When my daughter turned eight years old she told me that she wanted to be a lawyer. When I explained to her that there were many different kinds of lawyers she thought long and hard about her options and decided that she wanted to specialize in handling dog custody in high profile divorce cases. This was far more ambition and planning than I had been capable of at eight years old so I didn’t question it and made a mental note to start saving money for law school.
Luckilly, a week later she told me that she had decided to spend her college years at F. I. L . I wasn’t sure what school that was so I asked her to provide details. She stated it was The Fashion Institute of Lawyering. It was at that moment I realized I should probably hold off on ordering any power suits for her, partially because she might not need them, and partially because she might have want to design them herself.
Another week into being eight found my little princess obsessed with the Ninja Warrior Show on the G4 cable network. If you’re not familiar, Ninja Warrior is essentially a show about people getting hurt on an insane obstacle course in Japan. If they manage to not be crushed by rolling logs or fall off 15 foot ledges into 6 inches of muddy sludge, they “win” the right to move on to the next level and have 50 pound doors smash them into dust after they hang cross a 2 inch metal ledge using only their fingertips. If you somehow manage to make it to the end and climb the rope up to the top of the mythical “Mount Midoriyama” before time runs out and you get dropped to your doom, you get to be called . . . Ninja Warrior.
So my kid LOVED this show and would often make me take her to the playground and do my best impression of the Japanese announcers describing the action while she raced up the slide and swung across the jungle gym in her quest to be the youngest Ninja Warrior ever crowned.
My kid wasn’t the only person obsessed with Ninja Warrior – it was such a hit that G4 actually put together a team of Americans to send to Japan and compete for the title. Leading their team was the original “hot geek girl”, Attack of the Show co-host, Olivia Munn.
Olivia Munn was suddenly the pinnacle of all role models for my eight year old wannabe Ninja. She had pretty hair AND she liked Star Wars – AND she was going to Japan to represent the West. It was such a big deal to her that it didn’t even matter that Olivia had wiped out on the first obstacle almost immediately. Just being there was impressive enough.
A short time later Olivia Munn wrote a book that I didn’t think to read and started a signing tour. My buddy Brother Jobu saw that she was going to be at a book store in our neighborhood and I asked the kid if she wanted to go. Of course she did – it was the American Ninja Warrior contender. She had a million questions for her on topics as wide ranging as – Did she intend to build a course replica in her backyard to train harder and had she bought any Hello Kitty paraphernalia while in the Orient.
Surprisingly, the book store was not too crowded. Maybe a hundred people or so. We purchased a copy of Olivia Munn’s book and waited patiently. When she arrived, she was shorter than I expected but otherwise exactly as Olivia Munnish as I imagined she would be. She stepped up to the podium, smiled and proceeded to read from her book. Her book that I had not read. Her book that is mostly full of anecdotes about her ridiculous sex experiences as a young wannabe starlet in Hollywood.
Brother Jobu and I sat shocked with my eight year old daughter. It was like watching a train wreck – no that’s not right – it was like being IN a train wreck. Couldn’t look away, couldn’t GET away – just stuck there while metal was seared and bodies were tossed all around us. I literally covered the child’s ears. Finally we had the good sense to get up and LEAVE, taking my little Ninja over to the kids section of the book store.
Now understand that this was MY fault. I take FULL responsibility for NOT even looking into what Olvia Munn’s book was about before sitting my kid there to hear an excerpt. I was just shocked that once she saw that there were little kids in the audience, she didn’t change the parts she chose to read or at least give a heads up as to what was to come. There were other kids there as well and she definitely saw them sitting there.
I spoke to her later and said in my best dry sarcasm –
“Hey thanks very much for explaining the virtue of giant black (rhymes with rock) to my eight year old daughter – I was trying to think of a way to broach the subject myself but you really made all the relevant points.”
Olivia sorta sneered and said, “Hey – I did you a favor. These are lessons all girls have to learn.”
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I learned an important lesson that night – two actually – Olivia Munn seems kind of damaged and if you are bringing your kid to a book signing – read the f*cking book.