After four years of non-stop nerdery (which predates both the Twins and this fine publication), I finally defended my dissertation on Friday. I know I left you in terrible suspense all weekend by withholding the results, but I’m ready to break the silence. Are you ready?
Well, guess what? I DID IT!
If you so choose, you can now call me Dr. Pseudonymous. John Pseudonymous, PhD will also work. I will also respond to “Doctor,” “Doc,” and “Hey, you with the diploma!”
To commemorate this momentous occasion, I thought I’d remind you how excellently I’ve chronicled this journey and thus, from beginning to end, here are some of my favorite PhD-flavored Twincidents, for your re-reading pleasure. If you don’t read them now, they may disappear into the Disney Vault forever, as after acquiring Star Wars, a Disney-Twinfamy merger seems to be the most logical progression.
“Making a human is hard work, you know? This is why women shouldn’t have to do ANYthing else. And I know that sets feminists back 100 to 200 years, but I don’t care. If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t have to do ANYthing. It’s the truth.” — My Wife
Son: “Where’s my cuppy? Where’s my cuppy? Where. Is. My. Cuppy?!”
Me: “It’s right over here, Buddy. See? It has Lightning McQueen on it.”
Son: (beside himself) “No, not THAT one! I don’t LIKE Lightning The Queen!”
Rarely do I experience more drama in my household than when the Twins are deciding which movie to watch. As the Movie Selection Committee consists of two highly opinionated two-year-olds, the deliberation process has been known to inspire tears, tiny fistfights, and even the occasional airborne DVD case. In fact, these pre-movie events often rival the actual movies in both intensity and entertainment value. However, once white smoke emanates from our chimney, alerting the throngs of onlookers and international press gathered on our street that a film has finally been chosen, my daughter invariably reminds me:
“I don’t like the Mean Lady.”
This is because in just about every movie we’re currently watching, she has found a female character that terrifies her, and the moment any of these Mean Ladies are onscreen, she’ll literally run away from the TV to find me (yes, even when I’m on the toilet) and insist that I “Skip this part. I don’t like the Mean Lady.”
This is my cue to cuss inaudibly as I frantically search for the stupid f*cking remote (I just had it thirty seconds ago!) and–once I finally extract it from inside the Lego house my son is building–skip the movie to the next scene, which is blissfully devoid of any and all Mean Ladies.
I’m not sure where this phobia comes from. Perhaps she feels that all women ought to be kind and nurturing (like her Mommy) and seeing the flip side of that flips her out. Of course, it doesn’t really help that kids’ movies tend to lay the evil on pretty thick with villains so that it’s unquestionably clear who’s the “bad guy.” At any rate, what follows is a breakdown of the Ladies my daughter finds to be particularly Mean.
1. Mother Gothel – Tangled
Mother Gothel is the original Mean Lady, the one who started it all with my little girl, and I have to say, I don’t really blame her on this one. The second she saw the beginning part where Gothel’s fugly screaming monster face abducted Rapunzel, I knew there was no turning back. While I’m confident Gothel wouldn’t be a real-life threat (her main weapon is long-term psychological damage) and that I could send her away crying like a little girl by mentioning she looked like she was looking a little gray today, I can understand how the devilish facial expressions and sudden changes in volume could freak out my two-year-old.
It was early in the morning and since Mommy had just left for work, it was time for Daddy to take the stage for my daily variety show. Although I’ve been known to perform intimate acoustic Disney-song concerts, reproduce Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” on the Magna Doodle, and even regularly scare the robotic tigers my son has imagined into existence back into “other houses, but not this house,” I was feeling especially wiped out on this particular morning. The Twins had just gotten over a nasty cold, and had so generously shared it with me, so as I sleepily hacked up a lung, I decided I needed a power-up and fired up our Keurig (arguably the best purchase we have made as new parents). And yes, I realize that coffee is not a fantastic idea when one has a cold, as it discourages hydration, but when one is accustomed to caffeine every morning, one is inclined to not pile the withdrawal headache on top of fiery sinuses and a gravelly throat. So there.
“Daddy?” my daughter half-whined. “You come play in my room?”
This is a new fun game I play with my daughter. She recently has become enamored with the novelty of playing with all of her toys with Daddy in her room. So much so, in fact, that every moment of every day I am home with them, my presence is requested in her room.
This, of course, would be fine if I didn’t have another child who expects an equal amount of Daddy’s attention. But I do, and there are times when I’m in the middle of building a perfectly-scaled replica of Mount Rushmore with Duplos with my son, or helping him line up his beloved “sea treatures” on the floor by species, and can’t just drop everything to “go play in her room.”
And so I tell her “No,” invariably triggering a hissy fit which lasts way longer than it needs to. In fact, just the other day, I was rocking The Beatles’ Help! on vinyl at my son’s request (yeah, he’s pretty awesome), and in the middle of the opening title track, my little girl invited me to play in her room. After I explained that Daddy and Brother were busy doing Awesome Things, she staged a very vocal protest spanning almost all of Side A. On a side-note, my resilient son didn’t let the screaming infringe upon his Beatlemania, and he just kept literally dancing circles around his sister as she kicked and punched the floor.
Repeated viewing of any movie allows you to catch things you didn’t notice the first time, and so when one has seen a film enough times to recite it ad nauseum, one is bound to look beyond the suspension of disbelief most viewers enjoy, dissect its every nuance, and discover gaping holes in the story’s logic. If there’s any movie that fits this description for me, it’s Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Not only do the Twins request it at least three times a week, it was also a VHS my two younger sisters would loop at least three times a day when we were growing up. (Fun fact: When the Twins are at my mom’s house, they watch that very same VHS. It still plays perfectly.) It has recently occurred to me that–by my half-assed calculations–this incessant exposure to The Little Mermaid places it comfortably at the top of my all-time most-viewed movies list. While I’d prefer my chart-topper to be something badass like The Empire Strikes Back or Back to the Future, I guess it could be worse, right? (I’m looking at you, The Chronicles of Riddick.) Anyway, apparently watching The Little Mermaid has become my life’s work, so I feel it is my duty as an expert in this field to share the following observations I’ve made over the years, to further enhance your own Mermaid-viewing experience: