Thursday, May 29, 2008

Caught on tape ... at last!

Like most Parental Units, we bought a camcorder right before the birth of our first child.

Like most camcorder-owning Parental Units, we never use the frickin' thing.

Oh, we try. Our Sony Handycam Hi-8 (not-quite digital images on very tiny cassette tape - it's digi-tape! No, it's cass-ital!) has traveled through several U.S. time zones. We usually pull it out on the last day of a trip after we realize that it was what was causing that strange lump in the closet corner under Day 1's dirty underwear.

By then, the battery has lost all its power. After two hours of recharging (this is pre-Y2K equipment, people), it's ready to go. Unfortunately, by now we've already gone to the swim-up bar for the sixth round. Autofocus, autoschmocus -- my mojito needs more min-tito, Isaac, and tell Julie to stop pawing Gopher's white shorts.

Well, last week, the camcorder finally captured a priceless moment in need of replay on the family flat screen: the mistake my son, Thing 2, did NOT make in the annual afterschool-program play.

This year's epic, based on "The Little Rascals," found the He-Man Women Haters' Club facing a dilemma. Obey the teacher's orders to dance with the girls or squeegee the hair oil out of Alfalfa's 'do and sell it for $4.50 a gallon to an ex-stripper-turned-soccer-mom on the lam from a crazed Ethiopian Viagra dealer with an enormous royal inheritance locked in a Nigerian bank account that only Porky's Social Security number could unlock.

At least that's my best guess. The sets were nice.

Midway through the "action," came the deafening silence. Followed by finger pointing and muttered accusations. Someone forgot his or her lines. Some looked at my boy, sitting onstage in a white turtleneck and a backwards Bridgeport Bluefish cap. Others, in the minivan on the ride home, just screamed at him.

"It was all your fault!" suggested Thing 1, who I think played one of the twin pole dancers in the show. "You messed up and we skipped two whole lines."

"Did not!" countered Thing 2. "I did not mess up."

"I know, when we get home, let's review the videotape," I said. "I have it right ..."

I turned back so I could retrieve the camcorder I left under my seat in the auditorium. Consistency -- my virtue, my curse.

At home, I waited the three minutes necessary for the camcorder to rewind the six minutes of actual footage I shot. Then, it occurred to me - what if the boy did screw up? This could cause permanent damage to his ego and psyche. This could stop him from ever taking the stage again.

This could be my ticket out of many school performances for the next 11 years.

"Now, we push 'Play,'" I said.

It was like watching the Zapruder film for the first time; however, the answer was crystal clear in this masterpiece, even if the picture was a bit grainy and shaky.

Thing 2 - NOT GUILTY!

"Oooooh," his big sister said. "I guess it was Brendan's fault. He forgot his line."

I made her apologize to the boy. Then, I let Thing 2 eat popsicles until his tongue went numb.


  1. YEAH, video cam!
    That's awesome. Who knew instant replay would come so in handy in raising kids?

  2. The camcorder's for business time. (See 2 posts ago.)

  3. BHJ - Dude, it's a Handycam not a Randycam. Besides, the heat would melt the lens.

    Thanks for joining the fun.

  4. Um, your job as a dad is to keep your daughter OFF THE POLE. If you do nothing else in your dadhood, you must hold that goal sacred.

  5. The 'p' should have been capitalized. She was an immigrant child from Warsaw named "Katarzyna." You can look it up:

  6. Oh.My.God. I bet that's what that hard lump is inside my travel case! I spend so much time with a still lense that I totally forget about the camcorder LOL. Thanks for the comment btw!

  7. Great use of the camcorder. I feel exactly the same way about our camcorder: it's useless.

    I paid like $900 last year for the thing, and I never use it. The problem is that it's not ridiculously easy to upload the movies to the Internet.

    All the precious footage I captured in the first month of ownership is stuck on these little tapes, and I'm way too lazy to upload to my computer, compress the files, and then upload to YouTube.

    Anyone want to buy a camera? Almost brand new...good price.

  8. Chris - Spot-on! I tried uploading cam video once. Ugh!

    Try I've had pretty good luck selling stuff on it.

  9. hmmm, you've given me ideas for my useless cam - maybe I should set it up and hide it behind a cushion so I can see if it's Son who is really hitting Daughter first or vice versa.


  10. Wait a few months, Sara. They'll be plenty of ex-Bush administrators waiting in the designated pick-up spot by the onramp to the Beltway that you can hire.

  11. Sweet video! I have to carry our video cam constantly at our kids events. I feel your pain.

  12. good read, post more!

  13. Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.



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