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3:31 p.m. - 2004-06-21

SPITTING CRACKERS IN THE PIMPLY FACE OF AUTHORITY

For my Father's Day gift yesterday, I got to take Andrew to see "Shrek 2".

I could see where this might be a big deal if I was a deadbeat dad who had lost his kids in a messy divorce and ended up squandering all his money away on hard liquor, fast women and slightly worn leisure suits, but I live with this kid every day of my life and it's hardly a "gift" to take the kid out in public where there's always a risk that he'll start screaming bloody murder if something isn't perfect for him.

Alas ... HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! Take the kid to see a movie you have no interest in seeing while Mom stays home, faking a chest cold!

So we're getting ready to go see the movie and the kid wants some Cheese Nips.

I put some Cheese Nips in a baggie for him.

It's time to leave for the theater and I try to snatch the Cheese Nips away from him.

Bad move, Bobby Fischer.

Andrew let the entire southeastern region of America know that this wouldn't be part of the plan. Nope. The Cheese Nip baggie is staying right in his hands.

Now I know most parents would have either demanded the bag of Cheese Nips or cancelled the trip altogether.

Not me.

I'm the type of Daddy that you get whatever you want if you make enough noise about it.

I know this will turn around and bite me in the ass someday and that some of you would even label my child as being a "spoiled brat".

Fuck you. He quieted down when I allowed him to take the Cheese Nips with us. It's not like he wanted to snort heroin on the way to the theater. He wanted fucking Cheese Nips. It ain't the end of the world.

So we go to the theater, Andrew riding happily in his car seat, slowly munching away on a Nip.

I get to the theater and although I know that you're not supposed to take food into the theater, this was a tiny baggie maybe a quarter full of cheese nips.

I informed Andrew that I would put the Cheese Nips in my pocket and give them back to him once we got in the theater.

He was actually cool with this. Maybe he was full. I dunno. It's not like we had a roundtable discussion on the matter.

We get inside the theater, the movie starts and Andrew reminds me "Cheese Nips, Daddy".

The lights are down so I reach into my pocket and hand him the Cheese Nips.

He sits in his chair and watches the first ten minutes of the movie intently.

Then, his curiosity gets the better of him and he wants to walk around the theater a bit and stretch.

I have no problem with this. With the exception of two young teenagers in the back of the theater making out like Anna Nicole Smith and a cancer patient, the theater was empty. Andrew wasn't going to disturb anyone.

Enter ... the Cheese Nip Nazi.

A pimply faced kid in a red vest over his wrinkled white shirt struts into the theater like he owns the place and practically runs over Andrew who's dancing around and quietly saying "Shrek! Shrek! Shrek!" over and over again.

The kid spots Andrew's bag of illegal Cheese Nips with his CIA-trained eye and tells Andrew he's not allowed to have snacks in the theater that aren't sold at the concession stand.

This being his second trip to the theater in his life, Andrew's not totally aware of the rules that the Cheese Nip Nazi has laid down.

While I would have been perfectly content to shrink down in my seat and let Andrew take a bite out of the Cheese Nip Nazi's knee, I figured now was as good a time as any to step up and pretend I'm a decent, theater-law-abiding citizen.

"What's the problem?" I asked the Hitler youth.

"All food consumed in the theater must be purchased at the concession stand," the pimply fuck squeaked as if he had stayed up for days memorizing that section in the employee handbook.

"It's just a few crackers," I said as Shrek met his in-laws. "He's only 3 and he won't eat popcorn."

(Total lie. The little bastard can eat his weight in popcorn. However, I didn't take out a second mortgage on the home to buy 31 lbs. of popcorn at a movie theater)

Naturally, Andrew's ears perk up when I say "popcorn".

"Popcorn?" Andrew asks as if I'd been holding out on him and we were in Popcorn Heaven.

"I have to take his snack," the Nazi says.

I mustered up my best Sally Field impression and cried "He's just a baaaay-beeee!"

The guy tried to snatch the baggie out of Andrew's dancing hand.

That ain't happenin', Professor Pimple.

"NOOOOOOOOO!!!" Andrew cried, falling to the floor on his ass with the crackers in his hand.

The couple in the back took their tongues out of each other's mouth long enough to see what all the commotion was about.

"I have to take your crackers," the Nazi said.

"NOOOOO!!!" Andrew continued crying.

I just folded my arms. I wanted to see if the Nazi had it in him to fight with my boy.

He didn't.

"Fine!" he huffed, his voice cracking as if puberty was just setting in. "Next time, you can't bring snacks to the theater."

"Trust me," I said in my good citizen voice. "I won't, sir."

The Nazi stalked off, defeated in his quest for cheese-flavored cracker supremity.

I think Andrew might have eaten one Cheese Nip during the rest of the film as he came to sit on my lap.

Because it's the principle of the thing with Andrew.

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