Friday, January 29, 2010

Misunderstandment...

There he was...my son standing in front of the mirror in tears screaming as if his face had just taken an elbow from the "Macho Man" Randy Savage! Examining himself in the mirror, and noticing the blood running down his chin, he calmed down a bit and posed the question, "Is it gonna hurt?" I then put my belt down on the bed before answering. The buckle had just broken and I was on a mission to fix it. "No, no, it's just a loose tooth, I said. It won't hurt at all - KIDS...GO GET YOUR DADDY THE NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS!" For some reason the kid started up the wailing again!

So my children are growing up! My oldest is nearly a teenager, the middle one NEEDS deodorant, and my youngest is loosing his first tooth. With him experiencing this special period in his life, I took him to see his older yet UNSURE brother for advice. "Look at your brother, he's lost plenty of teeth, I said. Now he has the uncanny ability to pop PEZ with his mouth closed - I mean that basically makes him an X-Man!" The crying continued.

It was then I realized that I was in a special period in my life as well and that I had a few things to think about. Things like, I've only got about ten years before my daughter introduces me to her first boyfriend. This as I thoroughly clean my gun at the table! The fact that I only have a few years of coolness left in the eyes of my boys, and finally that I'd better start explaining this whole "Facts of Life" thing!

Well I'm not that much of a slacker! I've already explained it to them...well attempted to anyway. I can't say it went how Dr. Phil would have hoped. You see, a while back, ole Snaggletooth asked where babies came from and I gave it to him straight! I explained the whole "Mommy-Stomach-Born-Baby" thing. It ended with him in tears...again! This time adamantly explaining in between breaths that he had no desire to be in Mommy's stomach...or to be born! "I DON'T WANT TO BE BORN AGAIN - DON'T MAKE ME BE BORN!" he exclaimed.

Now as hilarious as that was, it no doubt showcased my strong need for enhanced communication skills and possibly hindered his views on Christianity! It seems that it was all a HUGE misunderstandment and I'd confused everyone. My daughter had no clue why I fantasied of cleaning a gun at the kitchen table, my middle son had no clue as to what PEZ was, and my youngest was dumb founded as to why I needed needle nose pliers or how lethal a top rope "Macho Man" elbow could be. But trust me people, I'm me...I'll get it straight! All I need is my..."HEY! DIDN'T I TELL ONE OF YOU TO BRING ME MY PLIERS?!? WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, BRING ME MY BELT!"...Oh...All I need is my Bible! Ugh - Now why are they crying ?!?


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Transitions...

Quick question friends...  When was the last time you visited a playground?  Man what a difference between the new ones and those old dusty ones we had when we were kids.  As dusty as they were though, it served as a magnificent source of joy and entertainment for us all- that if we survived it!   I mean who could forget such deathly contraptions as the See-Saw to which I affectionately refer to as the "Tender Tot Cranium Cracker," or the Merry-Go-Round?  Now that was a lovely invention.  We learned from it the principal of Centrifugal force and introduced me to my first head bashing with its signature move the big kids nicknamed the "Merry-Go-RoundHOUSE!"  You know, it proved nearly impossible getting on and off of one while in motion.  A dangerous transition you'd better be ready for or be prepared to catch a flying metal bar to the face!  It is for this reason that the word "transition" leaves me with a rather “unmerry” connotation. 

 

Transitions...It's the going and the coming, the coming and the going.  A seemingly indefinite series of changes proving constant, and for children, it can prove to be rather scary - This even when not on a playground and especially so for children who are products of divorce.  It seems the divorced life is sure to provide its fair share of transitions.  It leaves you stuck in the middle dizzy...and sick as you yell for the big kids to stop spinning it so fast.  You want to get off but you can't.  The world continues at its pace and there's not too much you can do about it.

 

For me, experiencing these transitions brought about by divorce made me feel as if I was on a never ending See-Saw.  One weekend I was in the city and the next in the country.  One weekend I'm spanking my lil brother in Techmo Bowl and the next getting the beat down by my older in Double Dribble.  Looking back, I had the best of both worlds I guess.  Two parents that loved me but two lives and families to which I had a hard time totally acclimating.  I mean, I'd go away for one weekend and felt as if I'd missed something or would be.  One foot in play and the other on the ground leaving me in this virtual playground of a life grappling with contraptions created to develop its participants for the better.

