Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thank You

I told you there'd be one more post before the end of the year. This is it.

I spend my morning and evening train rides writing and writing and writing. Every day I write at least 1000 words. Most of it is complete crap and will die an unremarkable death on my computer's hard drive. As it should. Some of it is better than complete crap and it ends up here or on Twitter. Every now and then something is good and that also ends up here or on Twitter and you guys respond to it. You post in the comments. You favorite it on Twitter. You like it on Facebook and maybe even share it with your friends. That's when I realize it was good. (I assume most writers have this problem. They think everything they write is crap until someone tells them it's not.) Your engagement with the post encourages me to keep slaving away — seemingly pointlessly — on the train each morning and evening. For that, I want to say THANK YOU.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for posting in the comments, Brian.

Thank you for retweeting my links to these posts, Derp.

Thank you for liking my posts on Facebook and sharing with your friends, many people.

Thank you for taking a little time out of your day to read some random stuff on this little blog that has absolutely no theme or through-line in a time when everything has a theme or through-line. In many ways this is my workshop. In other ways this is my gallery. Either way, thank you for your time and patience.

Your clicks and comments and likes and retweets encourage this old man to keep doing something he loves to do even when — especially when — it all seems like a waste of time. It means more than you know.

You all deserve entrance into whatever paradise you believe the afterlife to contain. If you don't believe in an afterlife, you deserve to be completely content with every aspect of your life in your final seconds. If you're not sure what you believe in, you deserve enthusiastic and unexpected high fives.

Happy New Year, wonderful people.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some Programming Notes

Just a quick note to let you guys know that I won't be posting much — if anything — through the end of the year. Not that you expected me to based on my recent posting schedule but I wanted to let you know. I figure it's a nice courtesy to extend to those of you who do read this regularly.

A few programming notes:

I just discovered that a new season of The Bachelor will begin on January 5th. It looks like they're doing a two night premier because that's exactly what we need. If I feel like being a pro, I'll recap them both in separate posts. If I'm not feeling like a pro (especially because the 6th is my birthday and who needs to watch that mess of a show on his birthday?) I'll only do one. 

This is a second programming note because I promised "a few." The plan is to also return to my more regular posting schedule when my Bachelor reviews return. Regular posting schedule? Yes, I had been trying to keep to a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday schedule. I will try to return to that in January.

I hope to spend some of my time off for the holidays working on a special project that will appear on the blog. It will depend on my wife's schedule but I hope to have a new feature for you in early 2014. Yes, Dee is involved and plays a major role. Will Scarlett be involved as well? Possibly. You'll just have to keep checking the blog.

Also, I totally lied about not posting anything until next year. There will be one more post.


I didn't plan on vaguely announcing an unfinished project as a third programming note but I did. Maybe it will light a fire under my ass. There's your "a few" programming notes. See you in 2014 and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What I Did on My Two-Week Vacation

I just took two weeks off work. You know what's great about taking two weeks off of work? That you don't have to work for two weeks. And that they keep paying you. Because they trust you to come back. You know, because they know you need the money. And that they'll let you come back. And that they'll let you take two weeks off again sometime in the future. At least that's how my job works. They let me use these "PTO Day" thingies. I get a bunch and can use them how I want for the most part. I mean, I can't use them all in a row. I've never really tried but I would bet they would be like, "Yeah, how about no." And I'd be all, "Yep. That seems right." Plus, it would be dumb. I wouldn't have any days left to use for the rest of the year. Or something. That's not really how it works because there's this system where we earn our days piece by piece by showing up for work or something. I'm not really clear on how it works. That's not true. I know exactly how it work I just don't feel like getting into it. 

ANYWAY, I was off the last two weeks. It was pretty great.

What did I do with my time? Here's a sample:

I went to the gym and got in the best shape of my life. I can now deadlift three horse-drawn carriages (my gym has some unconventional equipment.)

I ate an entire rotisserie chicken with my bare hands. By the way, this is the proper way to eat a rotisserie chicken. Standing, bare handed, towering over it like it might be your last meal and tearing the meat off the bones. You can even cackle loudly if you like. Or maybe grunt if the spirit strikes you. Feel free to suck on the bones. Lick your fingers. Tip the tray and drink the drippings. Make sure to spill them down your chin and the front of your bare chest. Did I mention that you should also be shirtless? Because you should also be shirtless. 

I captained a pirate ship in the Caribbean. I captured and plundered several Spanish and English ships. I also murdered several unsuspecting men. I did this all while playing the Edward Kenway character from Assassin's Creed IV.

I typed words into my computer that I hope to bring to you one day in some form or another. These are not those words. I am typing these words right now as you are reading them. It just seems like they are already there but they are not. They are only appearing as you read them. Even if you skip ahead, I'm typing those words, too. You can't prove this isn't the case. You can't prove they aren't there until you've read them because once you've read them they are there. Here. I mean here.

I hung lights on the outside of my house despite my better judgement. They are blue. 

I rediscovered my hatred of glitter. Is it possible to make a Christmas ornament that doesn't involve glitter? I'll tell you: NO. APPARENTLY IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. All ornaments have glitter. In fact, they have so much glitter that they seem to spontaneously create more glitter to cover all of the surfaces of my house and child. Glitter is a disease that needs to be purged from the Earth.

I reminisced with my wife about her competitive badminton days. Okay, part of that is not true. We did not reminisce about her competitive badminton days. She did, however, play competitive badminton.

I made Peppermint Loaf. No, that's not the name of the hottest new dance. The Peppermint Loaf. It should totally be the hottest new dance, though. Peppermint Loaf is this chocolate-peppermint bread... loaf. It's delicious and I'll make it again. Maybe I'll invite you over to try some but I probably won't. I like to keep it all for myself. IT'S MINE.

I taught my daughter to scream, "GO PACERS!" in the general direction of my wife (a Bulls fan.) It's my family's favorite new game. Well, it's my and Scarlett's favorite new game. 

I took naps. I took luscious, wonderful naps.

Also, I can squat twelve giant pandas. I can also catch and wrangle them onto a squat rack.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Socks, New Man

Guys, I bought me some socks. Top notch socks with all sorts of features to increase comfort and stay-up-ability. You see, my old socks had all sorts of stay-up-ability issues. Any time I started walking it was like someone dropped a Slinky® around my ankles. Anyway, these new socks came in many different colors and patterns. For example, the socks I'm wearing today are gray with purple polka dots. They stay up very nicely. They are also very comfortable. They even have some sort of extra elastic or something around the mid-section of the foot that increase stability or comfort or something. I don't know. I'm not some sort of sock technician. I'm pretty sure those bands are infused with some sort of artificial business performance feature that allows me to navigate the hallways and conference rooms at peak efficiency. I definitely feel efficient in these socks. You should see the way I run meetings now that I feel confident in my sock game. I'm undefeated in meetings since I've been wearing these socks. Who knows what might happen with tomorrow's socks? What color will I choose? Green and navy stripes? Pink and gray stripes? Maybe even aqua socks with thin gray stripes? I could choose any one of those and then DOMINATE my meetings. I've a veritable buffet of socks to choose from. These socks are versatile, too. I can't wait to wear them to more casual events so I can start dominating those, too. I'm about to win all of the cocktail hours and brunches and group dinners. It's a brand new me with some brand new socks and you're about to get OWNED.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What is Wrong with These Gym Bros?

