I recently went to the hospital and was commenting over dinner about the expenses we incurred with this most recent visit. Paola was listening intently to her dad and I as we discussed the cost of healthcare. Finally, after a long pause for emphasis, Paola informed us that she had a solution. “What is your solution, Paola.” I asked.
“Simple.” she said, “Change your last name to Hoobenschnoober.”
“Hoobenschnoober!” Her father laughed. “Why Hoobenschnoober?”
“Because,” she explained, “when they send the bill, they won’t find anyone with that last name and you won’t have to pay it!” She continued, “You could make your first name, Howie.” “I don’t think there is anyone out there with the name Hoobenschnoober comma Howie.” She said all of this with such a straight face that it added to the comical effect. Then she went into a whole routine speaking with an English accent as she introduced herself as Howie Hobenschnoober.
“Paola,” I asked, “Where in the world do you come up with this stuff?”
“I don’t know, Mommy.” She replied. “My brain just works that way.”
There is no doubt that she is quick witted!
One day, when she was about seven-years-old and had been playing dress-up in her room, she emerged wearing her cowgirl hat, boots, western-style skirt and western shirt. I told her that dinner was almost ready so she went back into her room to finish “dressing for dinner.” We had some friends over for dinner and we were all seated at the table when Paola arrived still dressed in all her cowgirl garb but she had added red lipstick and blue eye-shadow and was carrying her guitar. Picture, if you will, a black Haitian waltzing in and announcing in her southern drawl that she is a “Red Neck Honey Nut Cheerio.” She followed this announcement with a montage of country songs she had composed in her room. She had all our guests practically rolling on the floor laughing. Our neighbor, Joe, was laughing so hard that he was crying in his food. I thought I was going to have to perform the Heimlich maneuver on Katie whose drink was coming out of her nose as she coughed uncontrollably. Paola, unperturbed by the ruckus she was creating, continued singing and dancing. All of her songs, in true country fashion, were about how someone, “did her wrong.”
Then there was the time when Paola was about eight and we were going for a walk. During our walk, we strolled by the bingo hall. Without missing a beat, Paola went into her old lady act. She pretended that she was walking with a cane and announced in her very shaky old lady voice, “Can someone help an old lady get across the street to the bingo hall?” Then she continued, “I want to beat that old biddy, Gertrude, out of winning the 50/50.” She continued the old lady routine all the way home. I was laughing so hard I almost peed my pants (which only added to her comedy routine as she commented on the importance of having a good panty liner like Depends).
I don’t know where she gets this stuff! I guess she really means it when she says her brain just works that way. Someday I suspect that we might be watching a black “Red Neck Honey Nut Cheerio” on Comedy Central. Or, maybe she’ll call herself; Hoobenschnoober Comma Howie.