White Trash, or Awesome?

I understand that putting an above ground pool in your front yard is a bit white trash, but what’s the ruling on a kiddie pool in your living room? My instincts tell me that this also lands squarely on the white trash side of the line, but my kids are trying to convince me that it’s a good idea…and I’m starting to believe them. Is it possible that putting an inflatable kiddie pull in your living room is so far on the “white trash” side that it actually comes back around to the “awesome” side? Like dune buggies, Budweiser tall boys, and Dukes of Hazard reruns?

Think about this. If we keep the pool in our living room, I can sit in it, while drinking a Budweiser tall boy and watching Dukes of Hazard reruns. Nobody in their right mind would say that’s anything but awesome. I’m open to incorporating a dune buggy ride in there too, as long as it doesn’t ruin the rug.


Father’s Day

The kids are working on a super-secret father’s day present in day care today. The teacher won’t tell me what it is and the kids aren’t talking either. We live in one of those alternative towns that’s always on the “Best Places to Live” lists, so I assume the present is something completely worthless, like a Tibetan prayer flag made from recycled restaurant napkins. Fucking hippies. Not that I ever gave my own dad anything worthwhile on Father’s Day. I leaned heavily on the standards (ties and grilling paraphernalia), because, like most kids, all I ever saw my dad do was go to work or operate the grill. He’s retired now and those are still his two favorite things to do.

I think it’s safe to assume the kids won’t be making me an ashtray. I wonder who was the last kid in America to make his dad a Father’s Day ashtray in school? Is there a name for that generational cutoff—the kids who were raised in an era where all dads smoked? The Second-Hand Generation?

Whatever the kids make me, I’m sure I’ll cherish it forever…or at least until they go to bed and I can safely throw it away without causing a tantrum. My wife keeps asking me what I want for Father’s Day, and I keep telling her that the kids have already given me the greatest gift ever. In reality, I want what all dads want: pornography and booze. But some stupid federal laws keep my kids from buying either of those things, so I’ll just smile and take the tie or grilling utensils, just like my dad did.

Besides, we all know Father’s Day isn’t really about fathers. It’s about mothers having a designated day to be nice to their husbands in order to assuage their guilt about incessantly nagging those husbands the other 364 days out of the year. A friend of mine suggested we take a guy’s trip over Father’s Day weekend. On paper, it looks like a good idea—if there’s one day out of the year a dad should get to do what he wants (drink beer on the beach and look at college chicks in bikinis), it’s Father’s Day. But I quickly declined and advised the other dads in the group to do the same. The delicate balance of our marriages would be disrupted if we deny our ladies that singular opportunity to repent for their year of sins.

As for Mother’s Day, that’s obviously a sham too, because as we all know, everyday is Mother’s Day. The entire institution of marriage depends on the husband doing exactly what the wife wants day in, day out. She chooses the restaurant, the movie, the weekend activities, the vacation, the car…Any dude who disagrees is either naïve or divorced. You may think you’re the master of your own universe, but peek behind the curtain and you’ll see your wife is really pulling all the strings.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not. Like all happily married men, I consider myself lucky to be in this situation. There are two good reasons why we’re happily subservient: 1) Our wives are pretty. They’ve agreed to hang out with us and let us see them naked for the rest of our lives. Awesome. 2) Our wives are smarter than we are. You can disagree with this all you want, but the fact is, if men truly called the shots in their family, the household would resort to something like Thunderdome. Nobody wants that. Long live Mother’s Day.

The Toddler Time Trials

Does anyone know where I can get a used starter pistol? The kids have begun riding their balance bikes in earnest, and they’ve already discovered the joy of racing each other down the hill next to our house. I think a starter pistol will make each race a bit more official. I’m working on a yellow jersey in a size 4T too.

As for that racing hill, there’s nothing to worry about: it’s just a ridiculously steep hill with a blind curve on either end and heavy traffic during daylight hours. At night, it’s a popular hangout for prostitutes, so broken glass and used condoms fill the gutters (no kidding). Oh, and it’s surrounded by poison ivy.

Standard Chinese Downhill Rules apply: cheating is encouraged and the kids can use any means necessary to knock each other off their bikes. These are their rules, not mine. My daughter’s favorite thing to do is let her brother get ahead of her, then speed up and sideswipe him. To be honest, I’m hoping the starter pistol will give me a bit more authority when I try to enforce basic rules like, no running over someone after they’ve fallen off their bike. You know what they say in those inner city movies: “no gun, no respect.” That certainly applies in my household too. It seems the older the kids get, the less control I have over any given situation. I can strongly suggest they eat their vegetables and not throw beer bottles at each other, but ultimately, it’s up to them what they throw at each other. The best I can do is surround them with soft items like plush toys and marshmallows and hope they make good decisions. Sadly, they always manage to arm themselves with something sharp that will likely result in a tetanus shot. The sharper the weapon, the funnier the situation is to them.

Oh, to be three and parented by a man with no sense of authority. Lucky little bastards.