Like Charlie Sheen in Platoon, I'm a dad who actually volunteered for this. Now I just shut up and take the pain. My wife is like a sexy Keith David, catching that last helicopter out to work every day, leaving me in the chopper dust of two warring mini-sergeants, Bub and the Priestess, fighting for possession of my soul. And that makes you grandma. Consider this blog my letters home to you. It really helps if you've seen the movie.
I'm finding it easier and easier to relate to Luke Skywalker these days. These conversations with Bub, they just don't really go anywhere. Like that expositionally necessary scene in Empire when Luke is talking to R2 en route to see Yoda. 'That's right, R2, we're not going with the others.' You know the one. Welcome to my life. Only the beeps are replaced by equally nonsensical noises. 'That's right, Bub, we're not going with the others. No Bub, the Hopleaf does not have high chairs. No, Bub, I will not sneak you in under my coat. Yes, I know you do. Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. Okay, then. Stop talking, now, please.'
Hint: Read from the bottom up. It will make much more sense.
A short time ago, in an alternate galaxy not so far away...
side.' And so
over your dark
me when you're
reads a post-it: 'Call
reeking of cheap ouzo,
Now Luke, stubbly and
It was time to move on.
farm seemed dead as Darth.
dream of a Tatoine womp rat
quoting Full Metal Jacket. R2's
find him polishing his lightsaber,
up in the middle of the night and
unsatisfying, and R2 would wake
Jedi birthday trick gig was largely
skills, Luke became despondent. His
Yet with no friends, enemies or acting
in a while and pretend he spoke Droid.
to reciprocate was clean his sprockets once
his incessant whining, and all Luke had to do
always the one. He listened without prejudice to
his Jedi sneakers. And Luke realizes that R2 was
scoops him from the gutters and gets him back into
redemption comes to him clad in blue and silver. R2D2
strangers to freeze him in Carbonite. It is a new low. But
with a Jabba-sized hangover and cruises the Strip begging
and left for dead at Circus Circus. Next morning he wakes up
kissed her first" speech. He is promptly escorted out by Chewie
Luke makes his regrettably now-infamous "She's my sister and I
hyper-space itover to Vegas to get married. During the reception,
Fresh from Ewok deification and Death Star exploding, Han and Leia
Episode VII: The Odd Couple
Bonus excellent Star Wars-inspired movie quote, courtesy of Jay in Dogma:
"I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that fucked up bar!"
I’ve always been a little hyperactive.So the winter is always a hard time for me--all the same energy but way fewer places to put it.I’ve never been much of a gym rat, but it has helped in the past to rid my body of some of that excess vigor.Well, here in Bubland, that option quickly went out the window.So I had to go to plan B. Let me introduce you to my new girlfriends.
Now I was familiar with Jillian from her hilarious Biggest Loser antics, but we didn’t actually become physically acquainted until about three months ago, when her 30 Day Shred dvd found its way into our home.It wasn’t exactly love at first sight.For starters, she was insanely demanding right from Level 1.She took my breath away in approximately 8 minutes and made my body hurt in places I’d rather not catalogue.But eventually, her hard-ass demeanor started to wear on me, and by the time level 3 was completed, we really had nothing else to say to one another.Her “up and squeeze’s” just didn’t do it for me anymore.And then I met Jackie.
I won’t bore you with the details of our introduction—pretty much your standard boy buys dvd to meet girl story.Jackie Warner (though I affectionately refer to her as J-Dub) is apparently a personal trainer to the stars.This could explain why she looks so much like a cut-up Scarlett Johansson.Anyway, she was much more encouraging than Jillian, with a voice that could melt medicine balls.It’s safe to say we hit it off from the beginning.I can only imagine we would do the same should we someday (fingers crossed) meet in person:
JC:Excuse me, have we met?
JW:I don’t think so.
JC:Ha!I was just kidding.Of course we have.We’ve been working out together for the last two months.
JW:Mmm hmm.Spin class?
JW:I’m not sure I’m following you.
JC:Oh, but I’m following you.Every morning at around 10:00.You’re Jackie Warner.
JW:Oh, the video, right?Now I get it.
JW:So…you like the workouts?Um, which circuit do you do?
JC:All of them.A regular renaissance man of the living room.
JW:Great, well, I should probably get back to this in-flight magazine.
JC:Sure.Can I just tell you something, in a totally non-weird, platonic kind of way?
