2am self torture—parenting addition

The frustration of the late night blog attack is that it usually occurs when I’m on the throne, either coping with insomnia and not thinking clearly…or after a night of drinking…and not thinking clearly…not unlike tonight. I will have all of these insights, one-liners, punch-lines, and wonderful metaphors hit my brain all at once like an Amtrak derailment…and then I sit down to blog and it’s like the blackboard has been erased.
Drinking lowers inhibitions, and therefore allows someone to express insights otherwise often better kept to themselves. Writers, a tortured lot, famously drink or employ other vices to get the proverbial ball rolling. Bloggers can only hope to ascend to the level of tortured writer one day, or they just do it because a buddy talked them into it.
My good friend and fellow blogger had a birthday today. I would not presume to know his thoughts on it, but if making an educated guess I believe I’d be in the ball park. His birthday reminds me that mine is coming up quickly, and I tend to get painfully introspective. Liquor always does a bang up job at these times as you can imagine.
Something new for me this year, however, is not only is it my best friend’s birthday, but the day after is the first anniversary of my father’s passing. I barely knew him, having spoken to him just a few times in person as an adult, and have only one memory of him from my youth where he scolded me for not listening to my mom. The news of his passing was met with no real emotion initially from me, only a matter of fact acknowledgement and the nagging question of whether or not I would attend his service. I chose to attend, only because of the fear of regret in not going. No one of consequence knew who I was, and I was able to sit in the back hiding in plain sight. It was odd to hear and learn about him at that point, because they were all things I should have already known. I was driven to anger hearing about things that we had in common that I didn’t know about, and I resented those things along with any other ties I had that should have brought us closer but were discarded. Absence does not always make the heart grow fonder.
When people hear the word abandonment, it usually sparks images of babies in baskets left on doorsteps with notes, or more heinously left in trash bins or exposed to the elements with total disregard and denial of responsibility. I thankfully was not left without care, nor can I complain that I was raised in a house without love. Nevertheless, the feeling I have is a feeling of abandonment. The man responsible for me chose to not stay and raise me. He instead chose another life that better suited him, that was easier for him to live with and therefore did not disappoint others or crush their expectations. I was left, like many young men, to navigate the world on my own with no male guidance. My mom worked very hard and did her best, like so many single mothers do. I made my way through school and college relying on others’ experience and wisdom on male dominated subjects and survived rights of passage that it would be an enormous understatement to call dangerous. I came out the other side experienced but still immature.
Now as a father of three, a boy and two girls, I’m left to figure it all out again. The positive spin has been that I can do and provide everything that I didn’t get. I still feel like a kid most of the time though. I don’t think about my own age until my kid’s birthdays, or school starting next week and what grade they will be in. Or until a friend has a birthday and my brain does the aforementioned Amtrak thing. How do I provide something if I don’t know what it is exactly? A good friend of mine actually gets to see his dad almost daily. They work together in a family business. His dad has taken he and his brothers on trips fishing, hunting, gambling, golfing…all things of which I have little or no experience. My love for them as friends has been clouded in the past by bouts of envy, almost to the point that I couldn’t be around them. I know and understand that these are my issues to deal with and no one is to blame…not even my father. My actions and mindset can only be governed by me and what I choose to make my focus. Everything that has happened is supposed to have a purpose and play a role in shaping me into becoming a self actualized person. The battle is completely mental, but I’m not the only one at risk. My wife and kids quality of life will be directly affected by how I choose to face these thoughts and issues from this day forward. It already has had an impact on them, especially my wife and son. So the real challenge is, can I get out of my own way enough to be all that I should be for them? Or do I keep sitting in the pew at the back of the church silent and withdrawn?
Many would say I’ve done enough just by being present, just by sticking around and showing up. Granted, that is a step up in this situation. So, is it enough or would it have been enough for me to have a slightly immature, inexperienced goof like me do nothing else but show up everyday trying to get better?
Yes.

