Thursday, November 29, 2007

Those Damn Sunday Shoes

On the day after Thanksgiving, my two sons, aged five and eight, decided to get full-on, 80s-style Mohawks. This was decided by the boys and their mother within the space of five minutes. Within an hour, each of the boys sported a closely-shaved head with a thick, hairy stripe of rebellious hair running down the middle.

The Mohawk is a classic rebellion move, designed to give a big, fat hairy finger to "The Man." I would be immensely proud of my kids, if it weren't for one thing:

I hate my kids' Mohawk haircuts.

This confused me at first. Why would their haircuts bother me? Both of the boys look kinda cool. And, as far as I know, neither of them are going for any job interviews in the near future.

Then I realized what the problem was. I am "The Man." I discipline the boys. I force them to eat leafy, green vegetables. I make them do homework. I have - God help me - actually bought them food from McDonald's that didn't come with some kind of toy.

I'm not supposed to like their Mohawks.

Don't mistake me. I don't like being "The Man." In fact, I specifically purchased my IPod to show that I'm not like the rest of my peers. No way. I'm hip. I'm cool. I'm so funky, in fact, that I need a portable music device with a thousand songs on it because the urge to dance might overcome me at any moment.

You know, like Ren McCormack in "Footloose." I can't count the number of times I've stifled the urge to kick off my Sunday shoes.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

She Owes Them

Winona Ryder's refusal to do a nude scene has not only irritated and frustrated her male fans, it has endangered her chances of ever collecting a Best Actress Oscar.

I learned this surprising bit of news last night as I chomped down a Hooter's hamburger with two of my oldest friends, Kieth and Matt.

"It's true," said Kieth, a big guy with long hair. "You have to do a nude scene before you can get a Best Actress Oscar."

Matt scratched his grey, untrimmed beard. "Tell that to Reese Witherspoon. She won it for "Walk the Line" without taking off her clothes."

"I didn't say the actress has to be naked in the role that wins her the Oscar," countered Kieth. "Only that she has to get naked on film before she can win the Oscar. Reese Witherspoon had a topless scene in "Twilight".

"No way," Matt and I said simultaneously. I wondered where my Blockbuster card was.

"Yep." said Kieth. "It's why Natalie Portman took her clothes off in the recent "Hotel Chevalier". It had nothing to do with the story; she just wanted to get the nude scene out of the way."

"How do you explain Dame Judi Dench?"

Kieth deflected it. "I don't have to explain Judi Dench. She's never won the Best Actress Oscar. She was, however, naked in a 60s movie called "A Midsummer's Night's Dream".

"Yep," said Matt, "That Shakespeare dude has gotten a lot of girls in trouble."

Kieth continued. "Charlize Theron? Nude scene. Hallie Berry? Nude scene. Hillary Swank? Nude scene. Nicole Kidman? Ditto."

"Aha!" I said. "Julia Roberts. Julia Roberts is famous for never doing a nude scene."

"She's doing her nude scene later. Like Kathy Bates did. She got the Oscar for "Misery", but the did the nude scene the next year in "At Play in the Fields of the Lord". Have you ever wondered why she takes her clothes off on film?"

"All the time," I admitted.

"She owes them for the Oscar."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Save the Children's Foreheads!

Before I became a dad, I assumed that parents carried out one main function - raising their children to be productive members of society. This sacred duty, I thought, probably involved spending time with your kids, passing on important life lessons and occasionally motivating my kids to achieve more.

Oh, naive, base fool!

I now understand that my primary parenting job is to watch television and have the crap scared out of me by parenting experts. Oh, I'm still responsible for turning my kids into efficient cogs in the societal machine, but really there's not much time for that.

Right now, for instance, I'm confronting the twin terrors of deadly, unstoppable staph infections and the deadly, lurking dangers of lead-painted toys. And these are relatively new terrors. I was already juggling trans fats, childhood obesity, attention-deficit syndrome, Internet predators, child safety seats, toy magnets, stranger danger and video game violence.

I'm pretty busy just being terrified.

I'm on top of it, though. I'm slowly but surely removing all potential sources of danger from my children's lives. I've decided to share my list of the top four actions concerned parents can take to danger-proof their children's lives.

  1. The Outside is Bad - Circumvent the child safety seat problem and the stranger danger problem by forcing your children to remain in their rooms when they're not at school. If you must expose your children to the outside in order to get them to school, remember to apply huge amounts of sunscreen to their exposed surfaces. Also, don't forget the bug spray or you're just begging for lyme disease, West Nile and Malaria. Anyone is potentially a predator, so teach your children to avoid speaking with anyone. In fact, my experience shows that teaching children to talk at all just invites problems.
  2. Friends are Bad, Too - Generally speaking, I'd love for my kids to have friends. Unfortunately, friends are major vectors of infection, teen pregnancy and a love of hip-hop. Studies show that kids are 87% less likely to bow to peer pressure if they don't actually have any peers.
  3. Danger Proof Your Home - Over 85% of homes are built almost entirely out of sharp, 90 degree angles. Corners are dangerous. As a child, I once got my head stuck in a corner for well over three hours with permanent consequences. Only my special haircut hides the sharp indentation down the center of my forehead. I recommend puttying over the corners in your house. While you're at it, remove the furniture and replace the beds with fire-retardant blankets securely fastened to the floor.
  4. Remove the Media - Get rid of the televisions and video games. Burn that copy of Catcher in the Rye. Deny your kids access to most of the Internet because it's chock full of predators and, even worse, dangerous friends. Do allow them access to blogs because blogs are the best source of accurate lists of potentially dangerous stuff.

Well, that's my list. Use it well. I'm heading to the kitchen now so that I can throw out anything with corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or sugar. It's tough work, but I'm doing it for my kids. Sure, they're pale, mute, friendless, illiterate and afraid of right angles - but at least they're safe.