Monday, June 21, 2010

TBG Diary: Jalen's Kindergarten Graduation Speech (VIDEO~!)

This year's Father's Day weekend offered quite the dichotomy.

Good News: I bought the last bottles of
Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Ale and Karl Strauss 21st Anniversary Ale (reviews coming soon!) from my local bodega in advance of a Saturday afternoon tailgate with friends prior to the Padres vs. Orioles interleague game later in the evening at PETCO Park.

Bad News: Jalen and I left Stately Bootleg Manor much later than originally anticipated and couldn't make the tailgate. In my mind, I could hear Mrs. Bootleg rehearsing her "I told you to leave earlier!" taunt for the rest of the night.

Good News: My search for the world's greatest churro has come to an end. PETCO Park sells a $3.00 stick of warm, chewy cinnamon-sugary goodness that's as long as your arm. It's buttery, homemade flavor was like a cross between a phallic symbol and cinnamon toast.
Jalen approved, too.

Bad News: Jalen's first ballpark dessert choice is the ice cream cookie sandwich. For whatever reason, they aren't sold at any of the concession stands in the nose bleed seats. I spent several innings listening to my son's desperate pleas for one – even after he destroyed God's churro.

Good News: After the game, I saw Orioles' broadcasters and Hall of Fame players Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray leaving the ballpark. After Murray and I made eye contact, he sized up Jalen and gruffly handed me one of the Padres' fan-giveaway bobblehead dolls that the team gives out to all the media, as well. He and Palmer never broke stride and even rudely blew off a few respectful autograph requests!

Bad News: Jalen broke the bobblehead less than two minutes after it was removed from the box.

Good News: Father's Day dinner at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse…!

Bad News: After the avocado egg roll appetizer, a barbecue chicken pizza, two porters and two enormous cupcakes, I feel positively pregnant. Still. It's almost Monday as I type this.

Good News: Thanks to Mrs. Bootleg (and the assortment of pirated software she found online over the weekend) Jalen's kindergarten graduation speech can now receive the "running diary" treatment it so richly deserves.

0:06 -- Kinda-sorta special effects for the intro! Personally, I've never been able to watch amateur video editing of any kind without thinking of Homer's obsession with
star wipes in that episode of The Simpsons in which Maude Flanders is killed off.

0:40 -- I will never get tired of Jalen's exceptionally stiff graduation march on to the stage. Kills me every time I watch it. I freely concede that 99% of my readers won't get this reference, but he's like a little black Undertaker
coming to the ring with Randy Savage's music.

1:00 -- And, I lose my son as he walks out of the frame on his own video. Unfortunately, the first row of parents' chairs were filled by the time we arrived, so it was either shoot around the backs of heads or keep the shot clean. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the latest inductee into the pantheon of clip-on ties.

1:10 -- There it is!

1:25 -- Going for one last shot of Jalen before the speeches begin. Sucks that it's mostly of the guy's head in front of me. On the plus side, we can all celebrate the white guy "hair gel n' sideburns" ironic-follicle combo plate. It's supposed to look like he just woke up! Right?

1:27 -- Dammit, Jalen, stand up. (Also, the faces get clearer in a few seconds. Right now, all the kids look like those federal witness who are anonymously interviewed on 60 Minutes.)

1:47 -- The British accent and addition of a superfluous third syllable always makes our last name sound wonderfully regal (CA-mer-on). Without the accent, the surname can only be pronounced with two syllables (CAM-run) or else it'll sound as pedestrian as "margarine". Sound it out, with and without the accent, and tell me I'm wrong.

2:00 -- Jalen's at the mic and…hyperventilating? He'd mentioned being nervous in the days leading up to his speech, but this is the same six-year-old who insufferably played to the crowd all season in Little League. He LOVES the spotlight. One microphone and a few cameras aren't going to turn him into a
pathetic shell of himself. I hope. Oh, dear.

2:10 -- Kool and the Gang! Almost!

2:15 -- "Grad-u-time"?

2:25 -- It took a full 15 seconds for the audience to pick up on the clapping cue. Way to leave Jalen hanging, other parents. Looking back, I don't regret booing your kids during their speeches one bit.

2:45 -- Jalen's humming replaces his graduation march on the stage as my favorite thing about the ceremony. The awful, offbeat clapping can't even stop him. It's like the reincarnation of
Bobby McFerrin.

3:10 -- This hook is officially longer than most of Nate Dogg's catalog.

