A Quiet Place, Spicy Food Solutions, and Growing Up

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. I finally saw A Quiet Place. If you have never been high on coke for days and absolutely positive that there was a SWAT team on the roof about to kick the doors in and arrest you at any second, this film pretty much captures EXACTLY what that feels like.

2. The most fun part of Christmas for me is, right after people open a gift, explaining the why I thought they would like their present even though my sister bought them all for me and I have never seen them before.

Sometimes it really comes in handy to be the greatest actor ever born.

3. Fuck, Yeah of the Week

4. Was on a date before Christmas and we went to a fantastic little Mexican place that Diego Fuentes recommended called La Rev in the Junction. When we got to the end of the plate of nachos, there were two left and I gave her one and took one for myself and said, “That worked out perfectly. One left for each of us.” She then broke her chip in half and said “Well, I’m just gonna do this. So now there’s actually one left.”

And then I thought- how fucking lucky was I to be on a date with someone who could show me three chips where I only saw two.

5. Guest Post of the Week- from Bob’s Burgers star and my old pal, John Roberts Jr.

6. This is my new emoji for “I don’t do well with spicy food”- I look like I just stepped out of a fucking shower, so it’s either wear a napkin on my head or look like a Ford brother on a treadmill.

7. Actors need holidays like the internet needs more porn.

8. Just wanted to shout out my driver Paul Mizuno for taking the time to mail my hat that I left in his car to my home along with this handwritten note. He is with Global Alliance if you are looking for a great company that goes above and beyond. Now, if only the other cab and Uber drivers could take the hint and send me the ten other hats I have lost in their cars this winter…

9. The announcement of Mickey Rourke and Axl Rose signing on to the cast of The Golden Girls reboot has got to be the best TV news I can remember in practically forever.

10. Yes, but, then again, you DON’T HAVE TO LIVE THROUGH RAISING ANY FUCKING KIDS!!!

Pick your battles, motherfuckers.

11. Guest Post of the Week #2

12. I remember being about twenty one years old or so and coming home for Christmas break from New York, where I went to acting school, and taking a drive. I drove down a road called Allanford which I always feel like I grew up on but the truth is we only lived there for four years from grade two to five. (The math is right. Count all the grades.) I was feeling pretty grown up at the time—living in New York City and all. I had dropped out of university the year before and packed a hockey bag with all my belongings and dreams and moved there for good, in my mind.

My time away had made me sentimental for Canada and for all things home. I remember I had taken my Fonze doll and my plastic froggy sippy cup to New York with me to feel close to home and specifically my childhood, when I allowed myself to dream about acting and escape more than I did as a high school Scarborough thug-poet. I came from a place where it was not very realistic or wise to drop out on a good education and pursue such an insane career path, but I just didn’t care. I started with nothing and I knew ultimately I was gonna end going out with with the same and all that would matter was what I did with the time in between.

That attitude came from a moment I remember from when I was sixteen. I was lying on the folding sponge chair in the living room that served as my bed. It was an actual chair that folded that was made out of sponge foam. I slept on it in the living room because my sister and parents had the two bedrooms in our apartment. I didn’t give a fuck. I didn’t need a room, my parents and sister did. I’m fifty years old and I still don’t have a room. I sleep on a mattress in the living room so that my daughter can have a room. But I digress. I remember lying on that foam chair and staring at the clock. I was sixteen, as I said, and the clock was at sixteen minutes after the hour. I stared at the clock for the longest time and thought that if that clock represented sixty years of life (a number I couldn’t fathom living until, at the time) the minute hand, in that moment, represented the number of years I had already lived of it. And, of course, the counterbalance was the number of years I had left remaining until the age of sixty. The clock wasn’t showing me THE time. It was showing me MY time.

I say all this to set up that drive I took on a Allanford road at the age of twenty-one. It was just an impulse moment. Unplanned. I was headed to the Agincourt Mall where my mother worked for years at Woolco and then years later again when Woolco had turned into a Walmart where she retired from the workforce at age sixty-five. Maybe I had decided to surprise her. I don’t remember. But I took the Allanford route for some reason. Something internal that I hadn’t realized had been calling for my attention for some time.

