Firstly, thanks so much for the outpouring of love and support. I'm completely humbled and confess that your comments and e-mails moved me more than I ever expected. In retrospect, I probably should have put that post up months ago. The response from all of you was both heartwarming and cathartic.
Virtual hugs and fist bumps all around. Rock on.
Life is hectic these days so I'm not sure how much I'll be writing here for awhile. Between juggling custody arrangements, getting my ass kicked at work, plowing through 3 books per week, battling insomnia, having long-distance phone sessions with my therapist, writing a television pilot, trying to launch several new businesses, and contemplating the benefits of a semi-eremitic life, I find myself with very little free time.
But as usual, I've got some random thoughts that I wanted to share with you.
I hope you're all having a great summer and thanks again for being so cool.
THE GRASS AIN'T ALWAYS GREENER
When the Peanut gets older and inevitably starts pointing out my shortcomings as a father, I'm going to sit her down and force her to watch the episode of Wife Swap featuring the Stockdale family (Season 4.) Here are some of the rules in their parenting manual:
"Our children are being raised away from violent language, sexual
influences, drinking, smoking, drugs, rap music...all the things we left
behind in the city. Instead, we are raising our children on a diet of
wholesome activities and farm work; keeping their minds pure and their
bodies healthy and keeping out any influences of modern society. That
is why we home-school. I give my boys a large spoonful of cod-liver oil after dinner to keep their hearts and minds strong."
“We teach our boys that to succeed, you have to work. We raise chickens and process chickens, and what we don’t eat we
sell. We all pitch in, and I can gut a chicken in under four minutes.
The boys receive tokens for every chore they do and an extra token if
they do it with a glad heart. They trade their tokens for privileges
like listening to the radio or for a stick of gum."
Seriously? I don't know about processing chickens but if the Peanut learns to gut a fish in under four minutes and make fresh sushi for me every day, the kid's going to be trading in those tokens for a brand-new BMW by the time she's 11.
Especially if she does it with "a glad heart."
Man, rednecks are funny motherfuckers.
NON SEQUITUR ADULT ENTERTAINMENT IS FREE AND CHEAP
I used to laugh at the random non sequiturs that would come out of the Peanut's mouth when she was younger. However, a few months ago as part of an entertaining social experiment, a friend and I decided to start reciting several choice non sequiturs to complete strangers.
For example, at the local deli when the cashier asked, "Paper or plastic?" we'd reply, "Let the love flow, y'all." The looks and responses were so hilarious that we tried to recruit more people for our social experiment using the same catch phrase. Good, cheap, fun.
A few days ago, inspired by the Carrie Underwood song, I spontaneously began using a new phrase that seems to have a more interesting socio-anthropological effect. When my overtly religious dry cleaner bade me farewell by saying, "God be with you," I simply turned to him and replied "Jesus take the wheel, yo!"
Now I can't stop saying it to every stranger I meet and cracking myself up until I'm practically in tears.
Hard to believe I'm 40 years old, isn't it?
DANTE'S 10TH CIRCLE OF HELL: THE MEET & GREET
My worst nightmare has finally arrived.
In September, Peanut
will be starting Kindergarten. New school. New teachers. New friends.
It's an important milestone for her and we're all extremely excited.
That's not the problem.
Recently, I received a mass e-mail from
one of the parents in Peanut's kindergarten class inviting everyone for
a picnic so we could all get to know one another before
school started. It was a wonderfully kind gesture and will undoubtedly
make the transition easier for everyone. In a way, I find it truly touching. That's not the problem either.
I'm the problem.
the fact that I'm a genuinely affable guy, I hate being forced to meet new people. Idle chit
chat bores the crap out of me and in all honesty, I suck at it. I don't care what you do, who you know, how much you make, or where you live. I'd rather know your favorite author, band, or vegetable. Just give me something so we can connect on a somewhat deeper level.
Because if you don't, I'm sorry but unfortunately I also suck at feigning interest.
By the way, if you need me, I'll be the weird guy at the picnic in sunglasses standing off to the side eating potato salad and reading a book.
SOUND BITES: 2009'S BEST TV QUOTES ABOUT PARENTING
''A new study finds that trendy baby names lose their appeal after about
20 years. Which is bad news for my little brother, MC Hammer Fallon.''---Jimmy Fallon on Late Night
''Two thousand years from now, all of human life
will be traced back to three families: the Madonnas, Octomoms, and
Jolie-Pitts.''---Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live
''All right, Stewie, your dad's going to help you
learn how to be a man. Real men have a couple of beers and then
project their inadequacies on their kids. You ready?''---Peter on Family Guy
''I can promise you Ritchie does not have lice.
He takes a 45-minute shower every day. I mean, if you told me he was
going blind, that would make sense.''---Christine on The New Adventures of Old Christine
''Jenna Jameson gave birth to twins yesterday.
She decided to name the boys after her first pet and the street she
grew up on.''---Jimmy Fallon on Late Night
''Look at you and me and our biological clocks. You're going baby crazy,
and I keep getting turned on by car accidents.''---Jenna to Liz, on 30 Rock
FIVE REASONS I AM THE MCGYVER OF PARENTING
(1) When I run out of club soda, I sometimes use Elmo Punch as a mixer for my vodka.
(2) I once made an emergency diaper out of three sanitary napkins and some duct tape.
(3) I mashed up Chef David Bouley's legendary Chatham Bay Codfish with my fingers so they looked like Chicken McNuggets.
(4) Too lazy to go to the den and grab the free weights, I sometimes use my
daughter as a barbell to do curls, squats, and shoulder lifts.
(5) I once sent Peanut to school with toilet paper stuffed in her shoes because they were a little too big for her.
HER FIRST PAYCHECK
Here's a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little 5-year-old girl and some construction workers that makes you believe that we CAN make a difference when we give a child the gift of our time.
A young family moved into a house next door to a vacant lot. One day, a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot.
The young family's 5-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door, and spent much of each day observing the workers.
Eventually the construction crew, all of them gems-in-the-rough, more or less adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her, let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks, and gave her odd little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.
At the end of the first week, they even presented her with a pay envelope containing a couple of dollars. The little girl took this home to her mother who said all the appropriate words of admiration, and suggested that they take the two dollar "pay" she had received to the bank the next day to start a savings account.
When they got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay at such a young age. The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with the crew building the house next door to us."
"My goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on the house again this week, too?"
The little girl replied, "Sure, if those assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the mother-fucking sheetrock!"
RECENT TEXT MESSAGES FROM MY FRIENDS
My closest friends tend to share my off-beat sense of humor. I'm not sure if it's a birds-of-a-feather thing or I just like surrounding myself with people who "get" me. Either way, I like saving their text messages until my phone's memory can't hold them any longer. The following are all about to get purged so I thought I'd put them here for posterity:
"Some dumb blond pointed to my Cleveland Indians hat and said Ohio. I pointed to her rack and said Silicone Valley."
"Where are you tonight? I would like to buy you a vowel."
"I can smell the leather pants and Duran Duran from here."
"One girl salad and a beer won't kill me."
"What up, Foolio? It's not cool to correct people's grammar on text messages."
"Having dinner with my husband. We're both totally bored with each other and want to know if you can join us."
"I met a guy in an airport once who collected dried apple cores and named them after presidents."
"Your dog is a chick magnet, has a very strange foot fetish and likes slices of cucumber in his water. It figures."
"If Sotomayor gets in, does that mean if I want to be a firefighter, I need to get really really tan?"
"Donna wants to take the whole family to Whole Foods for Thanksgiving and make it BYOB."
"We need a gang sign and t-shirts. Or maybe a secret handshake and some polo shirts."
"They sell Metamucil popcorn at Whole Foods. Just shoot me."
"Meet me on the roof. I'm cooking the shit out of some short ribs and asparagus."
"Whole Foods put the fish next to the bath and soap products. Not a good aroma. Reminds me of a French girl I dated."
SAP & THE CITY: A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE OF "METRODAD"
The Peanut is at that wonderful stage where she sometimes likes to just sit quietly on my lap and ask me a lot of questions.
Occasionally I have answers for her. Why is the sky blue? How do planes stay up in the air? Where does cheese come from? Does strawberry milk come from pink cows?
I cherish these moments more than you could ever imagine.
But occasionally I don't have answers for her. Or maybe I just don't provide the kinds of answers that a 4-year-old girl can comprehend.
Daddy, what do you love to do the most?
I don't know, sweetie. I love to write, I say. I love losing myself for hours in a good book. I love introspectively contemplating the path my life has taken and exploring the journey within. I love hearing a great song over and over again until I'm completely immersed in it. I love lying in bed by myself on a cool summer night and listening to the Mets game on the radio. I love lying on the grass and staring up into the stars. I love the beauty of small things. I love embracing everything great this world has to offer and appreciating the very brief time that I'm on it.
But most of all, sweetie. I love watching you grow up.
Whenever I say things like that to her, she looks at me with a furrowed little brow. These answers are insufficient and they only serve to confuse her.
I don't understand, Daddy. What do you love more than anything else in the whole world? Little Einsteins? Chocolate chip cookies? Sand castles? Balloons? Fireworks? Kites? What do you love the most?
Those are the times that I take her into my arms, stare into her tiny eyes, and hug her with all my strength.
No kiddo, I say. None of that.
More than anything else in this entire world, I love you. I love being with you. I love talking to you. I love showing you new things. I love seeing the world through your eyes. I love guiding you through the journey of life. But more than anything else, I simply love you.