This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
“If Will turns out to be a foul-mouthed deviant it’ll be your fault.”
Those were the words directed at me from my lovely wife this past weekend. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but we were discussing how great a parent’s influence is on his/her kids and how children mimic their parents and try to be just like them. And from there it turned into a laundry list of my bad habits and all the things I need to change for Will’s sake. So without further ado, here are all the terrible things about me that I need to correct in order to become a suitable dad…
My swearing. I can’t really argue with MJ about this one because it’s true. I swear like a drunken sailor on liberty. In particular, I love the F-word. I use it whenever possible and I utilize it in all its forms. I just can’t help it, I love to curse. Ever since George Carlin and his “Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV” routine, I’ve tried to swear at every turn. It makes jokes funnier and it accentuates my points when I’m angry. This topic came up because I was getting frustrated while dealing with all the damn tourists who flooded the Cape this Memorial Day weekend, and who have no idea how to navigate a rotary. I immediately went off on an expletive-laden tirade that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush, until MJ whacked me and pointed to Will in the backseat. You see, I’m still operating under the assumption that he can’t understand what the hell I’m saying, so what’s the difference if I drop a few F-bombs here and there? She asked if I really wanted my young son saying “sh*t” and “@sshole” and honestly, I think that’d be pretty funny. But she sees it differently. And she warned me that if Will’s first word is “f*ck” then she’s going to divorce me.
Second, she wants me to tone down my attitude and anger while watching sports. I can see where she’s coming from. After all, I am certifiable during games. I jump around, scream, swear, throw things and kick furniture when my teams aren’t doing well. If things are going especially poorly, I’m not above slamming my head into walls either. But I’ve been that way all my life and that’s why when I’m lost in a game, I forget that I’m holding Will or he’s sleeping nearby. And when I let out my screams and yells I’ve woken him up a few times, much to MJ’s displeasure. But in my defense, how the hell am I supposed to vent my feelings during a game if I can’t yell? That’s how I was brought up and I really don’t think I’m capable of change here. It’s an automatic reaction…it’s instinct. When Big Papi hits a walkoff homerun I can’t imagine jumping up and performing a few silent fist pumps in celebration. I have to run around the living room, shout at the top of my lungs, wrestle with the dogs and jump up and down on the couch. I don’t think I’m flexible on this one.
And finally, there’s the bad habit that tops them all. The one MJ gets furious just thinking about. The proverbial cherry on my bad habit sundae. And I’m warning you now, most of you women will find this a little gross so stop reading now if you’re easily offended…
You see, in my most natural state I’m a complete neanderthal. Namely, if I’m just relaxing at home watching TV on the couch, I have my hands down my pants. And I know I’m not alone here. I’d say 95 percent of guys, if allowed to answer honestly, would say their idea of a great Saturday afternoon would be chilling out on the couch with a remote control in one hand and their scrotum in the other. It’s just how we are, it’s written into our DNA. And believe it or not, we’re not doing it on purpose or to piss you women off. It’s just automatic. We do it without even thinking about it. Have you ever seen the TV show “Married with Children?” We’re all Al Bundy at heart and after a long day of work we think we have the right to sit on our couch, watch TV and fondle ourselves.
But whenever MJ walks into a room and I’m doing this, she hits the roof. And now that we have a child, she gets even more furious. She thinks that if Will sees me doing this, he’ll do it. And if he starts doing it, well…MJ might tear the aforementioned part of my anatomy right off. I’ve tried to tell her it doesn’t matter if Will ever sees me do this, he’ll figure it out on his own. It’s a rite of passage into manhood. It’s going to happen no matter what.
However, I admit I got myself into more trouble than necessary when she called me a caveman, and I responded by wishing that was true because then I could club her.
Anyways, I’m curious to see if we’re alone in having these arguments. So any guys reading out there, leave some comments and tell me what your wife or girlfriend gets on you about. And ladies, feel free to air your own laundry lists of stuff your man does that drives you nuts.