 

You see, divorce didn't react in me wishes that my parents get back together but simply to minimize the emotional "Merry-Go-Round" of it all - to stop the spinning.  Now just as it is off the playground, I never wanted my kids to experience such contraptions.  It was never my intentions to have them feel what I felt and get caught under the "cranium cracker" - but such is life.  I've learned that some things we can't control and all we can do is make our best attempts to minimize our kids' injuries but still allow them to have the best of both worlds. 

 

Now as a Dad, I'm left in the same spot as my parents, loosing my kids within the playground of life wishing they had better equipment for which to develop their young minds.  Making sure they walk that fine line between joy with laughter and stitches with scars.  Helping to make their transitions just a bit easier.  It seems all we can do as parents is teach them the best way to go about living this life the right way and the best ways to have fun.  Well that and show them that I'm not too old to swing on the swings or perform my signature "Penny Drop" from the monkey bars!

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Answers...

As I made my lone trek down the highway my eyes became consumed with tears and my emotions consumed with fears.  My actions, they became engulfed by the totality of them both.  With complete concentration on an answer to my question posed, the pitter-pattering of raindrops across my windshield emitted the only sound.  They made themselves apparent as they scattered whichever direction after hitting the windshield in what seemed a random vector.  My vision turned to them and the question of "why?" now consumed my thoughts.  It seems the weight of the life altering, emotionally tearing and breaking news had found me...and I for one had no clue I was even lost.

 

With this epiphany I began counting backward from ten fully expecting and demanding and audible answer from God of my inquiry.  I mean, I felt I deserved one and I needed it to solidify my shaken faith.  I was not concerned with why the once united drops dispersed with a crash and trailed off in different directions, or why that car beside me sped up as if it were not raining at all.  No concern at all why that same car had just cut me off only to slam on brakes.  I was down to "5...4..." when I looked through my tears and HIS own that I received my answer.  It seems all things had its purpose and culminated in that one moment.  It was not what I was expecting at all.  The car slamming on brakes paused before switching lanes in front of me.  Its tag number prominently displaying a Bible verse to which I was not familiar.  I jotted it down while still listening in silence for my answer.  Then, as my countdown ended I found the entirety of my faith consumed within the scribbles of my pen.

 

Looking back at my actions, what nerve of me to demand an answer from my creator.  To put him on a clock in addition to demanding how it's served to me.  I was done.  My reservoir low and faith empty.  I guess my thinking was relational to my being a parent.  I thought about how we're to explain to our kids why they are being punished or tested as to make the experience profitable for them.  Surely God wanted this experience to be profitable to me!  Surely my world was being turned upside down for a reason.  You know, I didn't particularly care in which direction my future pointed me, I just needed to know that this all had a purpose and my way not lost.

 

Gripping this piece of paper in hand brought about even more demands.  "This had better not be some random message requiring me to understand Hebrew to decipher it, I said"  I wasn't going that far, I wasn't searching any further.  No parables or situational stories.  I needed straight talk real fast!  In eagerness and anger I found myself searching for a place to pull over not far from where I was.  It was no doubt a dangerous place to be but no more dangerous than where I was emotionally.  I grabbed my Bible from the back seat and found the scripture and read the answer to my question.  In red letters it said that He was teaching me how to love -nothing more, nothing less.  I was shaken and confused, pondering it's meaning.

 

In the year to follow I posted that scripture everywhere trying to figure out this love thing and what HE meant.  The words were plain enough, I was just a kid being taught a lesson about something I had not yet been entirely privy to.  Occasional glances brought about new meanings every day.  I mean I thought I had it down, knowing how to love, but little did I know how love could be to ME.  Looking back, I now see how nothing was random.  It was not random that things happened the way they did.  It was not random that I was on that rainy highway overwhelmed with tears, or that the pitter-patter of those raindrops caught my focus.  Even they had a purpose.  Once united, these drops dispersed upon impact multiplying into smaller droplets spreading out.  Well it seems I had experienced a windshield experience of my own and my brokenness spread out for the world to see.  With my eyes having had its tears wiped away and my emotions now consumed with joy, I wouldn't change my experiences for the world.  Hopefully I can have as much impact as those raindrops as I spread my life, gaining the attention of others to show how God can love you through the scribbles of my pen.

