Monthly Archives: November 2009

It’s a Mystery

“Hello sir, welcome to Verizon. What can I help you with today?”

With supreme confidence and an air of annoyance, I showed the clerk my poor Blackberry. Nothing was cracked or broken on the outside, but the screen was totally unreadable and pixelated beyond belief. I could still receive and make calls, but I had no idea who was trying to reach me and there was no way to figure out who the hell I was calling. Needless to say retrieving my e-mail and looking at text messages was not an option.

“There’s something wrong with my Blackberry, I either need this fixed or I need a new phone,” I told him matter of factly.

“Oh wow,” the clerk said. “Well it’s pretty clear the screen is broken on the inside. How did this happen?”

PIcture, if you will, the inside of the Daddy Files mansion about three hours earlier. The camera cuts to an out-of-shape 30-year-old writer. Music is blaring from an iPod and the father approaches his toddler son, who is clutching the dad’s cell phone in his strong little hands.

“Uppy, uppy, ance!”  the excited boy screams. Which is toddler for “Pick me up and dance, bitch!”

The father complies. The dad takes the cell phone in one hand and the boy in the other. Then they start rocking out around the living room. They’re jumping, spinning, laughing and prancing around the room. The boy’s giggles escalate and the dad’s smile widens. Just as the bodhran starts to crescendo and the son reaches a fever pitch, the boy shouts “More, more!”

The dad — although out of breath — kicks it up a notch. Jumping a little higher, moving a little faster, the dad really starts to get into it. As the song ends, the dad launches into a whirlwind spin in the middle of the living room. Spinning and spinning, faster and faster, until…

The cell phone slips out of his hand in the middle of his sweet cyclonic dance moves. It rockets straight into the far wall.

Father and son stop spinning, each one looking at each other with jaws open and at the same time, they exclaim “Uh oh.”

“Sir? How did this happen?” the clerk asks as I snap back into reality.

“Damned if I know, I woke up and it was like this. You guys really need to make better phones.”

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The Little Things

Check out Dad-Blogs. Or I will hunt you down.

I’m not an overly positive person. So even though it’s Thanksgiving time and every blogger on Earth is making lists of all the wonderful things in their lives, I just can’t bring myself to go along with the herd.

So I’m compromising.

The following are things I’m thankful for, followed by related spin-offs of the original topic that irritate the piss out of me. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • I’m thankful for my healthy, beautiful, wonderful son who I love more than anything in this world. But I am less thankful for the “NO” phase he’s going through right now, in which every answer to every question you ask him is “no,” and every time you ask him to do something he automatically replies in the negative. Not to mention he spent Thanksgiving dinner running around the house and flicking on and off the one light switch he could reach. I nearly had a seizure with the strobe light effect.
  • I’m thankful for my wonderful, sexy, hard-working wife who I love almost more than anything in this world. But I am less thankful for the fact that her memory these days seems to be deteriorating faster than any Alzheimer’s patients in the world right now. We get into arguments because she literally makes up things she thinks I said. And conversely, she fails to remember important things other people tell her. Things like our daycare provider isn’t working today. That’s kind of a biggie, and thank God my brother and my dad have the day off. Or the fact that I told her I’m spending Sunday with my brother watching football. I’ve told her this THREE TIMES so far, and she’s acted surprised each and every time. It’s like living the script of Groundhog Day over here.
  • I’m thankful for the bountiful feast I shoveled down my throat this Thanksgiving. From turkey to stuffing to cranberry sauce and a heap o’ mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday for food. But I am not thankful for the after-effects. I ate so much and crippled my stomach to an extent that my gastrointestinal faculties must look like Paris Hilton after a bender that ended with a sex tape. My poor wife had to sleep in the same bed with me last night as I farted up a storm. No lie, my ass sounded like an out of tune tuba. I even grossed myself out at times.
  • On a bathroom-related note, I am thankful for those “no slam” toilet seats we have at our house. You know, the ones where you just push them down a little bit and then they softly and silently descend to the toilet bowl? They’re fantastic. But I am not thankful for all the rest of the world’s population who haven’t purchased these things yet. You get so used to just lightly flicking the seat down, that when you go to someone else’s house you forget not everyone has the same toilet seat technology. The result is me unintentionally slamming a whole bunch of toilet seats, as people wonder what the hell it is that I’m doing in the bathroom to make such a racket.
  • And finally, I’m thankful for all you. My readers. But I’m not thankful that you all seem to be much smarter and wittier than I am. There’s nothing like writing what you think is a funny and snarky post, and then coming back to the site an hour later to see a half dozen comments which end up being funnier than my original post. It’s a bitch attracting intelligent, witty people. But I guess we can smell our own huh?

But seriously, this is my blog and I’m an attention whore so if you insist on being smart and witty and showing me up, I will be forced to take action.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

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Liberty & Justice For All, Not Some

There is a FANTASTIC story making the rounds on media outlets everywhere right now, and it involves a 10-year-old Arkansas boy named Will Phillips, who got in trouble in his public school when he refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Now some of you might be thinking “Screw that little brat, who the hell does he think he is?” Normally, I’d agree with you. But this young man is much deeper than that.

He refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance because the ending — which states “with liberty and justice for all” — just isn’t true, according to Will. He cites ongoing racism and sexism as proof that the country is not living up to its ideals, and specifically uses gay marriage as an example that the “for all” part just doesn’t apply. Therefore, he’s decided to take a conscientious stand by sitting down.

When he first decided on this course of action, it was when a substitute teacher was in the class. At first the teacher pooh-poohed it, but by the fourth day she got pissed and ordered him to stand and recite the pledge. At that point, Will told her to go jump off a bridge.

For starters, it is not OK to be disrespectful to your teacher. Will Phillips apologized in writing to the teacher, but I wouldn’t mind if he was suspended for mouthing off like that. There’s no place for that in a classroom and he was absolutely wrong for talking to a teacher in that manner.

But other than that, I think this kid is FANTASTIC!

Look, I said the pledge of allegiance every morning. And I did so because it was mandatory. I never really thought about what I was saying, it was just the mindless start to my day. But this 10-year-old did what many kids his age (and adults for that matter) never do. He actually thought about it. He analyzed it. And he then he took the words and phrases he was being forced to say and he compared them to real-world events.

And guess what? Something didn’t pass the sniff test.

This kid is absolutely right. First of all, it is perfectly within his First Amendment rights not to say the Pledge of Allegiance. And the fact that so many PUBLIC schools seem to force this down kids’ throats is a little troubling. Rote recitation, that’s all it is. Personally I don’t like the “under God” part of it and I choose not to recite that particular portion, but sadly enough it took a 10-year-old to point out the hypocrisy of the rest of it.

The reaction to this story has been predictable from many of the reliable sources on the right.

Shouts of “If you don’t like America, you kin geeeeeeeet out!” and “Send the little Commie packin’!” can be heard far and wide from the unthinking masses. I find that hysterical because the kid is merely exercising a right guaranteed to him by this country, and he’s doing so after careful consideration and analysis. But heaven forbid we actually admit that this country isn’t perfect, and all those who dare make mention of that fact should immediately be labeled as socialist freedom-haters.

I love this country. There’s nowhere else I’d rather live and I’m very patriotic. But you know what? This kid is right. Why should he be forced to say “with liberty and justice for all” if there isn’t liberty and justice for all. Gay people cannot be married. They cannot enjoy that freedom which is granted to the “normal” people. So by definition, that is not justice for all. That is liberty and justice for some.

And as Will has shown us, that ain’t right!

Good for you Will. It must be the name. But regardless of your idiot classmates calling you a “gaywad” and all the fringe lunatics who will advise your parents to ship you off to military school to gain an appreciation of this country, I offer a different take. I think young Will is a prime example of what makes this country great. And futhermore, he’s a breath of fresh air right now and he has completely rekindled the hope that our nation’s youth are not just a bunch of self-indulgent, overly entitled little shits who don’t expend a brain cell to anything not related to an xBox 360.

Stay strong Will. And keep sitting.

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The Bad Parent Club

Hi. My name is Aaron. And I’m a bad parent.

Not bad in the sense that anyone needs to call Child & Family Services on me, it’s more bad in the form of not being a politically correct parent. And, in some cases, just being lazy. It means I sometimes take shortcuts when it comes to some of the more tedious parental duties, while all the sanctimonious self-proclaimed Parent of the Year candidates claim they take the high road at all times.

Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Let’s run through some examples, shall we?

Bath time in the Daddy Files house is the last thing we do at night before bed. And if you think bath time is as simple as just throwing the kid in the tub, you’re crazy. Will’s bath consists of no less than six rubber duckies, two plastic boats, three plastic cups and all of the bath products that can he reach while in the tub. So when I get up in the morning and wipe the sleep out of my eyes to take a shower, I’m faced with close to two dozen various bath toys all resting on the shower floor. Instead of performing the herculean task of picking each one of those damn things up, it’s so much easier to kick them all toward the drain and start my shower.

But then, I realize I have to pee and all of a sudden I’m faced with a choice. Get my already soaking wet ass out of the shower, pee while freezing and then jump back in the shower, or just let loose.

I take the path of added convenience. And before you start cringing and saying “Oh my God that’s SO disgusting,” I just want to say that everyone pees in the shower. Same as the community swimming pool and the ocean. You’ve all done it. I don’t see the big deal. The damn toys get washed in the process of the shower and the piss really only glances the toys on its way to the drain.

So yeah, I pee on my kid’s toys. I don’t see the big issue.

While we’re talking about bathroom behavior, I also let Will have free reign while I take a shower. Usually he’s already awake by the time I’m showering, so I let him roam around while I’m cleaning myself and urinating on his toys. Sure he gets into some stuff, but for the most part he’s very responsible and he knows what he should and shouldn’t touch. I refuse to be an overprotective, uptight ninny about things like that.

