Lay down your weary head, my son, and I will lull you to sleep with … a violent tale of death and dismemberment …?

Zan is almost nine now, and one of the great things about having an almost-9-year-old son is that the list of things I can do with him that I actually enjoy rather than endure has grown considerably since back in the days when he was a wee little tyke.

For example: Remember “Brown Bear” and “Goodnight Moon” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Miss Spider” and “Dear Sweet Christ, My Brain Is Melting From The Monotony of Reading and Re-Reading The Same Boring Shit Over and Over and Over”? Yeah, me too. Thankfully, we have graduated to less lobotomy-inducing fare, such as the “Hardy Boys” mysteries (granted, still awful … but I only have to read them once) …. and, more recently, “Harry Potter.”

We started the “Harry Potter” series last fall, and I have enjoyed reading it to him at bedtime as much as he has enjoyed listening to me read it.

Earlier this week, we finished the fourth book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

A whimsical, happy book cover that beckons the reader to embark upon a joyful adventure filled with the promise of magic and smiles and things other than,
you know, a gruesome bloodbath.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the roughly 700-page novel:

Pages 1 – 600: Harry, lovable little rapscallion that he is, gets in and out of various predicaments. Oh, Harry! You and your shenanigans!

Pages 600 – 700: He Who Must Not Be Named does Shit That Must Not Be Read … to an 8-year-old, anyway. Shit like murder and dismemberment and bloodletting and more murder and, hey, J.K.: Why don’t you just come to my house and jump out of my kid’s closet in the middle of the night with a fucking chainsaw and a monster mask?

I believe an updated book cover is in order, Ms. Rowling.
Have your people call my people.

Now, seeing as how I was the one reading the book, I conveniently bypassed the self-inflicted amputation, and I may have toned down just slightly a few other intense moments (although I don’t recall for sure; I was too busy having an internal debate about whether or not I’d made a mistake in reading this book to my 8-year-old) … but I mostly stuck to what was on the page … and, to his credit, Zan seemed to handle it all fine. In fact, the couple of times I paused to ask if he was troubled by anything, he explained that, yes, he was troubled … by the fact that I kept pausing to ask if he was troubled by anything.

Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me.

Thankfully, several days later, there have been no nightmares or thumb-sucking incidents or seizures or any other outward signs of psychological and/or emotional trauma, so I’m assuming we’re good.

Now, however I have a dilemma. Two, actually:

1.) After completing each of the first three books, we watched the corresponding “Harry Potter” movie. And so, naturally, Zan wants to watch “Harry Potter and the Bloody Fucking Nightmare Goblet of Fire” … but I’m fairly certain scenes like this are probably a bit too intense for the 8-year-old demographic.

2.) He also wants us to continue reading the series … but with the storyline veering into “Silence of the Lambs” territory, I don’t know if it is wise for us to do so at this time.

Wise or not, however, I think we’re going to give it a try. I figure that as long as I’m the one doing the reading, I can improvise as needed.

And, as Zan said: “Daddy, I know it’s not real. It’s just a book. And, look, if I get scared, I can just picture Voldemort skipping through a field handing out flowers.”

Well, who can argue with that logic?

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Posted in Parenthood, Zan | 34 Responses

It’s been, like, at least five minutes since I mentioned Van Halen, right?

It's been, like, at least five minutes since I mentioned Van Halen, right?
Click the image above to view full-size photo.

I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking, “Thank GOD he’s FINALLY writing about VAN HALEN again! It’s been WAY. TOO. LONG!”… [read the rest]

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Posted in Featured Photo, Van Halen | 12 Responses

‘I almost puked at work today’ … or, ‘The anxiety attack that launched my writing career.’ One of those.

This is where the magic happens, people. And by “magic,” I mean “terrifying boredom.”

Something awesome happened this morning: I was pulling into the parking lot at my place of work, and as I did so, I spontaneously blurted out loud to no one but myself the name of the completely uninteresting, uninspiring, unexciting-to-me-in-any-way-whatsoever company for which I work … and this verbal reminder of just what it is I’ve ended up doing with my life caused me first to erupt into a sort of crazy-person laugh, and then to literally dry heave a couple of times. For a moment, I was fairly sure I was going to have to lean out of my car and vomit on the pavement.

So I’m thinking this is a pretty good sign, right? Because clearly it means that I won’t be able to do this much longer … which, in turn, means I’m getting closer to doing something with my life that doesn’t make me want to fucking vomit from the sheer banality of my existence. And that’s gotta be a step in the right direction, don’tcha think?

Actually, it’s not the job that’s the problem; it’s my inability thus far to move forward in some tangible way toward my goal of establishing a career as a creative writer, thus enabling me to no longer need a 9-to-5 cubicle job. And that’s what’s making me cackle like a crazy person and almost puke.

