It’s no secret that I am perhaps the most… peculiar person at my office.
No, not just because I’m the token vegan, or the guy that refuses to use microwaves, or because I go mountain biking during my lunch break.
I’m also the guy that likes to unleash subliminal social experiments among my coworkers.
Last Friday, the new monthly coupon advertisements were delivered to the break room, featuring discounts for local businesses.
One of them is for a lodge-themed restaurant featuring scantily clad young women as the waitresses, who on the ad, all looked so happy to be wearing so little flannel. (Not to mention, the name of the restaurant is a play on words that is definitely not discreet about what part of the female body it is alluding to.)
I remember about a year ago, when word came out that the fairly new “breastaurant” chain was moving to the very Republican part of Nashville my office is located. There were people evidently trying to boycott that from happening.
As for me, the token Libertarian of the office, my stance was that if the free market financially supports a corny, degrading-to-women restaurant like that, then let it be.
Turns out, there are enough customers willing to support the place to keep it alive and well, because, afterall… “The food is really good there!” I am told.
Here’s where I’m going with this story: I am raising you to see women as… women. Not objects. I’m raising you to see them as somebody’s daughters.
Just to subliminally reinforce this concept to my coworkers, I printed out in size 10 font, the phrase “A.K.A. Somebody’s Daughters,” then cut it out and taped it underneath the restaurant’s logo and the picture of the uniformed models used for the ad.
When word finally got around this week who was behind the prank, because after all, everyone in the office saw those coupons laying there on the table all week, some were surprised it was me: A happily married 32 year-old man with a 3 year-old son.
I responded by saying, “What- did you assume it was an ultraconversative feminist?” (Whatever that means.)
Nope, it was a guy, who is raising his son to treat women with respect. I want to raise you as one less willing customer for a restaurant like that… no matter how good the “food” is.
On second thought, maybe I really am an ultraconservative feminist… if male Libertarians are allowed to be them?
P.S. This is one of those letters that is to be reserved for when you’re older. But while I’ve got it on my mind, I wanted to give you this “life advice” today and I’ll just bookmark it for when the time is right for you to hear it. In the mean time, enjoy the simple life of being a 3 year-old, please!
There’s stuff that, as great as she is, Mommy just isn’t designed to help me talk through and understand. And vice versa, I want her to hang out with her girlfriends, without you and me around, so she can get the encouragement she needs in a way that I’ll never be able to handle.
In the movie, Big Fish, the whole plot is rooted in the fact that a grown man with a child on the way, is attempting to find out who his own father really is.
His father (subconsciously) refused to meet his son on a deep, emotional level; instead the father seemed to only tell lavished versions of stories of his own life, so the son grew up never really even know who his dad was, in a way. The son therefore couldn’t really relate to his dad.
Yes, the father had always physcially provided for his son; no question there. But the father was, in essence, emotionally absent.
I vow to you: I’m going to be here for you emotionally, not just physically.
And I think a big part of that happening means that right now, I make a proclamation to you:
You can talk to me anytime, about anything.
It’s not enough that you know that. You need to be reminded… so I will do that too.
I realize I will not always be the first fellow guy you want to talk to about certain things, but please know you can talk to me, whether it’s to have someone to listen, or somone to give you season advice, or both.
I’m here. I’m not like the dad on the movie Big Fish.
I feel like there’s this stereotype about fathers, that especially as they get older, they tend to have less of an open door policy with their sons.
And I get it.
By the time the two are both grown men, there’s almost this unspoken rule that the two can’t or shouldn’t talk to each other about serious stuff, involving the need for jpersonal advice… because they’re both grown men.
However, that’s the very reason they should depend on each other in that way.
For me personally, I can’t just talk to any guy friend about certain stuff.
My heart is very guarded. I know that may seem out of character for me, being that I appear to spill my guts out in these letters to you. But there’s a whole lot I keep private.