Most men love Camaros or windsailing or filet mignon. They love women and Goodfellas and grease and Scotch. They love Dave Chapelle and breaking things and fixing things. Big dogs, sports knowledge and the underdog. Lamps. Sometimes, in drunk or otherwise vulnerable moments, they’ll reveal a secret love of footwear or Oprah or bubblebaths. But Bub has revealed a new love, and it is rapidly bordering on obsession. He loves Changing Table.
Now I feel somewhat responsible for all this, since I did in fact introduce the two. It was about five months ago that they met, though I’m sure Bub could tell you the exact date. Probably has it heart-stickered in his diary. Seemed much like an ordinary autumn day to the rest of the world, but the forecast was warm and fuzzy in Bub’s heart, I can assure you.
There was nothing unusual, either, about the way they met. Bub had a dirty diaper, Changing Table had been brought in specifically for this purpose. Seemed pretty straightforward, the way you might meet a bus driver, for example. Except that Bub would start riding this bus eight to ten times a day, and the driver would never change. And I think we all know familiarity breeds creepiness.
Right from the beginning, Bub seemed very comfortable with old C.T. I guess that can happen quickly when you take your pants off daily in front of a complete stranger. It’s safe to say he was almost instantly enamored. Unfortunately, the feeling did not seem to be reciprocal. As C.T. has stated in various police reports, it was “just doing it’s job” and in no way encouraged such behavior from Bub.
In hindsight, there were warning signs that Bub was developing an unhealthy obsession. Sure, there were the occasional phantom dirty diapers. The way he would sing “I Got You, Babe” every time we placed him on it. The late night hang-ups on C.T.’s answering machine. The flowers and stuffed turtles and boxes of truffles that Leah thought were for her.
His real strategic genius, though, was the way he would suddenly be cool as a penguin fart when placed on C.T., thus tricking us into leaving him there for extended periods of time, mere mules in his high stakes love-smuggling. It was in these moments, then, that Bub’s desire gestated into a fullblown, lovesick monsterbaby. These were also the times, according to the restraining order filed by C.T., that Bub allegedly made “inappropriate contact” with it, whispered sweet nothings to it and occasionally expelled superfluous bodily fluids upon it.
But all’s well that ends well. Changing Table has caught a train on that Underground Changing Table Railroad and started a new life somewhere in the southwest. It also had to change it’s name (to Changing Cushion) after Bub was caught Facebook-stalking it. The poor dear. It really did deserve better—such a welcoming and carefree changing table. I’m told that through a dubious intermediary, Bub did acquire C.T.’s cell phone number. Thank God he doesn’t know how to text pictures.
Somebody else said it, not me.‘Ah, parenthood--it’s just like having a dog, isn’t it?’I think it was my mother.This could explain a lot about me.Anyway, I quickly chided her comparison and pshawed in a self-righteous parental manner.
I mean, it couldn’t be that simple, could it?Raising a dog?I grew up with dogs and they’re a lot of work, sure.But you can always beat them.Oh, I kid, I kid.I would never hit a defenseless creature, except for maybe my brother.No no, parenting is way harder, I tell myself.But mostly I tell everyone else, to elicit that especially winning combination of pity and admiration.
Anyway, the more I thought about it, maybe there is something to this assertion.Let’s see--both respond favorably to high-pitched noises and expect you to clean up their doo.They are generally friendly, but smell bad.They sleep a lot.I mean, there are some differences, for sure.Dogs have four legs, for example.Most of them have tails, except for those poor bastards in that Sarah McLachlan commercial.Dogs bark and have sharp teeth and eat their own vomit.
But why dwell on the differences?That just creates derision and paranoia.That’s letting the terrorists win.What I’m here to do is bring us all together and focus on our commonalities.With that, I give you:
The Top Five Reasons A Baby Is Just Like A Dog
5.A Baby can not speak, but has a lexical semi-recognition of about 14 words.However, you can often say some pretty vile, offensive shit with the right intonation and totally get away with it.Makes you wonder how iron-clad that “vocabulary” really is then.
4.Taking a Baby to the park will guarantee him being sized up and whispered about by various owners and babies alike (not to mention a generous butt-sniffing) under the guise of ‘healthy socialization.’
3.Assuming you live on a relatively secluded compound, you can put Baby outside when he’s been bad.Tying Baby’s leash to the clothesline out back is a grand babysitting solution, but watch out for those poisonous squirrels.
