Monthly Archives: June 2014

Throwback Father’s Day

A friend of mine just had a baby. A little baby girl, 3 days old as I write this.

He’s a great guy with a glorious mustache, and will be a legendary father. I’m a little jealous of the kid, actually.

My own Little Man was born during the run of a show here, where I work, with some of the same people around. So it’s been a bit of walk down memory lane

I remember the crazy, joyful pandemonium of those first few days, when you know you can’t live the life you used to, but haven’t figured out what the new one’s going to look like yet.

I remember the freedom, after nine months of worrying if you’re ready, if you’ll be good enough, if you’ll be able to handle this – the freedom of no longer having the time nor the energy to worry about anything. Except how you’re going change this dirty diaper without getting peed on. Again. The freedom that comes from, to borrow from Jesse The Mind, not having time to bleed.

I remember how disorienting it was to leave for work that first time after he was born. The alien nature of a world not centered around the Little Dude.

I remember leaving for a long day at work, and coming home to find him noticeably bigger. Hours could be measured in inches back then.

And of course, there’s weeping. No reminiscing about fatherhood is complete without weeping. I mean, I wouldn’t be mistaken for Vulcan in even the most heartless of my adolescent years, but I might as well be chopping onions and watching Game of Thrones for all the feels I got. Calling my parents to tell them they had a grandson? Took me three tries to get that out. Somebody comments on my announcement on facebook? Pass the tissue. Country Roads comes on Pandora? Excuse me, there’s something…something in my eye.

These days I get a little verklempt when I run out of espresso beans.

The hours are long and the years are short. It seems like a lifetime ago when this whole drooley, sleepless affair began. It was a lifetime ago, really. My son’s lifetime.

Happy Father’s Day. What a privilege to be a father, what an honor. Where’s my coffee?

awesome snow

 

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You Can’t Say “Putin” without “Poo”

I’d like to say I don’t believe in evil. I mean true evil. I believe in fear, and weakness, in shame and a lack of empathy, and all the various behavior cocktails into which these ingredients can be mixed.

But evil? True evil? Emperor Palpatine-level evil? I’m not so sure. At a certain level it’s just semantics. Does a person destroy a planet because they have a crippling fear of loss and no sense of connection to anyone or anything? Or because they’re evil? Whatever you label it, Alderaan still ends up space gravel.

Taken out of context, a lot of behavior of your average two-year-old could merit a large shaded area in the Venn Diagram of evil. Unreasonable, irrational demands, frivolous desires, any of which, if not met quickly can ignite violent, indiscriminate rages. And they’ll steal any toy they can pry out a smaller kid’s chubby hands.

There was an episode of This American Life where a psychologist who specializes in young children says, and I paraphrase, that there is no one in the world more frightening than a two year old who never grows up.

Take Vladimir Putin.

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No, really, take Vladimir Putin. He’s yours. Don’t bring him back.

He constantly needs affirmation. He reacts violently to any criticism or questioning. He takes things because he can – be they superbowl rings or parts of sovereign nations. I’m not only describing the Czar For Life over there, but also that one kid at the playground nobody can do anything about but everybody’s wishing falls off a slide.

You can pretty much apply this to any dictator. They’re really just toddlers with a secret police force.

You get a slight variation with your religious extremist dictator. They’re more like the older kid who claims that Mom left them in charge and so when they take your dump truck they make like mom didn’t want you to have it in the first place.

My own personal arrested emotional development I peg around Junior High. But that’s like, 12 or 13 – these guys didn’t make it past 3.  I’ve got all those evil-doers in emotional maturity by at least a decade.

In your face, Kim Jong Un! In your pillowy, supple face!

It doesn’t help much, practically speaking, to consider the places of need from which the world’s most powerful sociopaths’ misbehavior arises. Ukraine’s still a mess, Venezuela’s in chaos, and Syria is the geographic embodiment of all the misery of which humans are capable. The fact that Bashar Al Assad makes the same emotional choices as my 3 year old when he hasn’t pooped all day doesn’t help any refugees.

But I have to admit, the though of Putin having his screen time limited and being forced to think about his feelings does make the headlines a little easier to stomach.

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