“Last night was shaking, and pretty loud.” – Scorpions
“Hey Uncle Kyle, do you know the song “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by The Beatles?”
Uh, you mean Scorpions?
“(Laughing) Oh, yeah, Scorpions.” – Keller P. (age 5)
Well before the aforementioned “morning sun” peaks over the horizon at his country home in Wisconsin, my cool little nephew Keller is up and ready for the day. His dad (my brother-in-law) Nick gets up very early most mornings to go into work so Keller follows suit and is usually up and awake and at full throttle by 5 a.m. getting some quality time with dad before he’s out the door.
My sister came to visit my wife and I here in Arkansas, and brought Keller and his little sister Sylvie with her. We haven’t seen them since just before the pandemic shut down the country last year. They’ve been isolated much of the time back at their home outside of Madison. Keller is five but as tall as a seven year old, and with his wavy blonde locks he looks like he belongs on a west coast beach carrying a surf board.
I’d put his musical acumen up against any five year old in the country. The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Grateful Dead, Imagine Dragons, Beastie Boys, and The Rolling Stones (though he can’t name a song when pressed for one) are just some of the artists he’ll name for you, but the list of musical artists he can name and identify doesn’t stop there.
Keller can talk, and by that, I mean he has no shortage of words. Depending upon the study, men speak somewhere between 7,000 and 15,000 words per day. I think Keller is cruising into 15k by about 9 or 9:30… a.m. At times keeping up with him can be totally exhausting (as my sister and brother-in-law can surely attest), but most of the time he’s funny, and strange, and outrageous and intelligent and sometimes just full of five-year-old absurdities. I tell people that if he starts a podcast it should be called “And Guess What?” because he loves to say “and guess what?” He barely waits for you to respond with “what?” before launching into some topic or story.
He introduced me to the Australian animated Disney show “Bluey.” He tells me that back in Wisconsin they have a neighbor who talks like they do on “Bluey” and calls he and his sister “mates” (he’s apparently from New Zealand). Keller is going to be a dino rancher one day (another Disney show). He loves Super Mario and is a self-described expert when it comes to winning at any Super Mario game ever on any platform anywhere.
Speaking of video games, he downloads games onto his iPad so frequently taking up all of the memory storage that his mom has to constantly delete games so that he’ll have space to download more games in the future. At first he thought my phone was pretty lame since the only game on it is the Wheel of Fortune of app. Shout out Pat Sajak and Vanna White! But after I helped him win some fake money and solve a few puzzles, he really started liking it, and who can blame him? #futurewheelwatcher
His memory is fascinating. With no prompting, he remembered a spot where we watched fireworks from on the 4th of July in 2019 when he was barely four. He likes Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (obviously), but also cheers for the Everton FC and can sing their unofficial (official?) club song, “It’s a Grand Old Team.” And it’s made even cuter when little sister Sylvie joins in and sings along. Heck, I didn’t even know Everton existed until recently. Now I know it’s a soccer, excuse me, football team in England and… “We only know that there’s going to be a show when the Everton boys are there!”
He has a girlfriend at school, and her name is apparently Julie Kim (unverified), but she’s 12 and he doesn’t really know her that well. These Gen Alpha romances. The next day he told me he had 10,000 girlfriends and they all lived right next door so take the girlfriend comment with a grain of salt.
He digs “hug tag,” which is a game my wife created combining the basics of tag with giving hugs. He’s a fan of David Bowie’s “Magic Dance” from the movie “Labyrinth,” and he also likes Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” We played “Eye of the Tiger” during our boxing matches over the course of two days which totally wore me out. He loves chicken nuggets, french fries, and fruit punch from “Chic-filets.”
“The night is calling, I have to go. The wolf is hungry, he runs the show.”
He thinks A LOT about anacondas and tarantulas and werewolves. We played werewolf sounds on the Alexa one night (at his request), but it scared him so we had to tell Alexa to stop. He told me on numerous occasions that he saw an anaconda in our backyard even though he knows they’re mostly found in rain forests. I’ll be extra cautious though when venturing out into my suburban back yard from now on.
He thinks my knock-knock jokes are hilarious: “Knock-knock. Who’s there? Who. Who-who? What, are you an owl?!” Hysterical laughing follows every time.
He accidentally dropped a “dammit!” but he used it appropriately when he couldn’t get his pajama shirt on right so I didn’t feel the need for correction at that point. Pajama tops have caused me to say dammit before too. He can drop quotes from “Lego Batman,” and can spin half-hour tales from the bathtub if you let him all the while spilling bathwater all over the floor. He loves Avengers. He says red and black are his favorite colors because they’re the colors of Deadpool even though he’s never seen one minute of Deadpool.
Keller can be a handful. He will test boundaries and your patience. He might resemble a miniature hurricane at times, but he’s sweet and will give hugs and kisses and lay on your chest and fall asleep. He will tell you he loves you, and at the end of a long day, that makes it all worth it.
“Here I am. Rock you like a hurricane.”
The Scorpions have been around in some incarnation since 1965 making them some of the elder statesmen of the heavy metal world. Formed by song-writer and rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker, they enjoyed their most success from the late 70’s through the early 90’s.
Truth be told, Keller actually prefers this song as covered from the “Trolls World Tour” sung by actress Rachel Bloom. Sorry Scorpions. Uh, I never said he was perfect ok? I’m blaming it on the Gen Alpha thing again. He also said he got stung by a scorpion once. It didn’t hurt though. Guess those Wisconsin scorpions don’t have quite the same sting as their southwestern relatives.
This group has some sting though and one of my favorite 80’s guitar solos belongs to Matthias Jabs in this iconic 80’s song. It was their lead single from their ninth (yes, ninth!) studio album in 1984 called “Love At First Sting.” I was 13 and this was really the first time I recall being introduced to the Scorpions. I sure wasn’t five. This video lacks anacondas or werewolves, but still may be a little too scary for Keller at this time. But when the time is right my little man, crank up the volume, and immerse yourself in Germany’s greatest hard rock band with their sexy vixens and their shaking cage and what has ultimately become their signature song – “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” And if this version properly rocks your face off, well, I’m sure Rachel Bloom will understand.
Thanks for reading.