School of Dad


“The sense of someone missing is stronger than the sense of someone there.” – Paul Theroux, The Mosquito Coast


By accident, the memory of the movie suddenly dug up an urge to read the book. It took my shitty library two full weeks to locate a copy and whether it was the lack of copies available or just fate’s way of telling me I’m getting old, only a large print type was located for me. Large print – it’s like reading a poster in book form. Three times the normal weight, too.


Nonetheless, the book is brilliant. The story’s fascinating and the writing – is like savoring a goblet of Saintsbury Pinot Noir. And it may have been fate or pure coincidence,  but it arrived the week of Father’s Day.


As I read the journey, memory and feelings of a thirteen-year old Charlie-boy towards his genius-but-mad-father, I saw a refracted reflection. Not of me and my dad – because as much as I’d like to recount that my father was a bit touched, it was more like O.C.D. that rivaled famous Jewish comedians. There wasn’t a hint of genius in my dad’s babbling whatsoever. Besides, his O.C.D. issues became rather comedic after he survived a stroke. Like watching a mute Gilbert Gottfried.


Yes – I’m awful.


Anyway, the refracted reflection I saw, was through the eyes of either of my sons – towards their dad. The words processed at face value: the relation, the misunderstanding, the sense of responsibility and the sense of abandonment. The embarrassment. The awe. Not that those feelings, even combined, are exclusive to them. But – I know – they’re dealing with double standards.


My husband’s a tough cookie. Kind of chewy – distasteful even. But he’s their dad. Their memory of him will go down regardless of how anyone else wants it to remain. It’s their rite of passage. How children eventually relate to the world. The School of Dad: all individualized courses.


In the end – it’s got nothing to do with mom. That’s why kids survive divorce and death and democrats.


By the way, my own dad taught me that.


So that's my DNA?
So that’s my DNA?

Exponentially Yours


“Exponentially,” is a term Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman uses to describe how spicy something becomes when a slop chef uses hot oil for Buffalo wings. Never mind that the word is a mathematical term, I can picture dudes across America saying, “this chicken is exponentially hot,” instead of just fanning their tongues yelling, “Gimme some water, gimme some water!”


The sissies.


Anyway, things are exponentially busy. Could be the drop sunshine amongst the buckets of rain, lately. At least the busy-ness is all good – for now.  I’m holding a spot on the floor for the other shoe, which is expected sometime in August. In the meantime, I keep my poker face on – the same look I have when things suck.


It’s hypocritical, actually. I tell my kids not to use the term “suck” and use it constantly. I say the supermarket music sucks; the number 7 train really sucks; the weather is starting to suck – but if those guys even try to say that homework sucks, I make them do pages of penmanship. Yeah, guess I suck.


But I told them if they win a national spelling bee, they can curse to their hearts content.


“Yay!” Shouted Zuki like it’s in the bag. I’m not trying to undermine him but really, it’s like Britney Spears auditioning for the Metropolitan Opera. No lie, he still asks me, “Mommy – do you have any G-U-M-B?


“Zuki, for the hundreth time, there is no “b” at the end of gum.”


“But there’s a “b” at the end of dumb and that’s the way I want to spell it.”


Dumb Gumb. If there is such a thing, I can think of a few people who’ve been chewing it.


He might just become one of those annoying people who needs to “ax” a question. Or misuse words like, “Literally, she was getting on my nerves.”


Literally? Was she climbing up your back?


But that’s American English. It’s probably just as bad as Chinese Spanish. Or my husband’s Japanese. Whatever. The next generation will simply attach a letter “b” to the end of a word and change the English language, exponentially.

better humen bean is
better humen bean is