Monthly Archives: January 2010

Scared Shitless

Will loves it when I scare him.

I don’t mean scare him in an intimidating or menacing way. I’m not standing over him with a butcher knife or anything. It’s more of a good-natured startling that he’s into. You know how we go to horror movies and even though you know the bad guy is hiding behind the door, you still jump when he leaps out and attacks? That kind of scared.

So yesterday I was playing with Will as I was getting ready for work. He’d poke his head in the bedroom, I’d spot him and then I’d run over yelling “Here comes Dadda” or “I’m gonna get Will-Will!” He’d giggle and run from the room closing the door behind him. And we repeated this over and over again.

Well, at one point I got a little bored so after I chased him out of the room I hid behind the door instead of by the bed.

Will opened the door and didn’t see anyone. But he must already know not to trust me, because instead of walking in the room he closed the door again. But I knew curiosity would get the better of him and sure enough, I was right. I watched the door slowly open a second time and from my perch behind the door, I saw a little blonde head peek cautiously into the room. As he slowly stepped into the bedroom, he craned his neck as far as possible to the left to see if I was still behind the bed.

Once he was all the way in the room, I pounced. “RAWWWRRRRR!!!!” I yelled as I grabbed his waist and started tickling him.

As I leaped from my hiding place his whole body jerked with a start. He was only truly scared for a nanosecond, but it was his next reaction that really took me by surprise. As he turned and looked at me his eyes widened and his lips pursed. He bent slightly at the midsection. And just then, I heard it.

I’m not sure how to adequately describe the noise. It was definitely a rumbling, almost as if a baby ogre was growling. And it was topped off by a “Pffffftt” noise and ended with a small flapping sound. This all happened in the span of maybe 2-3 seconds, but that noise seemed like it took an eternity.

“Buddy, was that you?” I said incredulously. “Will, that sounded like…Buddy, did you just…” I didn’t need to wait for an answer, because just then I smelled it.

I gave my son such a start that he crapped himself. That’s right. I’m officially a father who has literally scared the shit out of his son.

Will was fine, laughing and giggling pretty much the moment it happened. And his revenge was me having to change that godawful diaper with an unholy pile of #2 in it, gagging and retching pretty much the whole time. He may be young but his gastrointestinal system is producing gargantuan craps well beyond his mere 22 months.

So yeah, I scared my son shitless. If the judges for “Father of the Year” are reading, all accolades and nominations can be e-mailed directly to aaron@daddyfiles.com.

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Bullying

CHECK OUT DAD-BLOGS AND FATHERHOOD FRIDAY!

The big news out of South Hadley, Mass. recently is the tragic story of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old high school student who committed suicide because she was relentlessly bullied by a group of girls at her high school.

Prince moved to Massachusetts six months ago from Ireland. For some reason, a group of real life “Mean Girls” made it their mission to turn Phoebe’s life into a living hell. They called her an “Irish slut” at school and used social media networking sites to bombard her with a steady stream of insults and put-downs. Apparently it was over Phoebe’s date to a big school dance that was coming up. And despite school officials counseling all the students involved and doling out unspecified punishments, Phoebe hung herself in her house earlier this month.

And perhaps the most disgusting part of all of this is the fact that even after her death, the Mean Girls continued to log onto Facebook and other similar sites to trash Phoebe further.

Let’s get one thing clear and out in the open: the girls who did this to Phoebe are disgusting human beings. I don’t care that they’re teenagers. Anyone who would take these extreme measures through verbal attacks, texts and online assaults to the point that a poor girl hangs herself, is a deadbeat and a rotten human being. It’s yet to be seen if the schools could’ve done something more to prevent this, but now school officials say they’ve taken some sort of disciplinary action against the girls.

Personally I think they should be suspended or possibly even expelled depending on the details which haven’t been fully divulged yet. After driving a girl to suicide and then, even worse, continuing to degrade her even in her death, they should not be allowed to cause more trouble at their current school. And this should go on their permanent academic records so any other schools they attend will know what kind of horrid person they’re getting.

However, I do not think they should be charged criminally.

Let’s face it folks, bullying is a part of growing up. Sure it’s something that’s gotten worse and harder to protect against as technology has expanded, but whether it’s someone pummeling you in the halls and stealing your lunch money, or the mind fuck teenage girls are so adept at inflicting on one another, it is inescapable.

Should there be increased programs to raise awareness of the dangers of bullying? Yes. Should school officials be more aware of the dangers of bullying and perhaps step in sooner to prevent tragedies. Yes. But I have to draw the line at trying to legislate this problem away.

You can’t legislate a rite of passage. You legislate the fact that kids are going to pick on one another. Besides, if it gets to the point of stalking or criminal harassment there are already laws on the books that cover those situations. But a law against bullying? Hey, I’d love to make it illegal for assholes to be out in public or for fat people to wear tank tops at the grocery store. But these are annoying things that are going to happen no matter what we do. And unfortunately, there will always be bullies. The trick is to teach kids how to stand up to them and try to convince them not to become one.

