Dan Howard tripped over his daughter’s suitcases in the living room once too often and felt he had to do something.
He didn’t get mad though, he went viral.
The Cape Elizabeth pharmaceutical salesman went to his bedroom to make a 2-minute video about the, uh, joys of having his daughter Shannon home from college for the holidays. Titled “Day 5 of Having My College Kid Home – Merry Christmas” was posted Saturday and by Thursday it had been viewed more than 890,000 times and shared more than 8,500 times. More than 4,800 folks felt the need to comment.
“I have like 50 Facebook friends (100 actually) so I’m amazed at how this thing’s taken off,” said Howard, 50, on Thursday. “I thought I’d just make a couple kids laugh. Usually when I post something I get like four likes.”
In his video, Howard is seen wearing a black shirt against a white wall, talking at first about how happy he and his family are to have Shannon, 20, home from High Point University in North Carolina. He talked about the joy of picking her up at the airport and carrying her 150-pound bag. Then he recounted Day 2 of her visit and how “cute” she and her friends were to be baking at 3 a.m., depriving him of sleep.
By Day 4, Howard said the piles of Shannon’s clothes and luggage were all over the living room. But that was OK, he said, because now he and his family didn’t have to go to the gym to work out.
“We just jump over the piles, very good for the quads,” Howard says in the video. By Day 5 he was calling airlines and bus companies to see if he could get Shannon back to school.
“She’s the nicest kid in the world,” Howard said Thursday of Shannon, adding that she took the video in the humorous spirit in which it was intended.
Howard and his wife, Patricia, have an older daughter, Colleen, who has already graduated from college. So they’ve been through holiday visits before. They also have a younger son, Dan, at Cape Elizabeth High School, so they’ll likely experience holiday visits for some time in the future.
Howard thinks the success of his video is mainly timing. A lot of people are home for the holidays, or have kids or family visiting, and have experienced what a great joy/massive inconvenience having your home filled with visitors can be. Shannon shared the video with her college friends and families, and a couple of Howard’s friends shared it, and it just seemed to explode from there.
Howard does have some practice making funny videos, though he’s never had one go viral on Facebook. In the past, when he’s wanted to get one of his children to do something, he’s sent them a funny video in a text message to get their attention.
Shannon will not leave the Howard’s home until Jan. 15. Does that mean there will be more updates on Facebook?
“I’m not sure about that,” Howard said, laughing. “This one was probably enough.”