Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wearing A Penguin Costume Is More Dangerous Than You'd Think

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Eli 7.8.

We have quite a few conversations where I say something ridiculous and he laughs. On this day, I picked him up from school, and I said "I should pick you up from school one day wearing a penguin suit."

"Dad!" he said. "That would be great!"

"You'd know it was me, wouldn't you?" I asked.

"Of course," he said. "I'd just walk up and say 'Dad, let's go home.' "

He mentioned the penguin pickup a few days later, but after that, he forgot about it.

I didn't.

Today, on April Fool's Day, I rented a penguin costume. It was a nice one, with a particularly terrific penguin head to wear.

I put the costume on in the parking lot, then walked over to the bench where I always wait for Eli (it's right outside the front door of the school). Eli's usually out within a minute of the bell ringing, so I didn't think I would be there for long.

The first graders always get released a few minutes early, and there's an area next to the bench where they sit and wait if they're getting picked up by someone in the carpool line.

I knew all this. What I didn't know, or forgot, was Lord of the Flies.

It was extremely difficult to see out of the penguin head--the only low view I had was looking through the opening in the beak--so I was not prepared to get thumped on the head. Hard. Many times. Or have several six-year-olds try to rip the penguin head right off. Or have another six-year old grab me by the beak. Or have every single kid, seemingly, attack me in some fashion. At the same time.

First graders were seriously *ucking me up.

Of course, the solution was easy--STAND UP--but assault victims are often unable to think clearly, and I just sat there, a helpless victim of mob violence, until Eli came out the front door.

"DAD!" he shouted, laughing. "I can't believe you actually DID it!"

"Get me away from these savages!" I said, standing up. "They hate penguins!" Eli took my hand and led me down the sidewalk, laughing. "I saw a kid in the parking lot that looked like a fish and I ate him," I said. "I hope he wasn't a friend of yours."

"This is the GREATEST THING EVER," he said. "That penguin head is AWESOME!"

"Did you see that angry mob around me?" I asked. "Wearing a penguin costume is more dangerous than you'd think," I said, and he fell down to the ground, laughing. He was laughing so hard that he couldn't get up.

Gloria took a picture when we got home:

I'm looking for a good therapist now. Preferably one who serves herring.

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