Don't be fooled by the needle and thread. No, much to my mother-in-law's horror, I do not sew. I have a brand new, very fine sewing machine, in fact, stashed away in my dining room corner hutch as we speak. She got it for me for Christmas. I thanked her politely. And I promptly hid it where it would not guiltily remind me that there are just some things I will never learn. Spanish. Driving a stick. Sewing a hem.
This is not a mom blog. But I am a mom. So that means doing domestic things like sewing these little mushroom patches on my six-year-old Charlie's nylon school lunch bag.
Mario, is in fact a prominent figure in our family's daily life.
Don't know who Toad is? You obviously have a Nintendo deficiency that you must remedy, stat.
Toad in da house.
Guess who sewed this Toad hat immediately upon the request of my warped-sense-of-reality son? Not me. My mom, who is the ultimate the costumer of this huge production we call family. I could post for days on costumes she's made us over the years. It's just one of the few reasons I believe Charlie has no clue that you can't always just ask to "be" somebody in the middle of an ordinary afternoon, and then snap. You are. I mean, of course there are other reasons he sort of lives in a fantasy land, besides his grandma's willingness to just whip up a new identity made to order. Um, his dad collects almost every action figure in existence. His mom brings home props from commercial shoots that he then sees on TV while he's still playing-with-and-or-wearing said prop. Oh.. his uncle breathes fire and sticks nails up his nose.
I actually had no idea that little mustached plumber was so freakin' huge again until I realized it was Charlie's go-to subject for making new friends at his new school. "So, do you play Mario?" It's a fool-proof pickup line. But for them that can mean so many things. Do you play Mario on the Wii? On the Nintendo DS? Or in Charlie's case, in a continuously day-dreaming loop in your own head-in-the-clouds brain.
But I remember when there was only one option for playing Mario. Nintendo 64 baby. Oh yeah. We made the transition from our Atari with it's bleeping and blooping Donkey Kong and Food Fight to a whole new beautiful mushroomed and floating question-mark-cubed world when our parents moved us from our shangri-la lake house in the woods, to a brand new suburb, right at the beginning of the summer, which meant 1.) no friends and 2.) super parent guilt.
Enter the Nintendo.
We had one of those huge wood-paneled TV-as-piece-of-furniture televisions that sit on the floor it's so massive. It was in Donny's room nestled cozily under his loft-style bunk bed. And basically, the rules were this: we had to win the game (as in defeat the big boss, fireworks at the end, roll the credits) before our parents would buy us a new game. This rule right here would leave any modern six-year-old flabbergasted. But we didn't know any better, so we were all in, totally committed to winning Super Mario Bros. Old school.
Donny and I traded off that grey and red controller all day long. I literally got a blister on my thumb from those red buttons. Since it was summer, and I was twelve and uber-responsible, it was just the three of us together during the day while our parents were at work. Kathleen was really too little to play, but that didn't prevent her from whining at us to have a turn... from under the crack... of the locked bedroom door... What? We couldn't have her screw us up.
And I remember when we did screw up, and poor little Mario would fall down a pit or get chomped by a piranha plant... we would lose our minds. We would turn on each other like vicious dogs. "Why did you have to crunch that Cheeto right when I was jumping?!" "Why did you bump my elbow!?" "Why did you breathe?!!!"
I seriously think if any of us meet an untimely death in our later years due to heart attack, it will be because of the blood-pressure-spiking, palm-sweating, adrenaline pumping, high-anxiety state of our Mario playing youth.
So when Charlie fires up his handheld DS and that old little Mario song starts a playing, I can't help but feel a little sentimental (and perhaps a bit itchy-palmed to pull that sucker right out of his little hands and save me a princess.)
And so, to say Mario lives here is like introducing you to my old friend, or maybe my first-cousin. No. Shall I dare to say my brother? Yep. My super... brother.