To the dude in my gym's locker room who decided to leave his underwear hanging on the shower curtain rod for the rest of us to deal with:

Why are you wearing your underwear to the shower? You're in a fucking locker room. You're allowed to be naked in the locker room. It's okay. If you're so worried about being naked in the locker room, wrap a towel around your waist. If for some reason a towel cannot be wrapped around your waist or you don't know how to wrap a towel around your waist, just hold it in front of your junk. There are zero reasons for you to be bringing your nasty underwear into the shower area.

Why are you hanging your underwear on the shower curtain rod? There are hooks outside the shower on which you can hang things — on second thought, don't hang them there, either. That's where people hang their towels. How about you just don't fucking WEAR YOUR UNDERWEAR INTO THE FUCKING SHOWER LIKE THE ONLY TEENAGER WHO HASN'T GONE THROUGH PUBERTY.

Seriously. What is the deal with guys like you who are afraid to be naked in a locker room? You don't want everyone to see your precious penis? WHO CARES? No one, that's who. No one in that locker room is interested in your dick (No, not even the gay guys.) In fact, most people will make the minimal effort it takes to not look at your dick. Are you trying to be considerate? Don't want to expose people to looking at your dick because you don't like to look at dicks? Grow up. People get naked in a locker room. In fact, it's necessary to get naked in a locker room so that you can shower and change your clothes. Don't be all, "Why does that old man want everyone to see his wrinkly dick?" Don't project. He probably doesn't want EVERYONE to see his wrinkly dick, but he certainly doesn't give a shit if some uptight young punk sees his wrinkly dick. His wrinkly dick has nothing to do with you but he seems to be the only one who knows that. We need to get over our bodies. When and who decided that we should always be ashamed of being naked? What's the big deal? We're all encased in these meat sacks that look generally the same. Who cares if some dude/lady at the gym sees more of your meat sack than you like or vice versa? (Heh, meat sack.)

My point is that if you could get over yourself, I wouldn't have to deal with a sweaty, nasty pair of used underwear hanging from the shower curtain rod in the gym. I'd much rather glimpse your dick for a few seconds than try to keep your sweaty underwear from falling on my head while I shower.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Scared of a Bag of Chips

Sometimes I'll come home to find a brand new bag of chips in the cabinet. I'll see that bag of chips and be all, "Hell yeah. Those are my favorite chips. My wife loves me and wants me to be happy." I'll grab the bag of chips and start to open them and then stop…

Oh wait. Are these for some party that we're having that Dee told me about but I totally didn't pay attention to because I was immediately annoyed by the fact that we're having some sort of party I'll have to clean up after? Maybe? I don't remember. I should text her. No, texting her about chips is dumb. I don't need chips, anyway. No, I do need these chips. I'm definitely going to text her. No, I'm going to check the calendar first. Hmmm, there's nothing on the calendar. I think I'm good. Oh wait, is she taking them somewhere for some ladies' thing she's going to? I don't know, I never pay attention. Damn. 

…then I just open the chips and eat half the bag. You know, because I'm a shoot first ask questions later kind of guy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Straight Lines: A Rant

Look, human beings, I know life is confusing and challenging but is it too much to ask you to WALK IN A STRAIGHT FUCKING LINE instead of weaving all over the damn sidewalk? Those of us who have places to go would rather not dance around you while you figure out where the hell you are. Don't make me go all Dwight Freeney on you. You don't want to get blindsided and strip-sacked on a Chicago sidewalk. You need to focus up and notice what the hell is going on around you. PEOPLE NOT IN YOUR DIRECT LINE OF VISION STILL EXIST AND THOSE PEOPLE OFTEN LIKE TO MOVE WITH PURPOSE. At least do us the courtesy of staying in YOUR OWN DAMN LANE.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Little Mermaid

My wife and I recently let our daughter watch The Little Mermaid for the first time. She had already been familiar with Ariel from various books and from general exposure to the Disney Channel. When we proposed it to her she was excited to see the "Ariel Movie." This also served as a re-introduction to the movie for me. I hadn't watched The Little Mermaid since just after it came out — which is over 20 years ago. The movie has not changed but I have and it is a very different viewing experience for me. 

For example:

I used to think, "Man, King Triton is a dick." Now I think, "Dammit, King Triton just loves his little girl so much. Sure, he's being a little unreasonable but I can see why he made those choices." The ending? Forget about it. He's letting his little girl go forever. His broken heart is nothing compared to her happiness. I feel ya, King Triton. I feel ya.

On the other hand, Ariel is only 16. What the holy hell? They make a point about telling us she's 16 several times. No 16 year-old should ever get married. This movie didn't come out in 1949, it came out in 1989. Sixteen was way too young to get married even then (and I'm from Indiana). Are there laws of consent in Atlantica or whatever Prince Eric's kingdom is called?

Where the hell are Prince Eric's parents? All we see is the butler. If his parents are dead he should be King Eric. Just sayin'.

Also, there are lots of dead parents in Disney movies.

My 2 year-old is a pretty cool customer. At the end when Ursula gets real big and tries to kill Ariel, Scarlett just looks at me and says, "Ursula is not very nice." Indeed, kiddo, indeed.

It seems like there should have been a much better way for Ariel to become a human than making a deal with Ursula but this was really the only way it could have happened. No amount of pleading and crying would have convinced King Triton to turn Ariel into a human so she could be with Prince Eric. Ariel had to make this deal for her father to understand just how much she wanted this. This feels like a life lesson for fathers everywhere: LET YOUR DAUGHTERS BECOME HUMAN.

Also, a lot of this silliness could have been avoided if Ariel had bothered to negotiate even a little bit. How does the daughter of a king not have any training in negotiation and/or politics? Related point: Someone that naive is NOT ready for marriage, regardless of age.

Maybe I've been doing it wrong, but it took me way more than three days to fall in love with Dee and decide to marry her. I know the movie gets really long if Ursula gives Ariel the standard amount of time for people to fall in love but c'mon. That's what montages are for. Three days? That's a terrible deal that Ariel should never have taken. Also, let's talk about Prince Eric for a second. He fell in love with a vague notion of a woman and a voice while recovering from a near-death experience. He didn't think once that it might have been the sights and sounds of the afterlife? I'm not saying there is an afterlife, but Prince Eric seems like the kind of guy who would believe in that kind of stuff. However, if Prince Eric is an atheist then good on you Disney.

