There are some awesome children’s toys from the Eighties that just never really went away… fortunately.
Like Tranformers, Care Bears, and Smurfs.
But the ones that you are most excited about right now are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Nonna and Papa got you a nearly life-size Donatello for Christmas and he has become like My Buddy, an Eighties toy that didn’t survive, to you.
I haven’t asked my parents why they chose Donatello for you; after all, I was never too crazy about him when I was a boy.
Michaelango was the obnoxious one. Donatello was the forgettable one. Raphael was the emotional one. And Leonardo was the leader. That’s how I always perceived them, at least.
But when I really thought about it, Donatello is perfect for you! Because if you were a Ninja Turtle, that’s exactly who you’d be:
As the original theme song simpy explains, “Donatello does machines.”
You have the technical mind that I don’t. While I can easily take something apart, you’re going to be the kind of guy who can not only take them apart, but also put them back together.
Where as I definitely fall short in having the handy man mindset, you’ve always showed me signs of it. Plus, you are smart. As for me, I tend to just “fake it ’til I make it.” I graduated with a degree in English simply because I wasn’t good enough or focused enough on anything else.
A lot of people think I’m smart, but I’m not. I’m just clever and determined; and there’s definitely a difference!
The reason Donatello was “the forgettable one” for me while growing up was because he was the one I least related to.
My favorite Ninja Turtle was always Leonardo, the reluctant leader, like Jack Shephard on Lost.
“You’re aggressive, but not in an overbearing manner. You’re known for being very organized and helpful. You’re very practical and there as a friend, while being relatively low maintenance and asking for little in return. People see you as a leader. Unfortunately, you weren’t elected to that position, and some resent you for being kind of a control freak.”
Meanwhile, here’s what the quiz said about Donatello, who I think you are:
“You’re very meticulous and scientifically minded. You excelled at academics and that’s transferred into your current career. You’re very loyal, inoffensive, and reliable. However, you can also be aloof and so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you neglect your social and familial obligations.”
Going back to my own “Leonardo personality,” earlier this week I happened to read part of a book called Eat Right 4 Your Type.
It explained that people who are have Type A blood (like me) actually make for the best vegans (interesting!) and it also said Type A blooded people also tend to have the “Reluctant Leader” complex; naming former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon as examples.
(I’m guessing this applies to several classic Bible heroes, too; like Noah, Moses, and David.)
The findings of both the Ninja Turtle quiz and the Blood Type quiz simply confirm what every other personality quiz I’ve taken has always said: I am your reluctant leader.
My whole life, I have had to be a leader in some compacity. I always find myself becoming the leader of the group, by default, never by choice. It happened every single time in school where I was part of a group project, in every place I’ve ever worked at, and with family dynamics, as well.
Even now, I never intended to make this such a teachable moment. I meant to just write about your new favorite Ninja Turtle doll.
Get used to it, I guess. After all, I am Leonardo and you are Donatello.
By the time I was your age, I had already seen a movie in the theatre: it was E.T. back in 1982.
But as for you, Mommy and I still haven’t taken you to experience a movie on the big screen.
Actually, we had planned to take you to see The Croods back in the spring, and then Planes during the summer, or Monsters University, but you never seemed impressed by the idea… maybe because of the instant gratification of Netflix instant streaming.
If only there was a kids’ movie about Batman that was going to be coming to theatres this winter…
After all, you dressed up as Batman for Halloween. (That means we let you wear your Batman pajamas out in public.)
Or maybe if there was a movie about Legos. You love to watch those amateur stop-motion videos on YouTube that feature Lego men.
And Ninja Turtles, too. You’re starting to think they’re cool.
What if… what if there was a movie that contained all these fun characters and it was a kids’ movie and I actually wanted to see it too?
You guessed it, this hypothetical movie actually exists and it’s coming out in February.
So, I think we should go see it. If Mommy and I haven’t taken you to your first movie in a theatre by then, I declare it shall be The Lego Movie.
I’ve been so hesitant about taking to you to see a movie because I don’t know what kind of attention span you might have for it; especially in public.
Here at the house, you’ve sat through entire movies before, but I think it had a lot to do with the fact you were able to avoid a nap because of it.
(Sometimes it’s just easier to let you watch a lazy movie with me on the couch instead of bothering with a nap. It works for both of us.)
Well, February is only three months away. You’ll be over 3 years old by then. I think you’ll be ready for it. Right?
I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m a little flattered.
When I step into any toy aisle in pointless attempts to find a small fire engine truck under $3 for my son, my eyes are instantly drawn by the rebooted 1980′s toys I played with myself.
I mean, it’s so deliberate: Transformers, Thundercats, GI Joe, Star Wars, Smurfs, Ghostbusters, and even a new Nickelodeon version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that cost $8.99 per action figure.
(Ninja Turtles were only $3.89 when I was growing up.)
Even Disney is getting in on the rebooted nostalgic action. The next time you go to a Target, take a look in the clothing aisle for their “Disney Artist Collection,” featuring classic characters like The Cheshire Cat, The Big Bad Wolf, and even Mickey Mouse.
How does a thirty year-old man carry on a conversation with his seven month-old son? “So Jack, tell me about your day. What did you have for lunch, son?” Or I could say traditional fatherly phrases that make me think of TV sitcom dads from the 1960’s, like, “How’s my little man? Give your Pop a kiss on the cheek.”
Sorry, that’s just not my style. Without realizing it, since Jack was a newborn, I have been creating bit routines with Jack to communicate with him. I wasn’t aware of these ongoing conversations based on fictional characters I had made up until weeks after continuing to do them.
Here are a few examples:
“Are you Baby Sanchez?” This phrase is spoken in the same tone as the Boost Mobile’s “Is That the Talking Dog?” commercial. The assumed plot line here is that Jack is being mistaken for a distant Mexican cousin. Yesterday when I called my wife on my lunch break she suggested that I “do the Baby Sanchez” thing so check could hear it. Sure enough, he smiled right away and laughed. Maybe he really is Baby Sanchez.
“Hello son-n-n-n-n-n-n-n… You are my son-n-n-n-n-n…” In this bit, I pretend to be a wise, old, bearded man sitting at the top of mountain. Assuming Jack journeyed quite a ways to reach me, I get right to the point and announce to him that I am his father. It’s similar to the concept behind Darth Vader’s “Luke, I am your father.” But the voice I use is similar to Splinter in the original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. When I say the catch phrase, I get right in Jack’s face and press my lips on his cheek, in an effort to gain some sort of response. Usually, all I get is, “Errrghhmmrrr…”
“…For babies. Babies like (name relevant conversation topic) too, ya know…” This one comes into play the most when I come home from work and hold Jack while my wife prepares dinner. If she says, “We’re almost out of Ricotta cheese.” Then I reply, evidently speaking from the perspective of Jack, “Ricotta cheese for babies. Babies like Ricotta cheese too, ya know.” This helps me empathize with my son’s feelings and perspective on life.
“Ya wanna give ya Daddy-Waddy a kissy-wissy on da wippy-wippy-wippies?” This translates into English as “Do you want to give your Daddy a kiss on the lips?” I pucker up my lips as big as I can and start zooming in towards his face, until I ultimately slightly turn away and kiss him on the cheek instead. I love annoying my son in the name of entertainment.
It’s my norm to accidentally create these goofy characters for Jack and then reuse them on a daily basis. As Jack learns to actually communicate back to me with legitimate words, he can start getting to know the real me. Until then, I’m about as real as Roger Rabbit.
The picture of Jack at the top of this post made me think of the album cover for The New Radicals’ only album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too. They were that one hit wonder band that did the 1999 song, “You Get What You Give.” Some of the song’s most memorable lyrics were at the closing: