My dad is a therapist. He does relationship counseling, regular counseling and group therapy. He also made a recording to help his patients sleep that I wish I knew how to remix into a hilarious track.
People always ask if growing up with a father who heals people’s emotions was weird. Maybe it was. I only have the one dad, so I can’t really speak to the normalcy of my childhood. I know that my dad is a lot of fun. And he never yelled or spanked unless Pandito or I did something really, really bad. And once he yelled about it, we would never repeat our mistake.
I was not an easy child. I was (and still occasionally am) quite the temper-tantrum thrower. I could kick the floor and scream until every ear in the room was bleeding. Even when slightly older, I had a tiny proclivity toward entitlement. When this got out of hand, my dad would bring out the big guns: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Sometimes, we would have to watch this movie because of a specific incident. Sometimes it was due to a more general attitude of snottiness. We (or I) would be told that we (usually me) were acting like Verucas and that it was time to watch Willy Wonka again. And there were never movie snacks at these viewings.
It was a great chance to parent by example. Mike TV was probably sensitive about his size for the rest of his life. If Augustus Gloop didn’t develop Type II diabetes, I would be shocked. Veruca insisted on having her way all the time. And we never saw her at the end of the movie. For all anyone knows, Gene Wilder had her incinerated or just braised in a nice marinade and served as dinner for the Oompa Loompas. If you want to wear your braids in your hair, you had better share them. Lesson learned.
As an adult, I’m not a huge fan of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When I see it, I feel like I’ve misbehaved in some way. Even if it’s playing on TBS or something, it’s like Ted Turner knows that I put a new sweater on my credit card when I couldn’t really afford it. I also feel incredibly annoyed by Charlie. He’s way too saccharine. I’m not sure he has the gravitas to run that whole chocolate factory with those wily Oompa Loompas. After he took over, they probably made up songs about him behind his back. Hopefully, they also formed a union. I always felt they were overworked and underpaid. Tim Burton should have made that movie instead.