Saturday, May 26, 2018

Happy Birthday, To One of the Dopes

The funny thing about your kids getting older is that as a parent, you have all the goods.

Today Matt is 25 years old (I’m pretty sure - will confirm later - I never know their damn ages).

And for his birthday I could mention:

The time he walked into a wall and needed medical help.

Or

The time he swallowed a 2 pound piece of beef cause his teeth hurt and he didn’t want to get in trouble for not eating it. (Needed an operation to get it dislodged, and resulted in me still cutting all their food before I give it to them).

Or

When he tapped a school bus (empty), got berated by the driver, and told her “stop yelling or I’m calling my Mom.”

Or

Well, you get the picture.

I have a lot of information...

...and I have used it, at times, to inform his girlfriend that he is indeed...

...the first in line of 3 dopes.

Now, I could mention that he’s come out of the other side as a fine man who has his heart and head in the right place.

He works every day, and he takes pride in what he does. He is fiercely loyal to his favorite sports teams, his family and his principles.

And now he cuts up his food!

Every once in awhile, I take great pleasure in reminding Matt of having to change him after he had a bit of a bathroom issue about 22 or so years ago.

That one usually gets him to leave the room.

We’re proud of Matt and his efforts to live a good life...

...and that’s no small feat when it comes to parenting.

Happy Birthday.

Try not to walk into any walls today.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Patriots???

So, the NFL is now all about making sure that the players don’t disrespect the flag because, you know...

...the troops.

Has nothing to do with the fact that their ratings dropped, or the guy who may or may not have colluded with a foreign government (he did) wanted the flag respected. After all, conspiring with foreign governments may or may not be a crime (it is).

Anyway.

This is what bugs me about it.

We are yanking at the threads of all the things that we used to respect as rights.

I’ve said it before. I wouldn’t have knelt for the anthem, and I wondered what the end game was for all of them. There was no way to be painted as anything else but a bad guy.

Yet, I live in America and it’s my choice! I want to have the choice to protest or not.

And like it or not, a group of black men felt the need to protest police brutality against black men.

The NFL could’ve stopped it all with a workplace rule, and here’s the rub...

...none of this would’ve ever happened, but the NFLwanted to sell patriotism. They charged the armed forces to be featured in the pregame ceremonies. They brought the teams out and stood them along the sidelines.

And now, they are pretending that they actually care about the flag.

But it got worse, on Thursday morning, as it usually does when Trump chimes in.

He isn’t totally satisfied!

He doesn’t care for players who may stay in the locker room and out of his view.

Everyone should be standing with their hand over their heart...

...or they can get out!

Deportation for protest?

Seriously?

And people are behind that stance?

Maybe we need to have another class on America and our rights.

We have the right to peacefully protest.

The NFL also has the right to set workplace rules.

They did.

And now we have a fight all set to go:

Really rich old white guys versus rich black guys.

It will all escalate.

Know who I’m rooting for?

I’m not telling you.

But either way I feel about it:

That’s my right.

And I certainly shouldn’t be deported for it.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Don’t Let The Door Hit You

I happened to catch an interview with a 30-year-old man who lost a court case, brought by his parents, who wanted him to get the hell out of their house.

“I want to leave,” the Rochester, NY man said. “I don’t want to live with those people anymore.”

“Why don’t you go then?” The interviewer asked him.

“I don’t yet have the means,” he said.

“Do you have a job?”

“Not right now.”

And a funny thing happened.

I felt badly for the guy.

I thought about my own children. I don’t see how I would ever serve them with papers to make them go. If they’re still here at 50 years old, I’ll be calling them to see what they want for dinner.

“Will you talk to your parents? Will that relationship be repaired?”

“Nope,” he said. “I’m all done with them.”

“You have six months before you have to go,” the interviewer said.

“After that, I won’t see them again.”

The man was easily confused by any question that required any thought.

I get it.

We want our children to succeed. We need them to be strong, independent and self-reliant...

...and a five-minute interview doesn’t give you the whole story.

