Friday, January 15, 2010

Roll out the barrel. Please.

You know what's a part of parenthood? Sacrifice.
Not the ritual kind, so far, but still, sacrifice.
Exhibit A: right.
Mario is seasoned rice with minced shrimp and accented with nori. His hat is a carved BabyBel cheese round. The mushrooms - "bigs," as my son calls them - are corned beef and Laughing Cow on an organic version of Ritz crackers. Cara Cara oranges are (finally) in season and they join stars of fresh pineapple and carrot to give a sunny, warm feel to a cold January day. Blueberries round out the list of "more or less natural" ingredients. Mario's irises are blue fruit roll-up and the green globes are lime-flavored maraschino cherries. But what are you gonna do?
I was really pretty much neutral in my feelings toward Mario until about two weeks ago. Now, I'm firmly in Donkey Kong's camp.

About two weeks ago, Primo got a big, heaping dose of New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. Since then, it's been all he's talked about. Not in the way your friend means when she tells you that you're all the co-worker she set you up with has talked about. I mean in a literal, use-the-Webster's-definition-of-the-words-in-that-sentence way. All. He. Has. Talked. About.

"Hey dad?"
"In Mario, there's a haunted house level."
"Yeah, and all the turtles there are skeletons. You press the '1' button to jump."
"I bet you didn't know this, but when you have the helicopter, and you lose it, and you're Mario, you lose your hat! But only Mario! Luigi still has his hat! And I'm like, 'What the heck?'"
"You probably don't remember this*, but my favorite is the penguin suit."
"But when you finish the level with the penguin suit, you do a backflip!"
"Daddy, if you see a big, get it! Unless you're teeny-tiny. Then, a big won't even work!"
[Insert x-y hours here where x=hours Primo is awake and y=hyperbole allowance, currently zero.]
"Son, Daddy really needs a break from Mario. This can't be about Mario, okay?"
"... Nevermind. (Pause) Dad?"
"Can we go see [my cousins who have the Wii] tonight?"
"Good night, son."

Why does he get a Mario lunch, then? Won't that just stoke the fire?

Well, probably, but interspersed throughout the hours of prattling are musings about all of the cool things we'll be able to do in four-player mode. Yes, he's prepping me. Getting me, and, possibly, Mom or Secundo, ready to play this game he loves so much along with him. We're going to be the nameless mushroom-person partners to Mario and Luigi, a point he goes to lengths to make sure we're clear on, but we're going to be playing as one big family, nonetheless.

Well, maybe not all at once. His cousin is going to be Mario, so Mommy, Secundo or myself will have to sit out.

Still, it's a lot of Mario talk to listen to, so I've found a little balm. In case you don't recognize it, it's the sound of Mario dying in the original Donkey Kong.

Oh yeah. That's the stuff.

* This phrase is getting it's own entry.

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