I am not an actress by talent nor by lessons. In fact, I would not have been staring into my phone’s small camera if not for familial love.
I let out a self-satisfied sigh after five seconds of staring into the camera lens with my tinfoil-wrapped fingers resting against my face.
“My transmission has worked puuurfectly,” I said in a lazy, high voice that threatened to cut off my airways. “I wanted to congratulate you on pawing another duck from our grasp.”
“Become one with your inner evil feline villainess,” I coached myself. “Reach down deep for something akin to Catwoman — or at least a feminine version of Jerry’s Tom on a bad day.”
“But, I have a fur—,” my words were cut off by self-imposed hacking more akin to a smoker’s cough than the furball dispelling gag I hoped would emit from my throat.
“Furballs,” I muttered, one clawed hand reaching up to mime pulling hair from my mouth.
Gasping a slight breath, I turned my cheshire grin back to the camera without missing a beat.
“—furious appetite for ducks,” I hissed. “So, you will not be getting another one.”
Spoiler Alert: my cousin manages to escape my dastardly, tin-foiled grasp in spite of my seemingly brilliant, albeit maniacal, mind.
My time on the birthday video ends with a heartfelt, “Curses! You’ve foiled me again!”
The video was the brainchild of my uncle and his oldest son, Joseph. It was an effort to make his youngest son Evan’s birthday extra special. Joseph created the characters, my uncle reached out to family members to play the parts and his middle son, Tristan, helped write the script.
As far as characters go, I could not complain. My aunt Shannon was cast as Bananawoman. It was a move I am sure made her question what she had done to Joseph in the past.
A picture of her in costume lights up my phone (and my heart, of course) every time she calls. However, I am afraid great bodily (or at least, psychological) harm will befall me should I ever let another soul see said picture.
I am just happy Joseph didn’t cast me as Elephanta or Gorilla Gal.
My younger brother played Astrodude. His costume helped me come to terms with my lack of creative craft skills. This will no doubt save me from descending into a very dark place years from now, where I would otherwise curl up into a ball, clutching paper mache to my chest at 2 a.m. in the morning, wondering why I had waited weeks to finish my child’s costume for the school play, and how I had never realized how horrible I was at crafts.
Now when my future child says, “Mumsy, I need you to make me a paper mache giraffe spaceship for my school play,” I will think back to how difficult it was to construct Astrodude’s helmet. For just a second, I will mentally relocate to another time.
“What is this?” my younger brother Devin asked in a way that managed to display both his confusion and disturbance with the tin foil atrocity in his hand.
I glanced at my creation squeezed so carelessly as he stared down at it in consternation.
“That is your ray gun,” I informed him with laughter bubbling out of my mouth as I added ray gun noises.
“This is not a ray gun,” Devin informed me in a haughty voice.
Well, he was right. It looked more like a flower with petals peeling off from the center of the tin foil wad and a bent stem.
“It is too a ray gun,” I defended. “Although, originally it was going to be part of your head piece.”
Horror flashed across Devin’s face.
My child’s face will then come back into focus and I will reply, “You know what, honey? Let’s see what we can find on Etsy.”
And it will be thanks to the project my uncle asked my family to be a part of that I will know not to try the endeavor myself.
Some of my family members opted out of the project. Maybe it was too far outside of their comfort zone, or perhaps they are not particularly in tune with their thespian side. As I am in line for the Drama Queen throne, any excuse I could offer about being too shy would sound tinny even to my own ears.
However, I had no interest in turning the project down. Evan lives in New York, so I do not often get to see my younger cousin. In fact, I do not often get to see a majority of the relatives who signed on to the video challenge. It warms my heart to know I will be a part of his birthday, and it will be alongside distant loved ones I hold so close in my heart.
My uncle managed to do something I have been meaning to do for quite some time — reach out to aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who are much too far away. It is easy to think about calling, writing or even Tweeting a loved one, but actually getting the deed done is something entirely different.
So, thanks Uncle David. I had a blast, and the blooper reel on my phone of Devin’s 10 videos gives me no end of amusement.