Perhaps he moves from his bed, to the couch and back to his bed.

Maybe he needs a swift kick in the ass.

“I lost custody of my kid and it’s a full-time job as I work on my case to get him back.”

I didn’t get the impression that he was a lawyer, and from time to time I’ve come across people who have faced a problem by finding three more.

“I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope it works out for you and your parents, and try to remember, you only get one Mom and Dad.”

The guy didn’t want to hear it.

And there’s a lot of people talking about the story today. People wondering how the parents could do it. Others bashing the man who appears too lost to find his feet.

I was just sad for all of them.

Your parents saying, “Get the hell out!”

Simply brings sadness.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

“What’re You Looking At, Dork?”

There’s some talk about the Santa Fe shooter becoming angry because he was spurned by a girl that he had a crush on.

Evidently, he asked the girl out and was rejected. He didn’t take ‘No’ for an answer, and continued to stalk her. She finally embarrassed him in front of others and it led to his rage.

There is no excuse, of course, but there isn’t a man alive who hasn’t been shut down a time or two. We’ve all had our hearts broken.

I was a geeky looking kid.

Tall and skinny with a big mop of hair that I had no idea to handle (guess I prayed about that too much because God yanked most of it).

I was also a romantic at heart and I certainly enjoyed looking at pretty girls.

I do recall the 7th grade and looking at one of the prettiest girls in our class. It was a quiet study hall, and I didn’t have anything going on so every couple of minutes I glanced over. Finally she yelled out:

“What are you looking at, dork?”

Everyone turned to look at both of us. It is 41 years later and I can distinctly recall how that made me feel.

I was embarrassed, disgusted, mad and sad.

Really sad.

She destroyed my daydream.

(Funny, but a few years later, we became very close friends. I used to walk her home from school, and I actually reminded her of it happening).

“You were creeping me out,” she said.

(And here I thought I was dashing).

I’ve raised three boys.

I have tried to steer clear of their potential romances, but I’ve known that each had a crush that didn’t work out for them.

“Be respectful,” has been the only advice that I’ve had for them.

Yet, there’s definitely a worse feeling that you aren’t worthy, and that’s knowing that you will never see a loved one again.

The Santa Fe shooter’s father said an absolutely mind-numbing thing on Tuesday. He said that his child was not a criminal, but rather, a victim.

That certainly angers me.

This is a man who’s guns were used in the crime.

He’s blaming the girl who decided not to date his child?

And there certainly is a parenting fail there.

Children will be disappointed by life. It’s a Mom’s and Dad’s job to prepare them for heartbreak. It ain’t easy. No one wants to see their child suffer, and Kathy has been more hands-on than me when it comes to making a child feel secure.

I can recall being disappointed late in my high school love life.

“I barely remember my prom date,” my Dad said. “You’ll fall in and out of love about ten more times.”

I didn’t want to talk to my Dad about that, but I remembered that, and it made me feel a little better.

“What are you looking at, Dork?” Wasn’t a very easy thing to swallow, but I got by.

It’s hard to be sympathetic, of course. Nine people died.

The kid’s emotional growth was stunted.

Horrible.

Just horrible.



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Stand for Something

Or fall for anything.

If you are against a president cheating on his wife with an intern...

...you should probably also frown upon a president who lies about paying off a porn star after their affair.

If you were all up in arms about Jimmy Carter owning a peanut farm while serving...

...it should bother you that China is paying $500 million to the businessman.

If there is a 4-year investigation on one politician...

...there shouldn’t be any complaining about a one-year review.

Yet, we live in a time in place where there is a true divide.

Totally against abortion...

...but vote against policies that might help a child?

Messages should be consistent.

And I know that you can look at something from a different angle and make it fit your narrative, but some things should be set in stone.

You really shouldn’t cherry pick which part of the Bible works for you if religion is your thing.

The constitution also has more than the just one amendment too.

We have certainly seen some of our long-standing principles challenged.

In fact, chaos was the desired result of some who voted in the last election, but it’s important to stand up for what you truly believe.

