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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
3 years, 1 month.
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!
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Sunday, December 15th, 2013
Half your life ago, which was a year and half ago, I wrote “My Toddler’s [Bleep] Potty Mouth.”
Back in those days, when you tried to say the word “cookie,” it came out as… a word I’m not going to say on record.
You didn’t have the ability to announce certain sounds, so a completely innocent word could end up being something that would be censored on cable TV.
These days, however, you can pronounce most sounds you need to and therefore, “accidental curse words” are less of an occurrence.
However, I’m picking up on what I call “the 3 year-old version of cursing.”
Today Mommy was out with a friend for a little while, as part of her monthly designated girlfriend time (my designated guy friend time was a few weeks ago when I went with some friends to see Thor: The Dark World… then Hunger Games: Catching Fire), so this afternoon I stayed home with you cleaning our “2 and a half” bathrooms.
It was time for your noontime nap, but I really wanted to get the cleaning out of the way before you went to sleep.
So I made you a deal…
You followed me to each of the bathrooms as I cleaned them. While I scrubbed the sinks, toilets, and tubs with Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Peppermint Soap, you read me stories from a book your aunt Jeneane recently mailed you for Christmas: Best-Loved Children’s Stories.
As I was kneeling down to clean the shower drain, I heard you say, “Poo you! I poke you in the eye!”
I paused for a moment, as I did my best to keep you from hearing me laugh.
Then I walked out of the bathroom doorway to come see which storyline could have motivated that kind of dialogue.
“The purple page, Daddy,” you explained as you flipped back a few pages, to show me the part in “Ali Baba” where a thief annoyingly questions a lady store worker.
I’m guesing it was she that told the thief, “Poo you! I poke you in the eye!”
What a clever curse from the mind of a 3 year-old. I mean, I don’t want you repeating that at school, where you probably heard it to begin with.
But seriously, that’s pretty funny!
Check out the 25 Manners Kids Should Know. Then, shop for your kid’s new favorite book to read.
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Sunday, December 15th, 2013
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.
To be continued…
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Thursday, December 12th, 2013
When our family saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular this past weekend, it reminded me of a deep thought that I feel often goes “unthought of.”
At the very end of the show, a short essay called “A Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis was read to the audience, right after The Living Nativity scene.
I won’t quote the whole thing here, but the last few lines of it really stood out to me:
“Two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that have ever marched and all the navies that have ever sailed and all the parliments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this “One Solitary Life.’”
It’s pretty fascinating to me that if Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be, which is the Son of God and the predicted Messiah of the prophecies in the Old Testament, then He was simply the most famous and influencial deceiver to have ever lived on the earth.
That means He’s fooled millions of people in the past couple thousand years. That means, back in His day, he caused quite a political uproar over… nothing. In that case, it was all just a hoax.
As C.S. Lewis famously put it, Jesus is either “lunatic, liar, or Lord.”
But again, if He was simply a crazy man or false prophet, He’s the most famous and influential one there’s ever been, to simply have been just a man.
Or, Jesus really is who He said He is, and He’s still the most famous and influential man who has ever lived.
This is the same man who this time of year is better known as the baby born in Bethlehem.
Nearly a year and a half ago, I wrote “8 Non-Religious Reasons To Take Your Kids To Church,” in which I closed by stating my thoughts on the choice to live a life based on faith in Jesus:
The way I look at it; even if at the end of my life I was wrong about God this entire time and when we die, we just die and that’s it, I still wouldn’t regret having believed. Because if nothing else, I had a sense of hope amidst all of life’s uncertainties.
Throughout all the traditional Santa and reindeer stuff we enjoy this time of year, I’m still distracted by the Jesus part of Christmas.
If Christmas was simply about candy canes and snowmen, and still managed to be this big of a deal to everyone, I would really be questioning why we celebrate it.
But I know the basis of this holiday season is deeper than that, and even more than just “the spirit of giving.” It still comes down to a baby in a manger who went on to live the most famous and influential life… ever.
And as I raise you to believe in Him, if He was really just a liar or a lunatic instead, I guess that makes me one of those things too.
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
In the midst of all the fun holiday traditions our family has participated in so far this season, like going on a couple of hay rides and driving around to check out Christmas lights, one thing we haven’t done this year is officially go visit Santa and let you get your picture made with him.
Last Saturday when we saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, we could have easily walked from the Grand Ole Opry to the nearly adjoining Opry Mills Mall and got your picture taken (for free) with Santa, at the Bass Pro Shop.
I just looked it up in my dadabase of The Dadabase, and almost exactly a year ago I wrote you a letter called “The Obligatory Facebook Picture Of Your Kid With Santa.”
Interestingly enough, I ended it with this proclamation:
“So here it is; this is the obligatory picture of you with Santa that I shared on Facebook. You may not remember it happening. Either way, I’m sure we’ll be back at Bass Pro Shop again for your Santa picture next year.”
Mommy and I asked you several times during the past couple of weeks if you wanted to go get your picture made with Santa again.
Each time, you calmly muttered no.
I figure, why push the issue? So don’t worry about it, kid. We don’t have to go.
My assessment of the situation is this: You’re equally fascinated with Santa Claus as much as you are terrified by him. I think that’s pretty normal for a 3 year-old boy. Santa is exciting (and safe) from a distance, in other words.
You don’t want to sit on his lap, yet you think he’s really cool and keep asking me if he (and the Rockettes) are going to give you a gift for Christmas.
Actually, I should be thanking you. You saved me a trip to the mall during the Christmas holidays!
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