People give Disney shit for portraying their princesses as women who can only find worth by marrying a man — rightfully so — but who the hell are these princes who are ready to propose to a woman after a brief encounter? I mean, the Prince from Cinderella (another movie Scarlett is obsessed with right now) is willing to marry the first woman whose foot fits in a discarded shoe? Prince Eric is willing to marry a voice? Guys, you're princes. Let's be a little more picky. Especially you, nameless prince from Cinderella. I know those shoes were custom made for Cinderella but there's got to be at least one other girl in the kingdom who has feet her size. If this guy is going to eventually run a kingdom, he's going to get destroyed on the battlefield by anyone with half a brain.

Also, check out Cinderella's feet throughout that movie. They're tiny. There's no way she's not toppling over all the time if she was not just a drawing.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Fall

The first time the temperature drops below 50 in September or October, people start saying things like, "Well, so much for Fall," or "I guess we got cheated out of Fall again this year," or "Welcome to Winter. We went straight from Summer to Winter AGAIN." Guess what, you idiots? THIS IS FALL.

Fall is not some half-assed summer where it stays between 65º and 70º. Sometimes a Fall day starts at 37º and then creeps up to 55º for mid-day. Sometimes a Fall day is between 60º and 65º all day. That's what Fall is. Fluctuating temperatures. Cold. The leaves don't turn if it stays warm all Fall. 

Fall is figuring out if you should just wear a sweater or grab your winter coat and always choosing wrong. Fall is wearing a hoodie one day and wishing you had gloves the next. Fall is making fun of SEC football teams for wearing long sleeves and face covers when they play someone up north and the temp is below 60º. Oh wait. SEC teams never play anyone up north. In the Fall, things get cold. Sometimes it even snows. That doesn't mean it's Winter. Winter has it's own level of cold and snow. Unless you've completely forgotten about February in Chicago, you know what I'm talking about.

So let's stop talking about how we never have a Fall (or Spring) and recognize those seasons for what they are. Schizophrenic transitions between Summer and Winter. And quit your whining, I happen to think this weather is fantastic.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter #6 -- Be Yourself

Scarlett-
This one may be the hardest one I'll have to write. Not because I don't know what I want to say but because it's the hardest advice to take. It takes a very mature person to truly live this lesson. I'm not sure I'm doing it even now.

Be yourself.

What does "be yourself" mean? Good question. Glad to see you're thinking about what you're reading. "Be yourself" means a lot of things, but in this case I mean that you should never be afraid to be different. You may not see it now, but being different is a good thing. You don't want to be just like everyone else. Being like everyone else is boring. The only person you want to be like is you. 

How do you be you? I don't know but you're doing a pretty good job of it so far. I don't know how to be Scarlett and I never will. Only you can be Scarlett. Only you know what you like and what you don't like. The way you find out what you like is by trying things. Try everything you have the opportunity to try. If you don't like it, you don't have to try it again. If you do, awesome -- there's something new for you to add to your list of "Things Scarlett Likes." Just try, try, try. Never stop trying.

You'll probably find something you like that no one else you know likes. Or maybe you'll dislike something that everyone else seems to like. That's perfectly okay. You don't need to be like everyone else. In fact, you'll eventually discover that it's pretty cool to not be like everyone else. If it's something that you like and it's not hurting anyone, you should do it and you should be proud of it. You might be surprised at how being confident in your choices can really change the way people think about your choices. You might even turn some people on to a new thing they love.

Look, you're already different. You have red hair. Most of your friends will have blond or black or brown hair. You might think you stick out like a sore thumb with your red hair and you might feel like you want to blend in. Don't. Embrace your red hair. Stand out. Don't apologize. Your red hair is part of what makes you you. In fact, I guarantee there will be plenty of kids in your class who wish they had red hair like yours. Learn to love it now because you're definitely going to love it later.

Fitting in is okay and there is a time and a place where learning how to fit in will serve you well. However, you should never, NEVER compromise who you are just to fit in. That's when fitting in becomes the easy way out, the coward's path. It's takes bravery to be who you are and to let the world see who you are. Find that bravery. If you're not feeling brave, come find me or your Mom. We'll always be proud of who you are and we'll always be there to help. Sometimes bravery is a little bit easier when you're doing it with someone you love.

Love, 
Dad

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's Been A While

Look guys. I'm back!

That's right, I'm posting on the ol' blog again. I was doing pretty good there for a while but now it's been about three weeks since I've posted anything. What happened?

I'll tell you what happened. Work happened. I had to travel to Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA in the span of three weeks. Sometimes my very important position as Chief Muckety-Muck In Charge of Various Tech-Related Things at my company, Law Craftspeople Incorporated, LLC, requires me to travel. The past three weeks was one of those times. Well, two.

You see, Law Craftspeople Incorporated, LLC has this really sweet travel deal where they pay for all my travel. Well, I paid for it but then my company (who is legally a person) reimbursed me. All I had to do was get receipts for most of the stuff I did and give those receipts to the Mayor of my company. The Mayor then deposited a fat stack of singles directly into my bank account. ISN'T THAT INCREDIBLE? I skipped over the part about filling out lots of forms but that's basically how it worked. Even with the forms, it's still pretty amazing.

ANYWAY, I know you felt a void in your soul while I was gone but you will be happy to learn that while I was in Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA I was careful to collect experiences about which I could write. I can't recall any of those experiences due to the smog (Los Angeles) and fog (San Francisco) but I can give you a few tidbits about what I did while I was there.

I discovered that downtown L.A. is where they film all of the car commercials. Not a surprise, but I felt like I should have been surrounded by impossibly clean cars and floating lists of features and APRs.

I saw and smelled the LeBrea Tar Pits. They are just right there in the middle of L.A. I mean, L.A. is huge but they're right there well within the city limits. I also learned that going to the Tar Pits is a rite of passage for elementary school children in L.A. similar to going to the Museum of Natural History for Chicago-land elementary schoolers.

I impressed my friend by eating every last bite of a very large sandwich at a delicious Jewish deli. He'd never seen anyone eat the whole sandwich before. I also finished a plate of fries. The Tar Pits make you very hungry.


The faceless non-staring statues
In San Francisco, I was not stared at by these three faceless statues that stood directly out of my office window.

I went to a Chinese place and had breaded crab. However, the breading was on the OUTSIDE of the crab shell. This meant I had to eat the breading off of the shell, then crack the shell to get to the crab meat. Thankfully, I've eaten peanuts at a baseball park before so I was familiar with the general process of tasting the shell and then releasing the juicy morsel inside.

I watch the Notre Dame-USC football game at a Notre Dame friendly bar in downtown San Francisco. I did not know a single person there but I totally knew everyone there.

While at that bar, I was hit on by what can only be classified as a Cougar. Keep in mind that I'm 37.

I also met her daughter who had just graduated from college.

That very same night the guy I was sitting next to was offered Adderall by the very chatty woman sitting next to him. He declined. I was not offered any Adderall presumably because my intent and consistent focus on the Notre Dame game clued her in to the fact that I do not have ADHD.

