My blog I've ignored for 2 years while attending the Brandcenter
Every four years my mom would take control of the TV and demand to watch figure skating during the Winter Olympics. For those couple of weeks, she used all the powers bestowed upon her as the matriarch of the family to exercise complete control of our evening viewing. You’d think that as I’d let mom watch her figure skating once every four years in peace. I mean, two weeks every four years is a pretty good deal for me. Perhaps I’d give mom a break because she deserved it. Maybe instead of watching TV I’d read a book, play some video games, or even go outside…
You’d be completely wrong of course as I pretty much bitched and moaned my entire life whenever figure skating was on TV.
Today I’m being punished for being a little jerkwad.
1. Holy shit balls this was expensive
My only complaint with Disney on Ice was that it was ridiculously expensive. My wife purchased tickets online that were “50%” off, but I made the rookie mistake of not asking the proper question, “50% off from what?” This one was on me. I’ve been married far too long to fall for the old’it’s-50%-off-we’re-practically-stealing-from-them trick. The first question that came to mind after purchasing these tickets was “Couldn’t we have just bought two tickets instead of four and put the boys in our laps?” Apparently, we’re not the first people to think of this brilliant money saver as there was a strict one kid = one ticket admittance policy. After entering and dragging the boys past the stands of toys, food, and so many Princes’s accessories we found our seats and I ventured out to grab us some snacks.
Oh, you want popcorn? Here is a ginormous bag of popcorn inside a commemorative Micky Mouse mesh bag. That’ll be $12. What? Of course, there aren’t any other sizes you silly goose. Lemonade? Sure would you like the $12 lemonade that comes in the commemorative Micky Mouse tumbler? Oh, you don’t want to spend $12 on one lemonade. Well, we can give you the same amount of lemonade inside this boring plastic cup for $6. It’s for fathers who don’t love their children as much. Thanks, enjoy the show!
Not surprisingly the first thing my three-year-old says upon my arrival with snacks was to point out the severe lack of cotton candy I was carrying. Seeing the visibly annoyed look working its way across my face my wife interceded by going to get some cotton candy. Now it’s important to note that I have a severe dislike of cotton candy. A hatred so powerful that my wife of nearly ten years was very aware of so you could only imagine my surprise when she returned with two plastic bags the size of your Sunday newspaper filled with that soft sticky pink and baby blue sugar. When asked why she would buy so much she looked at me appalled and pointed to the Mickey Mouse ears hats that were on top of each plastic bag. “They both are going to want ears?”
I guess this was also on me as well. I sometimes forget that everything needs to be equal between our boys. If one gets something, then the other must get it as well, or we will be paying for it the rest of our lives in either guilt or therapy. When I asked how much these fluffy bags of hyperactivity were, she responded with a “$10 a piece? I guess…I gave him a twenty, and he gave me these (holds up bags)” like she just caught the two most colorful bass ever.
2. Di$ney on Ice is like watching NASCAR
As I looked at these ice skaters in giant mouse, duck and whatever the hell goofy is costumes fly around the rink spinning and dancing I was impressed at how well choreographed this all was. Those outfits can’t be easy to see in, and everyone was moving so fast that I was amazed that no one was crashing into each other. Much like when Darth Vader sensed Obi-Wan Kenobi’s presence on the Death Star I began to have a feeling that I have not felt in some time. It reminded of the NASCAR races I’ve witnessed and remembered being amazed that these cars moving at close to 200 mph were able to circle the track without instantly wrecking. I also remembered the feeling of terror watching one car spin out of control after being tapped. I couldn’t help but feel that same combination of amazement and anxiety. Also, I wanted the T-Rex from “Toy Story” to steamroll over that singing candlestick from ‘”Beauty and the Beast.”
Luckily my patience and praying paid off. During the Aladdin/Jasmine number, they were skating their usual routine when I noticed that Aladdin wasn’t smiling anymore. As he turned the corner holding Jasmine above his head, he had a strange “Oh no” look in his eyes. It’s noticeable when someone wasn’t smiling at Disney on Ice because everyone is smiling all the time. The costumed characters, the non-costumed characters, the ushers, the person taking your ticket, the guy who was trying to sell you the commemorative lemonade tumbler are all smiling nonstop. Even when I told the guy wants to sell me the tumbler that I didn’t want it in a less than “Disney” sort of way he didn’t even flinch or break that psychotic grin. I guess that smile along with those dead eyes has seen some stuff.
As Aladdin came around the corner holding Jasmine above his head, he began to grimace, and suddenly he just planted Jasmine into a spotlight that was the outside the rink. The only thing more surprising to everyone around me, other than Aladdin spiking Princess Jasmine into a spotlight, was me suddenly shouting “OH MY GOD!!!” as A Whole New World blared throughout the arena. My reaction was a mixture of both surprise and fear. Surprise at what was happening right before me and fear that one of Jasmine’s metal skates now stuck in the electric light would somehow electrocute her in front of my boys and at least 50 little girls dressed as princesses.
