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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dead at 25

From the moment you're born, you start dying. That's what people say. From the moment you're born, you start dying. Blech. Depressing. And untrue. When you're born, you are alive. Your synapses and cells are growing at astronomical rates. Every molecule of you is burning and crackling with energy and potential and life. You glow with fresh skin cells, lustrous hair. Your fast twitch muscles react as fast as the electrical impulses  that command them. Things smell good and taste strong. You do crazy shit not to feel more alive, but because you feel so alive. Then you turn 25 and that--give or take--is when you start dying. That's when your metabolism begins to slow down. 25 years old. The end of the road. Bilabial fricative.

Some people, they say "no." They say that you don't start living until later. Kids, grandkids, travel, pictures of birds. "I'm living!" they declare. "

They're not of course.They're dying. They're just doing a really good job at it. And that is awesome. Enjoy your death. Make it last. If not now, when?

Here's what wisdom is: Your brain rewires itself and while losing the abilities of great retention and quick recall you're brain develops the ability to say, "Whoa. I'm dying here. I'd better be careful." If you have kids the statement is amended to, "You better be careful. And you better careful around me."

As late as 1900, the average age of mortality was 45 years old. Not so long ago. Now it's like 160 or something. I didn't bother to look it up, but it's pretty high, relatively speaking.

That's why we have the mid-life crisis. Becaue it's not a mid-life crisis. It's a "why aren't I dead?" conundrum.  The answer to "Why am I here?" is "Because medical science keeps you alive in defiance of the natural world."

I will say that having kids is great because they make you feel alive and awake again except for the days when they make you wish you were dead.

So maybe that's a good reason for being nice to each other, is my point. Maybe if every time we meet someone or greet someone we stop to remember, "Jesus. This guy is fucking dying," we'll be more inclined to treat that person with the compassion a dying person deserves.

Then again, they won't be here all that much longer  anyway.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to My Wife in the Terms she Deserves

I just got back from a late night trip to the drugstore. Not for an ointment or the like but for a Mother's Day card for my wife. It was the last chance I had to get one. The last place I looked. I came away empty.

I am very good at picking cards. For any occasion, for anyone I know reasonably well, I find a way to pick a card that people really like, and it usually doesn't take me all that long. It's an odd, useful in a very specific way kind of talent. But not tonight. I don't blame myself. I blame the cards. They sucked.

The cards were all filled with empty mom things. Things one might say to any mom. In fact, there was actually a category of card called, "Any Mother."  How about that for horrible? Just any old mom. "They're all the same, for Christ's sake. Just take your pot of flowers we bought on a street corner four blocks from your house and enjoy."

Here's the thing. My wife is not that faceless "Any Mom." My wife is not, "the kind soft presence that smoothes my rough edges." She's not the "gentle, sweet woman who is always there," or who, "we know we don't always appreciate enough." She's not some one, "we don't always remember to tell I love you," or someone "we forget is there until it's time to eat." 

(I might of made that last quote up.)

She's not even necessarily the "heart of our home." Not alone. 

She's the soul and the brains. 

My wife is a woman who works her ass off to keep us fed and warm and secure and even vacationing.

My wife is hard when I'm soft (which is not to imply she's not quite soft in some delightful ways), smart when I'm stupid, and organized when I'm chaotic. 

My wife fights for her children and our home.

My wife balances me when I'm frustrated, relieves me when I've had enough, and gives me a boogeyman to scare the kids with. 

My wife can make the kids understand when I can't.

My wife respects who I am, what I do, and what I provide for her and our children. She allows us to show our kids there are many ways to live, and many definitions to the words, "father"and "mother."

My wife makes excellent chicken soup. 

My wife is a role model who displays virtues like passion, hard work, compassion, strength, and an ability to approach the world on her own terms.

My wife loves her children deeply, fiercely. Mama Bear.

My wife is my partner in parenting. We fight and love and soothe and punish together. 

My wife is the only person I would ever pick to show my daughter what it means to be a woman, and my son what women really are. Humans. Adults. Parents. Just like Dads.

Happy Mother's Day, my love. Our kids are lucky as hell. And so am I.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Circle of Life

I have to wake up the pman every night around 10-10:30 so that he can go pee. I take him downstairs and into the dining room and he still somehow manages to hit the back of the toilet, the floor, everywhere except the bowl. The astonishing power of the little boy pee stream. It comes out like a laser and hits the porcelain with a high pitched whine like a skill saw.

When I was a boy, I was always embarrassed by that sound. I always wanted the deep bass tones created by the heavy pee streams of my father or the grown ups in the public bathroom. Gravitas, that sound said to me. Little did I know it was because they were dying. Now I'm the one who's dying and my son is the one who could pee a hole through a vault door. And that's the circle of life.

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