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Our latest venture is anything but canned
Our latest venture is anything but canned

Introducing My Latest Venture: WONDERCOD!

And to think it all started with a trip to Paris...

Neil Patrick Harris is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wondercade. In his spare time he also acts — fairly well, too, as his Tony and Emmy Awards can attest.

April 3, 2024 4:06 pm

It’s April, already. Aries season. Arbor Day. (Plant a tree!) Showers that bring May flowers. The plucky reporter from Ninja Turtles. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This time of year is top-rate, because absolutely nothing is more charming than New York in the springtime. (Well, besides David in the springtime. Dude rocks seersucker.) I simply love strolling the city streets to see cherry blossoms and magnolia trees blooming everywhere, the parks verdant with fresh grass, window boxes lined with tulips. So much newness. Speaking of newness…there’s something very new and extremely big in my life, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you. It’s my latest venture…one that’s got an ichthyological bent. That’s right. Have I piqued your interest yet? Am I fishing for your curiosity? What could I possibly be talking about? Acceptable answers, respectively: yes, I sure am, and you’ll have to scroll down to see…. – NPH

It gives me great pleasure to announce that two days ago, my life, as I’ve lived it for 50.83 years, has undergone a sea change.

For on Monday, April 1, I filed paperwork launching my latest venture: Wondercod.

First, the backstory…. I was in Paris back in January, when a gust of wind from the mistral knocked a kindly Frenchman’s beret off of his head. I grabbed the hat, and as he leaned over and outstretched his hand toward mine, the baguette and wheel of Brie he was carrying in his tote were sent tumbling onto the cobblestone street. In an instant, a rat — which I could swear was wearing a chef’s toque and speaking (in English, no less) — grabbed the provisions and scurried into the sewer. The Frenchman and I parted with a friendly “Au revoir.”

Not 20 minutes later, I was watching a mime in a square when I saw the same behatted man sitting at a cafe drinking coffee, smoking Gauloises cigarettes and reading Sartre. He stood up and ran over to me. Pointing at his beret, he said, “Merci, kind American sir!”

“How did you know I was American?” I asked, tugging at my backpack and shifting in my Nike running shoes, wondering if I’d EVER find a Starbucks.

“It is obvious, non? Because pardonnez-moi for asking, but are you not ze—”

I braced myself. Was the man to reference Smurfs — as big in France as Knight Rider is in Germany? Or would I have to explain, with respect, that no matter how long he was willing to wait for it, I would not, unfortunately, say “Legen…DARY” upon request?

“—are you not…ze très clever creator of Wondercod?”

Sacré bleu! WonderCOD! What a clever name! I knew I had to make use of it, though I wasn’t quite sure exactly how. I mean, it just had a certain Je Ne Sais Cod.

Should it be a travel guide to hotspots on Cape Cod? (Is there anything other than Provincetown?!) A fashion line designed to bring the codpiece back into vogue after it was so unceremoniously done away with (rather harshly, I might add) back in the late 1500s? (Actually, codpieces would do very well in Provincetown.) An app designed to help the layman discern the differences between the vastly superior Atlantic cod and their shittier cousins in the Pacific?

Then it hit me like a metric ton of Lutetian limestone. Wondercod was none of those things…. Wondercod isn’t a physical item or something you can hold in your hand (let alone use to make bacalao). I knew then that my new calling — nay, my awakening — was right there in front of me in that holy trinity of beautiful syllables… won… der… cod.

Wondercod is a state of mind. An approach to life. A philosophy. Some people choose to walk the path of Jesus. Others take the road less traveled. But I, then and there, decided I needed to swim through life as the majestic cod does. It is henceforth my mission, when facing life’s conundrums, to actually wonder…cod. Verb, then noun. Tackling my daily trials and tribulations, I resolve to try and behave, to think like a cod. To emulate a cod. To embody — as much as my human form will allow — a cod.

Like the great Bob Dylan said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “The answer, my friends, is swimming in the North Atlantic somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland.”

David, my ever darling and delightful husband, supported my plans immediately, and after a quick trip to the market, returned to make me a herring-and-shrimp smoothie, and a friendship bracelet with WWCD (What Would Cod Do) written on it. I love him like a cod loves a semidiurnal tide.

When trying to decide what to wear in the morning, do I want to look fashionable and don my silken smoking jacket, or do I go for function and opt for my sweat-wicking track hoodie? Well, everyone knows the handsome white stripe adorning the side of the cod isn’t just for looks, it’s also an extra sensory organ that helps them detect fish vibrations in the water. So I’ll go with my fisherman’s multi-pocket utility vest.

When experiencing the doldrums known as April showers here in New York, what can I do? Fix myself a stiff cocktail? Take up scrimshaw? Catch a matinee of An Enemy of the People? Then I remember that some Atlantic cod undergo seasonal migrations, such as moving from polar waters in the summer and fall to waters farther south in the winter and spring. Pack your bags, kids! We’re headed for an impromptu trip down to Florida! Seasonal depression cured with some sunshine, low taxes and majestic mullets.

When trying to determine what to have for dinner, and Harper has a hankering for sushi and Gideon is determined to have chicken nuggets, what are we to do? I take a deep breath and remember that male and female cod are usually the same size and weight…so both my son and daughter should weigh evenly into the decision, and we should get chicken-nugget sushi. (Yes, David, of course I’ve heard of Sal Minella. He’s the mechanic who fixed my car last year. What does that have to do with the kids’ dinner?)

But one doesn’t just need to Wondercod in their personal life. The cod can aid in professional matters as well. When I find myself wondering whether I should sign on to do a film, another television role, or return to the bright lights of Broadway, I simply need to look to the Northern Atlantic whitefish for direction, and realize that they have three rounded dorsal fins and two anal fins, with smaller fins near their gills and whiskers on their chins.

As you can guess, taking that into account, my decision was an easy one…. So to all of my intrepid followers out there, I implore you, when life gives you something to mull…make moqueca, and Wondercod.

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