First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Giving Tree, A Co-dependant's Field Guide To Life

The Giving Tree: A fine piece of children's literature, or a touchstone for twelve steppers* and other co-dependants? Let's discuss.

This poor fucking tree. The book starts out promising. A little boy comes and hangs out and makes leaf crowns and swings in her branches and eats apples. It's never made clear whether or not the boy has broken into an orchard or if this is some remarkable wild apple tree that happens to produce bushels of pest free apples, but hey, that's picking nits.

The boy carves a heart into the tree and inside it carves M. E. + T. We learn two important facts right here:
1. This is one lonely little boy.
2. This is one creepy tree in that it enjoys being tattooed by lonely little boys.

Then the boy gets older and starts coming around less and when he does come around, it's because he needs a place to bang his girlfriend. Whose initials, along with his own, also go inside a heart carved onto the tree. The tree seems to have no problem with this because as we've already established, she's creepy and is in to watching teenagers copulate as long as they agree to tattoo her again immediately upon completion. And from the book "the tree was happy." Mm, I bet.

Then the kid takes off again for a while. He comes back and now he's an almost an adult. He demands that the tree give him some money. Not too bright, this kid. The tree tells him that she has no money, but she'll give him her remarkable magic pest free apples and he can take them into the city and sell them for money. The kid does this--and here's the kicker--without even a thank you. Not even a mumbled, resentful "thanks." This ungrateful punk then goes off again for years. When he comes back, he's paunchy and approaching middle age. He says he "wants a wife and children." But to get those things he needs a house. Then he asks the tree for a house. Obviously the woman he's interested in is some kind of gold digger, but each to their own. So the tree tells him she doesn't have a house, but he can take her branches and build a house. Much to his credit, the kid doesn't reply, "What the fuck kind of house am I supposed to build with the branches of an apple tree?" What he does do is cut off all her branches and then he takes his leave. Again, without a single showing of gratitude. "And the the tree was happy."

The next time he comes back, he's older and his life has turned to complete shit. Not surprising considering he tried to convince a gold digger to marry him by building her a house made from the branches of a single apple tree. This time he says he just wants to sail off in a boat by himself for a while. Got a bad case of the poor fucking Me's, this guy. The tree tells him to go ahead and cut her down so he can build a boat for himself. And this selfish asshole does it. Without even a meaningful look back over his shoulder when he leaves. Again, "and the tree was happy . . . but not really." No shit? A little disappointed are you tree? After giving up your entire being to an ungrateful bitch? It's about time. But wait . . .

Finally he comes back and now he's an old man. And when the tree sees him, she's all apologetic because she feels like she has nothing left to give him. She is just a stump. But the old man says he's just tired and wants to rest. So the tree says hey, stumps are great for resting. So the old man sits down on the tree stump, I think we can reasonably assume to die. "And the tree was happy."s

Am I wrong in thinking that this is some crazy, co-dependant, seriously unhealthy shit? That's rhetorical. I'm not.  Just two fucked up needy beings feeding each other's psychoses until both their lives have turned to shit and they die. Jeez, thanks Shel. Nice children's book.  I can only imagine what kind of, ahem, complicated opinions Mr. Silverstein held in terms of women and Mother/significant other dynamics.

I do know for sure that if my kids ever come to me and try to cut down my trunk in order to make a boat, they are screwed.


*I don't mean to lump all people who are in a twelve step program together. I just happened to have been fairly to quite close to a number of them in my life, and they all love this book. Anecdotal, but true.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top 10 Things Dads Do Better Than Moms

Over at, an article was recently written entitled Top 10 Things Mothers Do Better Than Fathers. It's caused a lot of consternation in the world of parent blogging. Probably because the writer illustrates in great detail about how few parenting abilities a father (himself) has when compared with a mother (his wife). In the spirit of community, generosity, support, and solidarity with our fellow dad bloggers, we here at Musings From The Big Pink have written our own list of the Top 10 Things Dads Do Better Than Moms. We believe this will definitely clear up any confusion about or animosity towards the original post as well as imbuing with confidence those dads who feel as inept in their parenting roles as the writer of the original post seems to feel. 

