It May Just Save Your Life!
Learning To Talk
I once wrote a similar blog entitled “Please…For Your Own Good, Rent My Child.” It stands the test of time as one of my favorite blogs because it is all about how toddlers can help you perfect the art of storytelling. I am told that as far as great reads, there is The Bible, Teen Beat Magazine, and that blog. And those little paper restaurant table menus.
I have penned several blogs about my eldest son, Brennan, who is now five. In all fairness to my second son, Asher, who is turning two in June and has NO blogs written about him, it is now his turn. So join me as we, lovingly together, kick my eldest son to the curb.
Asher is learning to speak!!! It blows me away how many things he utters now. Why, just the other day, I asked him if he would like some juice, and I was subsequently entreated to a full recitation of the Gettysburg Address. It was rather impressive. At least I think that is what he said…there were a lot of vowels and something about Buzz Lightyear.
There are times when my toddler will approach me in complete sincerity with a long string of vowels and consonants assembled loosely together in a manner which, in many intriguing ways and in many diverse forms, comes to mean absolutely nothing at all. While doing so, he has complete confidence that I should have understood him. Oh, that quizzical, endearing look that says “Should you fail to understand me, I shall cut you." I just want to pick him up and squeeze him so that he can stab me better, though I do not have the foggiest clue what he is trying to say. He is dangerously adorable.
Here are the newest entries to Asher’s growing list of “I Can Say These Things”:
- Yesh = I am told by my wife that this means the opposite of No.
- Mm-hmmm! = This also means Yes, but is said in a melodic sing-songy fashion to ensure that I am captive to his immeasurable cuteness and buy him things.
- Ooompa-Loompa. = This means Ooompa-Loompa.
- Bye-bye Dada = He says this when I leave the house. Also when he is stabbing me.
- Mo Doof Psssss = This is a loose translation of “More juice please.” Asher utters this at 9:05am, 9:20am, 9:45am, 10:20am, 10:50am, 11am, and every other time of every hour every single day all day all the time.
- Mo Wawa Psssssss = When there is no juice present, Asher will settle for water.
- Atho = This is how Asher says his own name. It is frighteningly adorable, and I once again am forced to buy him things.
- Oh Mane! = This is an exclamation of dismay as something falls to the floor from his high chair. It is also used by me anytime we receive anything from the I.R.S.
- Bruddo = This is “Brother.” This means his older brother Brennan, who he pronounces “Riddy.” But this blog is about Atho, not Riddy, who we kicked to the curb, if you recall.
- Pssss = "Please." Asher cannot enunciate “please” yet, so this is a stark, snakelike whisper that has nothing to do with snakes and everything to do with a request for more doof.
- Wee-doh = While pointing at a window, Atho will say “wee-doh”. I plan on being confused when our friend Guido comes over. I will leave you to figure this one out on your own.
These and more are part of the growing ensemble of Atho-Speak.
I Am Dying
Please do not panic, but I am dying. It is true: I notice something malfunctioning with me with every new day. Also my birth certificate has an expiration date on it, so there is that.
Curiously, my leg stopped working the other morning mid-walk: the first thought that went through my head as I glanced down was “I believe I need that to continue functioning.”
Then there is math. Lately I find that any time I attempt to add two plus two, the best I can come up with is “bumfuzzle.” This is an amusing word, but is not the correct math answer.
There are also times where I completely forget to breathe oxygen, and the first thought that goes through my head when I realize I am turning blue is, “I believe I need that to continue functioning.”
And there are even times where I will stare at an object that seems like it at one point was familiar to me, and approximately 45 minutes later the words “your wife” will finally, magically appear in my brain. It is at that point that I finally remember who the Angry Scorned Woman is who just threw scalding hot water onto my sensitive areas while my toddler continues to slash at me. We are often visited by the authorities.
