Monday, June 19, 2006

Post Father's Day Blogging

The Great Puke Adventure. That's what Matthew (my almost-4-year-old, for those of you not in the loop) and I have agreed to call Friday evening. It wasn't supposed to be that way. For the last month, Matthew has been excited about Grandpa's promise to take him to see Cars when it opened. Actually, I'm not sure which of them has been more excited; my dad is a huge NASCAR fan, and I think that he's looking to make a convert since neither of his sons is much into watching cars make left turns for four hours. Anyway, we decided to make it a pre-Father's Day outing. All three of us would get dinner and go see the movie. So we piled in the car for the drive to Southern Pines.


All was going according to plan. We bought tickets and then went in search of dinner. We'd just found a restaurant and gotten seated when Matthew, who was sitting on my lap, decided that I really ought to know what he'd had for lunch. I'd have been content with him just telling me about it, but he showed me anyway. It was ham. Nice little squares of ham. There may still be one in my pocket if you're really interested.

Two hastily-purchased changes of clothes and a sponge-bath in the restaurant bathroom later, we seemed good to go. Matt was running around laughing and talking excitedly about seeing the movie. I figured that it was nothing more than a bout of the carsickness to which he is sometimes prone. Just a minor setback. In fact, Matt stole some chips off my plate at dinner and cheerfully set into the popcorn at the theater. I know. You're all wondering how any responsible father lets a kid who just vomited all over him eat popcorn. Hindsight is great. I thought he was carsick. And it was supposed to be a special occasion. We were hoping to salvage the evening and still have our really fun outing.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next. In the movie theater. About 10 minutes before the end of the film, right in the middle of the big car race. Popcorn and tortilla chips coming back to haunt me. We wiped the big stuff off in the bathroom. I dressed Matt in an old shirt that my dad happened to have in the trunk of his car, and we drove the 30 minutes back home, Matthew sound asleep in his carseat and me with a shirt and lap covered in the remains of Matt's junk food. Matthew slept all through the night; although he was a bit pale the next morning, he survived (courtesy of some Dramamine) our drive to his mom's house. He spent three hours jumping into her pool--after eating four slices of peanut butter toast. I wish my powers of recovery were that impressive.

At the end of the day, it makes a fun story. Amazingly enough, wearing Matthew's vomit wasn't the worst thing that had happened to me last week. In fact, it wasn't even in the same ballpark as my lowest point of the week. Plus, I can't wait to tell the story the first time he brings a girl (or a boy, I suppose, depending on his preferences) home meet dad. Actually, the only thing that's at all annoying about the whole experience (aside, obviously, from the fact that puking all over himself wasn't all that much fun for Matthew) is that I've no idea how the film ended. I suppose that I could just look up the ending, but that seems like cheating somehow. I do, however, have a pretty strong suspicion how it all ends. After all, I've watched all the Pixar films at this point (most of them several times; I think that I can quote most of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.). Plus they are written so that children can follow them; there's about as much subtlety in a Pixar film as there is in a Steven Spielberg flick. Anyway, what follows is my best guess as to the ending.
  1. At some point in the big race, Lightning listens to Doc, his new race manager, and actually gets a new set of tires rather than going it on his own. His Radiator Springs pit crew turns out to be far faster than the professionals.
  2. At some crucial moment, Lightning remembers Doc's advice, gleaned on the dirt track at Radiator Springs, and "turns right to go left." It works, giving Lightning the lead.
  3. Just when Lightning has the race all sewn up, something happens (no idea what, but something) that requires Lightning to choose between the personal glory of winning the race and helping someone else out. He chooses the latter.
  4. Lightning decides to stick with his original sponsors despite better offers.
  5. Lightning settles down in Radiator Springs, takes on most of the town as his pit crew, and brings renewed prosperity to the once-dying town.
Did I miss anything?

The lessons learned, then? Listen to your elders; they are wiser than you. Put your friends ahead of yourself. The simple, rustic life is way better than the fast-paced modern world. Everything will work out for you if you just stay true to yourself and loyal to your friends. It's all pretty standard stuff for a Disney/Pixar flick. (I'm sure the Randians must love it.) Unless, of course, I totally blew the ending. Maybe the Pixar people have been hanging out with M. Night Shyamalan. Somehow I doubt it though.

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