The one problem I do have is that the schools haven’t released the names of the girls who did the bullying. And I’m sorry, I don’t give a shit that they’re minors. They deserve to have their names publicized for what they’ve done. Think about it. These high school kids have their names released to the media for making the honor roll, athletic achievements, etc. No one ever complains about that. But then people have the audacity to say their names shouldn’t be made public when they’ve been linked to another student’s death? Bullshit! They need to be held accountable and they should feel the full weight of the consequences of their decision to be a no-good bullying Mean Girl.

I’d love to think this latest episode will serve as a wake up call to teens everywhere. I’d love to think the silver lining of Phoebe’s death is a greater awareness regarding the dangers of bullying. But unfortunately, this kind of thing seems to happen all too regularly around the country.

As parents, we are the single greatest influence and determining factor in how our children behave. Let’s make sure they not only know that being a bully is despicable, but let’s teach them that it’s also important to rise up against bullies and stand up for those who are being picked on, even if it’s not them.

And we should tell them about Phoebe.

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80’s Movie Sequels

I was recently watching “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a movie near and dear to my heart similar to any other kid who grew up in the 80’s. I remember when I first saw it as a kid, I thought Ferris was the coolest guy around. Skipping school, hot girlfriend, cruising in a Ferrari, scamming an expensive lunch, singing in a parade and — above all — not getting caught by the Man (aka his parents and his high school principal). Not to mention he did it all in one day!

How can there be anyone cooler than Ferris Bueller? Right?

But my most recent viewing of the movie comes after many, many years and life changes. And it appears I’m now a cantankerous, square adult because soon I got to scrutinizing the movie and all of it’s implausibilities, not to mention what would’ve happened if the cameras had kept rolling long after Ferris’ day off.

This is how I imagine it:

Ferris is now 42 years old, going on 67. His youthful appearances have all but disappeared underneath a scraggly, graying beard and 75 extra pounds. The camera shows Ferris living in a dingy basement apartment, and he’s sleeping next to Sloane, who looks like she not only lives in a trailer park, but may have eaten it as well.

The sounds of young children running around can be heard above them. The noises wake Ferris up and he screams “SHUT UP DAMMIT!” to the kids above. Then his sister, Jeanie, opens the basement door and yells down to Ferris to get his lazy ass out of bed or else he’ll be late for his job interview as a busboy at an upscale Chicago restaurant.

Jeanie married the troubled young man (Charlie Sheen) she met at the police station years ago. They’ve been married for 17 years and now have two kids. She works as a realtor and he is a neurosurgeon. They allowed Ferris and Sloane to live in their basement five years ago after Ferris accidentally burned down their parents’ home setting up a crystal meth lab.

Their problems started the day after Ferris’ infamous day off. Although Ferris thought he got away with everything, the next morning he awoke to horrible news. His best friend, Cameron, had been murdered by his own father. You see when Mr. Frye got home from work and saw what Cameron had done to his cherished Ferrari, he snapped. Cameron’s father pushed him out of the garage where Cameron came to rest impaled on the gear shift. He died instantly. When Mr. Frye realized what he had done, he shot himself in the head.

Blaming himself for the murder-suicide, Ferris went into a tailspin from which he never recovered. He tried going back to school but Principal Rooney was still angry about Ferris’ day off (and being torn to bits by a crazed Doberman). Rooney made Ferris’ life hell, and Ferris eventually quit school without graduating. Sloane dropped out too, but two teenagers with no high school diplomas couldn’t find work anywhere. That’s when they turned to drugs and Sloane eventually started working the street corner to bring in extra cash.

Things were rough for many years, and the nadir was when Ferris and Sloane were homeless, penniless and strung out. Jeanie and her husband offered to take them in, but only if they sobered up. It’s been a rough road with lots of rehab and complications, but they’ve been slowly progressing. And aside from Sloane always bitching at him saying “When are you going to take me back to the art museum?” Ferris is feeling good and finally ready to go on his first job interview in years.

He takes the train into downtown Chicago and he follows the directions Jeanie gave him to the restaurant. But when he finds it, his heart sinks immediately. It was Chez Quis, the restaurant he scammed a free lunch at 24 years ago. Hoping no one would remember him, he walks in and asks to speak to the manager. Unfortunately, the manager is the former maitre-d who Ferris and his friends conned all those years ago. He recognized Ferris immediately and sarcastically said “Hello Mr. Froman. Looks the sausage business isn’t doing so well.”

Knowing there was no way the snooty manager would hire him, Ferris heads out of the restaurant. His devastation is too much to bear, and the only way to kill the pain is to score some crack. He walks up a pair of guys on the nearest street corner and asks them if he can score some drugs. But with horror, he recognizes the faces in front of him and he can’t believe his eyes. He was staring at the two parking garage attendants who went joyriding with Mr. Frye’s Ferrari all those years ago.

“Hey, I know you,” one guy said to Ferris. “You’re the dude with the Ferrari.” Ferris tries to backpedal away but they catch him and demand his money and his expensive car. When he tries to tell them he has nothing, they don’t believe him and proceed to beat him severely and without mercy.

