Tag Archives: parenting

Jim the Bacon Man

In keeping with the spirit of this Era of Re-runs, here is a post that was first put up on 7-3-2012, even though I would rank it near the bottom of my amusing posts.

Everyone carries around a list of their ranked blog post based on level of amusement, right?

I bought my tickets to see Jim Gaffigan at the Taft theater in Cincinnati.  His shows are coming up in August.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I bought four tickets, but haven’t actually decided what to do with the third and fourth ticket.  Clearly, the first two are for my wife and I.  Jim’s comedy is not anywhere close to over-the-top with respect to adult material.  But do I bring my kids?  They have seen and heard many of Jim’s shows on television in the past.  Or do I invite a couple of friends?  I don’t know how to make this decision.  My boys already know that I have the tickets.

My wife has suggested that I check the Taft theater web site in order to determine if there is a minimum age requirement.  There sure is–with respect to visiting the bar.  Clearly 21 is the age required.  But the site is not very clear about taking a position on age pertaining to anything else.

taft

I’m a tall guy. I hope you weren’t behind me.

However, there are many other rules written out to clarify many different scenarios and restricted items.  There are typical things like video recording devices or audio recorders that make the “do not bring” list.  This makes sense for some performers that are trying to make additional money on CD/DVD sales and want to limit the boot-legging.   So let me share a few odd ones with you that landed in the “restricted items” list.

“Cameras with long or detachable lenses (cameras small enough to fit in a man’s shirt pocket are allowed)”

This just begs for me to create a pocket the full size of my torso and load it up with the basic inventory of a camera shop.

“Aerosol Spray Cans”

But what if my hair starts to droop in the middle of the performance?

“Weapons”

This seems obvious to me, but it helps me finalize the decision to leave my bazooka at home.

“Tools (wrenches, pliers, etc.)”

That is exactly how it is written out on the theater’s website.  What did someone do to make the theater management spell out the examples?  Does “etcetera” cover pipe-wrenches?  Cause I have a fear of dropping my ring into a sink drain, and I usually carry a pipe-wrench to dismantle the plumbing when I do that.

“Inflatables”

So when I told my inflatable woman that I couldn’t bring her to the show, she had this odd surprised look on her face.  Oh wait a minute, she always has that look.

And at the end of the list: “Any other item deemed unacceptable by Taft Theatre management.  Subject to change at the discretion of Taft Theatre or Tour management at any time.”

So they reserve the right to just look at you and say, “Hey buddy, you have to leave right now because we just added ‘brown hair’ to the list.  Totally unacceptable.  Have a nice night.”

Following the list of restricted items comes the list of behavioral reasons that will get thrown out.  Typical list leaders include intoxication, disruptive behavior, and the use of profanity (not including most of the stand-up comedians).

“Unacceptable or indecent dress”

So I have to wear my pants to the show?  Really?  Jim wouldn’t if he had the option.

“Participating in a fight”

I’ll need a bit of clarity on this one.  Is watching the fight considered ‘participating’?   I’ll need to know how to handle this in advance.  If a fight breaks out, do I need to close my  eyes?  That just seems dangerous to me.

“Entering or attempting to enter the restrooms of the opposite sex”

I’ve been down this road a few times in my life.  Each by accident–honestly.  Someone remind me to write the story of my college days incident of this mistake.  A mistake!  Not on purpose.

“Breaking the law”

This will get you ejected out to the streets where law breaking belongs–not in the theater.

“Any action that, in the opinion of the Taft Theatre management, places other guests in danger or reduces their enjoyment of the event”

There they go again.  “Hey you.  You’re blinking funny and people are starting to complain.  You’re out of here!”

I can’t wait for the show!  Especially now that I am fully aware of the rules.  Oh, and I just realized that the Taft ‘Theater’ is actually the Taft ‘Theatre’ (R before E).  I wonder if I’ll get thrown out for that gross oversight on my behalf.

Buy my book! (or wait for the play)

Sleeping In

Sound asleep.  That was me until my alarm started beeping and bonking.  My first emotion of the day was disappointment.  Here’s why.

It was Saturday.  A day to actually sleep in.  Nothing to do.  Sleep until your body says done.  These days, my Saturday-sleep-in is usually cancelled because I’m a professional chauffeur.  My teenage boys need to be at the school for something or on the fields for something else.  And I am the driver.

I guess I’m not really a professional.  That would imply that I’m getting paid for my services.  How many professional chauffeurs drop their clients off and then have to fork over five bucks so that their clients can buy a drink and a hot dog?  I’m guessing “none” is the answer.  But how awesome would that be?  A stupid chauffeur that pays you.

“Sir, we have reached your destination.  Let me get the door for you.  And sir, here is your tip.”  The driver hands you a five-spot.

“Shouldn’t I be tipping you?”

“Oh, is that how it should work?”

