Dalton gets Darth Maul’ed!
Loyal readers of the Glutton may recall earlier this year I wrote a column about showing my 6-year-old son the Star Wars movies. (If you missed it, read it here.) Well, the movies must have done their trick, because when it came time to plan Dale’s seventh birthday party and my wife and I asked him what he wanted to do, he screamed, ”STAR WARS! STAR WARS! STAR WARS!” (God, I love indoctrinating children.)
This may strike you all as odd, but when he first brought this up, I was actually against it. Having a birthday party at the house is a lot of work. And I wasn’t sure we were ready to handle 15 screaming boys turning our home into their own personal Jedi battle arena. I tried to talk Dale into having it out at some party place where I wouldn’t have to worry about kids jumping on furniture and vomiting up cake on the dining-room floor, but he wasn’t having it. And then it hit me: What the hell am I doing? This should be one of my crowning achievements in fatherhood — throwing a Star Wars party for my son. The torch — or lightsaber, rather — was officially being passed down. I set out with a single-minded purpose and dedication that would have made Qui-Gon Jinn himself proud.
When the big day came last week, I was ready. The best part about the entire party was that I was allowed to break out all my ridiculously unruly Star Wars memorabilia, which had been sentenced by my wife to lifetime imprisonment in the attic. Star Wars posters on display? Absolutely! Figures to put on the cake? You know it! Stand-up life-size cardboard Boba Fett? On the front porch, acting as the most badass intergalactic bouncer Republic credits can buy, baby!!!
Once the little ones got past Boba Fett, I had set up a Star Wars tattoo station so they could pledge their allegiance upon arrival to either the Jedi or Sith orders. (Note: Most tykes went over to the dark side.) What I’ve learned about little kids’ birthday parties is that if you don’t keep them constantly engaged in activities, you’re screwed. It turns into absolute mayhem. So after everyone had showed up and gotten inked, I divided them into teams and then gave each a Star Wars word search I had made on the Internet. They couldn’t have been more into it, yelling to their teammates, ”Where’s Jabba the Hutt?!?” ”Oh, I found Mace Windu! Repeat: Found Mace Windu!” I had worried that this activity might veer dangerously close to resembling actual schoolwork, but the inclusion of funny alien names sent them all into a frenzy of inadvertent learning.
In fact, the word search proved so popular I allowed it to continue longer than originally planned. But I had to wrap it up to get to our next activity: Star Wars trivia. I once again divided everyone up into teams. Dale had prepped me on the kids who knew everything about the franchise, those who were clueless, and those in between. That way I was able to make sure all the teams were evenly matched. But before the game got under way, I had a little surprise for them. While they sat discussing what their team names would be (”Ooh! Ooh! Let’s be the Tusken Raiders!”), I snuck upstairs and slipped on a Darth Maul costume — yes, I own one, and no, you are not allowed to judge. I made my way down the stairs as stealthlike as possible, trying my best not to fall and kill myself, which was a distinct possibility, considering that seeing outside the mask was next to impossible. I felt a bit like Luke Skywalker in Episode 4 with his blast shield down, getting zapped by the lightsaber training droid. Only I was a lot less whiny.
So when I got to the last step, I made a dramatic Force-fueled Sith leap down to the floor, ignited my lightsaber, and busted out a supermaniacal laugh. One girl screamed at the top of her lungs. Another looked at me like, Who the hell is that guy?, and all the boys proceeded to charge at top speed and tackle me. I went from amused to scared to death in a matter of milliseconds. Kind of like that screaming girl. Once I got my hands free, I ripped off my mask as fast as I could and surrendered. It was only then that I noticed that a couple of parents were still there and that this would make for awkward conversation at the next class dinner.
After freeing myself from the kung fu-like grip of the 7-year-olds (who all had Sith tattoos and technically should have been on my side), I commenced the trivia game. These kids were good. Scary good. One question asked them to name as many members of the Jedi Council as possible. I figured they’d get Yoda, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, and Anakin (although I did have to point out that he was not granted the title of Master), but this one squirrelly young’un actually called out Plo Koon. Plo Koon! How the little bastard knew about Plo Koon is beyond me. I had to look him up on the Internet before I could verify the answer as being correct. After that rousing game, we moved on to Pin the Computer on Darth Vader, which is kinda like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, except you need to place Darth Vader’s front-panel sticker in the middle of his chest. Operating under the premise that regular blindfolds are for suckers, I made all the kids wear my beloved Boba Fett helmet (with the eyes blacked out).
Good fun was had by all, and even though my wife made me put all my memorabilia back in the closet the second after the last kid left, for a few glorious hours, I was a kid again. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I am a kid approximately 23 hours of every day (and that includes sleeping, when I dream about pulling Jedi mind tricks on my coworkers — just how do you think I convinced Ken Tucker to give me his Chevy Chase Show clock anyway?). As a pair of boys were leaving the party, I heard one excitedly tell the other, ”This was the best party ever.” Honestly, I couldn’t agree more.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
Poison frontman Bret Michaels wants nothin’ but a good time. Yet he also wants to find a woman who will talk dirty to him and, on occasion perform a little unskinny bop. But, as we all know, every rose has its thorn.
Okay, that’s it, I’ve used up all my bad Poison song-title puns. In plainer, less-hairsprayed English, here is what I’m trying to say: Bret Michaels is now starring on a VH1 dating show called Rock of Love, in which he is trying to find a new girlfriend from a group of 25 bimbos…I mean babes…I mean ladies. My hesitation in referring to them as ladies may stem from the fact that they spend their free time getting completely soused, performing in front of each other on stripper poles, and comparing their breast implants. Make no mistake about it, Rock of Love is horrifying on many levels. Along with Flavor of Love, the show seems to have set back the women’s movement by, oh…about a century. But there is an undeniably fascinating element to it as well. It’s like we’ve all been afforded a backstage pass to the wildest late-’80s Poison after-party. You feel ashamed for watching it, and even more so for liking it. Kinda like listening to Poison themselves, actually.
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