So I guess people my age are having kids now, or rather, have been for the last decade.
It definitely seems like I’m losing more and more of my friends to their offspring, so I thought I would share a post that parents of young children might relate to. I don’t have any kids, but about six years ago my friend Lisa had, like, the best one ever. His name is Cairo and he lives in Florida. Recently his kindergarten class was tasked with finding the most interesting person in their lives to send this weirdo called Flat Stanley off to, so they could have all sorts of adventures. Naturally, he chose his Titi Belly (me).
At first I wasn’t sure what this Stanley character was all about. Lisa explained to me that he was a little guy who was crushed by a bulletin board which was the best thing that ever happened to him because now he’s flat and can fit into a FedEx envelope and, as such, gets to travel all over the planet. She told me that the kids in Cairo’s class had to mail a “blank” Flat Stanley to someone they knew in another city. Whoever received Stanley had the next two weeks to spruce him up and then hit the town, taking pictures and collecting souvenirs from where ever they went, before packing Stanley into his envelope to report back to the class about his travels.
I could not. Be more down. For this project.
It just so happened that I was leaving for Ireland in a few days which put me in a position to CRUSH every one of those other kindergartner’s Flat Stanleys. It was going to be brutal. I couldn’t wait.
Part One: I’ve Created A Monster
When my Stanley package first arrived I was so excited to meet my new traveling buddy you would have thought my Ovaltine decoder ring had just come in the mail. I tore up the stairs to my apartment and prepared to meet the coolest two-dimensional dude around.
When I ripped open the envelope, however, this pathetic looking thing slipped out and landed face down on my living room carpet. He laid there motionless for like two minutes before I finally picked him up. When I turned him over he looked terrified. This was an international jet-setter? I didn’t think so.
If Stanley was going to be my sidekick he would have to look considerably more fly. So I grabbed some old wrapping paper, some markers and a worn out tank top and turned him into something I could be seen with.
Now we were ready to roll.
I have to admit, that first night was a little awkward. The Stanley that had been mailed to me was surprisingly, a timid simpleton, seemingly paralyzed by fear from being in a new environment. The Stanley I created headed straight for the vodka in my freezer and proceeded to get drunk in my living room. I guess that’s what I get for fitting him with a leisure suit, flying goggles and a smarmy grin. After four cocktails my fun little friend fell off the couch, landed on the floor at my feet and asked if I wanted to play “hide the Stanley.” I wasn’t sure what he meant so I asked him if this was something that they did in his kindergarten class. He assured me it was not. I put him to bed after that because we had a big day coming up and he was tanked.
The next morning I woke up with renewed enthusiasm. In a matter of hours we would be leaving for Ireland! I thought Stanley could help me pick out some outfits for the trip but he wasn’t nearly as chipper as he had been the night before. Dragging him off the couch was a bit of a chore, but I wasn’t going to get too discouraged, maybe he just had a wicked hangover.
He came around once he saw my suitcase, which made me feel better.
My high spirits were short-lived however, because this is what my kitty does to make me feel awful anytime I pack to go anywhere.
After a couple of drinks at the airport gate, I had forgotten all about the cat and was ready to start my adventure. Stanley, on the other hand, seemed a little off. Maybe it was because the bartender refused to serve a cartoon. When we got on the plane I took a photo of him next to the jet engine, thinking it would be a real treat but he informed me he’d been on more planes in the last year than I’d probably been on in my whole life and to chill out with the pictures cause we weren’t even there yet.
When we finally did arrive after a seven hour flight, Stanley was thirsty. The first place we went to was Mickey Martin’s Pub in Limerick City. I loved this place. It’s down an alley at the back of a church, and when you walk in there’s a fire place and it’s all wooden and cozy and warm. It looked like the type of pub where people would drink mead during the Middle Ages, only better because the European Cup was being shown on two screens and there were a bunch of different DJs lined up.
Seeing as this was Ireland and they would serve a sheep if it bellied up to the bar, Stanley was not only able to order a Guinness, he got to pour mine as well.
I wasn’t kidding about them serving animals
After we finished our beers, I thought it would be fun to do some sightseeing because Limerick has all sorts of cool stuff like a castle…
…and this guy.
But Stanley had made friends at the bar and they were blowing up my phone with invites to come back to their neighborhood. I told him that if all we did during out trip was drink beer and hang out with hooligans we weren’t going to have much to share with the kids in his school. That’s when Stanley asked if I was going to be a pussy the entire time we were away. Not wanting to be called out by a comic strip, I agreed to hop in the car and head off with Quinny, Clare and Philip.
At first I thought it might be cool to have the locals take us around, especially since I had all sorts of questions about their culture, like where did the Rubberbandits live? I wasn’t getting much information, however, due to everyone’s infatuation with my traveling companion. He was like a celebrity. They all wanted their picture taken with him and no one was paying any attention to me. The most I was able to gather about Limerick was that it used to be called “Stab City.” They told me not to worry though, as that nickname had become less popular over the years because way more people got shot there now than shanked. I was thinking it might be time to move on.
Our next stop was in Kerry, which is a county known for its beautiful landscape and sheep. I’m talking tons of sheep. Like more sheep than you’ve ever seen in your life. You could be doing eighty down the highway and if you had a window cracked, all you’d hear is “baaaaaaaaah!” Stanley thought this was hilarious and at one point decided to do his sheep impression directly into my ear for about forty minutes straight.
I was starting to wonder about this whole Stanley situation. Maybe I should have left him as he was when he fell out of his envelope, or dressed him in a more age appropriate fashion, like Charlie Brown or something, because this Stanley was kind of a dick. I didn’t want to give up on our adventure together just yet though…
…maybe we just needed a time-out.
To be continued.