Every once and a while I try to coach my teenager on how to be a human being. My wife thinks that’s funny.
“Hey! Jared bumped my arm!”
“So, sometimes you just have to say excuse me and move,” I said. My wife is stifling a grin while staring at me. She’s talking to me, but in her head. “What?” I ask her. Her grin widens. “Are you disparaging me in your head?”
“I’m surprised that’s in your vocabulary.”
There was a fire downtown and our campus closed the following day while they checked the air quality in the buildings. They announced today that time cards should be marked with an L = Leave With Pay (explain in remarks). Is it wrong that I want people to put “Smoke Break”?
Free Bird: Just when he’s the most adamant that he can’t change, everything changes. The the tempo changes, the chord progression changes, the rhythm and melody change, and everyone in the band is expected to keep up with the changes.
You can tell a lot about a person by watching them at breakfast. If they butter their toast by mashing it into the bread, they might be aggressive. If they cover the entire surface of the bread, they might have OCD, if they watch others buttering their bread and think it means something, they might be unhinged.
I love when this kid calls me, it’s always funny:
Him: Hi dad it’s Jared (my 11 year old), did you happen to take the leftover pizza slices for lunch today?
Him: [Silence….] Oohkayyyy […silence…] Were they good?
Lot’s of laughing from both of us recognizing oddness of the moment.
Me: Yeah they were. Sorry. Maybe you can have something else.
Him: Yeah OK, have a good rest of your day.
“Why does google maps show me slower alternate routes while we are driving?” my wife said.
It’s being defensive,” said my son. “Speaking as a defensive person, it’s assumed it knows you are about to go somewhere it doesn’t want you to go, and gives you reasons why you don’t want to go there, even though you gave no indication of wanting to go that way, and probably never intended to go that way.”
We had to fly somewhere fast. We packed quickly, and my wife found herself with not enough underwear. She asked me to go to Target and buy a pack of Hanes Her Way in her size. I went to Target and found the Hanes section and while there were dozens of cuts, not one said Hanes Her Way. To add to the confusion, there was Hi-Cut, Low-Cut, Bikini Briefs, Hipsters, Classic Briefs, Boy Briefs, The Boyfriend Cut, Cheeky, etc. etc. etc.
Our circumstances meant I didn’t have the luxury of calling and asking like I often do when at the grocery store. Suddenly I was hurled back to a time without cell phones when I’d have to make my best guess, but unlike the grocery store, I was not going to be able to ask other customers to help me. My presence alone had already driven away the other young women shopping in this aisle.
I was on my own.
I picked the one that seemed the most normal, and when she opened the package, she simply said, “I can’t wear these.”
My sister-in-law said, “what did you do? Did you get some sexy lacey thing?”
“No, quite the opposite,” I said. I have not bought my wife underwear for two decades, and when given the chance (at her request no less!), apparently, I got granny panties.
“I’m not there yet,” my wife said. “I’m getting close, but not yet.”
EDIT: Hanes Her Way is now Hanes for Women:
Reading Mark Twain to the kids, the word “jackass” came up, so for the benefit of Jared, the 11 year old, I thought to explain, “So a jackass is another word for a donkey.”
“Oh, I thought it was about the penguin,” he responded.
His older brother, my wife, and I were all incredulous, “what?!” Laughing we asked, “where did you come up with that?”
“It’s a real thing!”
“I don’t think so,” someone said.
“Look it up. I’m pretty sure.”
“I’d be surprised,” I said, “but lets see.” I typed into Google and read aloud the Wikipedia entry that appeared at the top:
“The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin is a species of penguin…”
After we got over laughing at that, I wondered out loud, “I wonder why they call them that?”
“Because they make a noise like a donkey does,” Jared said.
I read further, ” It is also widely known as the “jackass” penguin for its donkey-like bray.”
“Well,” I said to my son, “good job, knowing that. And not just that, but also why. I’m blown away, how the heck do you know all that?”
“Books dad. I read it in a book.”
I occasionally get to work with interesting people at the university. This year an old guy came in looking for training on the course management system. He said he’s a new part-time instructor here to teach a class in cartoons. So of course I told him I love cartoons. He said, “well it’s about all forms, editorial cartoons, animation, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, etc.” So I started talking about how I’m a fan of all those things, and it turns out for everything I mentioned, he was acquainted with the authors: Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, Pearls Before Swine, Loony Tunes (he was friends with Chuck Jones) and so on.
Suddenly I realize I know his name. He’s Pulitzer nominee Bob Englehart, a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, and I even have one of his cartoons in my desk. It was one where he used Pac-Man and ghosts as an analogy for CT state schools, Pac-man representing one that would absorb the others. At the time of its release, I commented online with critical feedback for depicting the ghosts in their normal colors, him not realizing that they were more dangerous to Pac-Man in that state, and for the analogy to work, they should have been depicted blue, reflecting their vulnerable state. I admitted to him that said feedback came from me, though only a geek my age would know that. Anyone older than me wasn’t hanging around arcades in the 80s and anyone younger had home games better games on home systems. It’s a very small section of the population who’d even notice. He says, “well where were you when that went though editing?”
So we have a laugh and start talking details about Looney Tunes. At one point he opens up his book and asks how to spell my name. After it, he scribbles “cartoon expert” and says, “I might have to have you come speak to my class.”