Category Archives: Random Thoughts

The Good Guys Don’t Always Win

 

Sometimes the best intentions have unintended consequences. As I’ve mentioned, the youngest has had a hard time in her transition to “big girl soccer”, learning the different positions and their responsibilities. Master strategist that I am, I used a checkerboard and checkers to demonstrate where each player was supposed to be positioned. I explained that each goal was a castle, that some knight’s jobs were to guard the castle, others were to attack the bad guy’s castle. It seemed brilliant.

It seemed brilliant, but I had forgotten one of the best things about being six years old. The reasons she never gets upset at the cliffhanger endings to Supergirl, doesn’t get scared watching Star Wars or the new Thor movie ( very good by the way ).

She still believes that the good guys always win in the end.

It led to a bit of backtracking, that dance all parents are familiar with when we forget how literally a young child can take our words. I explained that the other team weren’t really “bad guys”, just girls from another town that were a bit older than her, a bit bigger and faster, had a bit more practice. The only time she was really angry during her win less season was actually after a scrimmage, a joint practice with the boys team that led to a temporary reevaluation of who ruled and who drooled.

 

big girl soccer
headed the right way

 

I’m often jealous of that perspective, that view of the world where the good and bad guys are so clearly delineated.

The real world is so much different, so much more complicated. It’s a bleak landscape of grey, subtle differences in shade open to the interpretation of the viewer. It’s been a full year since the election and we remain a country that is still trying to ignore this reality. Two sides each convinced that they are the good guys, politicians trying to appease fringe bases while those in the ideological middle, those that just want everybody to get along and be nice to each other, are ignored.

 

the good guys dont always win
sign of the times

 

She enjoyed this soccer season. She played hard, had fun. She learned sportsmanship and dignity in defeat, all the things that make youth sports great. We would have liked to have won a game, but I guess there is a lesson there as well.

Sometimes the best intentions have unintended consequences. Sometimes hard work and effort aren’t going to be enough. The good guys don’t always win.

 

Thor: Ragnarok is full of conflicted characters. Other than the titular hero and Hela, the Goddess of Death, (spoiler alert: she’s the bad guy) everyone else is flawed but ultimately make the right choices.

Maybe that’s what I should be teaching her. That in the end the most important thing is trying her best, trying to do the right thing as she determines it. To recognize the grey but to remain optimistic that in the end there is enough good in people that things are going to be OK. That there are many more Lokis out there than Thors but the good guys still win enough that we can never stop fighting.

It works in the movies.

 

 

 

My Random Musings
JakiJellz

What Kind of Man Do I Want For Them?

 

We’re not supposed to look at things differently after having daughters. Brock Turner, Harvey Weinstein, income inequality and the new war against access to contraception and the right to choose. These things should outrage any man, regardless of the gender of their child.

We’re not supposed to but we do, and I think that is OK. I think that when we have someone that we love we begin to imagine them in that position, that it becomes more personal, more real. My heart aches for the victims and families of Las Vegas but it will never match the devastation that I felt after Sandy Hook. Every time I looked at my little girl’s face in the days following that tragedy I saw their faces and I cried.

That’s right, I’m a man and I cried. Must be some kind of pussy or something.

It’s something that I’ve been called before.

Fifteen years ago I was in a several year long relationship that ended somewhat amicably but didn’t stay that way. Her next boyfriend was an older biker, a gang member in a Hell’s Angels affiliate and embodied just about every stereotype that might immediately bring to mind. It was hard to argue when reminded how much more “manly” he was than me.

 

a real man?
not an actual picture, but pretty close

 

I have no idea what happened to them, no desire to know.

But I worry about my girls, about what sort of men might be in their future. How “manly” they might be. So far the teenager’s choices have been varied, no particular type that I can ascertain other than all being horrible choices. The six year old just likes to fight, her “boyfriends” so far being the boys that like to wrestle at recess. She might have a bit of her mother in her in that regard.

What do I want for them?

 

be the man

 

I’ve seen this meme a lot, also seen it criticized a lot. They are legitimate criticisms.  Should it really be that hard just to be that kind of man anyway? To be kind and generous and loving? Do we really need to make it personal, to have to visualize someone we care about to not be shitty people?

I don’t know. Probably not.