But when he does get into something he’s not supposed to, or when he’s being willfully disobedient, I give him timeouts. Yes, that’s right all you no-discipline-in-sight hippies, I give my kid timeouts. And guess what? THEY WORK! Anyone who tells you a 19-month-old is too young for timeouts is a damn liar. Will knows exactly what he’s doing and he knows if what he’s doing is bad. I give him at least three warnings, and if I have to give him more than that I take him to the kitchen, sit him down, set the timer on the stove and I don’t let him move for one minute. And if he does something that could harm him, he might even get a spanking depending on the circumstances.

I refuse to feel bad about this and I think trying to discipline kids without at least some form of corporal punishment is nuts. You don’t get results by sitting around in a circle singing kumbaya and playing the harpsichord.

Speaking of hippies, I do not grow or make my own food to give him. While he receives a balanced diet, sometimes I’m running around like crazy and I’m strapped for time. In those cases, he gets the microwavable Mac & Cheese instead of the vegetables from our garden that are harvested with compost to reduce our carbon footprint. Fuck my carbon footprint. When I’m gone, I want the world to know that I used up as much natural resources as humanly possible.

And guess what? I think cloth diapers are fucking disgusting and pointless. I love disposables diapers and I can’t imagine living without them. I don’t care if I fill an entire landfill with them, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Speaking of diapers, I always change Will before I drop him off at daycare. But sometimes, just minutes after I change him, the little Crap Master takes a second morning dump that I don’t catch until I’m literally on my way out the door. At that point I’m faced with a choice: Do the right thing and go back inside to change him, or don’t. So I strap his nasty bottom in the carseat, drive him over to our daycare provider, take him out of the car and then feign surprise when I sniff his butt. I love the woman who watches Will, but I’m sorry. I’m on a schedule. Not to mention his dumps are truly gnarly.

While other “good” parents ban the evil television from their homes, Will watches TV. He watches Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Phineas & Ferb, Imagination Movers and Tigger & Pooh. In the morning, that glowing box is the only way I can get everything accomplished. I watched (and still watch) a shitload of TV and that’s not a bad thing. Personally I think it helped with my vocabulary, my overall general knowledge trivia skills and it helps keep my pop culture references fresh. I’m going to raise my son the same way, regardless of your inane studies that say kids under the age of 2 who watch TV will be 1,000 times more likely to be a serial killer, rapist, drug dealer and torturer of animals.

So there you have it, just a few reasons why I’m an established member of The Bad Parent Club. Frankly I don’t think we’re bad, I think we’re normal. And we cop to our shortcomings instead of lying about them and desperately engaging in the bullshit posturing that seems to infect many new parents.

I know I’m not the only one with this membership card. Give me some other examples!

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Waiting is the Hardest Part

It’s Fatherhood Friday at Dad-Blogs so when you’re done here, head there.

The warning signs came out of nowhere earlier this week. It caught me off guard. It caught everyone off guard. I quickly realized whatever was wrong was not going to fix itself, so I reluctantly enlisted the help of professionals.

I filled out all the necessary paperwork, dropped her off and then made my way to the waiting room. I hate the waiting room.

First of all, if you’re there it means something bad has happened. But how bad is it? That’s the question everyone desperately wants answered. They sit there with their toes tapping and their thumbs twiddling. Worry, panic, frustration and anger all ebb and flow, hitting each of them in alternating cycles. Each time the man in the white overcoat approaches, the whole room takes a sharp, collective breath. They simultaneously hope it’s their turn for answers, but also fear the truth.

One by one they receive the news.

Some people display relief when things aren’t as bad as they thought. Others already knew it was dire and were expecting the worst, so they take the news with resignation and acceptance. But then there are the tragedies. The unexpected and untimely demise of a loved one. The guy next to me fell into this category and it was absolutely horrible to watch the bad news delivered to him. As the man in white delivered the crushing blow, the poor bastard let out a pathetic sob as he buried his face in his hands.

“Three years old dammit,” he muttered inconsolably to himself. “This can’t be happening.”

After witnessing that fiasco, I was really climbing the walls. The fear and worry really ratcheted up a few notches. It was taking too long dammit. If it was something simple they’d know by now. It must be something awful. And what if it’s fatal? Even if it’s not fatal it could still be life-shattering. Do I even have the money, the time or the means to embark on that path to recovery? I’ll have to ask family and friends for help getting through this. Wait, calm down. Maybe it’s not that bad. Oh shit! Of course it’s fucking bad!! And on top of everything else going on, now I have to deal with this too?? I can’t take it. I CAN’T TAKE IT GODDAMMIT!!

“Mr. Gouveia?”

The man in white. Oh shit.

“That’s me. What’s the verdict?”

“It looks like you recently had your air filter replaced and the people who did it failed to put a hose back properly. That’s why your check engine light came on. So all we’re charging you is the $47.50 to look your car over. You’re all set.”

I didn’t celebrate in front of those who were/will be mourning their deceased vehicles. But when I got outside, I was like Wesley Snipes in “Major League” after he made the Cleveland Indians. At the 3:35 mark.

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