I’m happy to announce that if Mike Myers’ dad were alive today and Charlie VanHimbergen walked through his front door, it wouldn’t take long before Myers’ dad would be slapping his knee and offering Charlie a seat on the couch and a bag of Cheetos (or whatever it is that they serve guests in Canada).
He does impressions, makes faces, wears silly costumes, and does a killer robot dance. Sometimes, he’s two-year-old funny. The kind of funny that just comes from being two and saying things like, “I bonked my pants!” or shouting at me from beneath his blankie, “MOMMY, I’M SCARED OF MY CONDITIONER!” But other times, he’s got a way of spinning a laugh with a twinkle in his eye and a sly side-grin that reveals he knows exactly how to play his audience.
It’s hard to say when we first started to pick up on his general hilarity, but we could probably trace it back to last fall, when at not yet two years old he would drop to his knees, tuck his head and shuffle aggressively across the hardwood floor to the great big crescendo moment in Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” It’s reminiscent of Ferris Bueller or just about any 1980’s Michael J. Fox movie. Not quite up to Napoleon Dynamite standards, but give him time.
But even better than his comedic rhythm and his nutso hair is the distinct quality of his voice. He’s got this awesome sort of rasp/growl that comes from deep in his throat as if he had been smoking Marlboro Reds for nine months in utero. When he was a baby, we would hear the rasp/rattle in his breathing and my dad urged me to ask the pediatrician about it. She told us some kids just have it. And Charlie, much like Owen Meany, does. Thank God.
After we watched Princess and the Frog, he walked around the house for at least a week yelling, “ESTELLA!” in the voice of John Goodman. He’s passionate about Billy Joel's "PRESSURE!" and Marcus Mumford’s, “LOVER OF THE LIGHT!” and "Awake My Soul," which he thinks is, "PUT AWAY MY SWORD!" But my personal favorite is his perfect impression of Roz, the secretary/secret chief of Monsters Inc. who has the voice of an old New Yorker who’s recently had her nails done in Fire Engine Red while puffing away at a box of cigarettes. He’ll look you right in the eye and transform himself as he says, “I’m watching you, Wazowski. Always watching. Always.”
It’s amazing. I roar every time.
It’s not just what he repeats though. He’s an original too. His inherent love of escalators, elevators, double decker-decker buses, golf, and Michael Jackson are constantly in play at relevant and irrelevant points in the day. Every night, when we ask him what he wants to thank God for, his answer is, “I want to thank God for golfing and the driver’s range” and when Finny tries to get him to leave his backyard golf game to play something else, he growls like a grumpy old man, “I’M TRYING TO PLAY GOLF!” [Grandparents, take note: this kid needs a pair of plaid pants and a Bobby Jones golf cap for his birthday.]
Every morning when I put gel in his hair, he asks me to make him look like Michael Jackson, and he frequently tells me that I look kinda like Michael Jackson myself, which I can only guess is because of my pale complexion…or because my fifth nose job didn't turn out quite right.
Between the two of them, we have a constant laugh track going in our house. Sometimes they drive me crazy with how destructive and whiny and messy and mischievous they are. But it’s pretty clear that they’ve got my number when I forget how angry I am about the baby powder, the toilet paper, the spilled juice, or the Sharpie marker because I’m laughing too hard to care.
Charlie, Mike Myers’ dad is no doubt saving a seat for you at the funny table in heaven. In the meantime, I’m so blessed to have you seated at my funny table making me shoot grilled cheese and tomato soup out of my nose.
DISCLAIMER: Charlie's mother wrote this. There may be a sliiiight bias. I'm sure everyone thinks they have the funniest kid alive, but that's likely only because they haven't met mine.
Wazowski Links: Click below to see the likeness. It's uncanny.