“What the heck are you wearing?”
In front of me stood our 6-year-old son.
At least I think it was our son.
Hard to make sure considering his head was covered with a white Clone Wars trooper helmet from the “Star Wars” series.
Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal if we were, say, at a Halloween party, Skywalker Ranch or a frat house on a Wednesday.
Not a college football game on a sunny, Saturday afternoon.
I looked again.
He was wearing a green football jersey with the number 1 on the front.
OK. That’s right.
OK. Two for 2.
He even had on tennis shoes and dirty socks.
Yep, all was OK...except for the large, white Clone Wars helmet - the symbol of galactic imperial resistance everywhere - covering his head and half his shoulders.
He had left to check out the concession stand with his grandma and returned with a Clone Wars helmet.
Man, George Lucas is EVERYWHERE.
I rapped my knuckles on the top of the helmet and said, “Uh, whatcha got there, kiddo?”
He waved his hands in excitement and yelled, “Mblullml wrswar voiuds ajd!”
I cocked my head and said, “Say what?”
He pointed to his head and tried again, “Mfjkvjda wawek brabrrrk!”
OK. This could go on all afternoon.
I grabbed the helmet by the sides and pulled it off his head. I held it up and looked to his grandma for the explanation I knew was coming.
She could do nothing but laugh.
Which wasn’t too surprising considering the entire section of fans surrounding us was doing the exact same thing.
I pointed to the field and hollered, “There’s nothing to see up here! Watch the game, you weirdos.”
My son jumped in excitement, “I saw a college kid wearing this and when I said, ‘Oh, wow, I’ve always wanted one of those helmets,’ he just gave it to me. I couldn’t believe it, Mom. This. Is. The. Best. Day. Ever!”
So there was a college kid walking across campus wearing a Clone Wars helmet?
Well, it was Homecoming.
He’d either been drinking, into some kinky kinda role-playing game or had been dressed up for the parade.
I choose to believe he was in the parade.
This is my column, and that’s just the way it’s gonna be.
In any case, he made a young boy’s day.
And that’s A-OK in my book.
“My friend got a cuckoo bird stuck in his sock,” our son said at the dinner table that evening.
Silence greeted his little revelation.
And then I snorted, and water flew outta my mouth. Not sexy, I admit. “Uh, what?” I eloquently responded.
“Yeah,” he said with excitement. “We were walking outside, and he got a cuckoo bird stuck right there in his sock.”
I looked at my husband who did nothing but shrug his shoulders and snort. Must run in the family.
I turned away from my son and whispered to my husband, “Did you give him expired NyQuil again?”
He smiled and said, “Hey, that was funny stuff. Too bad we didn’t record that for YouTube.” He paused then added, “That would have rocked on YouTube.”
For the love of God...I turned back to my son, “Are you sure it was a cuckoo bird?”
He nodded with much wisdom and answered, “Oh, yes, Mom. It had spikes and everything.”
Spikes? OK. So what kind of mutant, cuckoo-clock-from-hell kinda bird are we talking about here? Something that escaped from the lab? Was it radioactive?
Gasp! Did it bite my son?
Would he turn into the next Spider-Man? Because, you know, that would be awesome! But I digress....
“Spikes, huh? Well, that’s...uh...unusual.” And then I began to put together the clues.
Sock....Stuck....Spikes....What the ...? And then I had it.
“Cocklebur!” I yelled. “He got a cocklebur stuck in his sock!”
Anyone who’s taken a stroll through a Midwestern prairie in early fall knows just what I’m talking about. That nasty little weed is - literally - a thorn in everyone’s side.
I sat back in my chair and basked in the glory of my super deductive reasoning skills. I am like friggin’ Columbo!
I looked at my son, smiled and said in my most condescending Mom-voice, “It’s not a cuckoo bird, kiddo. It’s called a cocklebur.”
He shrugged and said, “Well, they both start with ‘C,’ right?”
And...that’s what we get for teaching the kid how to spell. We’ll never make that mistake again.