I answered the question, "What is something you've never done before?" With, "Successfully potty trained a child."

I hugged a Vikings fan. He really needed it.


All on the Law Craftspeople Incorporated, LLC company dime. Well, not all of it. I couldn't figure out how to submit a receipt for "getting hit on by a Cougar" and I definitely don't feel like I need to be reimbursed for my hugs. Or my drinks. I didn't submit my drinks but otherwise it was all free. Sure, I had to work all of both Friday nights and most of both Saturdays but it was worth it.

Anyway, that's why I haven't been posting the past three weeks.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter #5 -- I Don't Know

Scarlett-
You haven't realized this yet, but I don't know everything. There are questions you're going to ask me that I won't know the answers to — especially if you start asking about Disney movies. I don't have all the answers. No one does. In fact, people who are experts in their fields of study don't even have all of the answers to the questions about their field of study.

And that's okay.

It's okay to not know. If someone asks you a question and you don't know the answer, it's okay to say, "I don't know." There is no shame in not knowing. We all must learn everything we know for the first time. Until we learn it, we don't know and there's nothing wrong with that. 

There is a responsibility that comes with saying, "I don't know." Once you say it, you've now discovered a hole in your knowledge. It's up to you to fill it. It's your job to find out the answer — if there is one. Ignorance can be excused once, but not multiple times. Don't be intellectually lazy. When you have to say, "I don't know," that should be your cue to leap into action and do some learning. Of course, there are some exceptions to this. If someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, you can answer "I don't know" until you're, oh I don't know, 40. By then you should probably have a pretty good idea. Until then, feel free to say, "I don't know" if you really don't know. 

Don't abuse it, though. Whenever you're about to say, "I don't know," remember that those three words are a great way to start a conversation where you and the other person (or group of people) end up learning something new by the end. "I don't know" should never be an ending but always a beginning.

Love,
Dad

P.S. — If you've ever wondered why your stuffed animals seem to move around your room while you are sleeping, don't ask me. I don't know.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

An Interview with Myself

Sometimes you run across a site on the Internet that is written by some self-help guru and designed to help you improve your life. More often than not those sites serve as a platform for the author to brag about his or her amazing life and how you should be just like him or her and then you will be happy. I found one of those sites and it told me to interview myself with the following questions.

So I did.

Dear self, you are 37 years old. What do you have to show for it? Are you living the dream?

What do I have to show for my 37 years? Do you have about, I don't know, 37 years? Number one, I have a tiny human being of my own creation. Sure, I had some help with that but it's still pretty fucking impressive. I mean I MADE A HUMAN. This little human is funny and happy and cute and smart and generally delightful. I am a creator. 

I've got a wife. She's the one that helped me make that tiny little human. She's pretty awesome, too. She's smart and funny and thoughtful and über-tolerant and she has good credit. Ooh, I have good credit. That's a thing. Also, my wife is sexy. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that she was sexy. 

I've got a house. And a condo. The house is nice and it's big. I wouldn't say it's a big-ass house because, holy shit, have you seen some of the houses in these suburbs? They're enormous. My house is plenty big for my family. The condo was obviously too small for the family so we had to leave. We still own it, though. I guess I also have two mortgages. *Sad trombone*

I've got a car. Well, I have two cars. Well, we have two cars. Cars are dumb, though.

I've got my body. It's in pretty good shape for a soon-to-be old guy. Sure, it's showing a little wear and tear. My hair has been graying for some time and I'll soon be full-on Anderson Cooper but things could be worse.

I've got a steady job where people like me and I don't hate going to work. My boss is awesome.

So that's what I have to show for it. What do you have to show for it? A list of places you've been? A bunch of pictures of mountains and stuff? Yeah, I've got that too. Maybe it's not as extensive or impressive as yours but what's the goal here? Are we trying to out-list each other? Are you trying to help me be happy? I was in a pretty good mood until your blog came along and started asking me the kinds of questions that make me feel inadequate because I haven't lived my life exactly like yours.

Also, can we really have anything? It's all just fleeting, ephemeral stuff that we use and discard and move on from — even experiences. All we really have are our bodies and minds.

Am I living the dream? Not your dream. Hell, I'm not even living a dream at all. I'm living a reality. A good reality. One that is frankly none of your business, Blog On the Internet. 

What's next, self?

What's next? Well… In the short term I plan to finish typing this sentence. Long term? I plan to get off this train and go to my car and then drive home. Longer term? Bedtime. Even longer term? Die.

Why do you do the things you do every day?

How am I supposed to live if I don't eat or drink? Or poop. Pooping is underrated as a regular, important activity. It's extremely important. If I didn't poop, I'd die. I mean, those are really the only things I do every day no matter the situation. There's other stuff I do on a pretty regular basis but you didn't ask about that. You asked about the things I do every day. Sleep. I also sleep every day. If you don't sleep you go insane and probably die but I can't be certain about the dying part. 

My life is mostly about not dying. Not yet, anyway.

What do you really believe in? (What do you know to be true?)

Can we really know if anything is true? Am I in a dream? Are we all plugged into the Matrix? Is truth even real?

What I know is true:
French fries are delicious.
Anyone who tells you they know anything definitively about God is lying to you.
I sweat more than the average person.

Where do you find your security?

In the lobby. They're always hanging out down there in their ill-fitting blue suits.

What bothers you, and what are you doing about it?

Blogs that pretend to know what's best for me because they've decided that happiness for everyone can be attained the exact same way they attained happiness for themselves. Either we're all unique, beautiful, snowflakes or you're selling bullshit to people who trust TV to tell them how they should be attaining happiness. I'm leaning towards the latter but I'm just the kind of cynic that brings everyone down.

What am I doing about it? Posting on a blog that no one reads. Take that, Snake Oil Salesman.

What worries me?

Just about everything relating to my daughter. Death, disease, assholes, anything that she might encounter in life that I haven't properly prepared her for.

My wife dying. My dog not dying. Running out of M&Ms.

If you had one year left to live, how would you spend it?

Practically, I would try to make sure I do everything I can to leave my wife and daughter as financially secure as I possibly could. But that's not the answer you want. You want me to say something like, "I'd travel the world and learn all the life lessons the world has to teach me," or "I'd feed the hungry children." Honestly, I'd probably try to write a book and fail. I'd probably be pretty tired from all that financial securing and typing and, you know, dying. That tends to take a lot out of you.

Satisfied, Internet Blog?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

On Breaking Bad

A couple years ago Dee and I decided to get in on this whole Breaking Bad television program we'd heard about. We binge-watched the first three seasons and have watched seasons four and five as they have aired. On Sunday, Breaking Bad comes to an end. Below are my thoughts. There will probably be spoilers.

1) Before this week's show Dee turned to me and said, "I'm nervous about Breaking Bad." She's never said this to me about any other show. Not even So You Think You Can Dance. That's how intense this show is.

2) I think Walt will attempt one last heroic act prior to ending his life. He'll try to save his family and possibly Jesse.