2.Leaving Baby locked in the car while you run into the liquor store always yields a judgy look or two, mostly from non-parents.However, leaving Baby in the Blockbuster parking lot is generally deemed acceptable.
1.You just can’t leave Baby home alone for more than 9 hours at a stretch.Even 8 is really pushing it, guys.
They came into our speakeasy home like an Untouchables raid, all clipboards blazing.A crackpot team of specialists assembled for one thing and one thing only—to seek and assess.
They call themselves E.I., which up until a week ago, I was under the impression stood for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.Or Evil Incarnate.Or Excitable Introverts.I wasn’t really sure.Turns out it in their world it refers to Early Intervention, and they had come to find out if Bub was performing up the abilities of his adjusted age.
The quiet, presumably sagely Professor X-ish ringleader (assessing the assessors) said the word, and her team sprung to action.There was a speech therapist, a cognitive development specialist, a developmental specialist and an occupational therapist (obviously unnecessary, as he is clearly a lazy piece of unemployment).Anyway, it was all eyes on Bub.And while the categories seemed pretty straightforward, I have to say I thought some of the tests were a little unfair.Consider the following assessment tools:
1.Cognitive development.Bub was given a paper clip, a rubber band, a shard of glass (seemed dangerous to me), a pretzel rod and 42 inches of ordinary twine.He had two minutes to construct a functioning transmitter radio and grow a mullet.It’s not called The MacGyver for nothing.
2.Speech development.Bub was asked to present a full dissertation on the rise and fall of the Ming dynasty.In Mandarin.
3.Gross motor skills.While I thought this was his shining moment (Bub has numerous gross motor skills), the judges seemed unimpressed by his drool and spit-up laden demonstration.
4.Fine motor skills.Not messing around here.Bub was asked to pilot a unicycle down Clark Street blindfolded while spinning stacks of plates on both hands.You can imagine the results.
But all’s well that ends well, I guess.Turns out Bub’s not really delayed at all. Just annoying. Needy. Rather pig-headed. But none of that qualifies him for services, apparently.Anyway, the team swooped out almost as fast as they descended, clipboards in tow, curiosities satisfied, minimum requirements met.And we were very happy to have wasted their time.
Bub is a pretty typical male from what I can tell.He lays around most of the day, farts in everyone’s general direction, ignores authority figures and has a whopper of an oral fixation.He’s not very well-read, not into opera, would rather bask in the glowing contrast of TV.He expects to be waited on pretty much 24/7, has little patience for perceived failure, and smiles when you take his pants off.Now while the physical differences are limiting—he can’t blow his own nose or cut his toenails—the emotional similarities are undeniable.
For starters, it’s hard to get a read on him; he’s never been the open-book type.Oh sure, he groans and grunts his (dis)approval quite readily, but he doesn’t really say anything, does he?Heart not on sleeve, so to speak, whatever that means.You ask him a serious question, his go-to response is a gaping stare.You try to talk to him about your day, he starts yawning.Real mature.
No, he never really shares his feelings.Unless he’s oversharing.He essentially has two modes of physical expression—asleep and a-rage.And much like his old man, it’s never the big things, no. What usually sends him over the edge is the seemingly innocuous.Braining himself on the coffee table, he’ll bawl a little until shown a brightly-colored object in close proximity.Problem solved.But should that fikey take an untimely dislodging from his toothless grip, he suddenly goes Olaf Berserker.But here’s the kicker--give it back, he suddenly doesn’t want it.Not only does he not want it, he never even wanted it the first place.And why would he?That’s stupid, Daddy.You suck on it.
What does he want then?Of course he doesn’t know—how could he?Not the most introspective creature you will happen upon.And he is, like most of us, limited by the constraints of his man-dom.He only knows:1. Whatever “it” is, he’s not getting it, and 2. That pisses him off.This is a pretty fair microcosm of the human male condition—always looking for something slightly out of reach, something that can’t be clearly defined or pin-pointed.Imbued with that sense that there must be something more out there, the futile frustration of not knowing where to look for whatever it is, and the inherent disappointment of not finding it.
But lucky for us, Neo, there is no spoon, and it’s not the question that drives us.Only when you stop looking do you finally realize it’s not what you’ve been looking for that really matters at all—it’s how you go about trying to find it.