Get real

Get real

Listen up, you mental patients: I didn’t really shove my kids into straight jackets straitjackets, duct-tape their mouths shut and slap chastity belts on my wife and myself. I would never, ever do such a thing … wear a chastity belt, I mean; I got a vasectomy years ago.

Of course, I wouldn’t do the other stuff, either … in front of a camera.

No, what you witnessed was the result of my mad Photoshop skillz … which I didn’t think would actually fool anybody; I thought you’d all just look at the picture and say, “Ha! That Jon and his mad Photoshop skillz!” But, apparently, some of you think I’d actually incriminate myself in front of the entire Internet … so I feel it’s important to show you the original image, which actually was taken in July of last year, while we were in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Which reminds me: it’s been at least 10 seconds since I complained about summer being over, and more than a full minute since I said “I wish it was time to go back to the beach house in Delaware.” There, I feel better now.

Speaking of trips to warmer climes: that California vacation I mentioned yesterday? Writing about it brought back one of the more priceless memories from my childhood, which came courtesy of my younger brother, who was a few months shy of his fifth birthday at the time.

Picture this: My 4-year-old brother, 6-year-old sister and I are seated in the rental car with our father. We are parked outside of NBC Studios in Burbank, where my mother is standing in a crowded line to snag a pair of tickets for that evening’s taping of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”

We’re listening to the radio while waiting for her when, suddenly, a jaunty little number by AC/DC comes on. It’s a song we’ve never heard before. Something about a man who likes to organize large, formal functions. Balls, as it were.

The chorus kicks in, and we are serenaded by Bon Scott singing, “I’ve got big balls,” a phrase he repeats about a gazillion times. My father presumably is on a mental vacation of his own (a common occurrence), so the song continues to play uninterrupted.

And here’s where we enter full-on Griswold status:

My brother hangs his upper body out the back window of the car as the beautiful people of Hollywood are milling about and the gorgeous Southern California sun is shining down, and yells at the top of his little lungs, “HEY MOM! WE’VE GOT BIG BALLS!

Twenty-nine years later, I still laugh mine off every time I remember it.

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One of the only positive things about sinking into the dark and dreary morass of fall and winter is that many photographic opportunities not present at any other time of the year suddenly present themselves. With any luck, I’ll be able to stay focused on such things and avoid developing full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder.

You know what’s even cooler looking than these blades of grass adorned with frost? The shot I captured of the blades of grass on which the frost had melted. Something to look forward to for tomorrow.

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Posted in Featured Photo | 8 Responses

Sorbet, anyone?

When I was 10, my parents took my brother, sister and I on our first big vacation. We flew from Boston to California, where we rented a Mercury Zephyr and visited Disneyland. The Zephyr had power windows, which were relatively new to us; had my parents used the money they spent on the trip to instead buy a car with power windows, we’d have been equally entertained.

In addition to visiting Disneyland, we also visited Universal Studios … where, sadly, the “Jaws” attraction was drained due to in-progress maintenance. (There are few things more pathetic than an enormous, fake, Great White shark trying to look fierce as it’s being held aloft by a fully exposed metal arm while sitting in the middle of a bone-dry cement pond.)

We capped our Universal visit with dinner at Victoria Station — which, at the time, seemed fancier to us than the Taj Mahal. As an indication of just how fancy-shmancy the restaurant was: they served to each of us between the appetizer and main course a miniature ice cream cone containing a tiny scoop of lemon sorbet, whose purpose, we learned, was to cleanse our palates before we moved on to our tasty dinner. (Clearly, this was a big deal, because, roughly three decades later, I remember neither the appetizer nor the dinner, but can still see with great clarity the little lemon-sorbet cones.)

Now, I don’t know about you, but the happenings around here last week left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, and I feel I could use some palate cleansing before we move on to tastier things. Unfortunately, sending each of you a lemon-sorbet cone is entirely impractical. Thus, I offer up instead a delicious musical interlude:

That there is a duo that goes by the name of Pomplamoose covering a Beyonce song that I’m happy to say I’ve never had the misfortune of hearing, but I’m willing to bet my lily-white ass that Pomplamoose’s version is about a bazillion times better. The lovely Maggie of Mighty Girl fame turned me on to it a few weeks ago, and I instantly was hooked. If ever a palate-cleansing mental sorbet existed, this is it. (And if you need further cleansing, allow me to direct you to this equally catchy Pomplamoose original.)

Both songs have some serious hooks … so much so that they’ll soon be rattling around in your head incessantly, wiping clean the brain space previously occupied by the nastiness of last week’s infestation. You’re welcome.

And for those of you who actually prefer controversy, feel free to read my thoughts about circumcision over at Momversation … because I know you’ve been consumed with the need to know how I feel about that issue.

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Posted in General, Life, Music | 13 Responses

Olive branch

Before the whole Childfree controversy erupted last week, I was unaware of how completely inappropriate it was for my wife and I to have procreated, what awful parents we must be, and what a burden it is upon everyone around us when we take our terrorist-like offspring out in public. Now that I’ve been enlightened, I just want everyone to see all of the precautions we’re taking to avoid causing any further trouble.

