Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shocking Parental Behavior

Why are some parents so overprotective and overreactive with their children? Tonight, while waiting to order at a restaurant, I watched a father who does not “get it.”

He was standing in line with his family right in front of me. I think he had two or three rugrats. One of them was a tiny girl about two years old, give or take six months. Cute as a bug’s ear. She was walking around, looking to entertain herself, but generally staying in sight of Mom and Dad.

On the wall nearby was an electrical outlet. She saw it and went to investigate closer. In fact, she went right up and touched the outlet’s slot. As anyone can easily see, outlets are designed with slots so narrow that even an infant cannot fit her finger far enough into them to reach the metal contacts inside. This child could not possibly have gotten hurt using only her bare finger. If she’d had a small metal object, things would be different. She didn’t have anything, just her finger.

As soon as Mr. Worrypants saw what she was doing, he sprang into action. Moving with lightning speed from his position about ten feet away, he swept up the child while virtually yelling, “No, no, no! Don’t touch that!”

I wanted to tell him, “Chillax, dude. She’s not trying to clean a key in there, just touching the outside cover.”

Image courtesy of

Of course, his response startled her, and she began to cry. More like a brief whimper, really. So he over-corrected again and hugged her tightly while soothing her in a stupid baby-talk voice: “It’s okay, daddy wuvs you. Daddy wuuuvs you.” Really, doofus? You want her to learn to talk like that?

Tip for new parents: kids mimic what they see and hear. If you want them to learn to speak correctly, speak correctly to them. I know, a radical approach, huh? Not only that, but kids are very adept at reading their parents’ emotions, from a very young age. If you want them to be frightened and upset, freak out around them. To help them remain calm and comfortable, well, you know what I’m going to say here…

Imagine what this guy will do in 10 or 15 years when his special princess is confronted with real dangers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The other day, boy genius Caleb was begging me to play a card game with him, but I had a lot of yard work, so I put him off. Don't judge me. I had already played with him for quite a while that morning. Sometimes a dad has to go out and do what needs doing.

He followed me out and set up in the driveway. Then he started the game without me, taking a toy penguin for his opponent.

"Oh nothing, really. Just sitting here all alone on the concrete, getting
sunburned while I party with an inanimate friend. What else is there to do?"

I can't decide if this is the saddest thing I've ever caused and I'm a shameful, horrible father, or if it's an inspiring display of independence and resourcefulness. Maybe a little of each?

And I'm not sure who won the game. If Caleb played like he does with me, he probably cheated.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Super Duper Grab Bag No. 4

It's time for another miscellaneous collection of stuff I feel like sharing with you, otherwise known as a U by C Grab Bag.

First, let's do a few lists. Lists are fun, right?

Six famous nerds, in order of net worth (by my estimates)
1. Bill Gates
2. Orville Redenbacher
3. Pee-Wee Herman
4. David Byrne
5. Stephen Hawking
6. Fred Rogers

Nerds from the above list who are billionaires
1. Bill Gates

Those with severe physical handicaps and brilliant minds
1. Stephen Hawking

Those who were members of one of my favorite 80s bands
1. David Byrne

Those who were once arrested for public lewdness in a movie theater
1. Pee-Wee Herman

Those suspected of being a woman dressed as a man
1. Orville Redenbacher

Grab bag posts I've made on this blog, in chronological order
1. Grab Bag No. 1
2. Grab Bag No. 2
3. Grab Bag No. 3
4. This one

Eleven animals that have bitten, stung or pinched me
1. Dog
2. Cat
3. Mosquito
4. Tick
5. Ant
6. Ferret
7. Goose
8. Honey bee
9. Hornet
10. Hermit crab
11. Caleb (my son)

Five animals that have not
1. Elephant
2. Kangaroo
3. Snake
4. Jellyfish
5. Lobster

Six animals I've accidentally run over with a car
1. Dog
2. Cat
3. Duck
4. Snake
5. Frog
6. Skunk

Six animals I've never run over, as far as I know
1. Elephant
2. Kangaroo
3. Jellyfish
4. Penguin
5. Dolphin
6. Moose

Animals that Dave Barry and I agree would make a really funny necktie
1. Weasel


Now, something that happened to me today that made me go, "Huh?!"

I work on a military installation, so I have to show my ID to a sentry to get through the gate each day. Usually, he or she will check the ID, hand it back, and say something like, "Have a nice day," or maybe, "Drive carefully."

This morning, the guy who checked me was a Senior Airman (E4), which means he's probably been in the Air Force for 3 or 4 years. He looked to be about 23 years old, give or take 2 years. So imagine my surprise when he told me...

"Stay out of trouble."

I wanted to say, "Squeeze me? Bakingpowder? Whatdyoujustsay???" I don't dye my hair gray. I have four kids and a mortgage. I do not have sleeve tatoos. I was driving a KIA MINIVAN, for cryin' out loud, and it was 6:45 AM on a Sunday! I wonder what exactly I was giving off in my aura that made him think I might be looking for trouble. I can count on one finger the number of speeding tickets I've gotten in my whole life. I've never had so much as a sip of beer. I guess sometimes people just say things like that for lack of a better comment. But it made me flash back to the time a sweet young lady about half my age called me "hun".

I'm really glad he didn't open the rear hatch and discover all those dead prostitutes and bags of cocaine.


And finally, something George Carlin said:

"In this era of 'maxi,' 'mega,' and 'meta,' you know what we don't have anymore? 'Super-duper.' I miss that."

I do too. I like to call things super, if they really are. This is something I have in common with the four year old boss and offspring of Katia, a really smart, funny lady transplanted from Israel to Toronto, who writes a blog called IAMTHEMILK.

While I like "super," I see no need for "superb." What does adding the b at the end do? Nothing, as far as I can tell. It still just means super, so I think this is a word we can do without.