I drove down the street that I had once walked to grade two on and drove by the hill that we once slid down, in winter, on our “super sliders” or “crazy carpets”, down the road that we had played so many street hockey games on—where my cousin Tom played in on a folding beach chair wearing a full cast after he busted his hip up playing ice hockey. I drove past the Becker’s on Birchmount that John Jobson or Nolan LeBlanc and I used to shoplift bottles of cream soda and root beer from. Past the house that Cliff and Kevin and Carl Freckleton grew up in, past the house Annette Adams lived in, past Mike Quinlan’s place who taught me about The Kiss Army and Alice Cooper. Past Joe Brilly’s house where we once watched his dad kill a rabbit in his garage and where we all learned more than we probably should have about masturbation. Past Mrs. Barrett’s house, everybody’s favorite substitute teacher.

I drove past the field and the train tracks. I even stopped in front of our place, 67 Allanford, in front of that garage that my sister and cousins, Lisa and Tom, and I would play in for days on end and which had been converted back then to a locker room, a concert hall, a movie set a police station/jail or a pinball hangout dozens and dozens of times over.

And as I was sitting in front of 67 Allanford, I starting sobbing. I was mourning. Aching. Gutted. In that moment, I realized that my childhood was over and dead. It was gone. Forever. I would never be a child again. All that had happened in that time was done and gone and over. All those times which I had visited in my mind while listening to music or telling stories to my new friends about old ones was all was over. I was twenty one years old and entering the world of adulthood and responsibility and disappointment. I would never be a child again. I would never be innocent again. I was and always would be an adult from this point on.

This past year, at the beginning of the summer, I set aside a couple weeks to hang out with my daughter Ella before she went home to Newfoundland for the summer. Whenever Ella and I spend time, there are very rarely any other people around. It’s OUR time and we both value it very much. We don’t do a whole lot of valuable things with it. We watch movies and listen to rap. We see a lot of theatre. Her mom does most of the heavy lifting in terms of raising her and handling school and all that shit and I get to be more or less the exact kind of dad you likely guess I am. Very few rules. Shitty snack food. Staying up late. Sleeping in. The whole meal deal. Cause why the fuck not? Did she learn anything valuable from me during these times? I hope so. But it wasn’t eat right and exercise/early to bed/do your homework and so on and so forth. I taught her to go for the balls, eyes and throat. That a boy will ALWAYS show a nude photo you send him to SOMEONE. That the Leafs will always be our team and the Canadiens will always be the enemy. How to say “fuck you” in Italian (and spell it). To never smoke or drink anything a stranger hands her. An appreciation for Rocky and Dazed and Confused. Together we memorized words to the Grease and Hairspray soundtracks. We sang each other the Family Guy theme song as a lullaby every night and she would fall asleep on my chest like a bear cub.

At the beginning of the summer, I set these two weeks aside to hang with her and she said to me, one of the first nights, quite maturely, “Dad, is it okay if I hang out with my friends tonight?” It was like a right hand cross that I just didn’t see coming. And then again, almost every night for the whole two weeks. And again, the tears came. Not because I felt sorry for myself, but because my little girl was gone. Just like that. And I don’t mean my daughter because she isn’t gone, of course, but my little girl. I have had friends actually lose children and I am in no way comparing this to what they have experienced. I can’t begin to imagine that reality. But I won’t ever be the father of a little girl ever again. That time is over. That kid who loved to curl up and cuddle and thought all my jokes were funny and everything her mother hated about me was cool. That kid didn’t exist anymore. A young woman was beginning to form in her place.

I say all of this because life is a series of endings and loss but it’s also a series of beginnings and hope. We have to let 2018 go. It’s dead and gone. It won’t ever happen again. 2019 is here and I, for one, plan to kick the fuck out of it so that by the time it is over, it’s will know I was there and that, on December 31st, either it or I has got to go.

And I don’t plan on going anywhere for a long fucking while yet.

Happy New Year, Nappoholics. I’m here all year. Avoid the veal.

And keep coming back.


Written By

Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.