September 16, 2013: Vote for Pedro


Ben Lane has courage. Not always in ways that I approve, but he has it.

This morning he showed confidence as he courageously walked from his car to my house in a soggy t-shirt and underwear (and nothing else) following football practice. I later found out that he made a similarly clad trek from the locker room to his car at school. I am unsure whether his courageous mind remembered that the parking lots are video taped. We will see if a You Tube video pops up on his escapades.

For the record and to add to my befuddlement, I am unsure why he chose to march around without pants on. His answer was that he left his pads in the locker room. I am guessing he forgot his shorts. Of course his resolution is to just walk out in his underwear. Fearless Ben.

As a child, Ben was always to first to raise his hand and volunteer to jump on a stage. A showman at heart, crowds feed him. They certainly don't scare him.

Years back, our cousin, Stefano, invited us to a special appearance on Creighton campus by the actor who played Napoleon in the movie "Napoleon Dynamite". Jon Heder was cast as this nerdy, moon-booted character and portrayed him to perfection. He had a cult following which included me and my children. Ben was eight at the time.

A popular part of the movie was Napoleon campaigning on behalf of his friend, Pedro, for class president. "Vote for Pedro" shirts were worn by Napoleon's camp. My boys proudly owned these matching shirts.

The Jon Heder event was intended for Creighton students. They packed the student center to listen to and potentially meet the man behind Napoleon. Our boys were the only children there. They listened to every word as Jon described the making of the movie and development of his comical character.

Next it was time for Jon to field questions from the audience. I later read that there were over 700 Creighton students in attendance. Several of these students raised their hands asking questions on Jon's personal life and the film. Then Ben raised his hand. We were on the far side, away from the main crowd. But propped on Stefano's back, Ben waved his hand until he got Jon's attention.

"I think we have a question from one of the younger Creighton students. Come up on stage, young man."

Ben confidently walked on to the stage; front and center. Without hesitation, he gripped the microphone. Jon prompted him for his question.

Without missing a beat Ben deadpanned, "Did you vote for Pedro or Summer?"

The crowd responded in laughter as the question related to the very non-complex story line and the happy ending.

Jon immediately went into character as he belted out his answer in classic Napoleon exasperation, "I didn't vote for Summer! She'd ruin my life. Do you think I'm a frickin' idiot? Geez!"

The crowd roared. Ben beamed. You would have thought he won a spelling bee. But no alphabet-related contests for Ben. Just a wisecrack that brought down the college house. And in retrospect, I'm just glad he decided to keep his pants on.  

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