This story originally appeared as a guest post on EduDad. I wrote an edge-of-your-seat introduction to it here, but the short version is that I penned it in 2006 when I was still a middle school English teacher, as part of a collection of true classroom tales I intended to publish and become a kajillionaire. Unfortunately, the project soon fizzled out as I moved on to another kajillion-dollar idea that also failed. However, the story remains, and it offers you, O Loyal Reader, a unique glimpse at my daily pre-Twinfamy shenanigans. Enjoy!
Do You Like Pie?
In an über-rare moment, my seventh-graders were actually working diligently on an assignment, so after a quick, discreet touchdown dance, I’d sprinted to my computer to capitalize on the situation, starting to finally enter the piles of grading cluttering my desk.
Just as I was getting into a groove, the classroom door opened and a student from one of my other classes meandered up to my desk.
“Do you like pie?” she asked.
My mind still in data-entry mode, I was dumbfounded. “What?” I replied.
“Do you like pie? Like, the dessert?”
“Um, yeah. I do. Why?”
“Want a free pie?”
“Okay…sure…I would like a free pie.” I just had to see where this was going.
My eyes still bleary despite a shower and the coffee I was nursing between snips, I zeroed in on the kitchen shear blades as I sliced strawberries for the Twins’ breakfast. A momentary lapse in concentration could end in a crimson sprinkle even harder to clean off our idiotically-stark-white kitchen counters than the strawberries themselves. (No, we did not choose this color scheme, nor do we own this house, so until this fine publication makes me a kajillionaire, we keep plenty of Magic Erasers on hand.)
We’ve just discovered this scissor method, as opposed to the standard knife approach. When you have to cut up food for two one-year-old mouths as often as we do, you’re willing to try just about anything to avoid the monotony of hacking at a plate-full of adult-sized food for what feels like half an hour. Initially, my wife raved about the new method, claiming, “This is awesome! I don’t hate it that much!”
Sadly, the novelty has worn off, and shearing food is now just about as fun as knifing it, but with the added thrill of increased-finger-loss likelihood. Still, I wasn’t feeling very knifey on this particular morning, so I went with the novel annoyance rather than the mounting one.
My son has created a catch phrase that very well could sweep the nation. You may not have heard it yet because it is currently being swept under the nation’s rug, but once this news hits the interweb, look out.
The pop culture revolution began with my mother, who watches the Twins twice a week while I doctorize on campus. As the kids slowly become geniuses just like their parents, they are constantly acquiring new skills and lifehacks–like standing up and walking on their own, infiltrating government-grade security measures, or composing their very first rock opera (entitled American Infant) with nothing but a toy xylophone and Daddy’s GarageBand app.
Appropriately, whenever the Twins would use their newfound superpowers for good, my mother made a point to positively reinforce these behaviors, thus congratulating, “You did it!”
This became an overnight chart-topper with the kids, and soon, around November, every time my son accomplished a task, he’d triumphantly proclaim, “Did it!”
I’ll admit it. I’ve been holding out on you, O Loyal Reader.
I’ve strived to keep it a secret for as long as I’ve been writing this fine publication, but I can no longer do so because the cat has clawed its way out of the bag.
My true identity has been discovered and reported on a highly reputable media outlet, and I feel it’s necessary for me to just come clean before the rumor mill spins out of control, granting itself flight like an impossibly heavy helicopter.
You see, I’m not just John Pseudonymous, mild-mannered stay-at-home father, Ph. D. student, and inspiration to kajillions.
I’m also a superhero.
I go by the superhero handle Elasto-Dad. You probably haven’t heard of my exploits as I’ve attempted to keep a low profile, privately using my powers for good in my own home, particularly in twin-wrangling scenarios.
However, just a few days ago, a team of paparazzi somehow tracked me down and snapped voyeuristic photos through the windows of my house. I was able to destroy all of these photos before any were leaked because, as you know, I am a ninja, and therefore my keen reflexes alerted me in time to ambush them and beat them with their own footwear.
I recently received the highest honor WordPress bestows upon its bloggers–“Freshly Pressed.” For those of you who don’t know, that means one of my posts was featured on the WordPress homepage, affording hundreds of thousands of bloggers the convenient privilege of experiencing the genius that is this fine publication.
The post, titled “Did He Just Say What I Think He Said?”, was about my son saying “Dada” for the first time, possibly because of Chuck Norris. I can only assume The Man Himself received word of this post and flexed a bicep ever so slightly, causing a chain reaction in the cosmos resulting in a WordPress employee stumbling upon Twinfamy, sharing it with colleagues, and culminating in a celebratory cheering-at-desks-and-cubicles scene akin to Jim Lovell & Co. returning to Earth’s atmosphere in Apollo 13.
The response was overwhelmingly amazing, and if you’re a new Loyal Reader as a result of this National Holiday, welcome.
But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.
I am thrilled to announce that the tale of my son’s alleged first word has inspired the production of a movie…starring Legos.
Earlier this week I expressed my affection for Legos, and as soon as the Twins are old enough, you can bet we’ll breathe life into the finest Lego structures this world has ever seen. If there’s anyone who’s fueled this anticipation, it’s my friend John Willey, a multi-talented writer, photographer, and Lego aficionado. His blog Daddy’s in Charge? is one of my favorites, brimming with humor, reflections on being a stay-at-home dad, and highly entertaining Lego movies about his life raising his two sons.
I am ecstatically honored to be part of John’s latest Lego opus, his response to the Legend of the Chuck Norris “Dada,” which features the Twins and Yours Truly in plastic Technicolor.
I was a little apprehensive about being temporarily transformed into a Lego figure for the day we shot this, and even more concerned that the Twins would also be making this transformation.
For instance, would there be any long-term side-effects? In the event of an accidental dismantling, would all the King’s Horses and Men be on hand to remedy the situation, and if so, have they learned from the infamous Humpty-Dumptygate Scandal? In the end, though, I just couldn’t turn down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Lego Chuck Norris.
And believe me, everything they say about him…it’s ALL true.
Plus, who knew Chuck Norris was responsible for other children’s first words?
Well, Chuck Norris did, of course, but I didn’t. What a guy, huh? Not only does he keep the Earth spinning by trimming his beard (so it doesn’t throw off the gravitational pull) and prevent zombie apocalypses before scientists can even get out their chemistry sets–the guy still finds time to give the gift of speech to babies! Such a class act. Someone get this man a Nobel Prize, or at least some frozen yogurt.
Anyway, thanks a kajillion to John for including us in this fantastic piece of Lego cinema. You can read his own post about this video here. I urge you to check out more of his fine work on Daddy’s in Charge? and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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If not, expect a visit from Lego Chuck Norris. It will not be a friendly one.