 

 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pressure...

So I'm standing at the foul line and looking down to be sure my Reebok Pumps aren't crossing the line. With them laced and just beyond it, I look up to the referee as he bounces me the ball. He then lifts up two fingers indicating "two shots." A quick look up at the scoreboard tells the story. My team is down one point with six seconds left. My concentration changes to the orange goal. The same goal that I'd taken thousands of shots before. It was as familiar to me as the glass backboard. I knew its bounce, its feel, its challenge. Another quick glance around the gym revealed members of my family and friends. Further inspection also revealed my new "girlfriend" wide eyed with excitement. I'd just asked her if I could "Have a chance" right before starting the pre-game lay-up line. My focus returned to the rim as the gym became engulfed in silence. I proceeded to bounce the ball in line with my foul shot ritual and my elbows bent along with my knees. The shot goes up and a few onlookers stand...

Today, what I realize is that the pressure felt in those very moments would become to me as familiar as the goal to which I was to shoot. Long after that shot would fall short and barely scrape the rim, I recognized this as life's "Pressure 101" course. At that time the pressure was so great that it turned my stomach bringing about a strong desire to run to the bathroom for about 20 to 25 minutes! With that experience though, I was unknowingly being groomed to become as clutch as Tiger over a putt or MJ in the fourth!

Receiving the ball for my second shot proved a hundred times more pressure than the first. I learned at that moment to control the pressure and not let it control me. To get myself together or promptly change my undies! I really had no choice! I felt my heart rate decrease and my confidence grow. My pre-shot ritual of pumping my shoes six times and wiping my hands on my biker shorts went without a hitch. The ball arched through the air with perfect rotation...

You see, at that very moment I had defeated pressure. I was able to grasp it and use it as strength. Whether that shot went in and the team had won or lost, I would have passed my first course and been on my way to obtaining total "clutchness," and actually being mentioned with the aforementioned Hall of Fame members inducted before me. But that day it would not be so. The outcome of that day rendered no high fives or overtime even. No chants of my name or accolades, only a hard clanging sound off the back part of the rim while both the ball and I fell to the hardwood! Then, as the team picked me up off the floor, I received a pat on the back and heard in a raspy voice a random question by some old dude! "You know the difference between a shooter and a scorer son? Huh?" I contemplated this in the bathroom following the game for about 20 to 25 minutes!

All in all, that experience is as much apart of me as the many times I've succeeded. Today I breath pressure! I know its bounce, its feel, its challenge, and when to take Pepto-Bismol! And although I could never make it up to my teammates, or get another "chance" with my now old "girlfriend" because she dumped me as I made my way to the can, I can however, make it up to myself. This because in this game of life for me, the outcome is yet to be determined but verily I say unto you, I will NOT make the same mistakes! I've learned my lessons but am still unsure of how to answer the old dudes question! I will, however, never rock Reebok Pumps again and will always, always carry with me proudly...my "Masters degree in Clutchnessity" along with an extra set of undies...just in case! Trust me! This whole parenting thing requires it - I really have no choice!
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Investment...

Investment - It's one of a million ways to obtain wealth and riches, to enjoy a diet of steak and shrimp or...poverty and food stamps, Raman noodles and spam! What I mean is, investment is a tool that should be used wisely. This because it's taking what you already have and putting it towards something you think will return a profit. This is nothing new I know but I've found that helping my children understand this concept wasn't as easy as I thought. Helping them to understand that choosing to invest in themselves is far more lucrative than anything else was, if nothing else, an experience...