I like to think that I’ve always been a pretty good guy. I know that there are many who would disagree with that assessment.

I like to think that after meeting my current wife, helping to raise her daughter and having one of my own that I’ve become even better. I know that there are many who would disagree with that assessment.

The question is : am I the type of guy that I would want my daughters to be with, to marry? When I look in the mirror is this what I would want for them?

I think so.

Somebody handier around the house would be good, somebody that fixes stuff, can change their own oil or hammer in a nail halfway straight. I want somebody that will tell them they love them as often as I tell them, not as often as I tell my wife. Somebody a little quicker to say “I’m sorry” or admit when they are wrong.

As a parent the number one thing that I want for my girls is for things to be better. For everything to be better. My life has been pretty damn good up until now. I want theirs to be better.

I’ve been with my wife for almost thirteen years, been married for just over nine. Over that time I can look in the mirror and tell myself that I’ve always tried my best. I can look in that same mirror and know that it always hasn’t always been good enough.

Is that what I want for my girls?

Of course not.

I want better.

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
DIY Daddy

Discovering Downtown

 

I’ve always tried to make a conscious effort to support small businesses as much as I could. I spend a considerable amount of time and money in Target, but I use a regional bank, eat at privately owned restaurants instead of chains whenever possible, and buy most of our hay and bunny food at a small pet shop downtown instead of the more conveniently located PetCo.

This weekend made me realize that as self-congratulatory as these efforts are I should be trying harder.

We weren’t downtown for alfalfa or to visit the tattoo parlor, the two most common reasons we’d visit that area, but in the pursuit of candy. Saturday afternoon the businesses on Main Street handed out treats to the several hundred costumed children filing their way up and down crowded sidewalks. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, another opportunity for Alaina to wear this year’s outfit and another half dozen or so Kit Kats claimed by me as tariff.

 

scarecrow kingdom

 

It was also a brilliant marketing move, a way to raise awareness of a pretty diverse group of shops and eateries that many people, myself included, might not be aware of.  Among the places that were either new or I was just unaware of were a music shop, a jewelry store, a store selling handmade artisan gifts and decor that I will admittedly never walk into and a collectibles shop with racks of comic books that I can’t wait to visit. There is a steampunk themed coffee shop with table games and another coffee shop with rooms full of used books for sale.

 

support downtown

 

Most surprising was that the second floor of one of the large downtown buildings had been converted into three “escape rooms”, a new mystery solving trend where groups of people try and solve increasingly difficult puzzles in order to “escape.” Friends of mine from other parts of the country have been talking about these for a while now and I’m thrilled that I won’t have to travel far to try it out.

 

support downtowns

 

When I was a kid “downtown” was a single roomed general store with a gas station across the street at our town’s only stop light. “Main street” was the last stretch of dirt road leading to my friend’s horse farm where we would stage old-west style shoot outs. Whenever I traveled to an actual city I knew this to be the area I needed to find for bars and restaurants.

If you have one of these areas in your community and haven’t been in a while, do yourself a favor and check it out. You might be surprised by what you find there.

 

Fall Is For Foodies

 

A World of Jerks

 

There are a lot of jerks out there people, something that I’m sure isn’t exactly a news flash to anybody.

I didn’t call them that, used much more colorful language last night as I sat in line on the highway, paving having consolidated traffic into a single lane. Traffic that should have been moving, even if at a slower pace, if not for those that deemed themselves too important to merge sometime in the last mile and a half since the well lit sign informing us of the upcoming closure. Those that decided that instead of leaving that lane, they would wait until the last minute and just move on ahead of those of us that had already made the adjustment. I’ll run us both of the road before I let those people in.

On most nights the profanity directed their way may have been a bit more subdued, muttered instead of yelled out my window, but I actually was in a bit of a hurry. I was on my way to pick up the teenager from her new job, clearing tables and filling water glasses at a restaurant not overly close to where I was coming from. It was 9:20, the restaurant closed at 9:00, and I assumed she would be just about ready to be driven home.

I could have taken my time. On this particular night the restaurant was full of patrons in no hurry to leave, ordering food and drinks that weren’t fully consumed until after 10:00. Cleanup keeping the staff there until close to 11:00, a full hour after they should have been headed home.

