Hey kiddo! Having a good winter? Find any more birds in the snow like you did last spring? Take a seat, buddy. I have been talking to all the other pops in the neighborhood and we have decided that you need to know the truth about living and its opposite: sleeping in the dusty corner of the living room until we tell you to play in your room for a while. Ol’ Rusty was a good dog, and he asked me to tell you that he plans to come back soon!
Just yankin’ your chain, pal. Our dog is dead and rotting in the backyard. Those snow-birds were not taking a break from building snow tunnels like we told you when you found them. You and all the other kids on the block—and across this big country of ours—need to have a frank conversation with Mr. or Mrs. Death! Or any title, really. We don’t need to gender death. For now, we can go with Fan-Bearer on the Right Side of the King Death. If the title worked for the ancient Egyptians, it can work for us too.
Once you really understand the concept of both your own mortality and the mortality of everyone you love, you can blossom into the grim, soulless adult you were always destined to be.
Maybe this is going over your head. Perhaps Fan-Bearer on the Right Side of the King Death is a bit too abstract for someone your age. Let me break it down for you. You might not be able to see it now, but your pop was quite the hip heartthrob back in his day. I still get it! I can keep up with trends! How about that “Fortnite” show, huh? Jimmy Kimmel did a bit on that the other day and it really inspired me to antagonize you, my living kin who looks to me for guidance on a daily basis. Pranked ya!
I know you have been begging for a Nintendo Swatch and that Very Good Smashing Brothers game. Day and night, I never seem to catch a break from your seminars on why that Kirby character is the best one. The little pink round one, right? Well, this is actually a great opportunity to usher you into the world of adult knowledge.
Buddy, you and I are going to eat Kirby. Together.
Stop crying! Everything is going to be okay. Eating Kirby is just a natural rite of passage among kids and their parents. I remember my own childhood, when my dad made me eat one of my favorite video game characters. It was a tough experience, but now I still love the fleshy taste of the left paddle from Pong.
I know you want to let Kirby live, maybe even keep it as a pet. But remember this: God put all video game characters on Earth for a reason. If folks like us refused to trek out into the cold wilderness of GameStop every Saturday morning and chow down on a few video game characters, their population would run out of control and endanger all of us. As your father, I assure you that Kirby feels almost no pain. When we eat him, he will probably feel like he is just falling asleep!
No, wait! Please stop crying. That one is on me. When you feel like you are about to fall asleep, that just means you are actually about to fall asleep. Well, not for everyone—no, you are going to be fine. I promise that you are going to wake up in the morning. Yeesh, this is harder than I thought it would be.
I know what will make this easier for you. Come on into the den and take a look at all my Kirby-eating equipment! Pretty cool, right? This piece is actually a replica of what they used to eat video game characters all the way back during World War II, and this one is made so I can eat up to 45 Kirbys in 15 seconds. Pal, some folks might want to take these tools away, but I see no problem in telling you, a child who has not even begun to adopt the sheen of shame found in early adolescence, that this piece of equipment is one of the defining elements of your personal identity.
In case you still have a case of the willies, I will go through the entire process of eating Kirby to show you how normal and fun it is. First, the two of us will wake up at an hour when the sun is still trying to tell us to go back to bed. Waking up in the dark makes us stronger than all those people who have jobs in the city and think they should get paid 40 dollars an hour for two hours of work per diem. Can you believe that? First rule of this house: never have sympathy for anyone you are not related to. Never forget that, buddy.
After we wake up, we put on our special outfits to make sure that we never accidentally eat each other instead of Kirby. Back in my granddad’s day, folks would accidentally eat each other all the time. It was the Depression, so the accidental nature of it was questionable, but still. Next, we head to GameStop, which we will reach after driving for two hours in silence.
We will climb a little tower inside of GameStop, and then the two of us will wait. For hours, if we have to. Nobody gives up on their first Kirby-eating trip. We will find you a Kirby to eat, even if it is a little one that we should probably leave uneaten. Boom! Then you get to take the reins and, uh, suplex that Kirby! (I might help with that step. There are a few things I am leaving unsaid.)
Kiddo, it really is that easy. I might be leaving out a few steps, like when we cut the skin from the life-like Kirby and gut it so all of its innards fall into a big bucket on the floor, making a sound that will live on in your head until the day you, uh, get suplexed by God. But that is not the important lesson here. You and all the other kids in the neighborhood have been living in a deathless world for too long, and it is about time your dad taught you about Fan-Bearer on the Right Side of the King Death in the most reasonable, sensible way: by making you exact it on a cute, living thing. Come on, kiddo, we have to get to bed early tonight! Tomorrow is the day you transform from a kid, wide-eyed with wonder at the world, to a kid, wide-eyed with horror at the sudden realization of humanity’s lethal capability.