Summer memories to last a year

Humor column
By: Tony Overbay, Special to The News Messenger
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To someone walking by, the scene was pretty pathetic. I was sitting by myself near Tomorrow Land in Disneyland. My family had moved on to ride Nemo or maybe the cars at Autotopia. But there I was determined to get every penny’s worth out of the $72 I had just spent at Pizza Port. That got me five slices of pizza, some breadsticks, two large lemonades and a couple of side salads. The kids had begged for the food. I was trying to feed them popcorn and churros in hopes of heading somewhere cheap after the park closed but they were complaining like I’d just asked them to take one more picture in front of Tinkerbell’s Castle. Just a few minutes earlier, everything was OK. We were on day two of our vacation. I had calculated the cost of hotels, park entrance and even a couple of souvenirs. The part that I forgot was the fact that my kids like to eat. You feed them in the morning and they’re hungry again at lunch and then again at dinner! And from the looks of day one, they were going to continue this pattern the entire vacation! So here we all were eating our overpriced, undercooked pizza. At least they were all eating. I had just shared with them that, for $72, we could have purchased 14 large pizzas at NY Pizza off Joiner. I felt like at the very least the kids were learning some math. I tried a bit of history, mixed with comedy, too. I shared with them a time 20 years ago when I went to a movie theater with my wife (yes kids, they had movie theaters back then) and when presented with a price of $9 for two drinks and a large popcorn, I asked, “Do you offer financing!” Little did I know that 20 years later, the popcorn alone would run me $9. That joke had killed at the theater back in the ‘80s; it played to blank stares at the lunch table in the year 2010. I never thought I’d start sounding like a grandfather at the tender young age of 40! But I can’t lie. All of a sudden, I felt an urge to yell at some kids to get off the lawn! And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that dark socks were starting to look more and more enticing with a pair of shorts. But there was definitely something wrong with me sitting at this table at the happiest place on Earth. I was at my most primitive form. I’m sure I was hunched over the food, growling at passers by. I felt like I wouldn’t truly be happy unless I got my money’s worth! So I sat there and ate pizza slice after pizza slice, salad after salad. And when all that was said and done, I even tipped back a couple of packs of Parmesan cheese just so I could feel like I got the better of them! I even chewed the ice until my teeth hurt. Mickey Mouse, I’m not your pawn! Same scene a day later, only this time we were at California Adventure, and the lesson for the day was patience. Not the kind of patience where you wait 45 minutes to get on the Tower of Terror only to be told it was malfunctioning right when you get to the front of the line, which did happen, and yes, I was that guy who said, “Come on, just let me on! I’ll take my chances!” No, on this day, I learned many, many valuable lessons on patience. At one point, my wife and I decided to divide and conquer. She found a table near a restaurant she had set her eye on. My kids volunteered to wait at the table, but, wanting to make the most of my time with my kids, I grabbed my youngest son and invited him to come wait with me in the corndog line! The line was incredibly long. We waited for half an hour and finally, finally were within earshot of the order window. We could hear the sound of arteries clogging with every snap and pop of the deep fat fryer. “Dad, I have to go potty!” “No, no, son, you don’t.” But when I turned and looked at him, it was obvious that he had to go. He was dancing, he had that look and he also had what appeared to be a death grip on himself, and I knew that if he let go, he’d, well, let go! I looked at the line, the kind woman behind me. She just shook her head, there wasn’t going to be any saving of spots. And I had already learned my lesson … twice! Two times we were caught waiting to get off a ride and, well, when the boy has to go, the boy has to go! To the Peterson’s and their entire family reunion group, my apologies, our water bottle didn’t actually leak onto the seat earlier that day. We left our spot in line, and an hour or so later, we got the corndogs and made our way back to the table, only to find out the kids had filled up on my wife’s dinner. Three corndogs later, I had my justice, and half a dozen ketchup and mustard shooters after that, I had gained my victory! Tony Overbay is a Lincoln resident.