So here’s the deal: I am going to write a novel. Or a script. Or something. Starting today.

This decision scares the shit out of me, because I’m afraid I might discover that I suck, or that I don’t have the willpower to see it through to the end, or that no one wants to buy what I’ve written … any one of which would completely undermine what, for a very long time now, has been my somewhat-comforting but totally unfounded belief that I am talented enough to someday make a living as a creative writer.

Well, “someday” is here. Time to find out if I’ve been kidding myself.

PS: This doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the blog. In fact, there’s a good chance it means I’ll be telling some stories here that I’ve been holding back. See? Everybody wins. Maybe.

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Posted in Cubicle, Life, Writing | 49 Responses

Just take the fucking medicine! A nursery rhyme.


I know it tastes disgusting.
I know you don’t like it.
But look into my eyes; you’ll see
that I don’t give a shit.

I felt for you the first time.
Was patient as can be.
I tolerated meltdowns
for doses two and three.

But now we’re on day 5 of 10
and I want you to know
that if you don’t just drink it down,
my stack I’m going to blow.

I thought by now you’d get it.
I thought you’d have a clue.
The medicine? You’re taking it …
no matter what you do.

I don’t care if you scream and cry
and whine and hold your breath
and act just like a demon
who’s been smoking crystal meth.

The fact is: You must take it.
I know it’s lousy luck.
And I agree: It sure tastes gross…
but I don’t give a fuck!

Now take it! Take it! Take it!
Stop torturing yourself!
Cuz if you don’t, I’m going to tell
that motherfucking elf!

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to yell.
I know that it was wrong.
But Jesus Christ, a one-hour fit
is really way too long.

Too long for me to keep my cool
while both my eardrums bleed.
And yet, you’ve made me realize
that there’s a pressing need.

A need for pharmacologists
to take some kind of class
and learn how to make medicine
that doesn’t taste like ass.

So all you pharmacologists?
Please do parents a favor:
Get in the lab, roll up your sleeves
and make a brand new flavor.

I mean it. I’m not kidding
and I’m not just being crabby.
If you don’t solve this problem now
I’m going to get real stabby.

The End

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Why, yes, children, of course we can get a dog … and by “yes” I mean “fuck no.”

One of the many adorable puppies we will not be getting.

Dear My Children:

I’m sorry, but you’re not going to wear me down on this one. Sometimes Daddy has to be a dick. This is one of those times.

Yes, I know you really, really, REALLY want a dog. The fact that you say it on a daily basis has tipped me off. If you ask me every day to wrap my feet in bacon and plunge them into a tank full of starving piranha, the answer also will be “No.” The frequency of your request makes no difference to me, is my point.

Q: What do giraffes and dogs have in common?
A: Neither one will be living in my house.

Yes, I know your cousins have a dog. I encourage you to visit them more often so that you can play with him. Because we are not getting one.

You see, children, the thing is: You have no clue what owning a dog entails … and even if you did, it would not matter, because neither of you will be the one doing what owning a dog entails, day in, day out, for the rest of our hypothetical dog’s life.

You will not, for example, be getting up in the middle of the night to tend to the crying, whimpering puppy. You will not be cleaning the puppy urine and poop off of our expensive, light-colored, wall-to-wall carpet. You will not repeatedly be walking the dog around the neighborhood like a zombie while collecting its poop in a plastic bag. You will not be picking up and disposing of the piles of poop that appear in our yard each day.

Basically, dog = poop … and I officially stopped dealing with any poop other than my own when you two stopped wearing diapers. Sorry.

You also, by the way, will not be supplying the endless stream of cash needed to pay for all of the dog food and dog paraphernalia and veterinarian bills that will total an astronomical sum by the end of our hypothetical dog’s life.

The economics of dog ownership.

Speaking of which: By the time our hypothetical dog reaches the end of his or her life, you most likely won’t even be living in this house anymore … which means you will not be the ones to nurse the dog during its pre-death period of infirmity, nor have to deal up close and personal with said dog’s eventual death. The desire I have to subject myself to that kind of emotional roller coaster and devestating loss can best be described as “totally nonexistent.”

And as I gaze upon the many things listed above that you will not be doing for our hypothetical dog, it is not lost upon me just who will be responsible for all of those things: ME. Which brings us back to: Fuck no.

You see, children, having a dog is like having a baby … except the baby never advances beyond age two. I do not want another baby … so much so that I was willing to let a stranger cut my scrotum open and mutilate things inside of it. Now, think for a moment, if you will, about the level of commitment it requires to subject oneself to that sort of unpleasantness … and then ask yourself if my resolve about not having another baby a dog is likely to falter.

In closing: I hope you are enjoying the fish.

If at first you don’t succeed, kill, kill again

Just like having a dog. Except for the “dog” part.



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Posted in Life, Parenthood | Tagged | 48 Responses