Not Everybody Sucks

 

I don’t usually get overly excited about the start of a new year, the idea that the flipping of a calendar is going to lead to any sort of renewal or change in fortunes one that seems a bit silly to me. That being said, I’ll admit to hoping that the beginning of 2018 would be a happier time than the last few months of 2017. I’ve been a bit down lately Thirsty Nation. I’ve been a bit down and the main reason why is people, specifically grown up people. Too many of them just seem to really suck.

Many of you currently reading are “real life” friends with my wife and I and may have recently seen a Facebook posting about a leaky pipe in our basement. You also probably know that my skills in fixing problems of this nature are only moderately more helpful than those of our six year old. If it can’t be fixed with massive amounts of duct tape, chances are that I’m not going to be able to fix it.

With the previous person that would have been called for assistance now falling into the category of “people that really, really suck”, a call for recommendations was issued.

It was answered quickly, a friend of the missus messaging her with the name and number of a guy that worked with pipes for a living and would more than happy to come over and take a look at the situation.

This, it turns out, was a surprise to the guy, his actual profession as some sort of nuclear engineer at the power plant only marginally “pipe” related. I can’t say with certainty what his thoughts may have been about a random woman calling and asking if he’d be willing to come over and help her with her plumbing, but if he’d seen any of the same “movies” that I have over the years, I can venture a guess. Obviously, some sort of secret spy mission.

The other obvious scenario was that he was being lured to our house, naturally located in the woods at the end of a dead end street, so that his organs could be harvested and sold on the black market, something that he admitted to thinking as he drove up our darkened hill. He thought that but continued anyway. A complete stranger, with no actual plumbing background, taking time out of his day to journey across town to see if he could help, then returning the following day with the necessary parts and refusing any monetary compensation for his trouble. For those of you that thought I was referring to a different type of movie earlier, he received no other compensation either and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

I’m not usually a fan of unknown men coming to my house while I’m at work at night and hope that this doesn’t become a regular occurrence, but in this instance I’m grateful. My basement is dry, everybody involved still has their organs intact and in the following days enough people reached out to us that if the problem recurs we have a few other numbers to call.

It was also a good reminder that not everybody sucks. I won’t be overly dramatic and say that my faith in humanity has been restored, but it’s good to be reminded of that every once in a while.

 

 

 

Lost in the Noise

 

I’d like to think that fairness, respect and equality were always issues that I took seriously but will reluctantly admit that as a father to girls, women’s issues have taken on an added significance for me. My desire for them to be able to lead happy, successful lives bringing into clearer focus some of the obstacles that they may face in reaching those goals.

It was with those obstacles in mind that when my news feed became inundated with outrage over the wage discrepancy paid to stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams for additional filming necessary on the film “All the Money in the World” I was absolutely stunned.

Stunned that there are so many people so desperate to find something to be outraged about that they would choose this story to fire their ire. Think what you may about his acting skills or some of the absolutely horrible movies he’s appeared in over the years, Wahlberg is an internationally recognizable movie star, the highest paid actor of 2017 according to Forbes magazine.  Its reported that he took a pay cut simply to be in the movie to begin with. Michelle Williams is apparently an amazing actress, having been nominated for four Academy Awards, and probably has people that will see a movie based only on her appearance, but I’ll confess to not being able to name anything that she has previously been in without looking it up.

Perhaps this speaks more to poor choices in the movies that I watch or perhaps it’s simply the “mansplaining” that I will undoubtedly be accused of, but I find it hard to use this case as an example of the income bias that is a real and relevant issue in society.

One of the main problems with the 24/7 news cycle and the pay per click advertising business model that so many websites now rely on as their business model is the constant need for content, for stories that elicit a response. I bear no love for our current President and find his attacks on the media boorish and immature but there is truth to the idea that he could try and slip out a silent fart in a closed elevator and CNN would immediately have a panel of experts explaining why this lack of decorum makes him unfit to lead.

The irony here is that the reason for the re-shoots was the unprecedented move by director Ridley Scott to replace actor Kevin Spacey after the movie had completely finished filming. Spacey being one of many in Hollywood recently exposed as taking advantage of a culture of silence and fear to sexually harass and assault.