3) No matter how badly Jesse wants to die at this point they're not going to let him.

4) New Hampshire is the Granite State. The penultimate episode was called "The Granite State." New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die." The first episode of this second half of the season was called "Live Free or Die." Which means we probably should have seen the New Hampshire thing coming. We also should expect Walt to either live free or die. I'm betting on die. Living free is not an option for him anymore.

5) A note to those taking care of me when I'm old and dying: Never bring me a case of Ensure. Just say, "You're going to be dead soon. Would you like me to put a gallon of ice cream and a package of Oreos in the blender and give you a straw?"

6) I've watched every episode of The Sopranos and The Wire and I think Breaking Bad is better than both. Not by much, but I've enjoyed Breaking Bad more than any show I can remember watching. And I really loved The Wire.

7) Walt, Jr. (Flynn) will probably get his wish that Walt just dies already. No matter how heroic it might seem, don't think there isn't a little part of Walt that is thinking, "This is what that little shit gets for telling me to die."

8) Walt is definitely going to do his best to stick it to his former partners at Gray Matter. Not sure how, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't at least try.

9) Remember the scene when Walt is buying the gun and he practices pulling it out in front of the mirror? I'd love to see a reprise of that with the huge gun he's got in his trunk.

10) The show would have to go completely off the rails in this final episode in order to ruin this series for me. Even if the ending isn't great or satisfying, I've already enjoyed this show more than any other I've ever watched. Sunday's episode won't change that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter #4 -- Laughing at Yourself

Scarlett-
I was a pretty serious kid. I understood it was important to get things right. I believed the worst thing that could happen to me was I might look silly or dumb. Or I might possibly reveal I don't know everything. This was what drove me. I never wanted to make a mistake and I never wanted to get ridiculed. I didn't want anyone to laugh at me if I wasn't trying to be funny. This led to a lot of tears.

I want you to avoid these specific tears. Not because I don't want you to cry or feel sadness. Those are necessary parts of living a human life. These tears are pointless and a waste of time. It's almost literally crying over spilled milk. Who would actually do that? Well, I'm pretty sure I did at one point.

You can't avoid ridicule.  People will make fun of you for reasons that often have nothing to do with you (more on this in another letter). You can't control other people and one of the best ways to combat them is by taking away their power. Laughing right along with them tends to take the wind right out of their sails. 

You can't avoid doing stupid things. Even the smartest of us do stupid things from time to time. Most of the time those stupid things don't do any lasting harm, so why not laugh at the absurdity?

Sounds simple, huh? Just laugh it off. Easy as pie. It's not that simple. 

It's hard to laugh at yourself. It's hard to realize that you are not unique in your suffering. It's hard to remember that we're all in on this joke because we're all struggling to figure out how to do this together. It's hard when you feel that sliver of truth in that joke sting you. It's hard not to feel that and think that maybe you are deeply flawed. Guess what? We are all deeply flawed. Every single one of us. It's what makes us human and it's what gives us incentive to get better. Take that sting and make a joke of your own. About yourself. You've just been endowed with knowledge. That little sting? That's self-realization. You're aware of yourself and your flaws. That's the first step to being able to correct them -- if they actually need correcting. 

Look, I'm writing this like I've mastered the art of laughing at myself. Don't be fooled. I'm still learning how to do this. I didn't even start learning how to do this until I was way older than I should have been. My advice would be to watch your mother and talk to your mother. She's a pro at this. She's taught me more about laughing at myself than anyone else. She gets it. She kinda loves it. She always laughs the hardest when I'm playfully making fun of her.

That's my advice. Learn to laugh at yourself by not taking my advice. Take your mother's advice. She's the one who should be writing this letter.

Always keep laughing.

Love,
Dad

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

215

215 is probably the most fun number. Right? I mean look at it. It's having a lot of fun. That two at the front is all like, "Here I come everyone! I'm gettin' this thing started! I've got an attractive curve but a solid base on which to stand. I'm ready for fun, and built to last!" Then the five at the end is all, "Check it out, y'all. I'm bringing up the caboose! I'm keeping things locked down and rolling over here. There ain't gonna be no trailing off with this number, there is a definite end to this bad boy. Sure, I may be a little wobbly on my curve, but that's what makes me fun! PARTAY!" The one in the middle is all, "Look, I'm here to make sure these two enjoy themselves and bring some life to the party and I'm going to have some fun myself but I'm also not going to get too wasted because I have to make sure these two get home safely. I mean, I'm not too worried about it. These two manage to have a real good time and still find their way home but someone has to be the level-headed one here." See? It's a pretty freaking fun number. The kind of fun you'll always remember but will never land you in jail. I'd have 215 at my party any day.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesdays On the Train

Wednesdays on the train are weird. Low attendance. I'm not sure why. It doesn't make sense to me but I'm sure there is a reason. 

Wednesdays on the train are weird. Quiet. Like they intentionally make the Quiet Car a little more quiet through some sort of revolutionary new technology that will probably give me cancer.

Wednesdays on the train are weird. It smells different. Cleaner somehow. Like they spend Tuesday nights changing the air filters and cleaning the ductwork. Or maybe they just spray some kind of crisp air freshener.

Wednesdays on the train are weird. People seem sleepy and sluggish. They look drowsy and peaceful. Like they've been drugged. Like they've added an airborne substance to the HVAC system that pacifies everyone.

Wednesdays on the train are weird. The walls glow. They glow green, then yellow, then orange, then red, then purple, then blue, then green again. If you touch the walls you feel a faint pulse as if they are alive. 

Wednesdays on the train are weird. Instead of the regular Conductor, she is replaced by a man without a face. He has no features on his face, just smooth skin like a mannequin. Yet he is able to operate just like our regular Conductor. His stare is bone-chilling.

Wednesdays on the train are weird. The people who sit in the lower level slowly melt. First, their skin begins to melt and slide off until they are just muscle and sinew. Then the muscles slowly begin to fall away until we're left with a skeleton precariously holding in the internal organs. The organs then slide out and melt into a puddle at each person's feet. Suddenly, we hear a sharp crack and the bones turn to dust, fall onto the puddle of melted flesh, muscle and organs and soak it all up until no trace remains of the people on the lower level. When we pull into Union Station everyone suddenly reappears.

Wednesdays on the train are weird. The people who sit in the upper level are suddenly transported into the past where they are tortured by singing women in silken robes. They are subject to all manner of torture. Stretching, removal of fingernails, short bursts of high-pitched sound and blinding light, sleep deprivation, the stench of rotten cheese. When we pull into Union Station everyone suddenly reappears and all mail in their email inboxes has been deleted. 

Wednesdays on the train are weird. Everyone ages at twenty times the normal rate. The young become very old. The very old become even older yet do not die. Everyone shrieks in pain and ecstasy as they experience all of the future pain and pleasure they will experience in their regularly paced life on this accelerated schedule. When we pull into Union Station we are all swallowed by a giant blue squid.

