Toon Town
Living With the Marx Brothers

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By WorldRecordGuy
December 18, 2002

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My kids have shtick. It's not something I grew up with. I'm six years older than my only sibling, so I was a clear older brother, but my kids are tight in age, and the term Irish Twins never means so much as when they're doing their shtick. Like true twins or triplets, they have that certain bond and simpatico that comes from being so close in age and living in the same house, but unlike twins, they each draw on different teachers, different class studies, and different friends to bring to their little kid's table a veritable plethora of goodies on which they can play off.

Last night I took my three kids to Karate. It's been a very rewarding experience for them. The Master is a Korean transplant who speaks broken English in a thick accent, and is very demanding, but clearly loves children. The class has about 20 kids in it, about half under 6, and the rest up to 10 years old. The Master expects their attention for one hour, and demands they try their hardest, heaping praise and affection for a job well done, while dispensing tongue-lashings to those who squirm or drift off. My kids thrive in this kind of environment, picking up the forms on one or two walk throughs, and being quite independent. I suspect that they are the only ones who practice the forms at home, and this is evidenced by their moving through their series of low blocks and high kicks like three dry docked synchronized swimmers. Because of this, they have earned the Master's respect, and they know this.

Belt testing was held on Saturday, and my three moved up to light green belt, as most of the class also advanced to their new degrees, so last night had a tinge of excitement added to it as the class sported their newly earned colors. This, of course, led to a lot of distraction amongst the younger ones, and the parents sitting in the gallery could see the Master's frustration building like a volcano.

After about twenty minutes of less than full attention, he called the class to attention, lining them up in three rows of six, with my three being right next to each other on the second row.

"You not paying attention to me!" he barked at them. Silence fell. You could hear the proverbial pin drop.
"This not fun time. You know what time this is?"
Dead quiet.
"What time this?!?"

In the absolute silence, my three fold their left arms across their waists, raise their right hands high into the air in grand Broadway fashion, and like birds feathering down for the night, burst into song and sing:
"It's the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiime of the yearrrrrrrrrrrrr," pirouette in unison to the laughing parents, take a dramatic stage bow, pirouette back to the Master, slap hands to thighs, give him a deep, respectful bow, and come back to full attention as if nothing had happened.

I have to admit, as their father, I was stunned.


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