Lots of parents often don’t look forward to taking their kids to theme parks.

Neither did I, but not for the same reasons.

While other parents worried about the crowds, the heat, the expensive and unhealthy food, and the nausea-inducing (not to mention bacteria-laden) rides, I had a different issue, to wit:


Usually a respite from the craziness of four kids who all want to do something different, the musical variety and comedy shows were an air-conditioned opportunity to sit down, get a drink, and unplug for 20 minutes or so.

At least they were for everyone else.

You see, I was the dad who was invariably pulled from the audience and asked to take part in the show.

You may think I’m exaggerating, and I only wish I was. But for at least 10 years, from when my oldest was around 5 until my youngest turned 10, it happened. EVERY time. No matter where I sat — in the front of the theater, in the back, on an aisle, in the middle of a row, IN THE BALCONY. They found me, every time.

Maybe it was the big “BUFFOON” sign that I wore on my back. More likely, I was probably the dad who looked the least likely to hit someone when I got up on stage.

Eventually, I made peace with my lot in life, and I accepted each impromptu casting call with what little grace I had. But in the end, all those times of wearing a wig and a Hawaiian lei, and doing whatever silly dance they asked me to do, are now cherished memories, as my kids start their own families.

And these days? I still can’t go to a theme park show without worrying where to sit so they won’t pick me.

But then I remember: it really doesn’t matter. They will find you.

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