1. Playing catch
Everyone knows that it's a dad's job to play catch with their kids. Or their sons, at any rate. Moms just don't have the genetic catching ability. Everyone knows women's hands are made mostly of silk and fragile crystal. That's why they're so much better at soft things like diaper changing.  Don't throw a ball to your mom. You'll just break her hands. 
2. Punching
Dads are just better at punching. They just are. They punch more things more often for a larger variety of reasons than moms ever do. Also, see #1 re: Mom hands.
3. Disciplining the children
Everyone knows, moms can't discipline their children. Their voices are all high pitched and soft and all they want to do is snuggle. Also, it's a little known fact that moms are not biologically able to say things like, "go to your room, " or "you're grounded." Their lips and tongues actually can't form those phrases. It's science. That's why they're always saying "Wait til your father gets home." Which brings me to number 5.
5. Working. At a job. For like, money.
Dads work. They bring home the bacon so the moms can fry it up in a pan. Dads are just better suited to the demands of the work-a-day world than are the fragile, lazy moms. Don't get me wrong, raising kids is hard work. Just not as hard as actually working.  
6. Dispensing wisdom. 
Dads are natural founts of wisdom. With all the years they've spent working and punching things, they've learned a thing or two about life. A mom can tell you how to wash your ears, but when it comes to understanding human nature, forget it. They've got their heads in the clouds.
7. Math
This one is pretty much self-explanatory. One plus one equals man, baby. It's in the Bible, I'm pretty sure. Plus (a math term) with all the remembering recipes and  shopping for the house, moms just don't have the brain space left over for dealing with numbers. 
8. Science
Moms are way too squeamish for science. Science includes things like fluids and gravity and so forth. Try explaining those things to someone who changes diapers all day. 
9. Driving
Moms are notoriously bad drivers. That's why the only driving they do is to and from school, play dates, and extra-curricular activities with the kids, to go shopping, and to pick dads up from the train when they get home from work. 
10. Fixing things
Moms never fix things. It's just not natural for them. For one thing, there is the problem with their hands. Also, the math involved. Finally, anyone who spends their day kissing booboos, snuggling, cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, and shopping would not have the first idea about how to use tools. Dads automatically know how to use tools from the time their first offspring is born. Or even before that, really. I'd say most men who become dads have known how to use their own tools at least since puberty. It's a Dad skill, plain and simple. 
 This is not a complete list. There are many many other areas in life at which dads excel over their female counterparts. Lifting things, fantasy football, serial killing . . . the list is endless. We offer up this handful of Dad only skills and abilities in order to boost the self-esteem of those dads out there who so often feel like the lesser parent. Let the healing begin. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brain Farts.

These are the things that need doing:

1. I'm dropping a night a week at work. The cash will be missed, but the house constantly teeters on the edge of chaos, The Pman can't read, I do laundry on a "who needs underwear first?" basis, I'm not writing enough, I get sick now (strep throat and a cold at the same time last week. It was totes awesome.), the dog has taken to peeing in the house sometimes,  I get maybe 5 hours of sleep a night because my sleep schedule is screwed, and I tried to pour food for the cats the other night from a box of Triscuits.

2. We've got to pick a school for the Peanut to attend next year. We've toured most of the elementary schools in the city, interviewed principals and guidance councilors, gone through their trash at night when the schools are closed, and we've narrowed it to two choices. The lucky winner will receive a rose upon the evening of our decision. Mostly, it's about feel. My wife asked all the good "I'm a professional educator" questions, I've got an email to write to another principal, and then we'll know. Overall, we've been generally impressed with the quality of the schools. Lots of music and art, new Macs, and special lamination services for those families who are inflicted with paper plate heads.

3. The yard is all savannah height grass and dog poop. I will rent a flame thrower.

4. The Avengers.

5. We've got a ballet recital to attend in a few weeks and I look like a bad sausage when I'm in my leotard. My wife and I just sent away for P90. Not P90X. We're not ready for something that high up in the alphabet yet. I think we got P90 O. For Owie.

I've been trying to run a few miles 3 times a week after work, but I work on my feet all day. In a bakery. So after carb loading and working standing up all day, my fat ass is pretty much like "Uh no. We won't have any of that."

6. We're buying camping equipment. We've already booked a couple camp sights. I was not a big fan of camping as a kid, but I figured I should give a try. It's a pretty cheap way to get the kids out of the city for the summer and my wife promised me I'd get a chance to do it in a tent. Or she will promise me once she reads this. Or maybe she won't. Either way, I'm committed.

Alright. That's it. Peace out.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Cool as a Cucumber in a Bowl of Hot Sauce"

Just a brief non-maudlin (I hope) reflection on the passing of MCA, and by extension, the Beastie Boys:

He started out as the scariest one (scary being a relative term when you're talking about 3 self-parodying white Jewish boys) with whom to party; assuming you had fought for and won the necessary right to do so. Leather jacket, squinty eyes, and a grown man's five o'clock shadow. Like the dangerous kid in your class who was supposed to be a year ahead and actually knew where to get weed.

And then as they got older, he became a proponent of buddhism. He became reflective of and concerned with the actions his lyrics could cause. He grew up first and he took us with him. He was still a blast to hang out with, but he also talked about responsibility, non-violence, and love for your fellow man. The coolest dad on the block was also the wisest.

Here's the simple thing about the Beastie's music. They were fun and they made everyone feel cool. Which is a straight paradox, making everyone feel cool. It's such a warm thing for an artist to do. Skater, baller, or suburban couch potato, we were all Brooklyn bound wise asses when we listened to the Beastie Boys.

It's the joy in their music that makes it so infectious. It's music that's joyous, funny, clever, thoughtful, cool, gleefully self-effacing, and just always comes through with fucking funky beats man. And it could make you feel that way too. Especially if you were whiling away your early teens as the only Jewish boy in a town of 2500 people.  Of course, I was the closest thing to a Beastie Boy most of those people had ever met, so there's that.

So . . . thank you Adam Yauch. And Rest in Mutha Fuckin' Peace.

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