Wil Wheaton recommends, Otis’ son mildly traumatized

My new shirt came in the mail yesterday. I’m wearing it this afternoon.

Today at lunch, the boy looked at me with the same, innocent and quizzical eyes. “Who are those guys, Daddy?”

I looked down at my shirt. Two crayons sat on my unimpressive chest. “This is Mr. White and this is Mr. Orange,” I said.

Wil Wheaton (a guy who will occasionally refer to himself as West Coast Otis), tipped me off to the shirt a few days ago. He and I occasionally get into the same things. This shirt was one of them.

“Is Mr. Orange a baby?” my son asked.

My wife sensed that I was struggling to accomodate my son’s curiosity without telling the whole story.

“He’s crying like a baby,” my wife said. I half expected her to say, “Hey, just cancel that shit right now! You’re hurt. You’re hurt really fucking bad, but you ain’t dying. Say the goddamn words! You’re gonna be okayyyyyy!”

She didn’t and I could tell my son was still in need of an explanation–if not also a minor spoiler. “Mr. Orange is a police officer.”

My son’s face twisted up as he munched on his nuggets. The orange crayon didn’t look like a lawman.

“An undercover police officer,” I clarified.

My son shook his head, like a dog trying to get water out of its ears, or a pulp anti-hero shaking the sight of a dying man from his conflicted brain.

“What happened to him?” the boy asked.

Now I was stumped. I mean, what do you say? Do you tell a three year old kid that Mr. Orange worked his ass off to get his act down pat, worked his way into a notorious gang, got set for a huge job, and then somehow got popped by some ansty lady with a gun in her purse? I just didn’t think it would translate, even with a crayon involved. It was just too cruel, not to mention disappointing. So, I sat silent.

My wife picked up. “He’s melting, buddy. In the sun.”

“Melting?” The boy wanted to buy it. He wanted to buy it so bad. It would certainly help him wrap his brain around the sight of an organge crayon in a black suit writhing in a near-death rattle.

“Yeah,” I said. “He’s melting all over the white leather seats of this car.” But he’s not dying. Say the goddamn words.

Thanks, Wil. Love the shirt, but I’m going to have to reserve it for days the boy isn’t around. Last thing I need is him recreating the scene with his Crayolas on the new carpet.

Get yours here:

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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9 Responses

  1. Wil says:

    Lil’ Otis sounds hungry. You should go get a taco.

  2. Quenfis says:

    Great story. I could see myself having the same issue with my 4 year old.

    I showed him a T-shirt at onehorseshy.com. It was a Chicken, with an arrow pointing to it’s rear. It says “Guess What?” So I told him the punch line. He now says it on a regular basis.

    My wife seems to think the word Butt is a bad word, and therefore is enraged everytime he says it…and I get THAT look.

    Good times.

  3. j says:

    dude – you got to make your banner a link to your home page – i want to read more but how do I get to home? gotta make it easy for me.

  4. Uncle Ted says:

    Why can’t you just tell him the truth?

  5. JJ says:

    You should have told him Mr. Orange had a potty training incident 😉

    Really! If you haven’t seen the movie, that looks pretty believable.

  6. Jon says:

    Almost as bad as when I was at a party and saw a friend’s teenager wearing a “Donkey Punch” shirt. I laughed so hard that the parent wanted me to explain it to them.

  7. Aaron says:

    I have to say I didn’t connect the dots for who your friend Wil was until now. I have to say finding out he is your friend increases his “cool points” in my mind, and I already thought he was pretty cool.

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