My four-year-old and I are definitely not the same person. We have many differences. For example, I am significantly taller and I don’t cry nearly as much about sandwiches. In addition, while his hair is straight, and if I’m being brutally honest here, a little lifeless, mine is curly, frizzy, and full of spirit. Finally, he likes pineapple on his pizza. Actually, he doesn’t just like it, he loves it so much that he won’t eat pizza that does not have pineapple on it. That is very weird.
But despite our differences we do share one very important characteristic. WE REALLY HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE DON'T GET OUR REFERENCES TO FILM AND MUSIC!!
Honestly, this lack of pop culture awareness is the main reason that I’ve pretty much stopped talking to people. That and I have tremendous anxiety so I don’t leave the house much. But, you know, mainly the pop culture thing.
For example, a friend asked me once if they should get a prenup if they got engaged. I was a little stunned by the question. It was one I never thought I would be asked even though I had long secretly hoped that I would. So instead of replying “No, that’s silly,” I collected myself, concealed my glee as best I could, and responded all serious like, “Yeah, it’s something that you need to have.” I impressed myself with my ability to maintain a straight face.
“You think so?” my friend responded.
“Yes,” I said to myself. “He has taken the bait. He thinks I’m serious. This is really going to kill now!”
Sure, this conversation was taking place via text message, so deciphering tone can be a bit tricky, but still, this was shaping up to be a masterclass of pop culture referencing.
“Definitely,” I typed back. “Cause when she leave yo a** she gone leave with half.”
Oh man. This was exceeding my wildest expectations.
“Well,” he responded. “I really don’t have anything, so that’s not really a concern. Lol.”
Wait. Wait. Wait. Was this really happening? He thought I was giving serious advice?
At that point, I did the only thing I could do. I didn’t respond and we haven’t spoken since. If you’re not going to get a Kanye (Gold Digger) reference, then what will you possibly get? Nothing, that’s what. There is no hope for you.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I overheard my four-year-old, Jacob, dropping a Polar Express reference on some random adult at the park he had latched onto.
“Look! I’m driving the train,” Jacob called out to the unsuspecting mother from his perch on the playground.
“Oh, great,” the mom responded with a level of feigned interest with which I could totally relate.
“Look now! The train is on the ice!”
“Oh no,” the mom said while glancing at her phone.
“Look now! The ice is breaking! Woooaaahhh!”
“Yes, okay. The train is on the ice,” the mom replied while walking away. By this point, she had completely mailed it in.
Jacob didn’t show any outward signs of disappointment, but I could tell it was there beneath the surface. It was eating at him. I could tell he was thinking, “Who doesn’t appreciate a Polar Express reference? If you’re not going to get a Polar Express reference, then what will you possibly get? Nothing, that’s what. There is no hope for you.”
“Hey, Jacob,” I called out. “Polar Express. Nice. I see what you did there. We need to get going now.”
“Is Mommy home yet?”
“No. She’s still at work, work, work, work, work, work,” I sang with a Reggae lilt.
“Nooo! Stop. I hate when you do that all the time,” Jacob whined.
Ugh. Whatever. If you don’t get a Rihanna reference, what will you possibly get?
Don’t forget! My book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much all of your favorite online book retailers. Paperback and ebook versions. Don’t wait…everyone is doing it! (And by everyone I mean more than zero people.)