I often take my daughter Danielle to school. It gets me into the office late, which means I either need to get work done before I go in or after I get home, but it’s usually worth it.
On the way to school, we pass a Macy’s. This Macy’s has some big signs on the front showing pictures from old Macy’s Thanksgiving parades. They mainly show the big balloons. There’s a picture of an old Kermit the Frog balloon and next there’s a picture of an old Popeye balloon.
Danielle obviously knows who Kermit the Frog is, but she had no idea who Popeye was, because you can’t see Popeye on Noggin, PBS or Playhouse Disney. So a while back she asked me who that was. So I told her that Popeye was from an old video (all things on TV are videos to Danielle) from when I was a kid. She asked me to tell me some of the stories.
Now I haven’t seen Popeye in 20 years. But the basic premise (for those too young to remember) is pretty simple:
- Popeye is a sailor who likes spinach
- When he eats spinach he gets super strong
- He is good friends with Olive Oil, a remarkably skinny girl
- Generally mean guys somehow mess with either Popeye or Olive Oil or both
- This usually involves separating Popeye from his spinach
- Somehow when everything is at it’s worst, Popeye gets his hands on spinach
- He eats the spinach, becomes super strong, and beats up the bad guys, rescuing Olive Oil if necessary
That’s it. So whenever Danielle asks, I just make something up that follows that general theme. It’s reached the point where she asks for several Popeye stories every day. This is frankly a challenge, since my creative juices are not exactly flowing first thing in the morning.
Today after another made up Popeye story, Danielle asked me if Popeye and Olive Oil were best friends. I said that I thought so. She asked if Popeye had other friends. I had to think for a bit and then I remembered Wimpy, the guy who likes hamburgers. So I told Danielle about Wimpy, and told her the one thing I clearly remembered which was that Wimpy would always say, “I would gladly pay you on Tuesday, for a hamburger today”.
This made Danielle laugh like crazy.
She kept asking me to say the line again. I’d say it and she’d laugh more. OK, it’s kind of amusing, but she was going crazy.
We get to her school and there’s some time before it starts so she gets some paper to draw and wants me to stay. Then she asks me to say the line to one of her friends, Tessa. Tessa has the exact same reaction. She can’t stop laughing.
One of the teachers, Camille, sees everyone asking and asks what is going on. Camille is fairly young, so I have to ask her if she ever saw Popeye. She never did, so I tell her the whole story. She thinks it’s amusing.
But then more kids in the class are coming over. They are all completely cracking up. Danielle asks me to tell Maura, her other (and more senior) teacher. Maura remembers Popeye. So I just remind her of the line. Again, every kid around me cracks up. Maura is more of the child psychologist and she says that this line completely epitomizes the 4-5 year old sense of humor.
She’s clearly right because by the time I leave pretty much every kid in class is cracking up at “I’d gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today”…