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Howzabout we just pretend I never said anything, and you can all crawl back into the sewer?

Wow. Just … wow.

I’ve gotten quite an education over the past couple of days about a controversy I never knew existed.

There apparently are battle lines drawn out there. On one side are the Childfree (a single word, I’ve learned), and on the other side are the Childed (what most people refer to as “Parents,” and what the angry faction of the Childfree movement refers to as “Breeders”; they also refer to mothers as “Moos” and fathers as “Duhdees” … and, I swear to Christ, I’m not making this up).

When I sat down to write my “So now I’m the unwitting poster child for why people shouldn’t have children?” entry the other day, I said to myself, “Self, this seems like a relatively entertaining topic … the fact that your tongue-in-cheek ‘Kids for Sale’ thing is being waved as a flag around which to rally those who have chosen to be child-free.”

And so I wrote my little “So now I’m the unwitting poster child …” thing, and I posted it, and I mostly got what I expected: lots of comments from the many parents who read this site and could relate to what I was saying about being a parent.

I also expected to hear from some in the Childfree camp, and I can understand why a few of them may have taken issue with what I wrote, because its tone was harsh … which, in all honesty, didn’t have a thing to do with me having any kind of opinion — good, bad or indifferent — about people who don’t have kids (because, truth be told, I really, really, really couldn’t care less whether or not another human being has chosen to procreate; I have enough shit of my own to worry about, thank you); what it actually had to do with was the fact that I mostly paint with fluorescent, Day-Glo colors here, because I’m trying to make this shit leap off the page, not blend in with the wallpaper. Yes, when it comes to taking poetic license (or literary license, as it were), I flail about with wild abandon.

If my remarks were directed at any singular entity, that entity was not the general Childfree population, but rather the author of — partly because I felt like he/she was taking something I wrote and using it in a manner that misrepresented my true feelings … and mostly because the simple fact that he/she had decided to link to my “Kids For Sale” entry gave me something interesting to write about.

Of course, what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was about to walk into a shit storm. You know, ’cause that’s what I need.

Had I taken the time to really dig into before writing my piece, I maybe would have thought twice about posting it, because what I assumed was probably just a harmless little blog that had benignly linked to my “Kids For Sale” entry turns out to be one of many tiny tent poles propping up the slime-covered canopy under which the aforementioned angry faction of the Childfree movement — whose presence, I swear, I was completely unaware of before I stepped on this landmine — huddles together all hunched over and cackles about us awful Breeders whilst rubbing together their cloven hooves and burning holes in the ground with their “Alien”-like drool.

As fate would have it, I didn’t find that out until after the fact … which explains how I inadvertently placed myself in the crosshairs of a small number of lunatics — some of whom, for the sake of example, have created a messageboard thread all about me (so flattered!) at the insightfully titled, where they’ve written things like this:

“… And like clockwork, [the "Kids For Sale" entry is] followed by a post with a GIANT picture of the GirlBrat’s mug (sitting in a bathtub, HOW original) yammering about how such a hellion could be so sweet and delighful.”

“Use protection next time, DUH.”

“Duhddies are more delusional than the moos.”

“This is probably the type of prick who put more thought into the colour of his car than he thought about having kids.”

And my personal favorite:

“DAMN YOU. Now I want to find this guy and KILL HIM.”

Honorable mention goes to the following two comments, left just now by a couple of troglodyte spawn who slithered over here from that messageboard and used their rat-like noses to peck this out on their keyboards:

“Ugly kids your balljuice created. Gross.”

“Wow, you write just like Dave Barry. I hate Dave Barry. Almost as much as I hate ‘Candyland’ but that’s neither here nor there. Oh, and kids suck.”

Actually, that last one there is more of a backhanded compliment … so, um … thanks!

Now, to be clear: I know that, much like White Supremacists don’t represent all caucasians, these sick, twisted, mouth-breathing fuckheads don’t represent the entire Childfree population, which I’ve seen firsthand is also occupied by completely sane, compassionate, reasonable adults. It’s like my grandfather (Grandbreeder?) used to say: “There’s always a shithead in every group.”

So, to the Shitheads: I’m very sorry I accidentally knocked over your cup of poison. It was not my intention to find some rancid little subsection of society that I could whip into a narcissistic frenzy; it was my intention to entertain the demographic that usually frequents this site … you know, the Breeders … the Moos … the Duhdees.

It has been very … eye-opening to make your acquaintance, but I’m all done with this topic, and I’m also all done hosting a battleground in my Comments. Yes, it’s very one-sided of me to deny you your voice from this point forward … but this is my little fiefdom, and I made it to share with those who are interested my experience of being, among other things, a father, and not to give you some place to vent your obvious unhappiness with the world.

By all means, you’re welcome to continue to come here and read things that will make your tiny little reptilian heads spin around and spout steam, if you like — after all, I get paid every time you view a page — but if you’re looking for someplace to spew invective, please kindly crawl back into the holes from whence you came. Or, hell, make yourselves some new holes … just as long as they’re not here. I would appreciate it … and, in return, I’ll never mention you again.


Duhdee Scratches

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Posted in Life, Parenthood | 70 Responses