Maggie, my eldest daughter, was born at the UCLA hospital. We were living in Pacific Palisades, California at the time. The Palisades is a small town in between Santa Monica and Malibu on the coast. We actually lived on Sunset Boulevard.
When Maggie was little, I would wander around the neighborhood with her in the stroller. We would go for long walks and she would take her favorite toy with her. That toy was a Napoleon Dynamite stuffed doll wearing a “Vote for Pedro” shirt and the inconic black winter boots. When Maggie would press Napoleon’s hand he said a variety of phrases. All classic lines from the movie. Odd toy for a baby, yes, but my priest and I love that movie. I even bought my priest a shirt for Valentine’s Day that says, “I have skills.” A reference to Napolean saying that skills are needed for the ladies to like you.
One sunny California day, we were on a walk. Maggie was sitting in the stroller holding Napoleon and I was pushing the stroller. We were on the sidewalk, not far from our house, when I saw a man walking towards us. I didn’t really take note on who he was. Just a tall, awkward looking guy. Maggie was repeatedly pressing Napoleon’s hand and he was saying crazy phrases. As the man on the sidewalk got closer, I noticed it was Jon Heder….Napoleon Dynamite himself.
I was mortified. You could hear the doll saying, “vote for Pedro,” “lucky”…you get the idea. I knew he thought I was a crazy stalker who had roped my toddler into being my assistant. Why did I instantly go to that crazy thought? We met him directly outside of his apartment. Apparently, he lived right down the street from us and I was blocking his path to his front door with my Napoleon wielding child. He gave me this extremely awkward look and rushed…like really rushed…into his home. No words were exchanged. All it took was a look from Jon Heder. A look that said, “if I see you and that baby stalker again, the police will be called.”
We still walked the neighborhood, but we had to change our route and the Napoleon doll had to stay home.