Safety 1st my ass

Safety 1st Tubside Bath Seat

I am Daddy. Not only am I Daddy, but I am also Daddy the Ex-Military Police K-9 Handler, as well as The Person Who Is Smarter Than Everyone Else In the Room—two traits that inherently mean I can take care of “It,” whatever “It” might be.

I have been able to cloak myself in this delusion for years, and it has allowed me to chuckle and look with pity and scorn upon those among you who occasionally have found yourselves in laughably ridiculous situations from which you have had to be delivered by others who are apparently smarter and more levelheaded than you.

Well, even Superman has an Achilles Heel.… [read the rest]

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Posted in Buffoonery, Jayna, Parenthood | 16 Responses

Van Halen (or, The Band That Ate My Life)

Me & Ed, '93

OK, so I’ve been off the radar for a while because I was building a website dedicated to the goings on in the dysfunctional world of Van Halen.

The sane among you are most likely wondering, “Why the hell would someone spend so much time and energy building a website about Van Halen?” Fair enough. Allow me to explain.… [read the rest]

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Posted in Music, Van Halen | 18 Responses

Subject: Sarah’s gone

Last fall, my friend Dave called me from his car and asked if I could give him directions to the hospital. He was headed there to meet his wife, Sarah, who had gone there to find out why her stomach hurt. We joked a bit, and then hung up. I assumed it wouldn’t be anything serious.

I was wrong.

The diagnosis was cancer. Doctors removed the tumor, but it had spread, so chemotherapy treatment was necessary.

In the weeks and months that followed, Dave sent to a group of his friends and family regular email updates about Sarah’s condition. She was in and out of the hospital a number of times. Through it all, Dave managed her care while working full-time and looking after their 2-year-old son.

Often, the tone of Dave’s emails was positive … and, when it wasn’t, my mind would reflexively put things in the context of “This is an unfortunate challenge that they’ll overcome.”

Dave sent us more than 70 email updates during the past five months, most of them characterized by his uncanny wit and wry sense of humor, which remained intact despite the enormity of what he, Sarah and their son were going through.

Last Thursday, another email update arrived. The subject line appears in the title of this post. It is the worst email I have ever received.

The wake was last night. Pictures of Sarah were on display throughout the funeral home, a number of which were from her and Dave’s wedding, an event that took place just four years ago last November. The receiving line at the wedding was the first time I met Sarah’s parents. The receiving line at the funeral home was the second. That should never happen.

Until now, almost all of the deaths I’ve had to deal with personally have been those of grandparents, both mine and my wife’s. Until now, they had been the saddest occasions of my life. Next to this, they seem happy. They were celebrations of lives well lived.

Dave and Sarah loved each other completely. They were at the beginning of their life together, and had only just recently brought another new life into the world. Since their wedding, they weren’t just “Dave” or “Sarah” to me; they were “Dave and Sarah.”

Seeing Dave standing alone at the wake last night and the funeral today, with that whole other half of himself missing, was gut-wrenching.

I have never hurt for someone the way I hurt for Dave right now. My heart is broken for him, and for his son.

Many people find comfort in their religion at times like this, and accept that this is part of “God’s master plan.” I am not one of those people.

I believe there are forces larger than us, that there are mysteries we don’t yet understand, but I do not believe in one omniscient, omnipotent being in the sky whose hand guides everything in our world. If such a being does exist—well, right now, I’m only interested in kicking its ass.

You cannot convince me that a wonderful, vivacious, loving, 37-year-old wife and mother got sick and died because it was “God’s will.”

My friend had to bury his wife today. His son doesn’t have a mother. That is just fucked up, cruel and wrong.

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Posted in Life | 2 Responses

World Series on ice

Apolo Anton Ohno

Prior to this weekend, only twice in my life had I been truly euphoric about the outcome of a sporting event. The first time was when the Red Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS—also known as, literally, “The Greatest Comeback in Baseball History.” The second was the team’s World Series victory just days later.

A large part of what made those victories mean so much to me was living through the team’s crushing Game 7 defeat in the 2003 ALCS. As you may recall, the Sox were five outs away from going to the World Series when, suddenly, Lucifer (disguised as then-Red Sox manager Grady Little) failed to sit Pedro Martinez in the 8th inning, despite the fact that Martinez’s pitching arm had already fallen off of his body and lay wilting in the dirt atop the mound at Yankee Stadium. Bye-bye, three-run lead; hello, Aaron Boone’s walk-off homerun, and sweetjesushchristinachickenbasket, thank god they won it all in 2004, or I’d need to chug a bottle of Pepto Bismol to stave off the massive ulcer that typing this paragraph would otherwise induce.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics, I experienced a mini-2003 ALCS-like heartbreak when I watched as short-track skater Apolo Anton Ohno, just a few meters away from crossing the finish line in first place during the men’s 1000m final, got wiped out in a four-skater crash. The look on his face as he went down—and, in that instant, so clearly realized that the gold medal had just been snatched from his grasp—was one of such shock and horror that it haunts me to this day.

I’ve always been an Olympics junkie. Summer, winter, whatever—I’m there. Not until seeing Ohno race, hearing him speak and learning of the determination and intensity with which he trains, however, had I been a bona-fide “fan” of an Olympic athlete … OK, well, at least not since that crazy crush I had on Mary Lou Retton when I was 14.

When Ohno blasted across the finish line in first place during the 500m final of the men’s short-track competition in Torino, Italy, on Saturday night, his victory became the No. 3 entry on “Jon’s List of Favorite Sports Moments.”

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Posted in Inspiration, Red Sox | 1 Response

Nine Inch Wiggles

nin

See the guy in the middle up there with the big guns and the buzz cut? That’s Trent Reznor, the mastermind behind the industrial-rock juggernaut known as Nine Inch Nails.

I am quite fond of Mr. Reznor and his music. (This is what we in the writing business refer to as “an understatement.”)

His first two albums, “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken,” were the soundtrack to my early ’90s “Women were created by the Devil and he has instructed them to rip your still-beating heart from your chest, throw it to the floor and dance a little jig on it” phase.

His tour behind 1994’s “The Downward Spiral” included a career-making performance at Woodstock ’94, during which he and his bandmates threw the entire three-day event over their collective lap, spanked its ass red, grabbed it by the hair and dragged it away like a caveman. I was there. It was that good.

Over the past two decades, I have probably been to a couple hundred concerts. NIN’s June 2000 tour stop in Phoenix — part of the group’s roadtrip behind 1999’s “The Fragile” (a two-disc album to which the word “masterpiece” can safely be applied) — ranks in the Top 3.

Trent takes his damn sweet time between albums. There was a six-year gap between “The Fragile” and last year’s “With Teeth.” During those six years, I cultivated many a contact in the music industry. And so it was with great joy that I landed a pair of free tickets to his most recent concert in Boston.

The night finally came. The seats were terrific. The lights went out. The group hit the stage.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned group was this one:

The Wiggles

I have always sucked at math, but, even with that handicap, I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the odds of Nine Inch Nails and The Wiggles choosing the same night of the same year to perform in the Boston area are somewhere in the neighborhood of a bazillion to one.

Seemingly slimmer still were the odds that my head wouldn’t detach itself from my body, blast itself into orbit and explode like a confetti bomb over the prospect of missing the NIN gig in order for Wonder Woman and I to take our resident Wiggle-a-holic to his first concert. But, lo and behold, not only did I not mind (too much) … I actually had fun.

And this, boys and girls, is called “parenthood.”

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