Luckily, Aladdin plucked Jasmine out of the light, and they continued on their way like total professionals. Hopefully next time Aladdin will use one of his three wishes from the Genie on some upper body strength.
3. He Slimed Me
There’s a moment in every adult’s life where they need to make a conscious grown-up decision not yell at some other person’s kid. That moment occurred to me about 20 minutes into the show when I was holding my oldest during the Halloween number. There were a bunch of famous Disney villains skating around like Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, Jafar, and the witches from Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. In the middle of me comforting my son about how these were just “silly guys” and how he does not need to be worried since there aren’t any monsters there was a sneeze behind me. Suddenly, my neck was splattered by what I assume was miso soup thrown through a screen door.
Behind me, I could hear the collective gasp from the parents of whatever walking snot bubble just slimed me. There was quiet murmuring, and I could feel someone grab the child from behind me. I don’t know if they just moved the kid onto their lap, to the lap of someone else in their row or if one of the parents tucked the child under their arm and made a break for the door. Mind you I still haven’t turned around yet or let alone moved. It was like whatever mucus sprayed me had frozen me. Slowly as my blood pressure began to decrease, I decided to look on the bright side of the situation. After coming off a cold just a couple of weeks ago, I’m sure my white blood cells are feeling a little punchy and are looking for a workout. Also, I was proud of myself for not tossing my oldest, who was on my lap, three rows behind me as I flailed wildly like I just walked through a spider-web.
Which would have looked like this.
I handled it like an adult. I grabbed fists full of popcorn and shoveled it into my mouth until my neck stopped glistening.
4. No flash photography, please
Smartphones are great. Smartphone cameras are great. Smartphone cameras inside a darken basketball arena converted into an ice skating rink are terrible. Within two or three photos I gave up and decide to stop bothering my kids and let them just enjoy the show. My wife, on the other hand, was adamant about documenting their first Disney on Ice adventure. She was determined to make sure our boys both remember this experience as well remember it fondly. She has a master plan of indoctrinating them into the world of Disney thereby recruiting them onto her side of our ongoing “Disney World or Bust 2014” debate. It’s a smart move. Triple teaming me nonstop would make me crack.
So seeing I had stopped photographing our sons eating popcorn and picking their noses she took my phone from me and gave me a look of “Duh, of course, you can’t see anything, the flash was off.” Before I could say anything…
Suddenly a white light blinds me along with the people sitting to the left of me. I nearly drop my oldest son who was also stunned by the sudden flash but was still too enthralled watching Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum play keep away with the Mad Hatter’s hat. Just as I began to see shapes again and I was able to recognize the outline of my wife’s disappointed face as she looked at the disturbing picture she just took she raised the phone again and…
Now I’m shouting towards the direction of where I assume my wife was sitting asking her to stop blinding me and the rest of Row F. The White Rabbit has now entered the rink skating to an aggressive version of “I’m Late!”
My wife can’t hear my protests, but I’m sure she’s wondering why every picture has me reaching for the camera like some drunken celebrity stumbling out of a club at 3 am.
My wife’s picture taking style is similar to a sideline sports photographers. They are taking hundreds of images in just seconds. That was how she was taking pictures. Why take one when you can take 102 of the same picture. It’s like instead of taking a movie she wants to print them out and make herself her flip book.
Finally frustrated by my camera’s inability to take a quality photo she gives up. I spent the rest of the evening watching giant costumed characters skate around floating flash bulbs burned into my retinas.
5. Whirling Lightsaber-Nunchucks of Death
If you have ever been to Disney on Ice, the circus or any kid’s concert there is a particular toy sold there that kids go nuts over. I don’t know if they have a name, but I’ve been calling them the “Whirling Lightsaber-Nunchucks of Death.” They are a simple toy. Battery operated and easy to use, so all a small child needs to do is flick the switch and watch as he goes from a typical three-year-old to a 2 1/2 foot tall assassin. These toys do have a neat feature if the Whirling Lightsaber-Nunchuck of Death comes in contact with anything hard (say for example a little brother’s face) the whirling stops. That is great because the boys can’t pummel each other to death but also annoying because since it doesn’t hurt them, they try to pummel each other to death. Well, technically I guess I could have stopped them, but it’s just to much fun to watch. The biggest problem I have with these toys is that they’re $22 a pop and if you remember from above the number one rule of having children is not to teach them to share but instead, spend twice as much money, so they don’t have to.
No, wait, that can’t be right.
established 2013, curated by the Hour After Happy Hour Writing Workshop
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Mr. Fenske is a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond VA. The site is an extension of his efforts in the classroom, except for the cartoons, which seem to grow out of some disaffection he feels with the world. Thank you for visiting. © Mark Fenske
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