Five Questions I Hope My Kids Never Ask Me
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He has written the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
Have you ever been talking to someone, and you suddenly find yourself wondering if you left the stove on at home? So, you retrace your steps, map out your entire morning, and before you know it, you haven’t been listening to your friend at all for 45 straight seconds. At that point, you have one wish and one wish only: Please don’t ask me a question that relates to the story you just told me. And I find that, as a parent, this type of situation presents itself far too frequently. It doesn’t help that your brain is so worn out that it has lost the ability to focus on, well, anything.
Let’s be clear; I was not a very good student in school. Part of the reason is because I didn’t apply myself to subjects I found boring (which was almost all of them), and another part is that I have a difficult time retaining information that doesn’t relate to fantasy football stats or character plots on Breaking Bad. So, naturally, a great concern of mine is that one or both of my sons will start asking me questions I flat out don’t have the answers to (because I either wasn’t paying attention when they were being taught, or I just don’t remember). Considering my sons don’t play fantasy football or watch Breaking Bad yet, I get the feeling I’ll find myself stumped early and often.
Randomly, here are five questions I’m hoping I never have to answer for my children:
1. Can you help me with my algebra homework?
I fear the day my son comes home with an equation-filled ditto and realizes his father is an idiot. Calculating 20% of a tip? You got it. Figuring out exactly how many rushing yards I need from Maurice Jones-Drew to score enough fantasy points to win my matchup? Done. But…finding x? I have to admit, I’ve been trying to find x for over 20 years, and I give up. I’ll sooner find meaning in a Kevin James movie. Sorry, kid, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. And I really don’t care where x is. You shouldn’t either.
2. What’s the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
I will never, ever remember. Yes, I know I can simply Google this. So, let’s do that right now…
I clicked on the very first result that came up after asking the search engine, “What’s the difference between alligators and crocs?” and one of the first sentences is: “All alligators are crocodiles, but not all crocodiles are alligators.” I’m confused already, and I’m an adult. What chance do I have of explaining this to a kid?
3. If someone pushes me, should I push them back?
This is a tough one. I want my child to stand up for himself, but I don’t want to encourage violence. Nor do I want to encourage him to bypass revenge, only to rat his classmate out to the teacher. As someone who dealt with a moderate share of bullying myself as a kid, it’s very tempting to suggest that my son tap dance on this kid’s face with cleats.
4. Who’s that guy hiding in my closet with the Bill Clinton mask on?
This isn’t a political statement. I’m just really freaked out by those presidential masks. Any of them. Especially when I see one peering out from behind the crack of a closet door. Because how in the world can I be expected to protect my kids from this hooligan if I’m terrified myself? It should be noted here that George Clinton would make for a much more fun, dynamic mask.
5. What do you do for a living?
A college basketball mascot. Dishwasher salesman. The guy who duplicates keys at Home Depot. All sexier jobs than mine. I work in webcasting, virtual meeting technology. It’s not that I’m ashamed of what I do. It’s just that I’m ashamed of what I don’t do. And what I don’t do is a job that you’re really excited to tell your friends or teachers about. I plan to book a vacation every year that overlaps with “Career Day.”
Do you have a question you’re dreading? Worse, have you already been asked it and now your kid has lost faith in your intelligence? Tweet me with the hashtag #kidquestions.
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