It was a day full of frustration, a day of witnessing countless moments of discourtesy and selfishness.

There was the older women entering the bank, rummaging through her purse as she walked in and getting a face full of door as the young guy in front of her quickly closed the door behind him.

The guy at the market who dropped a jar of pickles as he was loading up his cart and simply wheeled away with the rest of his purchases, no offer made to help the poor cashier that had to clean up his mess before returning to the rest of us in line.

Whatever monster decided to leave their cart in the space directly in front of my truck instead of walking the five feet they would have had to travel to put it away correctly.  

 

a world of jerks
who does this?

 

I could go on, as I’m sure each and every one of you could. People with seemingly no thought whatsoever to anybody besides themselves becoming increasingly prevalent.

I’m not a saint by any means, don’t mean to come across as a sanctimonious old man. It just seems that with very little extra effort we could all be just a little bit nicer.

My youngest is nice, for now. She says please and thank you, smiles at strangers. She’ll hold a door open for hours if there are still people coming into a building. One of our most important jobs as parents is raising kids that don’t turn out to be jerks.  Is just trying to set a good example enough? How do I keep her this way?

 

 

The Legacy of The Grandfather of Porn

 

On an impulse I pulled into a bar on the way home from work a few nights ago. The family was already in bed, it had been a long day at work, and unseasonably warm weather had me regretting an empty beer refrigerator in my garage.

The beer wasn’t as cold as I would have liked, the Red Sox were losing on TV and I didn’t know anybody there. Seeing no reason to stay I soon left, walking out behind a group of younger guys that had been playing pool and complaining about the lack of women that they’d found anyplace else that they had stopped that evening.

Frustrated with their failings at finding female companionship the guys decided that there was only one more place that they needed to go that night. It was time to head across the border to the nudie bar.

I smiled to myself, remembering a time when I would have done the same, frowned when I realized that this group might not have been born yet. There was a time when the closest bar to my apartment was an establishment of this type, a place where I was a frequent enough customer that when I was asked to cover the door for a month while the regular bouncer recovered from a broken hand, we didn’t have to do much more than switch seats.

I thought of those nights, countless others spent in other places of varying degrees of sleeziness, and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had ordered a drink and asked for my change in singles.

 

The King of Porn
pixabay.com

 

The fact that these places are able to operate and advertise so openly, the reason that I can make these admissions with only a small amount of shame, is largely due to the efforts of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, dead this week of natural causes at the age of 91. Since it’s first issue in 1953, Hefner and his magazine’s celebration of the female body transformed the previously taboo subject of sexuality into a revolution against traditional puritanical attitudes.

He was also a gross old man, one who considered women disposable assets to be collected and used, replaced when necessary. He offered wealth and career boosting exposure that only a small percentage of his Playmates ever achieved, trading sex for fancy clothes and parties with celebrities. A serial exploiter of young women who became a millionaire and cultural icon by building a global brand based on their objectification.

 

The King of Porn
es.wikipedia.org

 

Much has been written by people much smarter than me about the societal costs that this proliferation of pornography have come with, now available to anyone at anytime, requiring only an Internet connection and a smart phone. About it’s contributions to rape culture, “locker room talk”, and a generation of Brock Turners. The subscription to Mature Kingdom magazine that I bought my father as a gag gift on his fiftieth birthday and the bag of DVDs still hidden away somewhere in my closet an invitation to charges of hypocrisy if I tried.

It’s been just as long since those movies have been watched, parodies of Batman, The Munsters and The Dukes of Hazzard among others, all collecting dust under old Halloween costumes and clothes that I might one day fit into again.

There are many different reasons why this is, but to be honest, I think it’s mostly about my girls, especially the oldest, now eighteen. Whether on a stage or a screen, I can’t watch and not wonder about their story, the choices made that brought them down this road. I can’t separate the person from the body in front of me and I don’t understand how easy that used to be, how effortlessly I was able to dismiss them as anything other than dolls, mannequins dressed or undressed for my viewing pleasure.

It’s easy to explain why I can’t help but look at these women, these girls in most cases, and see somebody’s daughter, to explain why that group of young men might not. It’s harder to explain why it so often seems so difficult to look at them and just see that they are somebody, not just some body, and why everyone seems so quick to want to make a hero of a man who lived his life like that.