Once on a balmy summers' day, my children banded together to come up with the bright idea to go ice skating, indoors of course.  Being the Dad I am -BROKE, I thought this an excellent idea but on one condition.  This, if and only if, they could finance it on their own.  After rubbing their nickels together they decided to start a car wash business.  I was thrilled!  I gave them the tips and tricks along with the ins and the outs and sent them on their way.  Twenty minutes later they came back with less money than before. Apparently one nickel seems to have been lost in the excitement! As exciting as all this was though, they found out quickly that neighbors were not willing to trust their precious beamers and benzes to a bunch of hyper preteens with no soap...or sponges! I immediately suggested that they not give up and invest in their new business.  That they buy their own soaps and sponges and bring on a few neighbor kids to help.  They agreed. With this I decided to invest in them and provide them with a few duckets to buy a few buckets - an investment if you will.

Funny thing this agreement.  It lasted all the way to the gas station where they begged to spend all this newly gained startup capital on giant bags of Skittles, soda, and some gooey concoction called a Star Crunch that ended up stuck to the back seat of my car!  Unfortunately, they never made any money washing cars that summer and they never did make it to the rink!  It's seems their lack of investment in themselves proved to be detrimental to their business leaving them with upset stomachs in addition to being hot…and sweaty!

That night, as we sat down around the dinner table together and divided up the Spam, I explained to them why I allowed them to put themselves in such a position. That and why they should abandon their search for the shrimp in their Raman noodle pouch labeled as such!

Parents, lets see to it that we keep a can of Spam on deck for a time such as this and prepare our children for the business world. Expand their thinking to the point where they are not simply satisfied with an office job but desire to own the building in which the office resides. Not just to be a sports star but to sign their checks. That there are results to their actions in the business world just as in anything else.

You know, I think the kids learned a very important lesson and I'd bet when awarded the next "Duckets for Buckets" bail out they'll be sure to invest properly and put forth the effort to afford them the opportunity to do whatever it is they want to do, including dining on steak and REAL shrimp. That they'll be successful in reaching their goals as they reach for the stars and rainbows. They'd better...because literally reaching for the Star Crunch and "tasting the rainbow" proved to be, if nothing else, an experience they'd never forget!

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Jeopardy...

I'll take "Things that begin with the letter "R" for $1000 Alex."
"Ok, for $1000 - This takes a lifetime to build but only a second to destroy?"
"What is reputation?"
"Correct!"


Reputation is defined as the general estimation that the public has for a person.  Look, we've all heard it said before, "This person has a reputation for being (insert term here)!"  With that being said, I challenge you to insert a term you think most people would use when referring to you.  Remember I said most people, not the lady who gave you the two finger salute after SHE cut YOU off while driving!  Come on lady- my kids didn't need to see that...and how are you gonna take both hands of the wheel!?!


Continuing on... I was frantically attempting to get the kids out of the door one morning when I overheard my oldest son whisper to his brother "Keep me out of it and don't mention my name, ok?"  I then heard his brother agree with him.  What kind of pact was this, what agreement had been made between the two?  I was intrigued and I had to ask.  "Leave your name out of what?"  It was then that he explained the story of how the prior day his younger brother had gotten called out for talking at the Do Jo by an assistant.  His big brother, noticing she had made a mistake, saw fit to speak up to point out this mistake.  It seems he was standing up for his younger brother.  He stood alright - They both found themselves standing side by side in the corner!  It reminds me of the movie "Life!"  One dude tried to help the other and ends up being asked by some bigger dude if he's gonna eat his cornbread and his good reputation ruined!


In reality, we see it everywhere, folks tossing these reputations, along with 80 million dollars, right out the window because they made a minor error like bringing guns to work.  Ok, that wasn't exactly minor but nevertheless it happens.  Families are destroyed and lives altered.  Moving further...while having a good reputation is a wonderful thing to possess, we should beware of keeping it.  ***Hear me out***  I say be aware that sometimes in an attempt to keep our good name, as it pertains to the masses, more detriment to your well being can be brought about.  This because the very definition of reputation refers to the general term of what the "public" thinks of you and attempting to keep up an image that falsely portrays you may cause you to further destroy the very thing that a good reputation is to represent...integrity!  You see, my son must have somehow thought that I'd be more focused on his reputation than his integrity.  He was wrong.  I was proud of him for standing up for his brother.
  
