You can learn alot of things for free,
but you'll need to ask a lot of questions.
You Must Be ’This” Tall To Ride This Ride
As a child I was encouaged,
"Reach for the stars!"
"You can do anything!’
As a teen I was admonished,
"Make an effort!"
In college I was rated,
"B-minus, poor syntax."
"84/100 - next time don’t round down."
As an adult, I am worried.
"Babe, the garage door is making a bad sound."
"Your son is autistic."
I only have so much time, so much money,
only so much of myself to offer, only so much to give.
Is it enough
Am I enough?
I was wasn’t the fastest kid on the swim team,
wasn’t the best bass player in the orchestra,
wasn’t the lead in the play,
I made my peace with that.
I did my best, but someone was better.
What if my best as a father, or a husband, or just as a human,
isn’t good enough?
Más o Menos.
A neutral. A location somewhere among four dimensions. The beauty or sadness provided by us. What do choose to provide?
Mind The Gap
Your best efforts and ideas have been recorded and adjudicated. They are not good enough.
"So.." I had to kill this awkward silence. "What kind of music do you like?"
"Oh! Yeah, you know, Mo-Town, soul, but like the old style stuff, like Etta James or Stevie Wonder. And anything on the Dap-Tone label."
What's Dap-Tone? How does she know this? Why did I ask her about music? Why did I agree to this date? I'm gonna kill Drew next time I see him.
"What about you? What music do you like?"
"Uh... you know. Mostly like, whats on the radio. Pop... and all that..." Music has never been my thing, but I had kinda run out of things to ask her about that weren't super insensitive. Crap. Change the subject.
"Hey, I just wanted to let you know, that waiter made way too big a deal about your order."
"Oh, that, yeah, no I can see where he was coming from."
"Still, its your food, and I don't think there is anything in the health code about serving raw meat, especially if you're aware of the risks."
"It's fine, really, the sushi will be okay."
"Do you eat much fish? Like, at home?"
She shakes her head, "Not really, its mostly roots, berries, and whatever smallish mammal we can get our hands on."
"Cool. My grandma used to make killer rabbit stew. So, how do you know Drew?"
"He was on one of those Discovery Channel shows, looking for my dad. 'Chasing Bigfoot,' I think."
"Right on." Drew is such a douche for this.
Once upon a time, ghosts were real. Witches too. Good thing we outgrew that. Kinda.
Run from it or learn from it man.
You're not doing too bad. Really. I know people always talk about what asshats they were ten, fifteen or twenty years ago, but I wouldn't call you an asshat. You're a teenager.
You wanna wear orange Chucks? Do it. Red cargo shorts? Hell yeah. High School isn't important in the ways some people make it out to be, it's more of an opportunity to explore different interests and ideas with little to no lasting consequences. All those extra-curriculars you wanna do? Do 'em. Join the swim team, sing in the choir, audition for the play. 'Cause honestly? When you get older, have some kids, and get a real job, you get one, maybe three hobbies. If the district wants to offer these things to you for free, get all up on that.
Life advice? Maybe start a career path earlier than I did. Pick a trade, or a profession. Lock in on it. Get all the certifications or schooling you need for it, and make an effort at it, okay? I know that studying was never really a big deal for us, since we were always lucky enough to understand whatever came our way, but in high school they have a vested interest in making sure you pass. College? Grad school? A job? They don't really care. If you don't do what you said you would, or are expected to, that's your problem, not theirs.
Ask dad to explain the following: credit ratings, the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit, and what APR is.
Ask mom to explain the following: Laundry, cooking anything that isn't pasta, and understanding non-verbal emotional cues.
Spend more time with Grandma Sue, and with Grandma Tucker. They both die before your thirty, and you'll miss them more than you'd think.
Focus on finding the positive, not the negative. You can be honest without being cynical.
Life isn't fair. Don't expect it to be. Life wants you to know it's nothing personal. It's just business.
Love you man,
p.s. Jackie needs to leave, The redhead is crazy, Angel will break your heart, and Somer will fix you.
Being able to say
"Nah, I'm not doin' that. "
With no retaliation,
I Have To Tell You Something
Roses are red,
I almost lost my nerve.
But if you love me half as much as I love you,
It's more than I deserve.
The Best of All the Lost Arts
I'm 31. I've been married for not quite eight years and have three kids. My daughter, the oldest, started kindergarten today. My middle child has autism. He doesn't talk. My youngest is still so little the only personality traits he shows are curiosity and hunger.
When I met my wife we were in college, neither of us sure what we wanted to do with our lives, only that we wanted to be in each others'. And that was enough.
I bounced from shitty retail job to shitty retail job, and ended up with an okay city job. I have Fridays off, and a pension. She stays at home, being a mom.
It seems like there is never enough money. We're not destitute, and it would be unfair to say we live in poverty, but it's all I can do to pay the bills. If I'm lucky I pick up side work painting houses. We have to start Christmas shopping sometime in September to spread the cost.
At night, I put my autistic son to bed. I put on his pajamas, hold him down to brush his teeth, (he's unreasonably strong for a four-year-old) and carry him into his bedroom. I hold him and put his hand on my chest and say "Daddy." I put his hand on his chest and say "Eli." I repeat this until he takes his hand from mine and pats my beard. Sometimes he smiles. Sometimes he makes his "not-happy" sound, a mix between a coyote yip and a native war cry. Sometimes I can't take it, any of it, and I hold him and weep quietly in the dark where my wife can't see.
My son can't talk, and I love him.
My life isn't easy, but it's mine.
I'll take it.