I certainly take some flack for some of my opinions...(I have a lot)

...but here’s the thing:

I’ve always been true to them!

My brother-in-law, Chuck and I have been arguing about some things for years.

But I know where he stands and he knows where I stand, and we are good with the tiny differences.

I bring this all up because the moral compass seems to have a spinning needle these days.

If you don’t believe that our country should be sold to the highest bidder...

...that shouldn’t ever change.

There’s a lot going on right now.

Men who dedicate their lives to law and order usually stand up for justice.

It has to stay that way.

Or we may all fall...

For a con.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Simple Beauty

There’s so much out there that can drive you down.

News about shootings, unhinged tweets screaming about how unfair you’re being tweeted by investigators, volcano news, racist rants.

All things that have made me shake my head, and wonder about the life that will be left for my kids.

But you have to let the beauty in.

It’s fleeting.

Sometimes it’s hard to spot.

“Dad, did you see this?”

Just my 20-year old son showing me that J.J. Watts is going to pay for the funerals for the Santa Fe victims.

I’d seen it. I watched it over again with him.

The dog jumps up on the couch.

Just wants me to pat her head.

Simple enough.

“What sauce you want me to go with this weekend?”

“Red.”

I cut up the onions and add the garlic, thinking of my Dad doing it, every week, for a lot of years.

We eat. Together. Sam and Jake trying to guess the batting averages of random MLB players, laughing and teasing one another as they turn it into a competition.

That’s easy stuff, but just what is needed to drive away the nastiness that waits for them just out the door.

“Can I use the car?” Jake asks.

I think of him as less than two years old, waking up early so he can watch the garbage men empty the garbage. His body shook with joy when I took him out to meet those guys (who thought we were insane).

Beautiful memories.

Free to recall.

I look out at the backyard where the grass is freshly cut, and everything looks clean and fresh.

It was a yard that didn’t look like it does now.

The grass didn’t grow in some places. There were pine trees and pine cones everywhere. The place was a mess.

I fixed it all up, on legs that worked a lot better than they do now.

A yard where kids played on swings, where we played kickball, and practiced swings. Max, Shadow and Melky and Paris...roaming every corner.

Watched a movie on Saturday about young kids, drinking beer, finding love.

“You miss being young?” I asked Kathy.

“We had our time,” she said.

There’s a lot of garbage...

...it’s impossible to keep it all out.

But it’s the simple beauty of life that makes it bearable.

Pay attention to it.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Nothing to Say

On Friday someone asked me if I was going to watch the Royal Wedding.

“Nope.”

I didn’t feel like expanding on it.

I was too busy trying to avoid the news.

Another school shooting.

I clicked on the news for a minute.

The announcer was talking about how the community was going to band together to get people through this tragic, blah, blah, blah.

We’ll here a lot about love and prayers and everyone will reach out to offer comfort...

... and it’ll cycle out.

Until it’s time to pitch the news tent in another community where it happened again.

I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’m sick of it, but I did hear about one specific kid who lost her life on Friday...

...and I centered in on thoughts of raising my own kids.

How I felt on the moment when I saw Jake for the first time.

What it was like to see Sam scooting across the floor.

The heartbreak of Jake’s illness...

...the euphoria of his recovery.

I thought about how much my heart still aches for all of them every time they walk out the door, and how I can’t really rest until I know they’re all here for the night.

And I put that in context with the Dads who have to head to a school, and don’t see their child standing there.

They’re greeted by a first responder who says:

“I’m sorry.”

We should all be sorry.

We WON’T even try to fix this.

Sure, we’ll pretend.

For a few days...

...tough talk, empty promises, hoping the Parkland kids don’t raise too much of a fuss...

...and pray it goes away.

Me?

I’ve always been empathetic.

I’ll think about the pain of a Dad.

Thousands of Dads, actually.

Who had to bury a child...

...with a f****ng gun shot wound.


Happy Birthday, To One of the Dopes

The funny thing about your kids getting older is that as a parent, you have all the goods. Today Matt is 25 years old (I’m pretty sure - w...