Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Notes from Marc

I don't know if anyone reads this other than Marc - but I'm trying to get Marc to start his own little blog for an online local paper, and these were his sample entries - I thought they were fabulous!

Mom and Dad are NOT the same…

Part of our morning ritual in our house is watching what the kids refer to as “the weather”, but anyone else would recognize as “Good Morning America”. Last week they had a human interest story about more families getting their children involved in mixed martial arts. For those unfamiliar with the term, mixed martial arts is a combination of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and jiu jutsu. Participants learn and practice various techniques, hit the punching bag, practice wrestling techniques on each other, etc. Eventually, they spar – and sparring can be rough. People put on headgear and gloves, put in cups and mouthpieces, and have at it. They punch, kick, perform take-downs, put each other in arm locks and choke holds.

My wife and I were sitting next to each other, drinking our coffee, watching the same story at the same time, and my wife spit out,

“I hope Sammy never gets involved with anything like that.”

My head spun around at her in shock.

I am a fairly sophisticated fellow. I graduated from a top University. I work for a successful e-commerce company. I read the economics papers for personal enjoyment.

But I also have ALWAYS enjoyed rough sport. I trained and competed in martial arts for 10 years, from age 13 to 23. I would have LOVED to participate in something like mixed martial arts as a young man, but it simply wasn’t available then. As it was, I DID train in it for a couple of years in my early 30’s. But now I’m my LATE 30’s, married, with a career and hordes of children, and I don’t have sufficient time to commit to it. Still, I do manage to make it to the YMCA one or two nights per week to box. But if I had a buddy to go with, a member of the family, so that we could combine family time and training time; somebody like my son Samuel, now 21 months old…

I told her, “I can’t WAIT for Sammy to get old enough to do that.”

“But he might get hurt!”

I mentally went down the list of injuries I sustained in martial arts: severed Achilles tendon, torn medial collateral ligament, dislocated hip, pulled groin muscle, broken ribs, dislocated shoulder, broken wrist (twice), chipped teeth, and COUNTLESS forearm bruises, shin bruises, and black eyes. I bounced back from each injury with no lasting impact. And they never really HURT, either. I always LIKED it when someone threw an attack, I blocked it, and there was an audible “crack” sound as our shins and forearms collided. If you prepare and train hard, you can shrug that stuff off.

“Yep,” I replied, “almost certainly. So what? He can get hurt playing football or hockey, too.”

“I don’t want him to do any of that, either.”

What? No FOOTBALL? He ALREADY plays tackle football with me, with that new Nerf football we got him. He loves to climb, and jump, and swing - and he is FEARLESS about it, too. Already most days he sports a bump on his forehead from his most recent daring exploit. I look at those bruises with pride, proof that my little guy is tough. She looks at them with utter incomprehension. If he fell the first time he tried it, why on Earth would he try it again?

So we sat there, looking at each other with shocked expressions on our faces. We just weren’t going to communicate on this one.

The “organization” man

I love my wife. It’s too bad that she’s crazy.

You have probably heard the oft quoted phrase “the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”. Now, I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the definition of insanity is the inability to understand the criminal nature of your actions; that’s beside the point. My wife has a hard time keeping track of things – things that she needs, like her car keys, or wallet, or (most recently) fingernail clippers.

She is still breastfeeding our son, who is currently almost 21 months old. But she complains that his nails are getting too long, and he is “scratching” her.

“Just clip his nails,” I say.

“But I can’t find the clippers!”

We literally own 10 pairs of nail clippers. I am incredulous. Every time she needs nail clippers, she looks for them, can’t find them, then goes to the store and gets another pair. I can understand losing one pair of clippers. I can even understand losing TWO pairs. But TEN? How is it possible? How are we not stepping on them on the way to the bathroom? I don’t know if I could INTENTIONALLY hide 10 sets of nail clippers in our apartment, and successfully KEEP them hidden for any length of time. Certainly, after a day or two, one of the kids would find something, right? I mean, we can’t hide the darn HALLOWEEN CANDY from them for any length of time, right?

I am far from perfect, as my wife will confirm. But I RARELY lose anything important. It’s not that I never lose anything; it’s that I mentally assign an importance level to everything in my universe. And because this is ME we are talking about, there are only two categories: Vitally Necessary, and Who Cares. Anything in the Vitally Necessary category ends up with a very specific Place Where it is Supposed to Be. And very few things get assigned to this category, so that I can fully keep track of them. My wife will ask me, “Honey, where are your car keys?” and I’ll reply “In the left side front pocket of the pair of pants hanging from the bed post of our bed closest to our bedroom door.” It’s like I have a GPS on them. On the other hand, my wife will ask me, “Honey, where are those new diapers you bought for Sammy?” , and I’ll reply “I have no idea.” And that’s absolutely true. I have no clue in the world where they are. In fact, it’s possible that I even have no recollection of buying them in the first place. That’s just me, All or Nothing.

Two days ago, my wife bought another pair of nail clippers. She’s already lost them.

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