Before he also became persona non grata amid similar allegations there was a Louis CK quote that I would come across often : “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” As much as I understand the sentiment behind his words and agree with them in principal, it ignores the fact that offense spread too thin becomes dilute, instead lending credibility to those that would rather mock and ignore the voices calling for fairness and decency.

The result is a tuning out, an exhaustion for controversy. I applaud and encourage all who would speak out against wrongdoing and injustice, but how often are these voices being lost amid all the excess noise?

All parents have had days when it seems like your child has done nothing but whine the entire day. It becomes nothing but a distraction, ignored and disregarded. Think of the people that you know that are constantly bitching, a complaint about everything and anything at all times. What happens eventually is that they have a legitimate concern, something important to them that needs to be heard.

It often isn’t.

It isn’t and only after the fact are we left to wonder what else we might have missed.

 

 

 

Early Morning Lessons in Political Correctness

 

In my last post I opened with a bit of a humble brag about my daughter’s ability to amuse herself for a time on weekend mornings, a few words about how I’d come to appreciate the ability to sleep past the first rays of sunshine a few days a week. Naturally this immediately came back to bite me in the ass, as only a few days after hitting publish I came downstairs to be greeted by this early morning surprise:

 

the trouble with books?
the face you make when you realize thats permanent marker

 

Was she trying out a new superhero look, emulating her favorite professional wrestler, or adding some camouflage before another attempt at scaring the crap out of me by hiding behind the computer desk?

Unfortunately, all no. She was trying to look like an “Indian Chief.”

Uh, oh.

The culprit for this episode of crass cultural appropriation was identified quickly, a Peter Pan book that we had read a few nights earlier. I had cringed at the time, set it aside for future “recycling” alongside a Skippyjon Jones book that I still can’t figure out if it is racist or not, and thought nothing more of it. Another reminder that not everything in the huge collection of hand me down and tag sale books that we have accumulated has aged particularly well.

I’ve always tried to be somewhat cautious in the degree of political correctness that I embrace. I think most of us will agree that it was a good idea that Speedy Gonzalez and the skunk running around Paris trying to rape the painted kitty were retired but I have a hard time taking seriously the idea that G I Joe furthered  the agenda of the military industrial complex perpetuated by Reagan’s obsession with winning the Cold War. If the worst thing that our children are subjected to on a typical Saturday morning is the fat shaming of Daddy Pig by his family then I think that is progress that should be celebrated.

It made for an oddly difficult conversation, my attempts at explaining why we shouldn’t color our faces with permanent marker more successful than those trying to convince her that actual Native Americans might become upset about her pretending to be one of them or seeing the manner in which they were depicted in her book.

How much good I did is debatable but it was a good reminder that teachable moments can be upon us at any time. Also that I should probably spend some time going through all these old books we have lying around and hide the markers.

 

 

 

Tammymum

Duplicating My Childhood

 

Most parents at some point realize that the “it’s just a phase” platitude loses it’s effectiveness when they realize that this particular phase is inevitably followed by one just as annoying. As true as this is, there are some some trade offs that really do make things easier, or at least easier to tolerate. One of the biggest milestones that I’ve come to appreciate is my daughter’s ability to amuse and feed herself for at least an extra hour or two in the mornings where we don’t have to be up for school. I never know exactly what I will find when I head downstairs, but more often than not it’s exactly what I would have been doing at her age.

Last Saturday I came downstairs to find her seated cross legged, much too close to the television, mouth agape.

“What are you watching?’

“I don’t know, but it’s awesome! Its about this guy called The Doctor and he travels through time and outer space fighting aliens and robots!”

“Oh, Doctor Who. Pretty cool stuff.”

“I don’t know his name, I don’t think they said.”

“No, his name is Doctor Who.”

“I just told you I don’t know his name!”

 

I gave up, made myself a coffee and sat down next to her, watching the next two episodes of the mini-marathon and enjoying our cereal. Too cold for me to go outside any more than necessary, we spent the afternoon playing with our “Barbies.” Before bed we read some more from the collection of Batman stories that Santa brought us this year.