“No, your way is good.  But now I can’t believe that you actually got us here safely.”

“Are you calling me stupid?”

“Sort of.”

“Oh.  Alright, here is five more dollars.”

Back on track.  This Saturday I had nothing planned.  No morning events at all.  Boys sleeping in like the good little teenage slugs that they should be.  But there was my alarm—yelling at me like the angry little chunk of electronics that it is.  Rude really.  I rolled over to shut it off, cursing it the whole time.  Bad electronics.  Stupid electronics.  If I had any water left in my nightstand glass you would become smoking electronics.  Who makes the mistake of setting the alarm on a Saturday?  People with evil electronics, that’s who.

With the disappointed emotion in full swing, I turned off the alarm.  Silence again.  Relax.  I can get over this situation.  I can find sleep once again.  And just as I was returning to the dream world, it occurred to me.  It hit me like a ton of bricks—which is a really odd figure of speech.  How unfortunate do you have to be to get hit with a ton of bricks?  Where do you need to be standing to have this happen?  They probably don’t come flying in from the left or right.  They most likely would have to fall from above your head.  My recommendation is to avoid placing yourself just below any apparatus that is holding a ton of bricks—regardless of how stable it looks.  Do not stand below any congregation of a ton of bricks—ever.

So yeah, it hit me.  Today isn’t Saturday, its Friday.  A ton of bricks, landing on my face!  I have to get up for work!  Crap, this is far worse than I originally imagined.  Oh electronics, you are way smarter than I give you credit for.

Hey wait a minute!  Did I really just shut off the alarm?  I should have pushed snooze!  Oh electronics, please magically reset your alarm.  I didn’t mean to shut you off.  I’m sorry I called you names.  You’re awesome electronics, really.  I’m way too groggy to fiddle with your buttons right now.

Now I have to get out of bed without taking my first-thing-in-the-morning-nine-minute-nap.  Now I have to pretend that I have the ability to snooze and wake up after nine minutes automatically—all by myself.  But I don’t have the skills!  This is horrible.

And then I found myself standing on my feet.  I have only the electronics to blame.  Idiot electronics.

Buy my silent book.  It’ll let you sleep in.

Diapers and Wipers

I think its time to give you another sample from my book.  A fellow blogger recently passed through this section.  She then repeated it to her mother and they both had a good laugh.  So in summary, my book has the ability to bring you and your mother to a new level in bonding–a real relationship builder.  No need to thank me, just buy the book.

As a father raising infants and then toddlers, I was always looking forward to the day I no longer had to change diapers. I can recall other parents mocking and laughing because their kid was just one stage ahead of mine. They were done with diapers. I was still doing the changing thing. And then when the day finally arrived and my boys were done with diapers, I realized that I was not done cleaning up turds after all. It’s a little secret that nobody wants to tell you in advance. After you’re done with diapers you still have a good year or two of a little voice yelling from behind the bathroom door, “daddy, wipe my butt!” My mother (the Grandma in the next status update) told me this story and I had to share it. Mainly because misery loves company—especially when wiping dirty little butts.

September 16, 2009 at 8:00 am

Marcus Matherne: My niece yells from the bathroom, “Grandma, wipe my butt!” Grandma says, “You’re old enough to do that yourself.” She yells back, “But if you do it, I don’t have to wash my hands.”

Absolutely brilliant.

Buy my book–and no I won’t wipe your butt.

Pardon Me Please

Let’s just jump right in.  Shall we?  Everyone passes gas.  It’s natural.  I get that.  What I don’t understand is why certain children need to be taught the do’s and don’ts of letting-one-fly.  The children that I am referring to may or may not be related to me.  I clarify that in order to protect their identity and perhaps their embarrassment.

The other day the four members of my family were driving in my car.  Or maybe it was two other children—I can’t say for sure.  While we were crossing town, someone in the back seat floated-an-air-muffin.  A really big and bad one.  You know, the eye watering variety.  I had to pull the car over for two reasons.  First, I did not want to have to explain to the police officer what happened just before I hit the telephone pole.  Although after hearing of my recent torture, he probably would have let me off without the ticket.  The second reason is that I had to lay down the law on when you can rip-one and when you need to pinch the source.

The lesson started with, “Never, never in the car with other passengers.”  It’s just plain dangerous for the driver.  One day, when you find yourself driving all by yourself, toot-your-horn for the entire trip—continuously if you must.  However, if you’re alone in your car approaching someone who you will be picking up, the butt-sneezing must stop at least five minutes before their arrival.  Moreover, the windows should be lowered all the way down, even in the dead of winter.  Creating the “gas chamber on wheels” and then inviting your passengers in will reduce your total number of friends drastically.

I decided that the lesson should not stop with just the rules of the car.  “Never ever bottom-burp while standing next to your mother!”  I understand that you think it’s funny to do that standing next to the Dad.  I’m not sure why I accept that, but I do.  It’s probably some sort of genetic cross up that began a zillion years ago.  But as for dropping-the-bomb next to the Mom, not so much.  She didn’t carry you for nine long months so that one day you could fumigate her.

If you are in a small room hanging out with people, do not under any circumstance think that you can pull off the silent-but-deadly attack.  Walk to another room for your bum-blast, wait for a minimum of four minutes, and then return to your company.  Return too early and you risk carrying the exhaust fumes with you.

You can safely deliver your fanny-bubble while standing in line at an amusement park.  While waiting for your favorite roller coaster ride, the outdoor breeze should conceal your dirty-little-secret.  However, if you are standing in line at the grocery store, keep your talking-pants in check.  “Honey, I think you might have picked up a bad cabbage.”

I’m sure there are countless other rules.  The scenarios in which these children will encounter over their lifetime are probably immeasurable.  Although being a good father, I believe I laid out a good foundation for understanding when it is appropriate to cut-the-cheese and when you should mute the trouser-trumpet.  My work here is done.

Buy my rose smelling book.

Swearing

I’m going to crank up the parental guidance just a bit for this blog entry.  Just a bit anyway.  Maybe this one will earn a strong PG-13.  You’ve been warned, you big bastard.

Swearing is on the rise.  You’ll find a cuss here and curse there.  There is swearing on television, in books, and in movies.  You’ll find it in the schools.  You’ll find it on the streets.  You might just find it in your own kitchen…

When my children were still too young to be introduced to foul language, they learned a few of the whoppers on the bus.  On the kindergarten bus.  So our lesson to them was the same lesson that we give them today.  It’s ok to swear and cuss.  You might be frowned upon if you deliver it in the wrong setting.  You may be judged as unintelligent.  But what is never ok is to use words to harm another person.  Calling someone “stupid” is far worse than talking about a bitchin’ car or talking about your shitty day.

Back to the swearing in the kitchen.  My wife had this talk with my two boys.  I was upstairs and they were sitting at the kitchen table.  After she had them on the right page and understanding the difference between needless swearing and hurting someone’s feelings, she wanted to help them get it out of their systems.  They started chanting “shit, shit, shit, shit.”  And it wasn’t a quiet chant either.  I walked down the stairs to be greeted by the “shit shit” chant.  My two boys, four and five years old, were chanting “shit, shit, shit” with the biggest grin on their sweet little faces.  Precious.

Who’s up for a little analysis?  When someone disagrees strongly with a situation, you might get to hear “that’s bull shit!”  How does that make any sense?  Its bull shit?  Like an actual pile of bull shit?  I don’t see the correlation.  If I was walking down the street and saw a real live pile of bull shit, I wouldn’t think “hey, that pile of dung is just so incredibly out of line with reality.”  No, rather, I would think, “hey, gross.”  And then I would no doubt watch where I was stepping.

“Someone just stole my wallet!  Man, that is some serious fecal matter produced by a full grown steer!”

The term “bull shit” is completely arbitrary.  You have a scenario that you are disappointed with and you claim it to be bull shit.  Why?  Why not something else equally as arbitrary?

“Someone just stole my wallet!  Man, that is some serious squirrel piss!”  Maybe that’s not gross enough.  Not likely to draw flies.  How about this?

“Someone just stole my wallet!  Man, that is some serious pig intestines!”  No, I guess bull shit just works better.

Ok, one more.  Douche bag.  In my life, I have not had the opportunity to find myself in contact with many douches.  What I am saying is, I am no expert in the field of douchology.  But I think that it’s been a long time, if not never, since there was a bag involved in this process.  I think the right term would be bottle or canister.  I think what I would like to see is a change.  I like the term bag.  I can work with that.  But let’s use something that actually has a bag involved.  How about an enema?  Would that would use a bag?

“I can’t stand that guy.  He is a real enema bag.”

But remember, it would be wrong to call someone a name.

Haven’t bought my books yet?  That’s bull shit!

Do you smell that?

My boys are both running cross-country for their school team.  Since they are only fourteen months apart in age, they landed on the same team this year—the seventh and eighth grade team.  Our school district is insanely large.  Each of their classes has over one thousand children.  It’s a wild amount of organized chaos.  The cross-country team this year has about sixty boys on it.  More organized chaos.

Since the team practices immediately after the school day, it works out conveniently for me to pick up them up on my way home from work.  A problem arises when the weather is hot.  No, it’s not a problem with how well they did in the heat during practice.  No, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest as I pull up to greet them in my perfectly air-conditioned vehicle.  What really troubles me is when two really stinky children get into your car and it’s too hot outside to roll down the windows.  I cling to the possibility that I can somehow fix the situation.  I roll down all the windows except for my own window hoping that my magical pocket of cold air will hold its position surrounding me with all of its goodness.  It doesn’t work that way.  The evil boy stench infiltrates my area and I am forced to open the last window and let the heat bake me.  I drive the rest of the way home with my nose hanging out the window like a dog.

