Pablo's Walther School teacher Laryl came by yesterday with a boat load of gack. What is gack? It's the florescent slimy gooey stuff you see in Pablo's hands above. She also brought black and florescent orange. Pablo slimed the stuff down his arms and buried tons of his animal and pirate action figures in it. His smile conveys how much joy it brings him.
When I got home last night, we started a new book—'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' I could tell he wasn't into 'Lemony Snicket,' and, to be straight up, it was bumming me out. The kids' parents die in the first chapter. The last thing Pablo needs right now is a sad story. 'Charlie' is a much better tone for Pablo—fantastical, sweet, hopeful. A great story about a young boy changing his life, lifting himself and his family up on a chocolate-drizzled rainbow. You get the connection between Charlie and our gack-drizzled boy.
Tonight, before we start reading, I'm going to show Pablo a clip of my Milwaukee boy Gene Wilder in his Willy Wonka get up. For my generation, Gene was Willy Wonka. That movie was hauntingly, freakishly cool and engaging when I was a kid. I never thought about what it might be like to read the book to my son—partly because I didn't know the movie was based on a book, partly because I didn't know I'd ever be a father. I'm glad as hell that I am, and grateful as hell for the simple moments Pablo and I share. If this is as good as it gets, I'm down.