Lessons In A Face Full of Pie

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

open blueberry pie

Have you heard of the game Pie Face? It’s a hilarious contraption that essentially invites you to stick your head in a ring and push a button repeatedly until a hand covered in whipped cream or shaving cream eventually flies up and smacks you in the face.  My son Dylan is desperate for this game.   I’ve told him to add it to his Christmas list.

But this weekend it occurred to my husband that another ridiculous game we have, Don’t Wake Daddy, has a similar mechanism.  In this case, a plastic sleeping “daddy” will wake, and in doing so his body flies up out of the bed. So with a little imagination, tape, and paper plates, they constructed their own Pie Face.    It’s pretty irresistible, honestly. The building tension—will it hit me now? Will it hit me now?—coupled with the absolute hilarity of when the person actually gets smacked in the face... I don’t know how you can’t laugh.

But then Dylan decided there was way too much keeping him between the “pie” and his face, and so took matters into his own hands.  Literally.  He squirted some whipped cream in his hand, counted to three, and smacked his own face (and convinced his sister to do the same). I mean, who needs a complex game or mechanism to get you there?

dylan pie face

I love him.

And seriously, he’s taught me more lessons about life in his five years than just about anybody in the history of all times. I’m going to re-name him Ghan-Dylan. Or the Dalai Dylan. Yoda-lyn. Oh-Dy-Lan-Kanobi. For real, people.  

Now, for those of you who are wondering why smacking your own face with whipped cream is anywhere near a wise or admirable choice, just hang with me here for a minute. 

It’s not about the whipped cream.

(Okay, it’s a little bit about the whipped cream—he sees a face full of whipped cream as joyful not absurd. He’s says YES to whipped cream, which really is just the same as saying YES to life, right?)

But more than that, it’s about activating your life. Sure, you could wait for the game to tell you when you’re going to get hit with whipped cream. OR, you could decide for yourself. Take the reins. Say—now. Not—when?

Say now.

Too often we wait and wait for the “when” to arrive, don’t we? Funnily enough, he wanted me to read “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” to him before bed that same night, and it has one of my favorite passages in it:

“You can get so confused 
that you'll start in to race 
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace 
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, 
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. 
The Waiting Place... 

...for people just waiting. 
Waiting for a train to go 
or a bus to come, or a plane to go 
or the mail to come, or the rain to go 
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow 
or waiting around for a Yes or a No 
or waiting for their hair to grow. 
Everyone is just waiting. 

Waiting for the fish to bite 
or waiting for wind to fly a kite 
or waiting around for Friday night 
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake 
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break 
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants 
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. 
Everyone is just waiting. 

That's not for you! 

Somehow you'll escape 
all that waiting and staying. 
You'll find the bright places 
where Boom Bands are playing. 

With banner flip-flapping, 
once more you'll ride high! 
Ready for anything under the sky. 
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!”

Dylan took achieving a face full of pie into his own hands and reminded me that we don’t always have to wait for the “when.” We can sometimes declare that when is going to be right now.

What “when?” can you turn into a “now” today?  

Wings & Whimsy Challenge:

No, for real: NOW. How can you take action on something
you’re waiting on? Can you stop the wait and just go? Try it!
And tell me about how it went in the comments below, or
tweet me @ErikaPetrelli1


“Lessons In A Face Full of Pie”, The Leadership Program, 2016

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.