I Never Thought It Would Happen To Me.


The nocturnal subconscious is a lusty thing. While we shift and sweat under the Buzz Lightyear comforter (yours is in the wash) the unknowable Id slithers a tentacle up from its black depths to drag our dreaming selves through all the wild revels forbidden to us by reason and compassion.

In my fevered, guilty fantasies I clean the apartment.

That’s all, just clean the apartment. I’m not even naked, even. It’s exhilarating.

Fatherhood does funny things to a fella’s perspective. Those dark secret corners of the mind once reserved for Counselor Troi or Xena Warrior Princess are now occupied by a task that, five years ago, I’d aggressively avoid.

Another example: Barney the Dinosaur.

Barney waddled into the zeitgeist to shoulder Teddy Ruxpin into obscurity back in the early 90’s, round about the time I was in junior high. As such, hating on Barney was like being white in Iowa – that was just what you did.

And so, when watching videos and cartoons became an activity for my son, we tried out Sesame Street, and Mr. Rogers, and a slew of newly discovered British shows (Peppa Pig, Charlie & Lola, and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom – smashing, they’re all simply smashing), but Barney never crossed my mind. I never even thought of it as a show, really, more of a punch line.

But yesterday, here we found ourselves trapped inside yet again, with preschool cancelled for extreme cold (not quite a polar vortex, but still frostbite-inducing. Maybe a polar subtext?) and the Mama was laid out with a heavy cold, and damned if the Little Man and myself happen across a Barney video on youtube.

It was an hour and ten minutes long. Little Man watched the whole thing. And then wanted to watch it again.

Teenage me would defecate in furious disbelief to witness such an abomination, but thank you, Barney. I still draw the line at your empire of merchandise, but for the show, for those few hours yesterday, thank you from the coffee-soaked bottom of my sleep-deprived heart.

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