Fonz and Whatshername Sitting in a Tree: Part 3

Posted on February 14, 2012


This might surprise you, but I tend to joke around a lot with my kids.

They rarely believe anything I say because I give parenting advice with the same straight face in which I give zombie-escape-route advice–all while wearing a smoking jacket and pretending to smoke a pipe. But I have given the kids a few categories for which I’ve promised never to joke or tease so they know my advice is reliable:

1. Drugs: Optimist Prime read Steve Jobs biography and both boys had a lot of questions about how someone so successful could describe dropping acid as one of the most important experiences of his life.

2. The tragedy of Olivia Newton-John not being offered better film rolls after Grease.

3. Everything I know about getting girls.

This is why my seven-year-old, The Fonz, races home from the bus every day, eager to give me an update on his developing relationship with Whatshername–the new Italian student whose name he rarely remembers and can’t pronounce correctly when he does.

“She said ‘hi’ to me twice today.”
“Wow! Did you say ‘hi’ back?”
“Um…I don’t remember.”

By the time dinner approaches, he’ll have planned a couple replies for the next meeting.

“When she says ‘hi’ I’ll look in her direction, wave, and then I’ll walk into a wall.” He demonstrates the routine he’s perfected, ending in a smiling heap on the floor.

You may think a seven-year-old is too young to have his romantic interests encouraged–and a good dad might tell him he’ll have plenty of time for girls when he’s eight–but I knew I had no choice but to nudge him forward after the first time he reported, “Now I have a reason to look forward to school.”

The biggest breakthrough in their budding romance came the day after the last Fonz and Whatshername post.

“She said she wanted to give me a nickname.”
“Great! What was the nickname?”
“Fun Guy!”

He may have earned the nickname by wearing outfits like this.

This first struck me as a particularly lazy nickname, but you could do a lot worse. With any luck the name will stick and they’ll still be calling him Fun Guy at his first job, regardless of whether he’s any fun.

“Fire Fun Guy? Out of the question! I know he doesn’t do any work and he doesn’t actually do anything ‘fun’ in the strictest definition of the word, but how am I going to explain to my kids that I fired Fun Guy, the only name they remember from the office Christmas party?”

Today I asked how often Whatshername had called him ‘Fun Guy’?

“Um…I think she changed my nickname to ‘Buddy.'”
“Why did she decide to change your nickname from ‘Fun Guy’? Did you do something un-fun?”
“The next time I saw her she asked if I could hold her book, and she said, ‘Thanks, Buddy.'”
“Do you think she called you ‘Buddy’ as a nickname or did she maybe forget your name?”
“Um…she also called me ‘guy.'”
“How did she say it?”
“She said, ‘Hi, guys.'”
“So she said ‘guys’, not ‘guy,’ right? Were you with some other guys?”
“Yeah. But I was the only one who said ‘hi’ back.”

But he’s confident she thinks of him differently than those other guys because–and at this point his voice drops to a whisper:

“I’m the only one she let see what library books she was checking out.”

Sounds like it’s getting pretty serious.

Read Fonz and Whatshername Sitting in a Tree: Part 1

Read Fonz and Whatshername Sitting in a Tree: Part 2


One reader asked for an explanation of the ‘sitting in a tree’ portion of the title. I don’t know if this schoolyard rhyme is universal among English-speaking nations, but kids in America would sing this song to tease you if they thought you had a crush on someone, “Fonz and Whatshername sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” The rhyme may not be as ubiquitous if you live in a country that bans kissing and/or trees.

I sang this song to The Fonz and he answered, “Fonz and Whatshername sitting in a tree, F-A-L-L-I-N-G.”


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