by Chris Loprete
In one of his brilliant albums that I endlessly listened to growing up, Mel Brooks said “We mock the things we are to be.” My father and I always loved that line, but he obviously understood it more than I did at the time. Now I get it. Mel was talking about kids. And parents who used to be kids. And their kids… and their kids. It’s an endless cycle. “We mock the things we are to be”. It’s inevitable no matter how we try to stave it off or deny it. There should be a drinking game. Every time a kid says” I’ll never be like my parents” everyone has to drink. And then everyone has to take another drink when the parents says, ”Uh…yeah you will so just accept it.” At first, young parents look at it as a bad thing. Hell, even older parents cringe at the thought of it. Don’t believe me? Try telling your wife ‘You’re beginning to sound just like your mother.’ Just make sure you have a pillow and blankets when she makes you sleep in the car.
Here’s just one example. My father and I are very close, but he tended to be a little tough on me when it came to little league sports whether it was baseball or soccer. I have many rough memories of him sitting in the bleachers screaming instructions to me or chastising me for swinging at a ball in the dirt or kicking at a soccer ball that’s still about 10 feet away (to be fair, the poor man got saddled with a son with the hand/eye coordination of a T-Rex) . It’s the main reason why I now sit on the safe confines of my couch watching sports as opposed to playing them. I’m not talking out of school here. My father admits that he got a little intense. Actually he doesn’t remember being THAT bad, but it’s always tougher on the small ears hearing it rather than the big mouth yelling it (love you, Dad). He also lets me know that he has the same memories of his father growing up. I promised myself “I will never subject my boy to that torture. Some people are born athletes. I am not one of them and I will go easy on my boy in case he is not one either.” So maybe you can explain to me why it is that every Saturday
morning for the last two months I have been running up and down the sidelines of a soccer field at my neighborhood park yelling, “BRADEN,CHARGE THE BALL! GET IN THERE! DON’T BE AFRAID OF IT! FOCUS! BE SOCCER READY!” It’s almost like I black out or have an out of body experience. One part of me knows it’s wrong. The other part of me doesn’t care because DARN IT! THE BOY’S GOT TO EXCEL AS AN ATHLETE! I mean GEEZ! He’s ALREADY 4 ½ YEARS OLD! Down in Naples, Florida my father is laughing his ass off. And so is Mel Brooks.
Chris is an actor/writer living in Los Angeles. He’s performed in movies, TV and on stage with the Groundlings Improvisation troupe, and the award winning Circle X Theatre Company. He recently performed his self penned critically acclaimed one man show “You’re From Philly, Charlie Brown” in several cities across the US. Chris currently works as an Associate Writer/Producer for ABC On-Air Promos for Reality and Comedy. He lives north of Los Angeles, in Santa Clarita, with his wife and two children.
by Chris Loprete