Tag Archives: Batman

Honor Has No Place At A Sleepover

There’s a moment at the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman: The Dark Knight, where Batman signs up to take the fall for Harvey Dent’s death (and all the mess that led up to it). He does it to keep Dent’s name clean, Jim Gordon’s name clean, the entire Gotham PD free from controversy, and because he, as a vigilante outside the law, can shoulder it best. This scene was the lead up to the quote: “He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.”

This might be, for my money, the single most awesome thing about Batman as a character. It’s also the reason Genghis Khan conquered the known world, and why capitalism is so unstoppable. Because Batman, like the Mongols and moguls, doesn’t care what you think of him as long as he achieves his mission.

And this does apply to Fatherhood, but just let me talk about ninjas and samurais.

Yes, it does illustrate the point I’m making.

Also yes, I just want to talk about ninjas and samurais.

Ninjas – historical ninjas, not the turtle kind – didn’t fight that much. They had all the cool weapons, yes, and they had their martial arts yes, but mainly ninjas were spies and saboteurs. Like the CIA, or the guy running sound for Smashmouth, you would only notice them when they messed something up. This is in stark contrast to the samurai, who were all about honor and codes and their (and their family) names. For a samurai, winning a battle was good and all, but if they died in some spectacularly bushido fashion, that was almost just as good, if not better.

But honor has no place at a sleepover.

When you have two boys playing the jungle explorer game with the monkeys and the magic bracelet and the sound device weapon, you are not in a situation for high ideals. The simple dirty truth is that somebody has to “get,” and somebody has to be “gotten,” and you’ve got two little minds who are used to being the one to make up the rules. No matter how good each boy is at sharing (and they are both incredibly good at sharing) sooner or later feelings are hurt and the first sleepover ever ends with ignominy and ruin.

Now, the Samurai Papa would have no time for changing the rules, would have no tolerance for protests from a boy who lost the magic bracelet one time too many. No. A Samurai Papa would get all “teachable moment” on this, and monkeys and explorers would play nicely or all the toys would be put away and we’d do pushups and count staples until we learned the lessons of equitability in play.

I, however, am not a follower of the way of the samurai. No sensei. The mission is fun, and like the Iga, the Koga, and the Watchful Protector of Gotham City, I’ll take the fall so the mission can be achieved. He’s the papa this sleepover deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll jump on him. We’ll hit him with the sound device weapon, because he can take it. Because he’s not our teacher, he’s our sleepy guardian, our hungry protector. Our dork knight.

dark-knight

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You Can’t Spell ‘Misanthropy’ Without ‘Yo, Ham!’

There are all kinds of great reasons for not writing much lately. Work’s been busy, we lost power for a few days, then we went out of town. Somebody invented the “cronut.” There was bacon in the fridge. I have a toddler.

It’s all bulls!*#t, of course.

Not the part about having a kid, though. That’s true. It’s all true (except the bacon. I wish I had bacon in the fridge). But it’s all still bulls!*#t.

Writing is a lot like sit-ups, I really only feel good about doing it after I’ve done it.

It’d be alright if it was at least consistent, but sometimes I barely have to think about it. Sometimes I’m like Batman against so many unnamed goons – I just start flinging batarangs and when I next look at my watch, Gotham is safe once again.

And it’s not like I have a shortage of material. It’s not writer’s block. Not really. Not so much as it is that when I’m confronted with a choice between sitting down to write and, say, staring silently at my perfectly shaped ankles, it’s my ankles that are always winning out.

I’m finding that one of the hardest things about writing is writing.

In a way, it’s like parenting as well. In the first few months, there’s no choice – if you carve out any time you have to spend it sleeping or eating or else you’ll collapse. Eventually the pressure lets up, but the tendency to chose basic needs over anything else stays fixed in habit. Lamentations flow about lost social lives and stain-free clothing but as babies grow a little and you have the mental space to become more aware of your failures of hygiene and smalltalk, you still feel powerless to stop it.

Which, as I’ve said before, is bulls!*#t.

Effort must be made. One clean shirt, one returned email, failure by failure you have to claw your way back until some reasonable imitation of normalcy is achieved.

So also with writing. Take this post, for example. It sucks. It’s vapid, reaching, and shallow and it still took me two days from the first line till this one. But I’ve missed too many deadlines, and rail against it though I may, I won’t have written something unless I write something.

Effort must be made. And now I have a post. And my shirt is stain free.

It’s dusty. But that’ll brush off

Thanks for reading. I’m only bothering to post this because I’m posting two more this week to make up, somewhat, for my recent delinquency.

Happy Fourth of July, too. If you’re into that sort of thing.

If you’re not…man, don’t you just hate people? They’re all outside my window right now being dumb. All of them. All the people. Dumb.