Online Dating’s Biggest Lie

‘About average’

The description most often used regarding weight in online dating. The term is as distorted as the concept of evolution and a perfect metaphor as well. As evolution is not a definition of excellence or improvement, ‘about average’ explains a woman’s inner-sanctum of friends and less a description of healthy body fat percentage. The theory of evolution offers explanation as to how species change over time and adapt to their environment. Arguably, in my country, the newborns will all have a sense of entitlement in order to maintain sanity in the curent environment. The older models are all doomed to insanity because we haven’t the skills to adapt to the irrational clime.

She is ‘about average’ for her race (Inuit, Samoan, etc.). Clearly why I am so very unsuccessful with online dating as my profile photos have me with helmet hair and listed as ‘a few extra pounds’. I have the ‘about average’ spare tire of a man in his forties; however, if you are 5’7″ or shorter and truly about average weight, I can curl you. My chest is much larger than my gut and I do not have man boobs. For men, a few extra pounds must equate to morbidly obese.

Additionally, I am “much cuter than my photos” but never described as hot. Such an ironic situation to shop based upon best dressed scenarios when the initial intention results in seeing what the other person looks like the next morning.

Do men post as many car selfies as women?

Parallel to Perpendicular

How can a woman not be a little impressed with the addition of the word Boolean to your online flirtation? Anyway. . .

I rather enjoy the parallels between the sexes and a recent gathering of age-old friends was no exception. As I moved from chair to chair, wishing to interact with all of them as much as possible, I ran into the paired female silence when I was seated. The ladies politely tried to warn me away from the topic before bluntly explaining they were discussing the hardships of their daughters starting menses.

Clearly, in spite of time preening, women are no more self-aware than men.
I remained uncharacteristically silent and thoroughly enjoyed their vented frustrations. I only hope every woman has a daughter so she can begin to sample what life is like for a man with women in his life. Sadly, no mother of any daughter will come close to understanding the real frustration as their daughter will never, ever truly hold them accountable into infinity for not going to the store at 2 a.m. to purchase them tampons. Instead, mother and daughter alike will be pissed at dad who still fails to understand why daughter cannot just use mother’s until a reasonable morning hour?

So in many ways, the purpose of life seems to be no more than finding your perpendicular with innuendo intended. For those still seeking, the moral of this story is you cannot remain still but must keep your course of parallel until you abruptly strike your intended. Perhaps this is why we feel we have always known that other? We have most likely run perpendicular of their past journey countless times and when the time is right for both, you intersect.

The Deathbed Test

This is not an original thought, and I do not know to whom to attribute it, so forgive me. Lately I have been reading several spiritual texts, as well as a novel which is rare for me, all apocalyptic in nature. End of the world, end of humankind, the role of the spirit or the soul…religion vs. spirituality…you can find yourself overwhelmed quickly with all those thoughts and different insights. People spend millions of dollars on therapy, self help books and materials, camps, retreats, counseling,…why? One reason and one reason only…they want to be happy. They feel inferior to other people they see in their lives or in their day, thinking that person has or knows something they don’t know. That’s why they seem happier than me. Often the person they envy is just as lost, and they are envious themselves of someone else who seems to have it all together. All of the books, seminars, products, etc. are just different packaged ways of trying to deliver the same thing…happiness. A quote I remind myself of often is, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” Catchy, but most people would throw the flag and say that’s nice but doesn’t really help them. Perhaps this will.
The Deathbed Test is quite simply you imagining yourself on your deathbed. What do you think will be on your mind at that moment? What will your concerns/regrets be? Things you did, or things you wish you had done? Will you be thinking of a job or promotion you got or didn’t get? What will be most important to you in that moment? Now some might take this moment to rattle off to you about God and religion and whatever their point of view is…but this is more about the life you are leaving, not what happens afterward. Most people observed in their last moments, almost to a person, spoke of relationships. They talked of friends and family. They weren’t concerned about money, status, or any things that could be bought or sold. We come here with nothing and we leave with nothing. But the impact we have on each other is what lasts and those connections are what most people focus on at the end.
Stress is a human construct. It exists nowhere but in the mind of the individual. Things that we as individuals create stress over in our lives typically have no importance or value at the end. The Deathbed Test can be simply applied to almost any potentially stressful choice or situation. Will this matter to me then? How important is this and will it be a regret if I don’t at least try? And when measuring different options that may diminish or forever alter valued relationships, the choices become more clear and the stress subsides.
It is not a perfect solution, but offers the person a measure of control and peace that cannot be attained otherwise.

