It wasn’t the birthday party from Hell, but it sure was in Hell’s zip code. About half an hour in, I’d given up trying to stop the kid in the Green Striped Shirt from choking me with my own cape. I figured, if his parents were gonna sit there in front of us and watch all this go down without saying a WORD, it was probably meant to be. I’d never imagined that my death would occur by asphyxiation via a Darth Vader cape, but you gotta admit, it would have been pretty poetic.
Usually when the pinata comes out at a party, it’s a huge relief because it means that my fellow Jedi partner and I can sit back and do jack shit for ten minutes while the kids wail away on a papier-mâché Vader head. And not only that, but the pinata also allows me to drop my favorite party joke of all time: seeing Vader hanging from a tree and turning to the parents, wagging a finger of shame. “That’s just wrong.”
Not this time.
At the party-not-quite-of-Hell-but-in-Hell’s-neighborhood they had a pinata. Not a Vader pinata, but a paper-mache Death Star pinata. So far, so good. However, that’s where the “so good” stops. Some genius graduate of the School for Excellent Parenting thought it would be a good idea to layer the pinata with so much papier-mâché that it was nearly as indestructible as the real Death Star. We were gonna need Luke, an X-Wing and Obi-Wan’s ghost to break the damn thing.
But, wait! One unbreakable pinata, you say? Child’s play! I see your brick of a pinata and raise you one five-foot wooden beam.
Throw in a group of six-year-olds hopped up on sugar and a lack of parental control swinging that wooden beam around like a bunch of Tasmanian Devils on crack and you’ve got yourself a party!
Yup. I will say, if there was anything that was gonna break that pinata open, a wooden beam taller than any of the children swinging it surely would do the trick. And boy, were these kids swinging. You know how in golf they always tell you to check your backswing to make sure that no one’s innocent bystanding face is in the way? Yeah, these kids never got that lesson.
What happened in the next five minutes was nothing short of a miracle of close calls and near misses that Buster Keaton himself couldn’t have choreographed better. As Mom would duck to scold one child, the Beam would whiz by the space previously occupied by her head just a split second before. The Little Toddler almost got it a couple times, as she rather liked to crawl in the space directly underneath the pinata… Um, Dad do you see that toddler there underneath the pinata? The pinata your holding the rope to and your son is Mark McGuireing on? Oh, that’s right, you’re checking e-mail on your phone. You multi-tasker, you.
Finally, after my face had turned into a permanent cringe (luckily hidden behind Lord Vader’s mask) the Death Star began to crack. Little bits of candy started to leak out, hitting the floor. It would all be over soon, thank God.
The birthday boy winds up and delivers the pinata a SMACK! for the ages, just missing all the other kids already rummaging through the fallen candy who couldn’t bother with waiting for the whole pinata to break and senile old Grandma, who wandered to within an inch of losing her head, to ask, “What’s going on? Why is everybody gathered around here?”
In the end, everyone survived, no one was hurt, except for maybe my dignity and the Birthday Boy got his medallion and became a Jedi. I guess it wasn’t such a bad party after all. Plus, they tipped me twenty bucks and half a tomato and mozzarella sandwich. Just don’t ever ask me to coach Little League.