And as Ferris lay dying in that dirty alley, the last thing he saw was what looked like his former Economics teacher standing over him saying, “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”

THE END

What? So I’m a little more pessimistic now than I once was. Sue me.

But wouldn’t it be fun to do this with all the 80’s movies? I’m sure someone already has and my version isn’t half as great, but I think this idea has some serious potential. You could do Karate Kid, 16 Candles, St. Elmo’s Fire, Breakfast Club, Goonies…the list is infinite.

But we all know the easiest one would be Top Gun. Because once gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004, can’t you just see Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise standing at an altar in Provincetown, exchanging vows and saying to each other, “I take you, Maverick, to be my wing man for life.”

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My Wife Rocks

Dad Blogs

My buddies at Dad-Blogs had a fantastic ideas last week, and that was for all of us fathers to write something complimentary about our wives. And it couldn’t have been more timely.

I’m very proud of MJ, and I’m eternally thankful for her. But today, I’m extra proud. Because today, my wife is going back to school for her master’s degree in business!

It’s something she’s wanted to do ever since she graduated from college nine years ago. But you know how it is, life kind of gets in the way. When she graduated she took a job as a teller to pay the rent on her apartment. They recognized how great she was and in three years she was a bank manager and a top performer.

Then MJ and I started dating and we hit a crossroads. She was an inch away from taking a job down in Florida. We were only 6 months into our relationship, but I was totally in love with her already. She hinted at me moving to Florida, but I’ll never live anywhere except New England. However, I never asked her to stay, I told her to do what makes her happy.

She chose me.

From there it’s the same old story. Engagement, marriage, house, mortgage, baby. She always wanted to go back to school and she always had jobs that would reimburse her for it. But she always decided it wasn’t the right time, we didn’t have the money, etc.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if we have the time or money now. Sure she gets a hefty reimbursement from work, but we have to front the money until next year. Not to mention her one book for her class cost a whopping $214. Can you believe that? FOR ONE BOOK!! Forget credit card companies, the textbook industry needs some regulation. And she can only take one class a time, which means this will be a 2-year process from start to finish. She’s taking the 3-hour class on Monday nights, which is when my parents watch Will overnight into Tuesday. It’s also the only time MJ and I have to spend together as a couple.

I’m disappointed to lose that time to reconnect with her. And we’re going to struggle even more financially now. I mean really struggle. This is an undertaking that’s going to require time, sacrifice and lots of overtime at our respective jobs. And not that we’re pregnant with Kid #2 yet, but it’s been discussed. Two parents working full-time, one parent going back to school part-time, one toddler, a potential newborn, a dog, two cats and lots of bills that need to be paid.

Some people have already told MJ she should wait to go back to school so she can focus on her family. But you know what, those people can go to hell.

My wife is always trying to better herself. And going back to school is what will make her happy. And in the end, that will do nothing but help our family. More knowledge, more skills, more money = better ability to pay bills, a bigger house and a sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment you can’t put a price tag on. Her first class hasn’t even started yet, but I can already see MJ is happier. Because she’s doing something. She’s taking action. And I admire the hell out of her for that.

And sure, this is going to be hard. Her class time, the studying, the extra expenses…a lot of that is going to impact me big time. Because she works an hour away, I already have the bulk of childcare duties during the week. But with class time and her having to study, that just increased quite a bit. Not to mention I’ve already started taking every extra shift and overtime possibility I hear about because I know we’ll need it. And when you see your wife only 2 hours a day with one night (Monday) to yourselves, it’s painful to take that one night away. But I never hesitated to tell her to go for it.

After all, that’s what marriage is all about. Compromise and supporting each other.

MJ puts up with my crazy sports habit. She understands how important it is for me to go to Patriots/Red Sox games. And when I shell out money to play fantasy sports, she never criticizes me even though she has no friggin idea what the point is and thinks it’s stupid. But you know what, she supports me because she knows it’s important. She doesn’t belittle me or the things I love. She doesn’t try to control me, restrict me or put down those things, even when she thinks they’re the dumbest things on Earth. And THAT is why I married her. Because I could never spend my life with someone who constantly judged me or the things in which I’m interested and love.

And that’s why I’m more than happy to return the favor. Good luck baby, I know you’ll knock em dead!

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Stupid Bets

I love gambling. And all my friends know I’m a sucker for a good bet. When someone challenges me to a bet, no matter how silly the terms, I can’t refuse. But what’s worse, sometimes I’m too overconfident and I make up the bets myself.

Such was the case two weeks ago when the Patriots took on the Baltimore Ravens. A good friend and fellow daddy blogger, Joeprah, is a huge Ravens fan and I won a bet with him earlier in theĀ  year when the Pats beat the Ravens. So of course we had to do something again.

This time, I thought it would be funny if the loser (and I was sure that was going to be Joeprah) had to make up a cheer praising the other team. And, as is now customary, we end it with 10 on camera push-ups.

Well, the Ravens killed the Patriots. Slaughtered them actually. And that left me looking down the wrong end of a bad bet.

So without further ado, I give you the video for which you will all be making fun of me for the rest of my life. But at least Will is cute and saves it. Enjoy my misery.

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