My boy’s summary of today’s cross country practice is the epic story of the dead fish.  Apparently during their run most of the boys got to lay their eyes upon a big dead fish lying next to the path that they were traveling.  The description coming from my boys was vivid and extremely descriptive.  “It was half eaten and had a ton of maggots crawling in and out of it.”  I’m really glad to be on the receiving end of this news worthy story (so much so that I thought you too should enjoy it too).  They continued with the same excitement that I wished they would have for math and science.  “There was bird crap all around it.  And its head was barely attached.  I saw it first and told everyone to come see it.”

Then my other son objected.  “No, I was there first.”

“No, you were behind me.”

“No I wasn’t.  I saw you coming after I was already looking at the dead fish!”

Hey, hold everything.  Stop, stop, stop.  Are my boys really participating in the I-saw-the-dead-fish-first argument?  Who wins at this debate like this?   What positive outcome results in proving your point?  I put a stop to the argument by pointing out how crazy dumb it sounded.  There is no value in being the one who saw a dead fish first.  None.  But the voices in my head could hear what could have been the next couple of lines.

“There is no way you saw the dead fish first.  I have always been best at spotting dead animals from a distance.  I’ve been doing it for almost seven years now.”

“No way!  I spotted my first dead animal at the age of four years old.  Also, Deer Hunter magazine voted me ‘best dead animal spotter of the year’ for the last four consecutive years!  In a row!”

“But I want to be the first dead fish spotter this time!  You were the dead fish spotter last time!”

You have to pick your battles in life.  There are no winners with this one.  I think it was a lose-lose situation.  Actually, it was a lose-lose-lose situation if you include the dead fish too.

Buy my not stinky book.

How to Use a Spoon

I was enjoying a burrito with my wife this evening.  We were at one of those burrito assembly line restaurants and I ordered a burrito that was bigger than my head.  Good stuff.

There was this mother and daughter at the table next to us.  The mother was feeding her little daughter with a fork from across the table.  It was a messy process.  There was a bit of bean and other sauces hanging off of her chin.  It was at that point that the flood gates of memories opened up and came rushing into my brain.  I have to admit to having a real problem when the day came to introduce the spoon to my children.  You know that very young age where you give your kid a spoon and their little not yet developed brains attempt to mimic the actions of the older spoon experienced users.  It usually turns out that at the conclusion of the meal, the spoon is the cleanest part of the area surrounding—because no food actually hits the spoon.

I was a good father to my young children and I continue to be one still.  Ouch!  My shoulder hurts badly when I pat myself on the back like that.  But I must admit to stepping aside and letting the Mom deal with the spoon introduction.  Way too messy for this guy to deal with.  Let me know when they figure out how to actually get food off of their plates and into their mouth without turning the table into a bad finger painting.  Let me know when they can raise food with their spoon without squeezing the food with the other hand.  Let me know when they have the ability to get the food to enter their mouth without hitting their chin or their nose first.

By the way, all finger paintings are bad.  Its paint pushed around by an infant.  Compare the final design to what the “artist” produced in their diaper on that same day.  Not a lot different really.  It’s just harder to hang on the refrigerator.

Back to my point—why doesn’t food spread all over your face bother children?  How can you sit there comfortably with a pound and half of food hanging off of your face?  How can you tolerate the fact that you have apple sauce in-between each of your fingers as well as behind your ears?

So I’m sitting there in the restaurant really being affected with the mess that this little girl is making when I turn and look in the other direction and witness this other set of parents with their two children.  Their children were older—perhaps teenagers.  And there it was, food hanging off their faces.  Disgusting.  Only it wasn’t the children, it was the parents!  I couldn’t look away at this point.  The father looked like he just dipped his chin into a vat of goo.  I’ll bet as an infant, he really enjoyed apple sauce.  Sir, have you seen the napkin dispenser?  It could be your new best friend.

And then the mother—Wow.  Apparently there was no one in her world that ever explained to her that chewing with your mouth closed is an option that you can choose to embrace.  Food was literally falling from her mouth on to the table.  Absolute Neanderthal.

These two people were made for each other.  I felt bad for the children.  They both had their back to me, but only one of two things could have been occurring.  One, they were mortified by their parents impression of infant eating their first year’s birthday cake.  Or two, they also had food on their faces and/or falling out of their mouths.  I’d bet on option number two.

I turned to my wife and said “I love you.”

“Really?  Why are you telling me that?”

“I love you because you know how to put food in your mouth without hitting your forehead and I don’t have to observe each of the phases that food goes through during the chewing process.”

Buy my book (I said that with my mouth full).