The only movie worth seeing, from my point of view, would be a movie about me as a child and my dad, because my dad is the coolest guy on the planet. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This cannot possibly be so, because my dad is the coolest guy on the planet.” However, you’re overlooking one key thing, and that is that you are wrong.
I struggled to figure out what actor possesses my dad’s unique combination of wit, kindness, physical strength and charisma, but I quickly realized that no one man could bear the strain of pretending to be my dad for more than a few moments, so a different actor would have to portray him in each scene. You must also excuse my indulgence in assuming that the imminent invention of time travel will allow my casting director to comb the infinite sands of time for the perfect talent.
The opening scene of the movie finds me, to be played either by myself or a young Russell Crowe, fighting with my brother, to be played by the Bigfoot from “Harry and the Hendersons.” The combat is totally equal, even though my brother is 16 months older, has longer arms and does not suffer from asthma. Eventually, however, my dogged efforts to protect myself from his relentless assaults become futile, and I flee to the tub in the upstairs bathroom, holding my breath so as to throw off his hound-like pursuit.
But suddenly the camera cuts to the front door, which blasts open to reveal my dad, played by Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of these United States. Finding my brother nosing behind the couch in the den, he delivers a brief but poignant speech on human equality, freedom and how much he likes the Bald Eagle tie I got him for his birthday that year. He then retrieves me from the bathtub and heals the breach between me and my brother. He also issues a proclamation barring my brother from using his Transformers action figures against their will to harvest Legos.
In another scene, you see me running at breakneck speed along the creek behind my house, pursued by an angry cottonmouth snake. Just as I reach my backyard, I trip on a protruding root and fall to the earth, my young life about to be cut tragically short just because flip flops are extremely impractical footwear. As the cottonmouth rears to strike, a shining steel pickaxe flashes down and severs its head. The camera pans up along the handle of the pick to reveal that it is wielded by my dad, played by Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. After picking me up and placing me on his park bench-like shoulders, my dad advances down the length of the creek in a skirmishing formation. He then lowers himself into the heart of the cottonmouth den, drops in a double scoop of concussion grenades while sniping the cottonmouth officers and withdraws to the hickory tree behind Mr. Peterson’s house despite heavy enemy fire and a leg full of shrapnel. When an elite Nazi unit arrives to reinforce the bombed-out cottonmouth den, my dad sets himself up in an abandoned, burning tank destroyer, driving the Nazis into entrenched positions and buying enough time for my mom, played by Harriet Tubman, to support him in a counterassault all the way to the heart of the Nazi position on Cedar Street. At some point in the battle, he has given me a crisp American flag, which I wave joyously until my infant arms become tired and I fall asleep on his back.
Later in the film, the audience sees me remove a Pop-Tart from the toaster only to have it break apart, leaving delicious crumbles of pastry deep within the machine. Eager to retrieve my treat, I grab a fork and attempt to pry out the bits, but just as I reach toward certain electrocution, a brawny hand descends to lock my wrist in a position of safety. Another pan reveals the owner of this robust limb: my dad, played by Thomas Alva Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park. After delivering an incisive and succinct lecture on the dangers of electrical potential, he takes me to his laboratory, which is a mix of Doc’s lab from “Back to the Future” and “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.” While teaching me how to whistle, he invents a structurally sound Pop-Tart.
The credits roll as we take turns tossing the sturdy pastries into the toaster and watching them slide out like ice on Teflon, and we laugh. Then everyone leaves the move theater feeling really awesome about how cool my dad is, and yet sad, because he is not their dad. After the credits, there is a secret deleted scene in which my dad and I high-five each other for five hours while watching an X-Files marathon.
Gregor Nazarian is the chairman of the Yale Record.