Here Are the Songs They Play At a Kid’s Skating Rink Birthday Party


Editor’s Note: Shea Serrano is an award-winning music writer and goofball whose recent exploits include Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book. In his column, he writes about his life and times.

Among many other things, my twin six-year-old sons think I am Manu Ginobili when the Spurs play basketball on TV; the model for the Georges St-Pierre action figure (which we gave my wife for Christmas one year), Paco from Bloodsport, and the guy inside the blue Power Ranger costume. They think all of these things because I told them all of these things, because when you’re a dad you can just lie about shit and your kids will believe you.

With tiny humans whose brains are nearly empty living in your house, you can be whomever you want. Did you know that I once got into a fistfight with Thor? Or that I taught the Pope how to pray? That I have the muscle density of a gorilla? Or did you know that I invented cars, and also lightning? Fact, fact, fact, fact, and fact.

Lying is the tits for dads, man. You know what the trade off is, though? Motherfucking birthday parties.

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The thing they don’t tell you about being a dad is that you’re gonna spend basically every day of every weekend of your dad life at some kid’s birthday party because your kid got invited. At my house, every Thursday:

Son: Daddy, I got invited to a birthday party this weekend!
Me: Oh.
Son: It’s for Terry.
Me: Who?
Son: Terry. From my class.
Me: Terry? Oh, the boy with the dirty face. How’s his face dirty at 7:30 a.m.?
Son: No! That’s Terry R. This is Terry M. Can’t you tell the difference?

That’s how we recently ended up at a skating rink at 4 p.m. Time stamps:

3:54: We are here at a skating rink. (We = Wife + me + the twins + the baby.) I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before one of us has a broken bone of some sort. Hooray for broken femurs.

4:01: Actually I kind of don’t hate the skating rink. I used to go there a lot when I was in middle school. I remember going to the late-night skating session with my two ugly friends and one handsome friend. We’d go and try and talk to girls and I’d go home mad every time because no girls would let me touch their boobs in the back corner. I imagine this party is going to end the same way; such is life.

4:14: The best thing about this skating rink is they have a DJ, plus an arcade area and concession stand. Time skipped right the fuck over skating rinks. Way to go, America.

4:19: Oh, snap. The DJ opens this children’s party with “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry and Juicy J. That was cool at the Grammy’s when Katy Perry thought that she was the Corpse Bride.

4:24: There are probably 15 or so kids here now. If they play anything by Young Thug you can fully expect me to start bowling over little motherfuckers. I’m always the toughest guy at a birthday party.

4:29: One Republic’s “Counting Stars.” I want to hate this, but two little girls know some of the words and are singing it. That’s pretty adorable. I wish I had a daughter. Not too long ago I was changing Boy C’s diaper and a AA battery fell out. I don’t know how it got in there or what he was planning to do with it, but it tumbled out onto the floor. Hand to God, maybe 20 seconds later one of the six-year-olds came wandering downstairs, saw it sitting on the floor (where I left it while tossing the diaper), bent down, picked it up, then popped it INTO HIS MOUTH. I really wish I had a daughter.

4:35: Most kids here are pretty terrible at skating but one boy is kind of good at it, strutting around and stunting on everyone. I might have to check this hoe into a side rail soon if he doesn’t chill out.

4:40: Lorde’s “Royals.” It’s like the DJ walking down the Top 100 chart.

4:40:15: Ay, but “Royals” is good to skate to. The little skating boy is killing it to this song, dipping his shoulders on beat and stuff. Respect.

4:43: Conversation:

Son: Daddy, why aren’t you skating?
Me: Because I skate so fast that one time I reversed the rotation of the Earth.
Son: Oh! Is that bad!?
Me: Yeah. REAL bad. Everyone would probably die.
Son: Oh! OK! You better stay sitting here then, Daddy!

Kids ain’t that smart. Spy Kids was a total lie.

4:51: At every birthday party, a group of sad dads is standing in a circle talking at each other about nothing. When I very first started going to kid birthday parties, it was like how in the movies where some young guy is talking to a Vietnam vet, except all these vets have on jean shorts and tuck their sunglasses into the back of the collar of their shirts. Sad dads are the worst. Never go there, never be that.



5:11:15: For real, I listened to “Happy” like 30 times in a row after watching Pharrell’s mega-hat at the Grammys. What a great hat that was. I wonder what was in there? My best wish was that underneath it was a slightly smaller hat, and underneath that one was a smaller one still, and they just kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller. Then, like 40 hats later, you reach the last one and it’s the size of a thimble. Oh, man. Pharrell is the very best.

5:18: Ewww. Avicii. That’s a weird-looking bro right there. He looks like how those cat mutants looked in Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers.

5:18:15: I hope this party ends soon. I’m not certain how much longer I can watch two of the three men tasked with carrying the Serrano name forward into greatness weeble-wobble around this rink all teary-eyed while tiny girls blow past them. This is worse than the first time they played soccer and the opposing team scored a goal on Boy A, who broke down and started both crying and doing the robot dance*.

*This is my favorite sports-related breakdown of all-time, by the way. More people should cry while doing the robot.

5:21: OK, we’re getting close because they’re playing the chicken-dance song. Is that a universal thing or is that just a Texas thing like H-E-B? Real question.

5:30: Malibooyah. Last call for the birthday party was just made. Everyone is gathering into the concession stand area for cake, which means its time to pretend like I’ve been into this party the whole time. I don’t like to brag, but nobody works a room like Shea Serrano when cake is on the line. NOBODY.

Here’s a thing dads do at parties: at least for a few minutes, they’ll pretend to be suuuuuper-into playing with their kids, and make sure all the other parents can hear it happening. Then they finish and look around like, “Cheer for me and my parenting, for it is righteous and thoughtful and egalitarian.” Gross.

True story: We were at the park once. My wife set the whole thing up. She always does. She planned activities and packed lunches, snacks and drinks. She brought the bugspray, loaded the bikes in the car, and had sanitary wipes and even sunglasses for everyone if we wanted them. She even made sure to pick a park with all the stuff the boys like to play on, which added an extra 10 minutes or so to her drive. We got there and the boys and I just abandoned her. She unloaded everything, got it all set up and made sure everybody had a good time. It was great. I took a picture of one of the boys on a swing and made a joke about him using it wrong and posted it on Facebook, and everyone was like, “Oh my God, you are THE BEST dad.”

I took the boys to Kroger once and a lady literally stopped me and said, “I just really love to see great dads like you with their sons.” This was like 30 fucking seconds after I almost let one of them get run over in the parking lot because I was checking my Twitter mentions.

It must suck so bad to be a mom.

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