Last Sunday, when I was writing up my review for SNAKES ON A PLANE, I thought I'd draw a goofy version of the famous shot of Samuel L. Jackson holding a dead snake in his hands, instead of using the photo. I've been wanting to create spot illustrations for some of my posts and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for one. Using the original photo for reference, I began to create my color layer in Photoshop when Ava came up to me and wanted to sit in my lap to see what I was drawing.
I was a little worried about what she thought of the photo of this guy holding this huge snake, so I tried to downplay it as much as possible.
"Who's that, Daddy?"
"Oh, it's nothing. Just some actor holding a dead snake in his hand."
"Is that real?"
"Oh no, that's a fake one. It's all pretend."
"Oh," she replies. There's a slight pause before she asks the next question.
"What movie is that from?" Reluctantly, I respond, "Snakes on a Plane."
"Can I go see it?"
"Oh, no honey, it's a movie for adults like me. It's too scary and has gross stuff in it." I can almost hear the gears in her head turning and working hard as she thinks about her next reply.
"Well, I like gross stuff."
Typing out Ava's words here doesn't do that last line any justice. There was a certain way she said it, the inflection in her voice where she emphasized the "I like" that made it sound like that she was trying to convince me that she was okay with all this. That she wanted to be in on it. Similar in the way that you might say "Hey, I want to go-ooo!" if you found out some of your buddies were going out for the night. Hard to convey in writing, but still was a classic Ava moment for me.
Funny thing is, she does kinda like gross stuff. When she was 2, I used to take her with me to Criminal Records and hold her while I thumbed through the magazines and CD's. Sometimes (most of the time), my arms would get tired and I'd have to put her down. One time, I put her down and proceeded to look through some of the funky freshly-designed graffiti mags they had there on the magazine rack. Ava pretty much behaved herself, which was unusual at the time. When I was done with the magazine section, I grabbed Ava's arm so I could move onto the CD's in the back. Ava didn't move. I looked down and saw that she was eye-level with the current issue of Fangoria Magazine. Eeep! Luckily, the cover wasn't too gory for that particular issue, but still, it featured a creepy looking guy with pale, mottled skin (see image at right). I tried to pull her away, but Ava was fixated by this cover. She wouldn't budge. She wasn't scared of it, nor did she whimper or anything. She just stared at the creepy guy. Eye to eye.
I flipped the magazine over immediately and started to pick her up. But before I had a hold of her, Ava proceeded to turn the magazine back over. She was relentless. I finally pulled her away from the magazines, but couldn't help but think about how steadfast she was in looking at that cover. Who would've thought that a 2 year-old girl would dig a Fangoria magazine cover? Weird.
Back to the original story, Ava likes gross stuff. But I had to let her know that the gross stuff in SNAKES ON A PLANE was far more gross and scary than anything she's seen. She seemed a bit deflated, but then proceeded to critique my drawing of Samuel. "That doesn't look like him, daddy." "I know, I know, you're right." And she was right. It sucked. I scrapped the idea and just went with the photo. But I enjoyed the time she and I shared as she watched me attempt to draw some dude with a snake on a plane.
Now you see why we had kids in the first place: blog fodder. When in doubt, write about the kids! Always good for a laugh!