Wednesdays on the train are weird. Maybe that's why the attendance is low. You know, because things are weird on the train on Wednesdays.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter #3 -- Permission

Scarlett-
I was what many considered a "good kid." I always listened to adults. I never wanted to break the rules. I tried my best to please. I always erred on the side of caution. If I wasn't sure if I could do something, I asked permission. In fact, if I wasn't told I could do something I often assumed that I wasn't allowed to do it. For me, this didn't just apply to everyday things like riding my bike over to my buddy's house or going swimming in the nearby lake. It included bigger things -- like what kind of job I could have and what kind of life I could live.

I want you to know that you don't need permission for those bigger things in your life. You don't need some adult to tell you it's okay if you want to be a painter. You can be anything you want. People will say this to you a lot. They'll often follow it with things like lawyer or doctor or rocket scientist. They'll never mention things like inventor or entrepreneur (two very similar things) or dancer or activist or solver of world hunger. You can be those things, too -- and all of the other things I'm not mentioning. In fact, I bet you'll have the option to be about a thousand things that don't even exist right now. Be one of those things. You have permission. No. You don't need permission, you can just do it.

I know this may seem like I'm repeating myself from the "No Script" letter, but I'm not. I want to call out this specific point. You may not need it to be called out, but I did. I already see a lot of me in you, so I want to make sure you know that you don't need permission for those big questions in your life. You'll still need permission for some of the smaller stuff while you still live with your mother and I, but we're reasonable people and we trust you. So just ask.

For those big things, give it a shot. If you don't know how to give it a shot, let me know and I'll do everything I can to help you. Just know that waiting around for the world to tell you that you can be whatever you want is never going to happen. You have to go get it for yourself.

Love,
Dad

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

He's On To Me

There's a guy sitting across from me on the train right now and he's giving me the eye. No, not the let's-have-hot-sweaty-man-sex eye but the I'm-on-to-you eye. He knows what I'm up to. He can totally tell that I'm the guy doing that thing he suspects me of doing. He's on to me. He's got my number. It doesn't look like he's going to let me get away with it, either. I could be in big trouble here, folks. He looks like the kind of guy who has some experience with holding people accountable. He doesn't quite have that cop stare but he definitely has a security guard stare. I'm gonna get called out here and it's clear that he doesn't care if this is the Quiet Car or not. "Screw the Quiet Car," says his eyes, "I see injustice and I'm going to make it right." Those eyes are awfully talkative. I'm totally busted guys, I can feel it. I'm just not quite sure what he suspects me of doing. Does he know I'm writing about him? Does he know I'm the one who is farting? I'm totally not the one farting, but someone is. Or maybe he knows about some of my more nefarious schemes. No, he can't know about those. No one can know about those. NO ONE MUST KNOW. NOT EVEN ME. It's got to be the farting thing. Seriously, who is farting on this train?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dead Baby Rabbits

You know how sometimes when you live in the 'burbs you find dead baby rabbits in your yard? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. So there was this dead baby rabbit in my yard but I didn't see it. You know, because baby rabbits are tiny and it wasn't hopping around and drawing attention to itself because it was dead. Guess who found it? You know it. My dog, Ruthie. So Ruthie finds this dead baby rabbit and instead of alerting us so that we can clean it up she decides to taste it. You know, because she's obviously hungry because her special non-allergenic, super expensive dog food apparently isn't enough for her. So I run out to see what she's up to and I have to be all, "No, Ruthie. We don't eat dead baby rabbits in this house unless they've been approved by the FDA." Ruthie looks at me like, "BUT THIS COULD BE MY LAST MEAL." Then she pooped. So I had to clean up poop AND a dead baby rabbit. The 'burbs are the tops.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter #2 -- No Script

Scarlett-
There are some things in your life that are definitely going to happen. You are going to get older. You are going to die. That's it. Those are the only two things I can guarantee will happen to you. Otherwise, nothing is guaranteed.

Nothing. Is. Guaranteed.

Don't let this frighten you. In fact, it should make you feel free. "Nothing is guaranteed" is just another way of saying that nothing is scripted. You get to choose what you want to make of your life. It may seem obvious and simple but there are plenty of obstacles to truly choosing your own path. 

You'll discover that everyone has an idea of what you should do with your life. Most frequently it will go something like this: go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, die. (They'll never mention the die part.) They'll figure out how old you are and then ask you the appropriate question. Where are you going to college? Where are you going to work when you graduate? Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? When are you getting married? When are you having kids? It may not seem like a big deal, but when you're asked these questions enough you'll feel like this is what you are supposed to do.

You don't have to do that.

You don't have to do any of those things. Those people don't mean any harm. It's just what they think people do. That list of things that we're all "supposed" to do is what some people call an "invisible script." Some people follow this invisible script because it's all they know. Some follow it because they haven't thought about anything else. Some follow it because they are afraid. Some follow it because it's easy. I don't want you to be one of those people. 

I won't let this invisible script be the only thing you know. Don't let yourself do anything thoughtlessly. Don't be afraid. Don't do what's easy. Make your own choices. Think about why you want to go to college. Think about what your passions are and if college is right for you. Think about the kind of job you want to have. Choose one that will fulfill you -- not the one that will make your life comfortable financially. You're going to be doing that job for most of your life, you better make sure you like it. Think about marriage and what it means. Think about the impact on your life and your potential child's life before you have kids. Kids will become your life so make sure you've lived yours before you have any of your own.

I'm not telling you that following the college, job, marriage, kids invisible script is a bad thing. Hell, your mother and I did it and we're both happy with our choices. We've got you and that's more amazing than you know. I just want you to know that there are other options and that you shouldn't shy away from them. Nothing is guaranteed but nothing is preordained. Use this to your advantage and live a life that makes you happy.

If you break the script and live an unconventional life that makes you happy, your mother and I will love you. If you follow the script because that's what makes you happy, your mother and I will love you. Just make sure you've written the script the way you want it written.

Love, 
Dad

P.S. -- If your mother or I ever bug you about getting married or having kids, you have full permission to smack us on the side of the head.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In Which High School Me Parties It Up

I know that I totally seem like I've always been Mr. Cool Shoes, but I can assure you I have not. In high school I was not cool. Despite the fact that I was the quarterback on the football team, I was far from the coolest guy in the school. First, I wasn't a very good quarterback. Second, I dressed like, well… like you would expect a kid from Middle-of-Nowhere-Indiana-who-doesn't-have-MTV to dress. Third, I got grades like a nerd. Fourth, I was always very careful to never break any rule or get in trouble. Fifth, I never went to the cool parties. In fact, I was never invited to the cool parties. Was it because I was a nerd? Probably. Was it because I was a goody-two-shoes? Definitely. Was it because my dad was the county Prosecutor? Very possibly. Was I upset by this? Absolutely not. Would I have been upset by this had I known these parties were actually going on? Possibly, but probably not. Does it matter? Not really. I was blissfully unaware.