 

passing it on

 

Also under our tree was a copy of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”, my favorite book when I was her age. After opening her gifts the teenager and her Nirvana sweatshirt went back upstairs to watch either The Outsiders, Stand By Me or one of the other films from my DVD collection that she has now seen approximately seventy times each.

 

I had a very happy, very stable childhood, if somewhat on the nerdy side. It’s something that I now appreciate more than ever and I’ve tried everything in my power to ensure that my girls are able to look back and say the same. If sometimes I’m a bit too literal in my attempts to duplicate what I had, that’s an issue to think about another day. Right now we have a movie to watch.

Any guesses on which one?

 

passing it on

 

 

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Opinions of The Year

 

2017 may be best remembered as “the year of the opinion.”  As the saying goes, much like a-holes we all have them, but this was the year when everybody decided to share them. Politics, tragedy, and a seemingly endless stream of controversy leading to vocalization of beliefs that led many to look at their co-workers, friends and even sometimes family a bit differently, people that we thought we knew suddenly on the other side of an increasingly wide chasm.

I count myself among these keyboard warriors, spending way too many nights engaged in debate with those whose opinions I had no chance of changing. Many of these times I enjoyed, intelligent discourse leading to interesting discussion. Other times I just got angry.

Some of the things I wrote led to loss of readers, some even to loss of campaign opportunities. I’m happy to say that I don’t think any led to a loss of friendship, something that I’m proud of.

These are my ten favorite non-parenting posts of the year, much like my parenting list from yesterday, a difficult one to narrow down. I’ve always been one to write about whatever I feel like, abandoning my niche and rambling as the mood strikes, but like everyone else it seems, 2017 led me down this road more often than year’s past. Not all of these are controversial but be warned, not all of my opinions are ones you’d agree with.

 

Sore Losers, Hoping For Failure  I’ll just get this one out of the way right from the start. I’m on record as saying that it was with bile swallowing shame that I pulled the lever for Hillary Clinton, but my hatred of her opponent hasn’t diminished any since the election. This one partly explains why and was one of my most read, most shared pieces of the year.

Stick To Your Own Bedrooms  I never cared much for people telling me what I could and couldn’t do based purely on their ideas of morality. I didn’t attend the Fetish Flea Market this year, but I’d like to reserve the right to do so in the future if I decide to.

Confession of a Cry Baby  Nothing controversial here, just me making fun of myself for being a big baby. Based on the dust that apparently found itself into my eyes at the end of CoCo, not much has changed there.

Adrian Peterson? F That Guy   I was surprised by the amount of New England Patriots fans that were offended by my view that they shouldn’t want this piece of trash on their team when he became available. I stand by the fact that I will root against any team that ever employs him.

Politicizing Tragedy For as many times as I’ve been called a “snowflake” or “libtard’ over the past few years, I’m actually very centrist, very moderate, leaning towards what I call “common sense.” It pisses me off when I see people on either side of the aisle use tragedy to try and further their own agenda.

Beaten For Helping  A reminder to not believer everything you see on Facebook, to research before you share. People’s lives and reputations are being ruined.

The Good Old Days  An afternoon spent drinking Zima and thinking back on those mythic times in our past when we were happy and care free.

No One To Cheer In This Fight  Written in the days prior to the Mayweather – McGregor fight. The world is full of shades of grey, the good and bad guys not always easily distinguishable. The appeal of sports is that you can usually just choose a side and feel OK with that choice.

I Stand, But I Support Those That Take A Knee  I just can’t seem to keep my mouth shut about Colin Kaepernick and the other athletes taking a knee before the National Anthem. This one led to the only time I really got any negative comments on the Thirsty Daddy Facebook page.

Reluctant Lessons For Darkened Sidewalks Written just before the #metoo movement put those in positions of power on notice. This is a topic that I hope to one day be able to stop writing about. Not because I’m the father of girls, but because everybody should be able to walk down a darkened sidewalk without worry.

 

controversial posts of 2017

 

 

Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms