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In the battle of fantasy vs. reality, I choose fantasy

October 14, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE ( , Times-Republican

My two-year-old enjoys books at such an intense level you'd think the characters were speaking directly to her (which instantly makes suspicious she has some kind of drug problem. No normal person is THAT happy reading a book). Her excitement level reading one particular volume rivals the joy she experiences throwing a balloon in the air and catching it, which I find incredibly easy ? trivial actually. Sure, when SHE does it everyone cheers. When I do it, it "embarrasses me and makes the florist uncomfortable."

While reading can be a joy, it can also cause mass chaos.

I'm currently reading the Game of Thrones series ? medieval high fantasy ? and typing that makes it feel exactly like admitting to the head cheerleader that you have leprosy.

You (waving): "Hi pretty cheerleader!

Cheerleader: "Ewwwww!"

You: "Oh bother. Don't look at meeeeee!"

While entertaining, the drawback of this series is I'm beginning to see the appeal of people dressing up like knights and squires running around forests tossing Nerf balls at each other while shouting "Lightning bolt!" If there was a high school for adults, I'm pretty sure this book series would be Holy Bible for mature nerds, and I'd proudly join their ranks as their king. Of course, my first decree would be to require my subjects to sacrifice themselves to defend me against drunken Sunday football dads.

I never said I'd be a just king.

Also, I'd ask for a lot of mead. Unfortunately nobody knows what that is anymore so I'd probably just get handed a crate full of college-rule notebook paper.

My wife is one of those sad people with the annoying compulsive desire to learn things; generally reading history books like that's something a non-weirdo does. Hey, newsflash EGGHEAD, history already happened, some of it a LONG TIME AGO. I bet your snooze book about Millard Fillmore has ZERO stories of giants, fire swords and magic wolves.

"What's that?" I ask, dozing off after she assaulted my innocent ears with a factoid. "Fillmore was responsible for forcing open Japan to trade with the Treaty of Kanagawa? That's super interesting except forGIANT SHADOW DEMON ASSAULT!!!"

"Sorry. Just had to living up your coma book a little. You're welcome."

"Honestly, Kelly," she says, picking up the tissues. "I enjoy learning things. Unlike SOME people."

I think the "some people" in this instance is me, though I can't be certain.

"I learn things," I argue. "For instance, my name is not nearly as gallant and heroic as it could or should be. From henceforth I shall be known around the kingdom as Tunic Longcrotch. Also, this is my kingdom now. I called it. Don't look at me like that. We need a flag. I'm thinking a vampire panda bear on a sky of azure.

"That's sill?"

"Ahh! You don't get input. I'm the king."

She must do my bidding now because I used a large, intimidating word like henceforth.

"Does your fruity little history book mention anywhere how to craft your own chain mail?" I ask, skeptically.

"It doesn't need to," she scoffs, rolling her eyes.

"That's fine. Don't come crawling to me when you're in need of armor or battering ram."

"I'll get by."

She'll be sorry when we're attacked by a hoard of frost zombies.

And this is what gets the King into trouble: the more I read, the more I find myself using medieval dialect in everyday conversations. It's like when people spend time in a foreign country and return with a slight accent, only this is much more awesome.

Wife: "What are you making for supper?"

Me: "Silence, fishwife. And refer to me as 'Your Grace.' Can't you see your Lord is viewing the moving pictures regarding the latest sporting news happening about the realm?"

Wife: "What are you talking about?"

Me: "'Silence! I've had enough talk of whores this day."

Wife: "What? Who was talking about whores?"

Me: "Ale! My goblet is in need of drink, and I along with it!"

Wife: "I honestly don't know why I try with you anymore."

Me: "Do or do not. There is no try."

Wife: "OK, now you're just quoting Yoda."

I've found myself using my newfound jargon outside my home/castle as well, and I've learned some lessons along the way. For example, at Costco, it's not recommended you sprint-jump onto your cart, leveling a giant salami tube at a crowd of people blocking the aisle to the vat of ketchup (although it IS effective in crowd-dispersal). Unfortunately children may not move and, consequently, may be poked by a tubed refrigerated party snack item.

Getting into an elevator with someone and calling it "some futuristic devilry at work" and "hell's decent box" does not strike up friendly conversation but instead makes for a highly tense and uncomfortable ride when your elevator-mate is a 76-year-old grandmother and you've pressed all 12 floor buttons because that just never gets old.

Other phrases I've said:

"Foolishness. Cut off his manhood and feed it to the goats." ? what I say after the quarterback on my favorite football team throws an interception.

"I may be half as tall as you but twice as girthy." ? me to a cardboard cutout of some NASCAR guy selling cookies at the grocery store.

"Winter is coming." ? my only answer whenever my wife asks about the weather (she's stopped asking)

"Take the children back to the holdfast. Dragons have awoken from their slumber." ? me to babysitter after picking up daughter while scanning skies cautiously. I'm pretty sure I can convince my daughter there really are dragons.

"I take this plunder for the king and you should be grateful to be serving such a handsome and just liege." ? what I say after stabbing the last chocolate pumpkin muffin off my wife's plate.

"Avast, this be not what I ordered, lassy" ? getting medieval fantasy speak confused with pirate at Subway.


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or via raven message. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or the pox may find you. He wonders if anyone got the Mead reference.



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