The Fonz Celebrates His Birthday by Pausing for Breath

Posted on April 29, 2013


My youngest son The Fonz recently celebrated his ninth birthday. The last year witnessed him achieving numerous milestones such as working up the nerve to ask his crush’s name then forgetting it immediately; going an entire week without putting any of his clothes on backwards; and for the first time pausing for breath and giving someone else a chance to speak.

This kid likes to talk. And talk. And talk. He’s never feared monsters in the closet but quivers at awkward silences. He seems to make friends easily, and for the first eight years of his life his only pre-requisite for friendship was the inability to speak English. All of his good friends spoke English as a second language and were never able to keep up with his speed, and I think that’s how The Fonz liked it. He was more than willing to do enough talking for two. His Korean or Japanese or Chinese friends would just smile and laugh, and if they actually understood his bizarre ramblings we’ll never know.

But this last year he finally branched out and made some friends who could actually talk back. And oh, how they can talk. And talk. And talk. For The Fonz’s birthday we took him and his two best friends for pizza, then to the arcade, followed by a sleepover, and a week later my wife and I are still recovering from the cacophony.

Some kids choose a birthday party theme like Transformers or pirates or cars; if I had to retrospectively pick this party’s theme it would be ‘interrupting.’

When we sat down to order pizza, one of his friends knew exactly what pizza he wanted and was determined not to accept any substitutes. I should note his lines were delivered in an extremely polite English accent.

FONZ’S FRIEND: I’ll have a margherita pizza, please. I’ll have a margherita pizza, please.

ME: Okay. I heard you. Just give me a second to look at the menu.

FONZ’S FRIEND: Margherita pizza is my favorite.

ME: I think we’ll order three pizzas for the whole group so let’s wait for everyone to look at the menu.

FONZ’S FRIEND: Margherita is the one I want. I can eat a whole margherita pizza by myself.

ME: Noted.

(Waitress approaches.)

FONZ’S FRIEND: Don’t forget to order a margherita pizza.

ME: I remember. Wait just a second. (To the waitress.) Excuse me, do you have a margherita pizza? I didn’t see it on the menu.

(The waitress leaves to find another waitress.)

FONZ’S FRIEND: I can find it. I can find it on the menu. Let me show you. (He examines the menu.) I can’t find it.

(A new waitress approaches.)

FONZ’S FRIEND: My favorite is margherita pizza. I’ll have a margherita pizza, please.

ME: I know. I remember. Excuse me, do you have a margherita pizza?


ME: Okay. I’ll have one margherita pizza. And um…I’ll also have one veggie delight pizza. And…

FONZ’S FRIEND: Veggie delight? What about a margherita pizza?

ME: I already ordered one margherita pizza.


ME: And for the third pizza…I’ll have…a second margherita pizza.

FONZ’S FRIEND: Did you order a margherita pizza? Margherita pizza is my favorite.

ME: A margherita pizza? I wish you’d told me when I was ordering. You should have told me fifteen times. I had no idea you liked margherita pizza.

FONZ’S FRIEND: I do! Margherita pizza is my favorite!

He ate one and a half pieces of margherita pizza.


If you grew up in America and gave up on math because it was impossible to compete with your school’s Asian kids, imagine how my kids feel trying to learn math while attending school in Asia. My eleven-year-old son attended a Shanghai math competition this past weekend, and we were proud of him just for being selected, but he was disappointed when he didn’t place and only received a participation certificate. He arrived home and announced, “There were thirteen different categories of winners and twelve of them were Asian and eleven of those twelve were wearing glasses.”

We can’t make him Asian for the next math competition, but we can buy him some non-prescription glasses.


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Posted in: Family