Paradigm Fail

I am passionate about my work and that can be dangerous. Although I am no longer the technophile of old, there is no blurring of my sense of technology as alchemy. Technology is my science, my religion of mysticism. In technology we will transform lead into gold with a blend of ritual and chemistry.

That being typed, it literally breaks my heart and I ache we have misrepresented technology and continue to conform to this misconception as we have evolution. As the movie Idiocracy suggested and the theory of evolution clearly explains, the organism which has evolved is the one adapted to thrive in an environment of Miley Cyrus twerking as an expression of ideas through dance. Technology is not synonymous with imagination and by deductive definition, has limitations.

Boeing recruited employees with a radio advertisement seeking people who desired to lift tons of weight into the skies with their mind. A fantastic clarification explaining the momentum of flight is imagination and not technology. I am certain if English swallows were gifted with imagination, they would develop a net to carry a coconut  to Medieval England and overcome a matter of weight ratios.

 

Or not….

 

She digs me, she digs me not…

“That motorcycle is just an extension of your penis…”

‘Why thank you. Spend more time riding it and you might not be so cranky.’

“The motorcycle?!?!?”

‘Either one.”

“Well if you spend more time waxing it, you would probably be less sarcastic.”

‘The motorcycle?’

“Either one.”

I think she digs me, but history has proven I am not so good with the womenfolk. What say you all?

The Death Of Spontaneity

The old adage about the grass always being greener on the other side is usually referring to peoples’ assumption that someone they know is much happier than they are. They look at another person’s lifestyle, profession and material possessions, and conclude they have it way better. In healthy individuals, this sparks drive and ambition to excel and achieve the same status or material gain through self improvement and competition. In less healthy individuals, this sparks resentment or coveting. Coveting is addressed in 2 of the 10 commandments, regarding material things and wives. No mention of coveting husbands being a problem…still think man didn’t alter the Bible a bit? Yes, you’re a total heathen if you read on.
Hey! Glad you’re still with me. My idea originated with coveting, which got me thinking about single peoples’ perspective about married people and vice versa. I have been with my wife for 18 years, married for 15. I had a 5 year dating relationship throughout college that could be categorized as volatile. When it ended abruptly, I responded much like the institutionalized Brooks from Shawshank Redemption who upon his parole after 50 years of incarceration hangs himself. I indeed felt like a reluctant parolee but the only thing I attempted to kill was my liver. There was the inevitable collateral damage that occurs when 2 objects collide. The 2 objects, my ego and reality. The damage, as you might have guessed, my poor brain cells. My wife came along, and like many fugitives or parolees who can’t handle life on the outside, I behaved in a way to get put back where I’m the most comfortable.
I’m most comfortable as a married person because I was not a “successful” single person. All of my dating/casual encounters had a painfully clumsy, Chevy Chase quality to them. On the rare occasion that I tried to date more than 1 woman, they always found out about each other. You can imagine how the more intimate encounters turned out. It was quite frustrating because I had several friends who were quite good at juggling these encounters. I have 2 friends that I’m reasonably sure have been recruited by the CIA for their cloak and dagger prowess. Being single like them, “successful”, looked great. Stress free, casual, unlimited. Beautiful women…or beautifully willing to do whatever. But alas, being single like that is a super power that I don’t possess. My super power is killing spiders and fair to sharp wit/sarcasm that has not been undone by the aforementioned brain cell damage.
Single people look to couples, married or not, and think someday I will find that. Or they think “THAT WILL NEVER BE ME! THAT WILL NEVER BE ME! THAT WILL NEVER BE, NEVER BE ME! NO!” (Quick Reader! What movie? If you don’t know, you need to shore up on the 80’s movie quotes.) If you are a single person reading this and want an honest assessment of marriage from a married person, here it is.
Being a husband and father is what I was meant to be. I know this more than I know anything else in my life. This in no way kept me from being scared out of my fucking mind on my wedding day and when our son was born. But never did I doubt for a minute that I was on the wrong path. If you don’t feel the same way to some degree, then maybe you are on a different path. I always knew I wanted to have a family.
Now, that being said, there are a million books, songs, and failed sitcoms about love and relationships. Most people will not admit it, but they do create the drama in their lives. There are hundreds of different scenarios that could be examined, but I believe all conflicts come from the ego. Selfishness, pride, needing to be right and the other person to be wrong…that sums up a lot of it. But my main issue in my relationship with my wife has less to do with her than with the kids…and here it is.
We are not spontaneous at all anymore. Parenthood completely fucks up spur of the moment anything. The impulsivity of being young and doing whatever you want whenever you want is done as soon as you have kids. Everything is planned, considered, written out, organized, choreographed, and synchronized. Want to do something without the kids? Can’t do it yet, have to get a sitter first. Want to jump each others’ bones right this second? Go check on the kids first and make sure they’re asleep…and lock the door in case they get up.
Choosing to have a family is probably the most daunting thing anyone can choose to do, besides getting involved in a land war in Asia. (Reader, another 80’s movie! Redeem yourself!) So, you must always remember that your spouse/s.o. is still the same person that you had sex with against the front door of your first apartment because she looked so hot, smiled, and flashed you. Do whatever you can to remember the mother or father of your lovely children is still the insatiable, sexual deviant you fell ass over tea kettle for so many years ago. Coveting should always be someone else’s problem.

