It’s a simple question that fills my heart with joy.
“Daddy, who do you think’s gonna get eaten first?”
Parents bond with their children in various and special ways. Some ride bikes, cruising Rails to Trails on Sunday afternoons, followed by a picnic lunch of PB&J with the crusts cut off. Dads toss the football with their sons. Mothers braid hair and have Spa Days with their daughters.
My 6-year-old daughter, Jellybean, and I bond over monster movies.
We get giddy for the likes of “Sharktopus,” “Robo-Croc,” “Ice Spiders,” the epic “Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda” and of course “Sharknado.” Whatever whacky hybrid creature the SyFy Channel trots out, we’ll sit and laugh at it, spilling popcorn on the floor as we try and guess which insufferable tourist or evil government scientist will have their head removed from their body.
Granted, these beasts are playfully gruesome, but so is elementary school.
The movies we watch are too goofy to be scary and too badly acted to be taken seriously. For all the blood and CGI-disembowelment, Jellybean’s had nary a nightmare.
I know that, as the years pass by with the speed and ferocity of a Yeti attacking a ski lodge, she’ll soon be too cool to spend time watching TV with her old man, so these are the things she’ll remember.
Hopefully not while lying on a therapist’s couch.
There are valuable survival lessons to be learned from such creature features. For example, when it’s raining man-eating sharks, the best weapon is a chainsaw (“Sharknado”). When wanting to stop the maelstrom that’s caused said sharks to fall from the sky, one need only to shoot bombs into the tornado, thus saving countless lives.
Before you judge me too harshly, please note that I continue to do my time in the purgatory of kid-friendly fare.
It’s also a family affair … well, most of the family at least. Since she was old enough to be scared and too cool to admit it, The Diva and I have bonded over horror movies, and I mean the real deal. I was her Gandalf, leading her through the classics ranging from “Halloween” and “Hellraiser” to “The Exorcist” and “The Evil Dead.”
We didn’t always get along, and we didn’t always know what to say to each other, but we could sit down in a darkened living room and watch a machete-wielding madman tear through a pack of virginal cheerleaders like we were BFFs at a sleepover.
It was the one thing we could agree on, and it was our own.
My Lovely Wife would stay far away, popping her head in only to shout her displeasure at simply being able to hear the creepy music.
Jellybean’s too young for all that. I try to find movies that will scare The Diva, but I would have to deal with Jellybean’s bad dreams, and there’s barely enough room in her bed for me as it is with all the “soft things” lined up across every pillow.
But this weekend we’re all piling up on the couch — me, The Diva, The Boyfriend and Jellybean — for a special showing of the SyFy classic “Piranhaconda.” The perfect family night.
Our bonding comes with a body count, but who says parenting requires good taste?