My point is that I was not a cool kid and I did not know how to party. In fact, I thought the coolest part of the party was the cheese ball. Man, I loved me some cheese ball. I'm fairly certain I had never seen another drunk human being until I went to a graduation party and saw some adults who were a little tipsy. You know, because I didn't go to graduation parties where my fellow students were getting drunk. Instead, me and my buddy Scott decided to go to the gas station and pick up some cheap cigars.

We took those cigars and sat on the hood of his car and smoked them. I'm pretty sure that Scott had smoked a cigar (and possibly even cigarettes!) before so I did my best to play it cool. And I did. I was good at playing it cool, fitting in. On the inside I was all, "OH HELL YEAH! WE ARE LIVING IT UP TONIGHT. I BOUGHT A CIGAR AND NOW I'M SMOKING IT AND THERE ISN'T ANYTHING ANYONE CAN DO BECAUSE THIS IS WELL WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE LAW. HELL, I MIGHT EVEN TELL MY PARENTS." Then I went home and worked up the nerve to tell my parents because I WAS BECOMING A MAN AND IT WAS TIME FOR ME TO LIVE MY OWN LIFE. They said, "Okay. Goodnight." HA HA! I TOLD THEM!

I went to my bedroom and lay in my bed thinking about the evening because I was too wired to go to sleep. I'd graduated from high school and smoked my first cigar. My life had changed. Not because I had graduated from high school. I fully expected to graduate from high school. Even the dumbest dummies can graduate from high school. I had smoked a cigar. I had done something I never expected I would ever do. What else am I capable of? What other strange opportunities might I encounter? How far will I go? Do I even know who I am anymore? Might this finally lead to me being cool? 

The jury is still out.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Man Things"

"Man things" that I hate:

1) Anything to do with the fucking lawn.
Why do I want to pour my time and money into my lawn? What a fucking waste. I could be taking my daughter to a museum or just taking a nice, long shit. Just about anything is better than baking out in the hot sun pulling weeds out of the fucking mulch at the expense of my back and knees. Don't even mention the fucking water bill to keep my grass green during eight weeks of no rain. Sure, I could pay someone to take care of it for me (I totally pay the kid down the street to mow the grass) but then I'd be paying for someone to take care of my lawn so that the goddamn neighbors don't fucking complain. I won't give in to the peer pressure. You want to see beautiful flora and fauna? Go on a vacation. And keep off my lawn.

2) Pretending to enjoy whiskey.
I love making that sour grimace every time I take a drink. Just like I love working twice as hard to repress that sour grimace when I'm only half way through the glass. Why pretend to enjoy something that looks and tastes like rust? I won't. It's stupid.

3) Pretending to enjoy cigars.
Oh, yes. Let's envelop ourselves in a cloud of acrid smoke emanating from the soggy brown phallus hanging out of our mouths. Oh, could you make it so little bits of it get stuck in my teeth and mouth for DAYS? You can? Fantastic. Can I also get a side of zero buzz to go with my nauseous feeling? Perfect. Let's also throw in a nice carpet-flavored aftertaste that lingers for several days.

4) Pretending to enjoy strip clubs.
I haven't had a ton of experience with this one as I've only been to one or two, but these places are mostly sad. I'm not even talking about the strippers. Dudes get weird and desperate. Also, the strippers often make me sad.

5) Pretending to enjoy gambling.
Gambling is for boring people who don't know how to have fun. Anytime someone proposes something that might be even slightly construed as a competition, some dude is always, "Why don't we make this a little more interesting," and he plops down a twenty. Really? You need the threat of losing money to make it more interesting? How about you have an interesting conversation with any one of the people you are with? Or maybe fucking make a joke or two at your buddies' expense? Why does money have to be involved? If you can't have a good time without some kind of stakes you are broken.

6) Bug duty.
Look, I don't mind killing or removing bugs from the house. Someone else needs to step up and handle it every now and again. I don't need to be informed every time there is a bug in the house. Anyone else can work the flyswatter (or "splat" as Scarlett calls it) as well as I can.

7) Driving.
Traffic. Other drivers. Fuck that. Get me out of here. I'd rather be playing Angry Birds in the passenger seat any day.

8) Fighting.
Why would I want to hit or be hit by anyone? I wouldn't. You always just end up with two angry dudes with more bruises and zero problems solved. Fighting is dumb.

9) Lifting shit.
Yes, I may be the strongest person available. Yes, I will use good form and lift with my legs. Yes, my back will still hurt tomorrow. No, I won't complain about it because everyone else already used the bad back excuse to stick me with the chore, anyway. I won't stoop to your level.

10) Golf.
Why is this the chosen sport for guys to do business? Can't we just have dinner at a restaurant with a nice outdoor area? Let's save us all the frustration of playing a game at which everyone is terrible.

11) Anything involving a ladder.
I'm afraid of heights. The last thing I need is to be climbing up on a ladder and putting my entire life in danger. I'll do it but you're going to have to clean the poop out of my pants when I'm done. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter #1 - Mistakes

Scarlett-
I have some terrible news. Well, it's probably not terrible for you. I'm sure you've already realized this news I'm about to reveal. This is really for me. The terrible news I have for me is: you're not perfect. 

That was hard for me to write.

As much as I might want to hold on to the thought that you are my perfect little girl, you're not. You're going to make mistakes. You're going to make lots of mistakes. Glorious, wondrous, spectacular mistakes. Some will make you laugh and some will make you cry but you'll make them. If you do it just right, some of those mistakes will be the best thing that ever happened to you. In fact, most of your mistakes will make you a better person provided you take the time to learn from your mistakes.

I spent most of my childhood scared to death that I might make a mistake. The one thing that drove me through childhood was doing everything I could to avoid making a mistake or failing in any way. Guess what? I still failed. I made lots of mistakes and I even learned from some of them but it wasn't graceful and it wasn't good for me. I was a stressed out kid. I spent many nights in my room crying over my homework because I was worried that I wouldn't get all the answers right. That is not a good way to spend your childhood.

What I failed to understand was mistakes and failures are good. They are the best way to learn. Sometimes a mistake can even lead to something better. A misspelled word can lead to a new joke or a spilled glass of water can inspire a new painting or failed test can lead to revelation that you're pursuing the wrong degree. Failure can motivate us to do bigger and better things. 

Now, don't run off and start making every mistake you can. That's not healthy, either. Some mistakes can be permanent and devastating. If you're curious about what it's like to live with only one arm, it's probably best to just tie one behind your back for a while instead of chopping it off. When you make your mistakes, you need to be in an environment that can support it. Fortunately, most environments can. However, you still have to use your brain. Think about the consequences of the risk you're taking and ask yourself if you can live with those possible consequences. Will writing this English paper as a series of haikus (thereby possibly getting a failing grade) keep you from your academic goals or will it just be a tiny blip from which you can recover? Will getting into the car with a drunk driver be worth the possibility of never being able to walk again (or worse)? What can you live with and what really matters in the long term? Ask yourself this every time you are about to take a risk. Know that the risk your taking is recoverable. (HINT: You can recover from almost every mistake.) That doesn't mean that your failures can't still be spectacular.

