The last time I interviewed my seven-year-old, Apollo Fonzarelli, was when he was sick in bed and so tired that he couldn’t run away when I annoyed him with my questions. This time I was the immobile one as I lay on the floor with a back injury and made him sit next to me as I asked him more questions.
Dad: Thanks for coming in today. This isn’t easy for me to say, but we’re going to have to let you go.
Fonz: Okay. Dot. Dot. Dot.
Dad: I hate to do this but I’m sure you’ll find other work.
Dad: We’re in our eleventh season as a family and I just feel the family chemistry is getting a bit stale and we need to shake things up. We’re going to try somebody else in the position of second oldest son, but we’re willing to try you in a different role.
Fonz: I hope you’re gonna replace me with me. Why don’t you replace Optimist Prime?
Dad: Here are the roles we have available: the third oldest son, or an adorable nephew who comes and lives with us for one season and utters a funny catchphrase, or a pirate.
Fonz: I choose pirate. You know what I’m thinking about? Where am I supposed to get a pirate costume?
Dad: We’ll provide the costume. No health insurance. Limited dental insurance—we’ll only cover permanent teeth. Final offer.
Dad: How was school today? Anything happen with Whatshername?
Fonz: Nothing. Except she changed her ponytail back to regular hair.
Dad: If your dad was a superhero, and you knew his secret identity, would you tell your friends?
Fonz: Only if I had superpowers, too. Either the power to make people fall in love with me if I gave them a sharp look or the power to fly.
Dad: What’s a sharp look?
Fonz: Like this. (His eyes strain like he’s trying to read instructions on a label without his prescription bifocals.) Flex my eyes while flexing my skull at the same time.
Dad: If your friend Harold told you that–
Fonz: His name’s Howard.
Dad: I’m pretty sure his name is Harold, but let’s agree to disagree. If your friend Howard/Harold was bragging that his dad was a superhero, and Whatshername seemed really impressed, would you tell my secret identity in order to impress her?
Fonz: What superpower would you have?
Dad: The power to pick the ripest fruit at the supermarket.
Dad: So you wouldn’t tell my secret identity?
Dad: Can I tell you a secret?
Dad: We’re having pizza for dinner.
Dad: Is it okay to steal things?
Dad: Everybody knows it’s wrong to steal things that are lame, but is it okay to steal something awesome that you really, really want?
Fonz: I feel like I should say yes to be funny, but the correct answer is no.
Dad: Is it okay to steal a cure for cancer if somebody has a cure hidden in his house and he won’t share it?
Fonz: Probably…if it’s a really fast cure, like it only takes one minute, and you only have less than one day to live…then probably.
Dad: What if the person who wouldn’t share the cure was mom?
Fonz: I would by far steal it.
Dad: If mom and dad were trapped in a hotel and the hotel was on fire, and you only had time to buy one of us a gift at the hotel gift shop, who would it be?
Fonz: You mean the gift of saving you?
Dad: I mean a birthday gift.
Fonz: Whose birthday is it?
Fonz: Why would I get you a gift if it’s my birthday?
Dad: Because you feel guilty for starting the hotel on fire because you played with matches.
Fonz: Why would I need to be getting any of you a gift when I could be using that time to save your life?
Dad: The point I’m trying to make is don’t play with matches.
Fonz: Okay. Okay.
Read the first An Interview with Apollo Fonzarelli
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