Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 37

with 6 comments

Today was one of those days that absolutely could not have happened if I were working.  First of all, I got almost nothing done.  If I were working, I could never get away with being that unproductive.  But what I did get to do was to hang out with my kids for a couple of hours at their school.   Actually, usually this time of year I’m off anyway, but let’s say my pilot got picked up and I was busy taking calls from studio heads and network honchos and trying to comfort insecure actresses all the while I was being bombarded by agents who wanted me to read their clients’ scripts– if that was the case, I never would have been able to dress like a parrot and hang out at my kids’ Purim carnival.  (Damn, I was feeling better about myself until I wrote it all down).


Anyway, today was our school’s annual Purim carnival, and I always make it a point not only to attend, but to dress up.  I am also almost the only father there, which seems to get me more credit from my wife which I like.  My first year doing this I dressed as a dinosaur plushy and immediately upon putting on the costume I was assaulted by a group of kids who proceeded to pound me in the nuts.  I took off my head and screamed– as you would have– and the kids scattered.  I then composed myself, put back on my head, and out of nowhere another group of kids attacked the same area.  What the hell?!  I don’t know what it was about putting on a dinosaur costume that gave the kids the right to pound me in the nuts, but I haven’t put on one since.  In fact, I think that may have been the reason dinosaurs became extinct.

This year, after having exhausted a dinosaur, a cow, a wolf and another random animal whose head I think someone threw up in, I opted to be a parrot.  The giant parrot is the worst designed “mascot” costume ever made: there is no way to see out of it.  I asked the lady at the store where you’re supposed to see out of and she pointed to the two mesh eyes.  I pointed out that the eyes were on either side of the bird’s head.   She remarked that yes, that’s where bird’s eyes are.  I responded that that’s not where human eyes are, so unless this costume was made for an actual parrot, it was impossible to see out of.  I had quickly exhausted the woman’s patience and she finally just asked if I wanted to rent the parrot or not.  If I didn’t, she had to take that long stick with the hook on the end of it, put the costume on the rack and get back to work: after all Halloween was coming in less than 8 months.  I told her of course I wanted the parrot, it just didn’t make any sense.

So, why did I pick the parrot when there were dozens of other over-priced, heavily sweat-in, never washed plushy customs hanging obscenely from the ceiling of the third most famous costume shop near Hollywood?  Because my daughter said she wanted me to be a parrot.  (Her first choice was Peacock but I had a good feeling there wouldn’t be a peacock available, and even if there were, I wouldn’t be able to get it in the back of my Prius).  Despite my nearly constant tactical and strategic parenting blunders, everything I know about being a classic dad is from sitcoms, and so it would seem that the best dad would be the kind who dressed up as a giant parrot for his kids.  In the end, I really had no choice but to be the blind parrot.

Another reason to dress up as a giant stuffed animal is because I knew that my kids’ favorite parent, their mom, would not.  I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to shine is not necessarily to be the best parent you can be in a moment, but to just be better than the other one.  To hammer this point home to my kids, I invented a song about my wife called, “Momma Said ‘No'”.  It’s a Cat’s in the Cradle type song used to highlight the difference between my wife and me– thus by lowering her in my kids eyes, I’m actually raising myself.  Genius, right?  The song came about when the kids asked Shawni if she’d dress up this year.  My wife, who is exceptional in almost every regard, happens to be a shy person and dressing in a costume is one of the last things she’d do (she wins the kids over the easy way, with patience and understanding and unconditional love).  When Shawni said she was just going to take pictures, I ad-libbed the song, “Mommy, can you dress up/It’ll be such fun/I promise you won’t be the only one.”  Chorus: “And Momma Said No, No, No!  Momma Said No, No, No!”  The kids roared.  And they should have: it was a brilliant song– the kind of songs that the great story-tellers of the 70’s composed.  Remember “Run Joey Run” about the guy who knocks up his girlfriend and her father shoots him?  A great story/a great song.  And don’t get me started about the Piña Colada Song (Escape) about the couple that each put personal ads in the paper so they can cheat on their partner and then when they make the discovery instead of throwing things and cursing each other out, they decide to make love on the dunes by the cape?  Classic story/Classic song.  Anyway, “Momma Said No” was an instant classic in my house.  In no time, each of the three of us– my son, daughter and me, did a different verse about something my wife would say no to: eating macaroni and Cheese every night, watching endless tv, flying a robot into space (my son is a little off), but the point was, that by comparison, it made me look like the better (ie: more fun) parent, which is something I rarely get to be, and that was certainly worth the price of dressing up as a giant parrot.

I was also going to talk about having dinner with a dear old friend and his wife tonight– one of my best friends (ie: I’ve seen him twice in the last year) who is special to me because he was the only one who was honest to me about how horrible my Crazy Ex- was (which is why we broke up two years after that), and because we may have actually died together on a frozen highway driving up to Mammoth Mountain about 15 years ago.  But that’s another story for another time.  It’s now 11:00 and my wife just went upstairs and I’m going to see if she wants to cuddle with a giant parrot before I have to take the costume back tomorrow.

UPDATE: 11:17 P.M.  Shawni said No, no, no.

Not seen in this picture: my eyes.

Written by 100daysoff

March 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. You wrote a hit song on your first try? In your FACE, Kopp!


    David Kantor

    March 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  2. Seen in this picture: your crocs.


    March 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm

  3. Hysterical….


    March 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

  4. Very attractive shins

    Marc Rosenberg

    March 23, 2011 at 3:16 am

  5. Where’s the Angry Birds catapult when you need it? You’re Maimo’s dad of the year, Jeff!

    Marian Merritt

    March 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

  6. My favorite ironic line of your entire blog: “…everything I know about being a classic dad is from sitcoms…”


    March 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

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