Ben Kenobi spoke to me again.
Not actually Obi Wan. But, the voice. Know how he told Luke after he self-incinerated him when he was losing a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader – Use the Force, Luke? Only to me, he says stuff like, Use more cheese, Eli, or, Write about Kesha, Eli.
This time, he was clear, as usual: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Eli.
You don’t question a dead Jedi. I’d already plopped a rotisserie chicken in my basket ($4.99, Harris-Teeter), and turned on autopilot toward the cereal aisle. I am one with the Force and the Force is in me, I muttered repeatedly.
I found an existential crisis when I got there.
It took the form of a fellow Crunchie, holding a box aloft. She’d carry it toward her basket, then back toward the shelf. Ja … Nein! I imagined the dilemma shouting within her head. (Yes … No! just sounds better in German.) I had to take action.
Doing good, one box at a time
You know, I offered, my daughter just told me that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is basically health food.
I’m listening, she seemed to think. (In English this time.) Yeah, I continued, it was in a post online. They’re whole grain now. So it’s like, good for you. Basically health food. Sold. She smiled at me and nestled the box of delicious in her basket, where it belonged.
Now … onto those girls’ questions.
1. Were the people on the plane ride back Mexican?
Note: This question came after I returned from Cancun for the company trip.
There wasn’t a Mexican majority, at least. The plane I rode home in from Mexico contained roughly the same collection of American millennials, of all shades and creeds, but mostly white, assumably.
They did, however, save seats for each other, like fourth graders on a field trip. A bit hungover and somewhat sunburned, we all seemed to make it back in one piece. Or at least matching pieces to be reassembled on American soil.
In fact, we saw very few actual Mexicans in the four days down there. Don’t tell my boss, but the only time I really saw Mexicans was when I snuck off the resort to get your swag and eat street quesadillas. I wonder how well I blended in.
2. Can I download books from the iTunes store?
First, can I take a moment to collect myself?
I mean, my girls just asked about books. Books. They’re the rough and tumble type, the cool kids who don’t admit if they like to read. I’ve actually very rarely seen them read an actual book, but I know they have. At least once or twice.
It’s been said that I’m to blame for their resistance to the written word.
Hayden had a book to read for a school assignment in elementary school. I spent 30 minutes at bedtime reading the chapter book to her, even customizing voices for different characters.
She pushed down on my head if she wanted me to change voices. It was a system.
You can download audiobooks and … non-audiobooks (?) on iTunes.
When I visit the library to check out another audiobook, the librarian informs me of this crazy new technology that allows one to … how do you say? … down … load? a book onto your enabled device. Only, my enabled device is less than enabled.
Maybe someday, I tell them and suddenly feel like the curmudgeon who said crazy crap like microwaves and the Internet would never catch on.
3. Am I more mature than (boy’s name removed to protect the ignorant)?
Honey, there are embryos in the DNA of unborn alpacas who are more mature than him.
I’m torn on the answer to this one. I don’t really like to toe the company line on this one and say boys will be boys. It’s a copout, and unfair to us fellas, really. Where do you draw the line with that?
I did boyish things. I never pulled ponytails of girls I liked, but I did make fart noises with my armpit. Yes, I’m sure it was my armpit.
He’s a special case, though. And it has less to do with gender than it does need attention. I feel like you and your sisters always had enough attention. I wanted you to feel like you were my world, but not the center of the entire universe.
That’s a spot where some parents struggle.
Far be it from me to claim to be an authority. But the chopping down trees for no reason, well, I would have intervened, had you done it. Throwing sticks and rocks at kids’ faces. The pets disregarded, the crybaby antics during birthday parties?
I wouldn’t make excuses if were the culprit. There’d be some lessons, there.
They say boys mature slower than girls do. Maybe it’s true. I think the longer a kid goes through life as a dunderhead, the tougher it is to grow some respect. If it’s a foreign concept at age 12, it’s not going to be easy to pick up at age 22, 32, or 42, for that matter.
So, yeah. You’re more mature. But remind me how to teach you that armpit trick.
4. What does Florida State have on the back of their helmets?
Not that kid’s initials. They’re miniature tomahawks, given for a variety of accomplishments.
A CRUCIAL PLAY | Like, sacking a Gators quarterback or getting away with pass interference.
A SCORE | A Roberto Aguayo chip-shot, for instance.
A TOUCHDOWN | Holy hell, was that Burt Reynolds? (Yes, it was.)
A SAVING TACKLE | Corey Sawyer dragging down a Huskers running back, perhaps.
VARIOUS OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS ON THE FIELD | Deion Sanders-eque showboating, maybe?
[This site is the coolest – it’s an interactive look at every Florida State helmet]
Makes me think of those charts for potty training. Go on the potty, get a star! Or, dinosaur. Don’t judge. Clemson has paw prints (like Blues Clues), Louisiana has flaming chili peppers (for the Ragin’ Cajuns.)
Ohio State has … well, what they call Buckeye leaves. (Looks suspicious.)
If I had a team, I’d give them Cinnamon Toast Crunch stickers. (Sweet.)
5. Does IZ sing any other songs?
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is most famous for this rendition of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World. It’s one of the greatest songs in the world. Top five, in my book.
Iz, sometimes called Bruddah Iz, was larger than life with hair Troy Polamalu would envy. As a teenager, he was part of the Hawaiian Renaissance in music. He and his brother, Skippy, formed a band called Makaha Sons of Ni’hau.
Iz recorded four studio albums and four more were compiled from concerts and other performances. He blended his ukulele with jazz and reggae beats and remains an icon of his home state. He’s like, to Hawaii what Andy Griffith is to North Carolina.
At the beginning of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, you can hear Iz say, “this one is for Gabby.” Gabby is Gabby Pahinui, a guitarist who was instrumental, as was Iz, in the Hawaiian Renaissance, which extended way beyond music.
Iz was just 9 when Gabby was born, but he appreciated the road he paved before him. Gabby died in 1980 at age 59. Iz died in 1997 at age 38, and about 10,000 people attended his funeral.
Footage from the ceremony in which Iz’s ashes were scattered at Makua Beach is included in the video above. Hawaiians honked their horns all day on highways the day of his funeral in honor of him. That’s what you call joyful noise.
Someday, I wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top
That’s where you’ll find me
- From Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World