“You what?” I said incredulously.
“I love these guys," he said matter-of-factly. "Used to watch them all the time. They played them in front of the movies. Popeye too.”
Later that night over a bottle of wine, I told my sister the story. She turned to our father. "You like cartoons? You?”
My dad confirmed that he did.
As far as I had known, my dad had never watched a cartoon in his life. The fact that I grew up worshiping at the altar of Bugs Bunny seemed to be lost on my dad. When I was watching TV, he would often swoop in the room, wrest control of the remote and turn on sports or news or something boring like that.
“Dad, do you realize I’m almost 38 years old and this is the first I’m hearing of this?” I said to him.
I was stunned and I was also a little ticked off. All of the times my dad tried to get me interested in sports and all of the time I spent fighting it, we could have been watching cartoons instead?
WonderWife™ had given the Bean a figure of Spider-Man riding a motorcycle. Despite my umbrage at the fact that Spider-Man does not ride a motorcycle (a fact I made well known to my nonchalant wife) the toy piqued the Bean’s interest in the web-crawler. During a long car trip, the Bean started asking a few questions and WonderWife™ attempted to answer. It was a valiant effort, but I needed to jump in and correct her on a few important details—namely that Spider-Man does in fact wear a costume.
“So Dad,” the Bean asked me the next morning, “Who is the person under Spider-Man’s costume?”
“That’s a really good question. I’m glad you asked. His name is Peter Parker…”
I laid it all out for him—the radioactive spider, the wall crawling, the web-slinging, the crime fighting. I taught him, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
As he absorbed all of this, his eyes got really big. More questions soon followed.