PTSD – major contributor to self-inflicted male baldness

When a woman proclaims she wants to scream and tear her hair out; who cares? She has plenty, it will grow back completely, and she will temporarily both simultaneously save money on hair care products and really be able to dye those roots. When a man is maddened to this point, it is significant. That may be the last time hair is present in that particular place.

So my final post for a while pertains to the online dating milieu yet again. An apropos metaphor is none other than the scene from the movie Fight Club where random haikus are spammed across the company by the film’s narrator. The third-person perspective or seemingly Helen Keller narrator on a stage, without contact, is little more than the rant of a delusional vagrant.

I once sought to love     but instead hear only chirps     crickets droning temp.

I am going to the gym and then I plan to ride. Expect to hear from me again come Fall.

Accusation

“You are acting like an infant!”

Why. . . thank you. As complimentary as that derogatory accusation should be, I found it to be extremely accurate and condemning. Obviously not a condemnation of me but the accuser (thank you ego – you are my model for omnipotent monotheism).

As it happens, my needs are simpler than an infant’s.

1)      I need to be free of soil, an area where I am self-sufficient

2)      I need to be fed, another area of self-sufficiency

3)      I need a measure of comfort. Typically I can also provide this for myself.

Those being detailed, any amount of screaming, crying, and outburst seems justified. Failure to contribute what little is necessary to meet these needs demands attention and should be prioritized.

I do not put my hand on the stove burner, go into the wintery cold without suitable attire, procrastinate visiting the facilities until I have soiled myself. Should you find yourself the obstacle to my needs and ignore my initial polite request; expect all of my energy to be channeled into a tantrum of unintelligible noise and violent movement.

 

Let there be beer

At a local brewer’s annual birthday bash, I waited in line with my friend and presented, for her opinion, my latest pickup line. I received ‘the look’. Next I was chastised for not choosing a different beverage option than I had previously selected. “Ya’ll (I am in my hometown so I can use the local dialect) are a maddening breed dear lady. Staunch advocates of monogamy but in all other things you demand variety; so if I bed another woman than my girlfriend am I permitted to use the excuse of following her advice and trying something different?”

“It is clear why you haven’t had long term relationships,” she responded still giving me that look.

“What in the world do you mean? I have had dozens of long term relationships. You have only had one!”

Although she thought little of me in that moment, I was later redeemed. She forced the menfolk to try the cucumber beer which, at best, deserved a unique rejection. Her husband asked her why she would put that in her mouth and I reminded him it was never in a man’s best interest to question that particular impulse. On cuke beer’s behalf, it escapes well from a laughing mouth and I expect was good for my skin.

The charming wisdom I extract from these interactions is the simple folly women are equally prone. We will not accuse you of being just like your mother if you will cease regurgitating her philosophy of ‘how do you know until you have tried?’ Should the homophobes ever prove correct; then your dear, sweet grandmother and madre are more to blame as the gateway to homosexuality than any film, song, art, or bath house.