Enough with the lecture. Back to my point.

I want to see you take chances. I want to see you make mistakes. I want to see you fail and fail spectacularly. In fact, I'll be right there beside you cheering you on. When you walk up on stage at your school talent show and read a poem you wrote that takes playful jabs at your teachers and nobody laughs, I'll be in the back of the room giving you a standing ovation. Then I'll help you make it better -- if you want me to. When you organize your classmates to boycott your school's lunch program in order to get better and healthier options, I'll be there to help you print up the flyers (or, more likely, set up the Facebook page). When the administrators call you a troublemaker and want to discipline you, I'll be there to help you make them understand why what you're doing will teach you and your fellow students more than just about anything they're teaching you from those textbooks. Whatever it is you decide to do, your mother and I will both be there to help you learn from your mistakes and to encourage you to try again. It's up to you to try.

Now get out there and start screwing up. I promise you it won't hurt nearly as much as you think it will. 

Love, 
Dad

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why I'll Never Run for Elected Office

It may seem ridiculous to you that I would need to explain why I'll never run for elected office. That's only because you're one of the people who don't know my family history.

If you know me, I'm sure you don't think it's ridiculous. If you don't know me, let me explain.

My dad was a politician. He was elected twice as our county's Prosecutor. He ran three times and was elected twice to the Indiana State Senate. That's it. That's all I really need to explain.

That's basically why people ask me if I would ever run for elected office. I guess I should stop being surprised.

However, my uncle is an astronaut and no one ever asks his son if he would ever want to be an astronaut. Maybe that's because they know you need actual qualifications and education to become an astronaut. You just need money to run for office.

ANYWAY, I would never run for office. I'm not saying I haven't briefly considered it and then immediately squashed it from my brain -- usually by drinking until I black out. Here are some reasons why I would never run for office:

Money. Do you know how much it costs to buy signs and flyers and buttons and stickers and web domains? Neither do I, but I can think of a thousand different ways to better spend my money. For example, buying raisins in bulk for my daughter. My daughter loves her some raisins.

Time. Do you know how much time it takes to properly run a campaign? Even a small town campaign? All of it. All of your free time. You need to go to the local political meetings, knock on doors, march in parades, attend local festivals, answer people's emails, participate in forums/debates, etc. Look, I've got a full time job that I'm not willing to give up. I really like spending time with my family and watching TV and surfing the Internet. I can't be bothered trying to convince people that I can make their corner of the world a better place for them. I'm not convinced I can.

Energy. I'm fucking tired. I want to take a nap. Even if I'm taking a nap while you are reading this, I'm dreaming about taking a nap. The people of my town deserve better than that.

Humor. I know there are important issues facing my town. I also know that there will be times when I won't be able to resist making fun of those issues. People don't like that shit. Make a joke about something that someone is serious about one time. No matter how funny the joke, they'll walk away thinking you are an evil person. Those are sad people and they often find their way into politics.

Family. People say nasty things about you when you run for office. I know that my wife and daughter are smart enough to know they aren't true but it doesn't make it any easier to hear. Plus, I don't want to have to explain to my daughter why people are saying terrible things about me and I definitely don't want to make her a target because of my crazy ideas about how the town should run.

Honesty. Even on the local level, honesty doesn't really exist. Even in the short time I've lived in my new town, I've come to understand that much of the political infighting is due to various companies trying to buy off the politicians.

Baby Boomers. We're all just waiting for them to die so we can finally make some real progress. I'm sure this is what every generation says about the preceding generation.

My political views. Maybe it wouldn't come up in a local election (though it probably would) but I'm an atheist. I recently saw a poll where Americans rated atheists the least trustworthy group in America. Even Muslims rated higher. Think about that. Many Americans don't make a distinction between a Muslim and a terrorist and yet they trust Muslims more than atheists. Also, I'm pretty sure I live in a politically conservative area and my politics tend to lean toward the liberal side.

My sordid past. I probably shouldn't go into it but there are some pretty big skeletons in my closet. I mean, have you read some of the shit I post on this blog? I lived in Chicago for 12 years. I'm pretty sure some of that famed Chicago corruption just seeps into you after living there for that long. You don't even want to look at my browser history. Or the camera roll on my iPhone. Or my locker in high school. Or my pants.

I fart a lot. Politicians have to sit in a lot of meetings with other people. I can't be getting up and excusing myself two to three times every meeting simply because I don't want to fart-bomb my fellow plutocrats. Well, they'd be plutocrats; I don't think I'd count. See my point about money above.

As you can see, I'm totally unfit to run for elected office. Feel free to stop asking me now. Thanks.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Internet is Fun

Once again, good times with people who know how to play along.


Come have fun with me. #PulseTheNuts

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Broken Inside

Sunday night, while putting Scarlett to bed, I got to the portion of the routine where I turn out the lights and sing her songs. She did not want to sing songs while sitting on Daddy's lap in the rocking chair like we usually do. She wanted to sit in the chair by herself while Daddy leaned on the front of the chair and sang to her. I was exhausted, so I acquiesced. This meant that I was staring directly into her face while I sang her songs. I've never done this before while putting her to bed. At first it was fine -- mostly because she wanted to sing the "Notre Dame Victory March" -- but once she requested "You Are My Sunshine" I fought to hold back tears as her sweet little face stared at me as she quietly sang along. It was at that moment I realized I can never have another child.

Once Scarlett was born, the piece of me that was able to control my emotions stopped functioning. Now I'm emotionally raw and much closer to tears at any moment than you would ever think -- tears of joy or tears of sadness. Commercials make me cry. Any kind of human achievement in the face of adversity makes me well up with tears. It doesn't even have to be remarkable. If I see someone who sprained his ankle bravely make it up a flight of stairs, I'm on the verge of tears. Forget about something like a child with a prosthetic leg learning to play soccer. I'm a mess just thinking about it.

Scarlett came along and opened me up. I'm affected by the things around me more than I ever had been before. If I were to have another child I don't think I could actually operate in the world. In order to open myself up enough to love both Scarlett and another child (not to mention Dee) I would be a constant well of emotions. I would always be crying or laughing. I would walk up to random strangers on the street and hug them and say things like, "It's okay, man. Everything's going to be okay." Simply because I understand the struggle of being human in this world. I would tell every woman I see how beautiful she is because, goddamn it, every woman is beautiful and that's a gift the world refuses to recognize. I would agree with people who say the final season of The Office was funny. I would cry myself to sleep every night because of, oh man, the beauty and, oh no, the sadness. All of the beauty and sadness. I wouldn't be a useful human being anymore. There's a good chance I'd morph into a ball of emotion and explode.

I'm broken inside. Broken in the best possible way and another child might just be my end.