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Hey Hey, Mama, Said the Way You Move

This one’s for the ladies.

Or, more specifically, the lady. My Baby-Mama.

But you can read it, though, cuz I like you.

Last time my bloggatry was full of the gruesome details of Christmas backstage, but what may not have come through is that as I trudged through that mistletoe gulag I did not trudge alone. And I’m not talking about Jeebuz, here (the Lord has no place backstage left). No, my trudge-buddy was my baby-mama, to whom I shall hereafter refer as… my baby-mama.

While I was stomping through 13-hour days, 6 days a week of increasingly forced merriment, she was staggering though 18 hour days, 7 days a week of trying to manage a toddler old almost entirely on her own. A toddler old who just recently mastered walking, and was discovering all manner of wonderful new ways to whine. (Shout out to all single parents everywhere. You are all Batman.)

While I would stumble home around midnight, exhausted, to do dishes and make sure there was food for the three of us, she would go days without a moment to herself, even while sleeping (little dude is known for waking up during the night anywhere from two to 76 times).

The Christmas cards we actually managed to get out on time? That was all her.

The presents we gave to everybody that we gave presents to? That was her.

The stunningly clever messages in the cards? That was me, but she knows where the pens are.

And on top of all the stinking sleigh-loads of yule-tide obligations, she still knew where he was in his solid-food schedule. She knew the meaning of every burbled consonant, every chubby-digit gesture. She could slip a diaper on him, take the cellphone out of his mouth, distract him from the open toilet and clean yogurt out of his hair, with one hand and all at the same time.

Oh, and let’s not forget: she’s hot.

This is a blog by a father, about fatherhood (and Star Wars, and Kung Fu) – it’s a great big stupid, filthy, profound, hurt-y, humbling process which will give me no end of material for therapy or one-man shows. Don’t mistake an absence of my baby mama in the bloggery that follows for an absence of my baby mama in my thoughts or in this process. Among the innumerable things I value about her, I include the value of her privacy. If she wants to blog, she can. I won’t do it for her.

Unless she tells me to.

Just rest assured in the knowledge that, whatever else you read here, without her, I’d be f*%#ed.

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Ennui? Not Me! The 3rd Surprise of Fatherhood

If you’re afraid that being a father means you never get to have fun, you’re right.

That’s not the surprise. But it’s true.

Now, I don’t think I was ever THAT wild before my genetic material started chewing rubber giraffes. Yes, in younger days I’ve done sloppy capoeira on a rooftop or two, gotten into fights with the occasional shrub (they were all asking for it), spent the odd St Patrick’s day on the men’s room floor with a bottle of Jameson and a gallon of orange juice, and I lived in Bangkok for a year, but it’s all relative right? I have yet to become embroiled in a shadowy government conspiracy, I know where all my scars came from, and don’t have any outstanding warrants in countries that extradite to the US (ain’t going back to Sao Tome any time soon, though).

But a new father has to make some adjustments. And by ‘make some adjustments,’ I do, of course mean ‘give up everything that defines you as a modern man.’

Going out? Doing things? Seeing people (adult-type-people)? Adios! I mean, yes, I could be that dad and go out after work and spend the food money on booze, come home blitzed and make my son swear to die for Ireland, and give him all kinds of great material for one-man shows, or tragic memoirs. Or I could just name him Sue and disappear for a few verses. But, strangely, as generous as they can be in the long term, these behavior models aren’t viewed with great favor by responsible society, nor by my baby-mama.

I don’t have the liver for that sort of behavior anyway. I can admit that now.

And you gotta be able to lift the guy, carry him around, etc. Neither parent has the energy to take care of themself and the baby, let alone the other one. Which means the responsible father can’t afford to be convalescent at all. No illnesses, no sprains, no limps, no hitches, no rashes, and you better keep tight hold on every one of them digits.

You can afford to be ugly now, though, since you already got some.

So this means I don’t get to cage fight, or motorcycle joust, or try out any new circus skills I saw on youtube, or basically have antics. And what, I ask you, is Matty without antics?

You have to give it all up. And here’s the surprise – you don’t really miss it.

I mean, yeah, I sometimes wish I could hit a 3pm happy hour, spend the rest of the night playing video games and sleep past 8 the next morning, but I also wish I could be a seductively ambiguous character in Batman who’s sometimes an ally, sometimes an enemy, and always a dinosaur.

When you cease to be a child, you put away childish things. For all the urges towards a faster life, for all the exploits of my friends and workmates, I now find existence without a son to be empty. Like most things that are easier, cheaper and more restful, not being a parent seems hollow and pointless to me now. That’s the surprise. I’ll never suffer existential doubt again, never question why I’m here, or what I’m doing with myself. The answer is pooping all over my lap right now.

Another plus – your good scotch last a lot longer.

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