Posts Tagged ‘ 500 Days of Summer ’

The Meaning Of Life Is To Give Life Meaning

Monday, September 24th, 2012

22 months.

It would be most appropriate to begin by quoting the opening of the movie (500) Days of Summer:

“Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin, and they end, with no lasting memories made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life.”

Knowing this, I always try to end each day by trying to figure out what made that day special compared to every day I’ve ever lived.

But not today, because I already know.

I want to bookmark this moment in my life, as if some major milestone has just been reached, or some great accomplishment has just been achieved.

Simply put, it really does come down to a 72 cent fire truck I bought for my son yesterday. That’s what makes today special.

I feel more alive today, not just because we finally made it to autumn, my favorite time of year. Instead, my state of euphoria exists because I know I made my son very happy by buying him that fire truck.

On this day, I do not feel overwhelmed as a husband and dad trying to provide for his family. I am not desperately in need of sleep or a boost in confidence in my abilities of what society expects of me or even what I expect of myself.

Nor I am worried about the end of the world; no, I’m not concerned that Communist China will take over America, or Communist Russia, or even religious extremist terrorists.

In fact, if the world as we know it came to an end right now, at least I would know I ceased to exist while in a state of accidental bliss.

It all goes back to my wife and I standing in the checkout aisle at the store and me telling my son, “You’ve been a really good boy today and we know you really want a fire truck, so we’re going to buy it for you.”

He didn’t even smile; he just kept a somber look on his face that somehow communicated gratitude even more than smile could.

It’s seeing him celebrate back at the house by making his fire truck the head of a parade with his other toy cars.

It’s knowing all day at work I was thinking about my son and how happy I made him by buying him some cheap toy.

In this moment I feel extremely needed by a little boy who is dependent on me for little surprises in life, like a toy fire truck.

The meaning of life is to give life meaning. I thoroughly believe that.

And right now, I am experiencing it.

In simplicity.

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If the Dadabase were a Movie

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Nine months.

I consider myself a “good movie connoisseur.” Because I know the criteria for what makes for a good movie, I have cleverly avoided dozens of lame movies during my lifetime.  If I’m going to invest 90 minutes or more of my life to a movie, it better be worth it.

When I watch a movie, it’s not simply a passive event.  For me, it’s a deeply involved event where I am eager to mentally bookmark subtle symbolism, look for nostalgic familiarity, and decide what deep message about life the movie is trying to convey.  A few prime examples of flawless movies that fit this criteria are Garden State, (500) Days of Summer, Away We Go and Sideways.

Combine my passion for good movies with my love for writing and that means it’s only natural for me to see different stages of my life as their own movie in which I am the narrator.  Never has my life been more of its own movie since I found out I was going to be a dad.  Since April 2009, my life really has been documented on a nearly daily basis, as it pertains to parenthood.

I view this Dadabase of my life as a movie and I imagine how that movie would play out.

As far as who would play me, I have to think back to all the actors that people have told me I remind them of. Coincidentally, my doppledangers all happen to be Jewish and right around the same frame and height (5′ 9″) as me: Paul Rudd, David Arquette, Don Adams/Inspector Gadget, Bronson Pinchot (played Balki on “Perfect Strangers,”) Shia LaBeouf, and brothers Fred and Ben Savage.  But I would ultimately cast the role to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the best overall and most relevant fit.

Whereas I evidently resemble a plethora of 5’9″ Jewish actors, I can’t say that my wife has an obvious look-alike. But in the likeness of how Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, as well as, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, have co-starred in multiple movies, I would cast Zooey Deschanel as my wife; reuniting the main characters of (500) Days of Summer. (Pictured below.)

Think of how every recent comic book-turned-movie starts out; as the opening credits are super-imposed over pages of the actual comic book.  For The Dadabase movie, “Sheep Go to Heaven” by Cake would play as the opening song, as you would see just my hands typing on a MacBook; overshadowed by actual shots of older blogs I have written.

This opening scene would span from April 2009 (when I first decided that I officially wanted to “become a writer”) until a year later (when we found out we were going to have a baby).  It was during that time that I was trying to find my niche, as a writer.  I tried specializing in health blogs (I found the cure for eczema, being healed of my own); writing a series on manhood and marriage, recaps of The Bachelor,  and even a series which questioned why marijuana is an illegal drug, from the perspective of a guy who has never himself used it, but believes it should be legalized.

But it wasn’t until I decided to become the first guy in history to regularly and publicly document my thoughts as a dad, starting from the moment my wife and I went public with the pregnancy, that my writings gained a broad and consistent following.

That idea itself would be the whole “point” of the movie: that I found my purpose and my niche, simply by becoming a dad.

All the hundreds of blog posts I had written (nearly 500) before fatherhood had simply prepared me to find my voice as a writer and as a dude.

The Dadabase movie would include several subplots, like the move to Alabama, but ultimately, it would sort of be like The Social Network meets Marley and Me meets Mr. Belvedere.

Oh, and here’s one of my favorite parts about planning this imaginary movie: the movie poster. A story I never shared before on The Dadabase is that when my son Jack was a newborn and my wife and I were unemployed, at the house all day with him, when my wife was asleep I often found myself in the predicament of a full bladder but little time or opportunity to relieve myself because my arms were literally full as I held my son.

So I learned that I was able to carefully hold him in one arm while taking care of business with the other.  Therefore, the movie poster would simply show Joseph Gordon-Levitt from the back, in front of a toilet, holding a baby who is watching the water splash down below.

The Dadabase.  The movie.  Coming Fall 2012.

(Or easily, never.)

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Proud Papa

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Twenty weeks.

*Did you hear about this blog from American Baby magazine?  If so, click here to get to the main page (table of contents) for “dad from day one”.  There’s a whole lot more where this come from…

During the closing credits of my favorite movie of all time, I Love You, Man, Barry (Jon Favreau) finds out his wife Denise (Jamie Pressly) is pregnant after she vomits on him at the wedding reception.  With puke on his shirt, he says to her, “Please, try to make it a boy.”  Barry is a Type A jerk, inhabiting every memory and idea of a typical beer-guzzling frat boy.  So of course, having a boy (instead of a girl) would be very important to him.

Being that I’m nothing like that character in the movie, instead being much more like the main character, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), I had just always assumed I would have all daughters.  Here’s the picture I had in my head of my future family: Me, wifey, three daughters, and two Cockapoos (or Labradoodles).

It just makes more sense that a guy who has no interest (or talent whatsoever) in sports or hunting (or anything proving I’m man enough by showing my “game face”), but instead has always been enthralled in everything artistic (drawing, entertaining, acting, singing, songwriting, writing) would somehow automatically make a better father to daughters instead of sons.  So that’s part of the reason I was so authentically surprised to learn that our baby is a boy.  Like somehow I deserved a son less because I’m not a certain macho stereotype I’ve memorized from three decades of watching sitcoms and movies.

And now, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that can’t help but laugh that without any preconceived hopes or crossed fingers, I get what every man secretly hopes for- a son.  There’s an unspoken concept (at least in my mind) that raising a son is a rite of passage for a man.  A coveted elective course, a special honorary badge, an engraved trophy so easily received- to be a father to a son.  A chance not so much to relive my own life, but to enhance another future man with all the life experience and knowledge I’ve learned the hard way.

The movie I Love You, Man is built around the fact that male friendships and bonds don’t often come so easily.  By a man having a son, he is automatically given that opportunity- to nurture a male the way every boy and man craves to be taught and directed.  What I lack in knowledge of fixing cars and football statistics and home repairs, I can make up for in teaching healthy communication skills and anything that falls under that categories of “literary”, “artistic”, “psychological”, and “entertainment”.

In other words, I have a feeling I will be raising  the likeness of a future Jewish comedic actor, maybe the next Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the next Shia LaBeouf, the next James Franco…

A well-rounded people-person who is confident in who he is, that’s who I predict he will become.  Who knows?  Maybe he’ll be a quiet, mild-mannered, studious, future accountant.  But with a dad as quirky and Hawaiian-shirt-wearing as me, I just don’t think he has a chance of being anything like Clark Kent.

Baby Jack's body is the length of a cantaloupe this week.

Here’s what The Bump says about Week 20:

Baby’s digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, speaking of the diaper situation… baby’s genitals are now fully formed!

To return to the “dad from day one” main page, click here.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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