I love a good quote.
Not only from Jesus or Aristotle or a Flock of Seagulls, but from the NFL players I get to Interview when I help out the Associated Press. Keyshawn Johnson, Tony Romo and Larry Fitzgerald are among my favorites in the NFL, but my first interview out of college played out like a band geek asking out the cheer captain.
Or at least the girl with the reputation.
I’m not sure what I meant to ask former Charlotte Hornets star Larry Johnson way back in the day, but I vomited the words like someone tossing a box of Scrabble down the stairs.
Larry, all linebacker shoulders with a gold front tooth, just put his hand on my shoulder, grinned, and said, “give that another try, little man.”
My kids, luckily, need no prompting.
They’re quote machines. No provocative question required.
Here’s a handful of some of their most quotable quotes, with a little context.
But don’t quote me on this.
1. “Dad, just because we sing it, doesn’t mean we’ll do it.”
Music’s a constant battlefield for us in the car. A dad has to stay on top of things – he must know which Bruno Mars songs are dirty and which are clean (ditto Katy Perry), recognize a Pink song in 2.2 seconds (and hit that scan button on the radio), and at what age it’s appropriate to introduce AC/DC into a little girl’s life (the over-under is 6).
The buzzer went off for me when Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” came on the radio, and Marie and Grace sang right along with gusto:
And we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking ’bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long
Dad tossed the penalty flag – and mashed the scan button for the next station, to an immediate angry outcry.
I cited the infraction-per-word-count rate which would have rendered the girls two years, eight months and 17 days of grounding if they ever acted it out. Grace delivered the quote, “Dad, just because we sing it, doesn’t mean we’ll do it,” with a head wag and tone dripping with “duh dad!” sauce.
Can I get that in writing?
2. “Dad, we’re playing Star Wars III. Not Littlest Pet shop.”
Don’t let the LEGOs fool you.
With light sabers and villains and missions, Star Wars III is more than blocks with cat faces and wheels. This Wii game is pretty hardcore. Marie’s that kid who conquers levels like Colin Kaepernick gets ink and unlocks new levels and villains like the NSA racks up metadata. And it seems you have to be kind of ruthless to get on the level of Colin Kaepernick and the NSA.
She’s slicing and dicing like a good rebel, and I notice that some of the light saber strikes aren’t exactly self-defense. Did she just go after Darth Maul?
Yep. Definitely not Littlest Pet shop.
What would she do to a doe-eyed, multicolored Yorkie?
3. “Pie is always a good idea.”
Elise always volunteers to co-pilot my trips to the grocery store. Daddy-lovin’ angel, or strategic opportunist?
As we pass the deli, she snags a chocolate cream pie. In the words of Macklemore, “sh*t, it was 99 cents!”
One time, I raised a weak objection. (Weak as the dude who sports those naked-lady mudflaps.)
“Maybe that’s not a good idea this time,” I said, making that parent who says “OK, five more minutes!” at the park look like a drill sergeant.
“Pie,” Elise said, “is always a good idea.”
4. “Sometimes I’m pretty, and sometimes I’m dirty.”
Grace uttered this as she piled into the backseat of my car after another typical afternoon on the U6 soccer pitch.
All speed and no control (or very little), she’d been everywhere on the field. She’d donned the hero cape and the scapegoat horns. Depending on how you sized it up, this grungy kid – all mud-packed and sweaty and disheveled from pigtails to shin guards – had either atoned for giving up three scores as a goalkeeper with a hat trick on the field, or …
Canceled a hat trick on the field by giving up three goals between the pipes.
Either way, the whole game had her grimy fingerprints on it.
“Goodness gracious,” I said as the Pig Pen-like cloud of dust followed her across the parking lot. “You were into everything today, lovey.”
“Sometimes I’m pretty,” Grace explained, “and sometimes I’m dirty.”
And sometimes, both at the same time.
That’s something Jesus, Tony Romo and Larry Johnson could all appreciate.