3:30 -- For those wondering, this was where I pretty much lost it. Seven South American countries and some fairly raucous applause? Applied knowledge that doesn't involve baseball? Jalen's hilariously freaked-out "Wait, they're not supposed to applaud until the end" glance-to-the-side temporarily stopped my unstoppable stream of tears and sobs.

4:01 -- That might've been my "WOO" after Jalen said "Orioles". Not sure. I'll need another "WOO" to confirm.

4:11 -- We can confirm that both "WOO"s were mine.

4:30 -- OK, big finish…you'll miss 'em, you'll remember 'em, thank everyone, bow, flash the
Esther Rolle smile and exit stage right.

That's m'boy.


that mexican guy said...

Well this was pretty much the greatest fucking thing in the history of the universe.

Aaron C. said...

Look who's still awake! I wish the blog formatting didn't chop off the sides of the video, though. Tell your wife I put up a better version on Facebook.

I'll pass along your praise to Jalen from his Mexican uncle.

SHough610 said...

We need to make this go viral.

My mind jumped to the star wipe as well. Pretty cool how Jalen picked up on "hold for applause" afterthey clapped for the first time.

Hell, that was as good as most speeches at the (high school) graduations I've been to.

NY Jon said...

*In Ric Flair voice* "With my eyes..."

That was OUTSTANDING. I want to know how in the hell all the other kids could even attempt to top that? Thanks for sharing Cam.

(I now want to time my California trip to sync up with Jalen's next Little League season just so I can see him "Rickey it up" for the crowd.)

SHough610 said...

As great as this was, I now wish the lights had gone off before the kids came out and a single spotlight hit Jalen as he came out wearing a leather duster coat and widebrimmed cowboy hat. Then he could have raised his hands and brought them down to bring the lights back on, taken off the cap and coat, and started right in with his speech.

Yvonne said...

LOVED THIS!!! Thank you to you and Mrs. Bootleg for sharing!

Mrs. Bootleg said...

I've never seen a grown man cry like TBG did, but it was very sweet:-)

On another note, he made me stay at home on Saturday night and re-edit the video after my first attempt fell short of his expectations....I'm not bitter!

Mrs. Bootleg

Jeff Hansen said...


acctg.sean said...

A Jalen video AND a comment left by Mrs. Bootleg! Greatest day in the history of your lightly read blog, Cam?

His speech was terrific. If that were kindergarten-aged me, I'd still be wetting my pants. (On an unrelated note: did any of the kids panic and wet their pants?)

CrazyCanuck said...

Yup, sufficiently touching and awesome. Though I feel slightly depressed that Jalen received more loot for his kindergarten graduation than I did for my university graduation.

And I, for one, will never tire of timely wrestling references. Though I'd say at least 3% of your readers get them.

Elena said...

So effing gorgeous. Add another white girl to young Jalen's fan club. :)

that mexican guy said...

Upon repeated viewings, I like at the very, very end of his speech how Jalen breaks into a broad grin for a few seconds and then quickly gets serious again before returning to his seat. All that was missing was J saying:

"...and for the benefit of those with flash photography..."

Aaron C. said...

@Jon: Jalen was really lucky to go first. By the 5th or 6th kid, all the infants and toddlers in the audience got crazy restless and threw off a few kids from their speeches. Mrs. Bootleg was shooting dirty looks at every one of 'em, but that only made things worse.

@SHough: If I'd known they were going to play "pomp & circumstance" at a kindergarten graduation, I'd have found him a Macho Man robe online and taught him a few of the mannerisms. Gotta remember that for his high school gradution.

@Mrs. Bootleg: You didn't know me when Gibson hit that Game #1 homer off of Eckersley.

@Sean: Few kids got lost mid-speech, but they all rallied through it. 11 kids total. Pretty damn impressive, actually.

@Canuck: 3% get it, 1% admit to getting it.

@Elena: The line forms to the left ;)

Joe said...

I was finally able to watch this Cam (can't get Youtube at work) and the comments did not do it justice. Just awesome. My thoughts:

Kudos to you and Mrs. Bootleg for dressing Jalen in an entirely dressy outfit... I'm looking at you, kid in blue jeans and a blazer.

The offbeat clapping by the kids behind him just kills me. Reminds me of Ludacris' skit with his songs being done by random white people. I believe the term used in the skit was "offbeat as f*ck."

Jalen's "I will miss you all" moment was right up there with HBK's "Lost My Smile" speech