Parenting Blog

Running Away From Success

The Bear Mr Headyguard Kids Place Live From The Monkey House

Last summer, the Bear spent 90 minutes in a radio studio, live on-air on Sirius XM Kids Place Live with Jack Forman, quite literally Live From The Monkey House.

Moments before she adjusted the Sony headphones and leaned into the fuzzy microphone, we were breaking bread with Jack and his family when I casually mentioned the Bear’s penchant for oddball voices and, in particular, this one character named Mr. Headyguard, a strange middle-aged Spanish-Italian man who would answer the pretend phone of every establishment I pretended to call to ask inane questions like “Why didn’t my daughters take a shower at school today?” and “Where is the bathroom in our car? We were told by the salesperson that there was one but my daughters can’t find it.” No matter the wonky situation I’d invent, that same strange man would answer and proceed to dance around my questions in an absolutely hilarious way.

The Bear Mr Headyguard Kids Place Live From The Monkey House

Jack was intrigued enough to ask the Bear if she wanted to be Mr. Headyguard during his show that afternoon, a show that was starting in about 14 minutes time. It was National Junk Food Day and the Recess Monkey bass player and on-air KPL talent thought if might be fun if they played a bit and improved that this curious man named Mr. Headyguard owned a candy shop in Seattle and took calls from kids to see if he sold the whacky junk food combinations they came up with. This was a long way from the backseat of our car on the way home from school, and with a lot more people than just Mouse and I listening.

The Bear Mr Headyguard Kids Place Live From The Monkey House

She ended up being on the air for 90 minutes, in her Mr. Headyguard character the entire time, never once revealing her true identity, and, in the end, not wanting to say goodbye. She was floating on air as we walked to the car to continue our Pacific Northwest vacation. By all accounts, her time on the radio was a smashing success. In fact, I heard from a few listeners that their children were still doing their best Mr. Headyguard impersonations months later. My 10-year-old daughter had became a tiny but indelible part of childhood for a countless number of kids, a fact she’ll still smile about today, in a way that tells me she understands the significance of this fact and cherishes it. Everything about this is mind-numbingly awesome and also makes me a little teary-eyed. What a gift to have been given such a platform to perform. We remain eternally grateful to Jack Forman and Kids Place Live for that special opportunity.

Just last month in Philly, one of the kids who called into the show and spoke to Mr. Headyguard got to meet the Bear at the Kindiecomm music festival, and he wanted a photo with her. Up until that moment he didn’t know Mr. Headyguard was a 10-year-old girl. The result was her first fan photo opp!

But a funny thing happened on the way to the candy shop. Despite doing the voice briefly for that young fan, Mr. Headyguard hasn’t been heard from since that sunny summer day. Oh, I’ve made mention of him a few times here and there, doing my hackneyed version of his distinctive voice and his trademarked “Hellooooooo!” in an attempt to pull him out of the bottle, but to no avail, the Bear has expressed no interest in a revival. She seems to have picked up one of her dad’s tendencies: the strong desire and innate need to run away from successes, to move on and not live for a moment longer on the back of any single ‘thing’ or gimmick that hit big in the past. I’ve spent a lifetime running away from success.

Airplane II: The Sequel sucked. Remember? It was the same movie, in a different setting. And that’s been a guiding force in my life. Seems it might be for the Bear too.

Always be reinventing, trying to find something fresh, authentic, and exciting for yourself, and hope others come along for the ride but being perfectly okay if not.

Her Mr. Headyguard improv bit worked on-air for 90 minutes, which was about 85 minutes longer than she’d ever gone in the past in a single sitting. He spoke to many kids, cracked wise, was quick-witted and so very hilarious. It all went amazingly well, better than we could have ever imagined, but that, as they say, was that.

These days, we’re living with Great Uncle Buttcheek, a strange man who only seems to want to know the answer to a solitary question: Do you prefer fuzzy, regular, shiny or pointy buttcheeks?

Something tells me this new oddball character isn’t going to be making an appearance on Kids Place Live this summer. And the Bear is 100% okay with this.

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One Comment

  1. Very cool for her.
    Sounds like a funny voice.

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