with cheese. I’ll be the first to tell you how difficult it is to smuggle liquid cheese in your coat pockets, but there IS the added benefit of your coat smelling delicious for weeks.

Taking a three-year-old to a movie is a great way to spend $30 to sit in a dark room with a bunch of other easily-distracted children hopped up on candy while the parents try to listen so they can get their money’s worth, spending the entire time answering impossible questions about a movie you’ve never seen related to how a teenage girl voiced by a 41-year-old Broadway singer is able to shoot ice from her fingers. Below is an excerpt from a conversation I had with my daughter when she should’ve been paying attention to the movie.

Daughter: “What’s her name?”

Me: “Elsa.”

Daughter: “What’s she doing?”

Me: “Making an ice staircase.”

Daughter: “How?”

Me: “From magic.”

Daughter: “Why does she have magic?”

Me: “Um, because she was born with it.”

Daughter: “How come I don’t have magic?”

Me: “Because daddy didn’t marry a witch or elf.”

Daughter: “Momma’s a witch?”

Me: “No.”

Daughter: “Momma’s a witch.”

Me: “No. Please stop saying that.”

Daughter: “Momma’s a witch!”

Me: “This will go over well.”

Daughter: “Are you magic?”

Me: “Well, I’ve been told my eyes are mesmerizing, but that’s about the extent of it.”

Daughter: “But you can make traffic lights turn green and the garage door open.”

Me: “My powers only work on minor electronics.”

Daughter: “Can I dip my pretzels in your cheese coat?”

Me: “Of course.”

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Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at  vandkel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @pancake_bunny.