Rabbit trail here, but as I’m nearing my H.R. certification exam on January 11th, I’m planning to start focusing more time on writing songs again (which is why I moved to Nashville in the first place) because soon I won’t have to spend all my free time (which isn’t much) on studying. I can begin easing my way back into my forsaken hobby of creating music.
One of the songs I’m working on contains this line:
“I am a skeleton with meat on my bones/I walk around with secrets nobody knows.”
I think a lot of men feel that way. I think that’s why classic superheroes are so popular. Batman is the example that comes to my mind, immediately. In a way, superheroes compensate their own personal failures, fears, and insecurities by leading and helping others. It’s a great escape and a perfect distraction.
Yet still, they have received an emotional scar at some point in life that characterizes, and in some ways, defines who they are.
I can relate. I have an emotional scar or two. And I would actually be surprised to meet a man who didn’t feel that way about himself. It’s for that very reason it’s important you’ve always got other men to depend on, emotionally… or psychologically, or whatever you want to call it.
It’s not that I don’t trust other men, but it does take a lot to make myself that emotionally vulnerable. It’s easier just to keep it inside and try to sort it out myself, a lot of the time.
I’m realizing I’ve got more to say about this than I realized, so let me put a bookmark right here. Go grab yourself a glass of water, then come back and read the rest of this letter.
However, I like to stick with my own original interpretation of the phrase…
I feel that the way Detroit has been perceived in media in recent years (I’ve made it clear before I’m not a fan of CNN or Fox News because they’re both so ridiculously one-sided, as they cater to their appropriate uncompromising political party) is unfair to the city.
Now that I’ve visited Detroit my 2nd time, including downtown, even at night, I am so grateful to not have taken the sound bites seriously in mainstream media, when they create headlines about the sky of Detroit falling.
“Instead of sinking when the city of Detroit had just filed for bankruptcy, its housing markets took on a quiet resurgence. In the second quarter of this year it ranked seventh in the report, and this rapid jump to number one speaks volumes about its pace of acceleration.”
This is a perfect example of why I will always reinforce to you the importance of being open-minded and why I will encourage you to always question the mainstream ideas and look for the answers yourself.
Detroit is a really cool city. I actually look forward to my next trip there.
In fact, in my next letter to you, I will be sharing some more pictures of the city, from the scavenger hunt I partipated in with OnStar and Buick.
(That’s how I got this cool new t-shirt from Pure Detroit, a local culture shop there.)
Everyone I met in Detroit, in every part of it I visited, were all very friendly and optimistic.
It was almost if they were unaware of the same regurgitated “news” that outsiders are being fed.
Without any of the citizens of Detroit saying it, I literally felt it in their presence: They believe in the rebirth of Detroit.
I know I do. And by the time you’re old enough to read this letter and really process it, I’m sure the old stereotypes of Detroit will be outdated.
Now that I have visited that great city (with its really nice downtown) and seen for myself its passion to rise again, I too am passionate about not simply refraining from saying negative things about the city, but instead, about saying nice things about Detroit.
(For what it’s worth, I invited Jimmy Fallon to dinner with us (via Twitter) but I later learned he had already flown to Chicago shortly after lunch. Hey, I tried!)
2) As we were sort of going around the room, telling each other how many kids we all had, and by default, comparing, this nugget of wisdom was born:
“People who have less kids than you don’t know what they’re missing… people who have more kids than you are just plain crazy.”
As I’ve shared that quote with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, they seemed to easily agree.
Of course, I was one of the parents in that Twitter chat who only has one child, with no definite plans of having another. So for me to agree with that statement, which I do, is to say that parents with even just two kids are crazier than I am!
And by crazy, I actually might mean… more disciplined and patient, exponentially as compared to me.
Or, maybe they really are just crazy… who knows?
But as for me, I can’t imagine taking two of my own kids to the zoo. I look at these “photo op fails” from our last trip to The Louisville Zoo and think how that was big enough of a challenge for me.
I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but, more than one kid- well, I guess I just don’t know what I’m missing.
P.S. For more on “photo op fails”… click on this other letter I wrote to you back in the summer: