Insert Foot: Why fathers avoid Iron Maiden death threats, keep cameras ready

Iron Maiden

Insert Foot vs. Iron Maiden lovers.

I’m getting a lot of feedback (death threats) on my semi-negative review of the new Iron Maiden record, Senjutsu, which I’m not reading because I’m a coward. But I suspect I know what they’re saying, and it’s probably not pleasant.

My fragile ego can no longer handle being threatened by metal fans wanting to slam me into real iron maidens.

They should think of it this way: It was negative because I love so much of the non-sucky records Iron Maiden used to make. So … that’s on them, not me. It’s Iron Maiden’s fault for being so awesome … before now.

So I’m going lighter today and, because I need social media attention to validate my existence, I recently posted something on my Facebook (I’m old) page that I also posted seven years earlier. Unlike most old posts re-surfacing years later that are embarrassing and/or traumatically sad (dead relatives, relationships I screwed up), this Facebook turn-back-the-clocker totally made my week. I actually bark-laughed when I saw it (bark-laughing at a busy gym is awkward).

It was a picture of a camel at a zoo or some similar establishment, bent over a fence with a young child’s entire head in its mouth. That is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and will ever see until someone kills me by jamming me into a real iron maiden.

I’m a dad, and that was the ultimate dad move. If you can save your child from being eaten by a camel AND get a photo of it, then your work is done. You are an expert father and deserve something in a frame saying so.

Even better was the donkey standing next to the camel, egging him on, as if the whole thing was his idea in the first place (donkeys are notorious for having camels do their dirty work).

On the photo …meme? … whatever you call these things, was the following text: “Your child is being eaten by a camel. Do you A) save your child or B) take a photo?”

Dumbest question ever asked. I mean, how much more damage can the camel do in an extra couple seconds? Cameras are really fast now. How much more can he eat? Don’t camels eat straw? He was probably just eating the dumb kid’s hair, which grows back anyway.

But that photo … SOLID Gold. And, though no one is saying so, we all know which parent took it.

He had no choice. Taking that photo is a father’s responsibility.

I mean, the camel had the kid’s entire head in his mouth, so you know the donkey totally dared him to do it. They should find these two and make a series of hilarious buddy movies.

Back when I pretended to be a journalist, I wrote a column about a controversial photo of the late great Steve Irwin feeding a lunging alligator while holding his infant child (Irwin’s child, not the alligator’s). Oh, the outrage … and I was right there to echo it, because I had a young daughter and I could never imagine endangering her (sure). I was new to this fathering deal and didn’t have my priorities straight yet.

If I was being rational, I would have realized that just being my daughter was far more dangerous than exposure to lunging alligators–an idea that I’ve proven repeatedly for nearly two decades now.

I also wasn’t as much of a badass as Steve Irwin … even if he did end up being killed by a fish.

That column should’ve been about how Steve Irwin was molding his little guy into a junior badass by exposing him to unspeakable danger as long as someone nearby had a camera to show everybody how cool it was. Having that photo for the little guy later in life would be priceless.

Just having a father is dangerous enough for most kids.

Back when I was a journalist who thought I should keep my kids away from animals who could eat them, my daughter–whom we’ll call Olivia, because that’s her name–and I were hiking in an area notorious for snakes. She was about 5 or 6, and I was holding her hand. Which was good, because it made it easier to yank her backward at the speed of sound once I spotted the coiled rattlesnake about 10 feet in front of her.

Once I got her to safety, my second thought was “Oh my God, that would’ve been an awesome picture.” I don’t think I had a phone with a camera yet, but I still had to see what almost killed and ate us both right there on the spot.

So I walked back over and looked and Mr. Snake, who slithered into the weeds, recoiled at my approach, and was waiting for me to get closer so he could kill and eat me.

Then I took my kid back up the trail because, I don’t know … maybe we’d see a camel and a donkey, telling jokes and waiting for us to pass.

Fathers can be stupid, but we mean well. But if you’re going for that awesome photo–as is our nature, really–you better still be young enough to move fast. Keeping kids alive is one thing, but making sure there’s evidence you’re doing so awesomely can be just as important.

Follow music critic Tony Hicks at

(2) Comments

  1. RobertMauro

    LMAO!!!! I doubt you're getting death threats. You're likely getting a ton of very accurate comments regarding *YOUR* desire for Iron Maiden to remain in the early 80's and become meaningless like every other band who's done the same. It's really simple. That you thought you had to write an entirely new post to try to justify your obsession with nostalgia, filled with hyperbole about replies you admit to not even reading, is baffling. That you make accusations about mail you claim to not have read is disturbing. It's really simple. If you want to live in the early 80's, enjoy! But that doesn't make new music bad, like you insisted. It simply means you're stuck in a past that's long since gone, and no longer relevant, just like the bands who decided to do the same. In the meantime, Iron Maiden will continue to grow and gain a new fanbase that'll happily blend in with us older fans who no longer live in the past.

  2. Brit Metal

    What a poor rejoinder by you. You barely bothered to live with the album and get to know it. Instead, you confidently decreed to the world that it was rubbish, after all of 48 hours listening to it? Your review came across as having delivered the superficial opinion of someone with a short attention span and with no interest in repeated listens. Many, many Maiden fans are living with Senjutsu, getting to know the song and letting the hooks dig in over time. Rather than rushing to say 'naah borring! not for me! where's Wrathchild again?' In short, your review is perfect for the person who gives it one listen on youtube and walks away. But its the other listeners who will actually get value and enjoyment from this record for years to come.

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