And just yesterday I could not remember the word “aardvark”, which has appeared in at least two sentences I have uttered since being born in 1973. Clearly, I am going to detonate soon if I cannot remember a simple word like aardvark. Why was I trying to use the word “aardvark”? As I have previously explained, I have a toddler, who has a pressing need to know what absolutely everything is at any given moment in any given picture book, and it does not matter if my leg has stopped working and I am collapsed into a reverse-parallelogram on the floor because I have once again forgotten to breathe. I am a Voiceover Artist, and I must therefore teach my Voiceover Toddler all words before I detonate. This should include all arbitrary facts about aardvarks. Sidebar: Hey! I remembered the word arbitrary!
I do not know why my brain sometimes malfunctions. It is reassuring to see that Asher's is functioning well, and he is learning to speak, but , it does concern me slightly to watch my life slowly ebb away while his blossoms.
Nonetheless, I remain overwhelmingly convinced that when I go, I will go with a smile. You see, my wife and I did not plan on having this second small human: the one with the Shirley Temple hair who continues to demand fresh doof from our fridge. We do so love our little Atho. He is beautiful, adorable, and simply will not sleep despite how much money we offer.
I just started a new trip around the sun this past Tuesday the 18th. In case you are wondering, I turned 48, which is the roman numeral equivalent for "near-death." It was a marvelous time. Our family went to the children’s museum, then picked up a fresh pack of Depends for me. My walker held up the entire time, and I dribbled only the most imperceptible amount on the museum attendant. We got back just in time for my afternoon nap and Metamucil! It was wonderful. I seem to remember being in the car with someone – ah! my wife – and two small creatures that were very loud and constantly interrupted my dozing off. Other than that, it was sensational. We talked about Grover Cleveland and how beautiful it was when I was there during Creation.
Now where did I put my teeth???
My Brain Is Melting
It truly is demoralizing growing older. As a Voice Talent, I am required to say things well if I would like to be paid. At times while reading a script, I suspect that my brain is actually, melting and will soon ooze out of my ears. They will find me on the floor of my studio in a giant ooze pile, and hopefully I will have remembered to hit record before I went in, so they can play back the sploosh sound for the authorities and pinpoint the exact minute and second where I began to disintegrate. I believe it will be at the point of the script where I was required to say “aardvark.”
As I observe my toddler learn to speak and grasp new words every day, it truly is an amazing sight to behold: English is a second language for him, but he is learning swiftly. He is learning how to speak, and yet there are times where I am forgetting how to. I am paid to say stuff. All I can hope is that I will continue to function well enough to not only remember to employ all the voiceover techniques that I have learned over the years, but also to remember to send the invoice for a job well done before my heart decides it is time to stop doing heart things.
It is a wonderful but hard career: saying things. Words fall out of my head daily, and I hope that I will make it to the end, which is when I turn to ooze, they vacuum me up off the floor of my studio and sell me to a band of itinerant, roaming, travelling gypsies who do not know that itinerant, nomadic and travelling mean roughly the same things, and who collect the liquified remains of former voice talent who apparently cannot say aardvark.
But it is all good. All I ask is that during my slow demise, please do not take my Voiceover Toddler Atho away from me. I believe I need that to continue functioning. If you do not have one, I suggest you call 1-800-GET-KIDS now, and get yourself a Voiceover Toddler before it is too late.
Here is the point. We are all aging towards death every day. Take delight in the youth around you. Celebrate vitality and keep it close - never let it go. Words hold great power, and they are amazing to learn. We ourselves once knew nothing about the English language. Now we have a mastery over it, and we work to compel people as we deliver it. That is what my little Atho will soon be doing. That is what you and I should be doing until we are room temperature. We are in the business of words. Soon, Atho will be doing business, and this brings utter joy to my heart...which at the moment is still operational. Someone please find my teeth.
Yours in Aardvarks,
Dying Voiceover OozeMan
Final Bullet Points:
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- This is a fourth bullet point.
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire