Can it really be August 30? Labor Day weekend is coming up. Football season is right around the corner. The Peanut starts first grade in two weeks. And I've yet to sign up for those surfing lessons in Montauk that I swore I was going to do all summer!
In lieu of any actual real writing, I offer only the following...
THE FOOD NETWORK IN LIVING COLOR
My five-year-old daughter is hooked on the Food Network.
A few months ago, we were walking in Tribeca and she casually said, "Hey look, there's Bobby Flay." The funny thing is that it was Bobby Flay.
Before I continue, let me just say that my daughter and I have never had any conversations about race. She knows she's Korean but, aside from that, I kind of dig the fact that she doesn't think about race, color, or creed.
And because I went to high school with Alex Guaranaschelli and we've hung out with Aarón Sanchez a few times, she automatically thinks we're constantly surrounded by Food Network stars.
Hence, every black couple is the Neelys. Every punk guy with bleached hair is Guy Fieri. And every vaguely ethnic-looking brunette is Giada Di Laurentis.
This wouldn't be so bad if 5 year olds had a sense of discretion and subtlety. Unfortunately, they tend to say whatever is on their mind...THE MOMENT IT ENTERS THEIR BRAINS.
So, to the large white woman on the uptown 6 train today, I sincerely apologize for the fact that my overly-enthusiastic fangirl daughter excitedly pointed at you and screamed at the top of her lungs, "Oh my God, Paula Deen! I LOVE BUTTER TOO!"
"HOW TO COOK A STEAK" BY ALEX BALK
Though I greatly enjoy good food, I'm certainly no snob about it. I find "foodie" to be one of the more obnoxious self-aggrandizing descriptions one could ever apply to one's self. Hence, I get enormous enjoyment out of Alex Balk's description of how to cook a steak.
I hope you will too...
Go to the goddamn grocery and get a steak. Yes, the grocery. A little ammonia is not going to kill you. You want to be all fancy and grass-fed and environmentally conscious, go ahead, I don't give a shit, just get a fucking steak. Ribeye is good. And, yes, bone-in. Schmuck. Take the steak home. Get a big-ass frying pan and put the shit on the stove, cranking the heat up as far as that fucker will go. Take a shitload of salt—rocksalt, none of that fine-grained crap here—and toss it around the bottom of the pan. When the pan is hot as all fuck—it should scorch the shit out of your finger if you're stupid enough to touch it—put the fucking steak on there. You can crack some pepper on the top of the steak as the bottom is searing, but don't even talk to me about garlic or onion powder or COMPOUND FUCKING BUTTER, asshole. This is steak, all you fucking need is salt and pepper. After a bit (3 minutes for pink, 5 for cooked good), flip that shit over and do the same fucking thing you just did with the other side. When you're done, sling that shit on a plate. Beringer's 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Private Reserve makes an absolutely delightful accompaniment, particularly if you've taken care to let it breathe a bit before quaffing. Also, make some fucking potatoes, because that's what you eat with a fucking steak. God, sometimes I just want to smack the shit out of you.
TEXT MESSAGING FOR DUMMIES: Vol. 5
Recent text messages from my friends. As always, unfiltered and unedited. For better or worse.
"I want to have just enough money so that I don't have to take my kids to the movies. Is that wrong?"
"Peeing in the shower is my swimming with dolphins."
"I go where the MILFS are at so, yeah, I Twitter."
"We're naked in the pool and eating lobster tails. Come over!"
"Just kidding about the pool and lobster tails. We're putting the kids down to bed. Come over anyway and pick up some wine and cigarettes on your way over!"
"P.S. I'm totally serious about the wine and the cigarettes."
"Just call me Mama Boom Boom."
"Methinks ye are truly olde schoole."
"Zoe just wet willied a stranger at a party she thought was you. Is that racist?"
"Starting to think that the best thing about make-up sex is the fighting."
"Match is all WASPs and Koreans. You should go on JDate."
"Sure, she seems crazy now but maybe in 100 years, she'll be considered one of the greatest minds of our time."
"Hey, man. You ever use cruise control in a car? This is some serious Star Wars shit!"
"What's scarier to see when you walk into a girl's apartment for the first time? A bunch of cats or a stack of wedding magazines?
THE ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE
It's an indisputable fact of life that we are all influenced by our families.
Especially by our parents.
On the surface, we're lucky if we escape with a few innocently charming personality quirks like subconsciously singing "My Favorite Things" while cleaning the fridge in your underwear or choosing to always eat the food on your plate in alphabetical order.
At the same time, let's not underestimate the fact that few things have a greater emotional influence on us (or cause more psychic damage on us) than our parents. Like it or not, we are generally the sum total of their influences. Their beliefs, strengths, and fears often become our own.
Or do they?
Last week, BossLady took the Peanut to Coney Island for her first roller coaster ride. Naturally, I wasn't with them. However, BossLady was kind enough to send me an entire video of the experience.
For almost four minutes, my daughter can be heard on film gleefully screaming over and over, "Oh my God! This is amazing. Let's do it again!"
I must have watched this video twenty times already and, each time, I'm struck by the same things.
How is it that the same little girl who is terrified of insects, the movie "UP," and oceans show no fear in the face of riding rollercoasters, jumping off the top of jungle gyms, and racing down the streets of NYC on her bicycle?
And how is it that my daughter shows no sign of my own deep-seated phobia of roller coasters? By the same token, is it a coincidence that, as a child, I spent endless nights in the ER because I was constantly jumping off jungle gyms or fearlessly crashing my bike into cars?
In my self-absorbed circuitous way of constantly thinking about parenting, I then started pondering about what personal traits of mine are getting passed on to my daughter...in both good and bad ways.
Parenting sometimes alternates between being an exercise in narcissism and reinvention. If we're truly honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we want our children to inherit those attributes that we find most admirable in ourselves while, at the same time, we dread passing on those less likable character traits that we have failed to internally overcome.
There is nothing wrong with that. It's wholly natural, isn't it?
And while parenting does add an extra dimension to the "nature vs. nurture" debate, these days, I find myself caring less about the origins of my daughter's traits as I do about seeing how they develop.
My daughter is almost six years old now and while I offer her all the love, advice and guidance of which I am capable, I'm starting to quickly realize how many things will actually be beyond my control. She will, for better or worse, develop into her own person.
Man, that's scary.
Maybe even scarier than rollercoasters.