Now in the beginning I asked you to insert a term as it pertained to your reputation.  I'm going to assume it was positive.  Now take that term and all the things this good name may have gotten you.  Perhaps a job, or even that 80 million dollar contract.  Next, subtract from that your attempt at contriving your own derivative of the two fingered salute in the form of a gun during warm ups and see what you have left.  It definitely won’t be any cornbread!


"Alex, I think I'll take things that begin with the letter "I"








Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Perfection...

Remember the game aptly entitled "Perfection?" What a game! As you may remember, the object of the game is to try and fit these oddly shaped plastic pieces into their designated slots before time runs out at which point the board quakes and the game pieces go flying!

You know, I used to play this game all by myself for hours as a kid. In fact, I'd like to think I was an aficionado or sorts...an expert if you will. My goal was to get it down to a science as if I were training for some type of "Perfection" Olympic games. So much so that I'd walk into any random room, take a look around and imagine that someone would challenge me and randomly breakout a game board and talk trash. I was always prepared to thrash them in world record speed! It was my hope that they'd all be amazed crowning me "The Greatest" and "chant Tron-ie Boom-Ba-yay!"

As I became older though, I saw that energy transfer to other activities such as basketball, football, video games, and electric football. Ok, just joking about the latter! Playing that game made me want to stick my finger in the socket! But while playing these games no doubt contributed to my obsessive compulsive disorder yet to be diagnosed, I think I learned a little something about not what perfection is but WHO it is. That perfection is not something that can be obtained, but a goal to strive toward.

So today as I play these games with my kids I see the same determination, the same zeal, the same attitude to never give up and it thrills me! I love it when my son will not stop until he beats the game, or they fully understand their math homework. With this though, I also get to teach them a few very important lessons. The first being that Perfection came two thousand years ago and that we should models ourselves after Him, making sure that we are placed in our own divine positions as not to cause our world to quake. And the second, which also brings me so much joy, is to explain to them just how impossible obtaining "Perfection" can be.

How so? Well, they'll all get a chance to experience the Champ first hand when "Perfection" is whipped out! Hey every lesson you teach them can't be pretty. It's a tough world out there! I figure they'll learn their lesson when playing me or actually be diagnosed with OCD - I play to win!

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Hypothesis...

"I won, I won, I won!" As it turns out my friends, my hypothesis proved to be correct yielding nothing less than surprisingly spectacular results. We should all be so excited! The implications of these results will no doubt improve the lives of millions! Maybe I'll be awarded the Nobel Peace prize like Obama and win a million dollars, or perhaps, even grander, something terrific like a bowling alley!

Ok, I know you all are clambering to know not only what I'm referring to but whether you're invited to the grand opening of "Gutter Balls?" "Be cool my babies!" The answer is yes you will! So before I tell you how these wondrous results equal a better quality of life for you, I think it prudent for me to first explain its origin so you too can "get like me!"

You see, It all started as I arose a recent morning to a fresh 3 inches of snow on the ground and reports of no school. Having full recollection of our prior snow day, previously documented in the Chronicle entitled "Entertainment," the children seemingly had no issues with waking up at their normal time of 5:20 no less than jovial! Because those jovial feelings aren't shared when it's a school day, it was my intention to take action and reverse the trend and transfer these jovial feelings to me. In layman's terms, "I was finny flip the script and make no mention of the snow and treat it like a school day." It was my hope that they'd sleep in hours longer than normal.

As parents, I'm sure you understand that normal school days force me to dig deep into my bag of tricks in order to get them up and at em' on occasion. These tricks include, but are not limited to, dragging them out of bed, snatching the covers (affectionately referred to as the "sleeping band-aid") or subjecting them to the "cold wash cloth to the face" treatment! Try it, it's like the PG-13 version of water boarding! Nevertheless, you'd be happy to know that because my experiment proved successful, millions of parents world wide will benefit by receiving several extra hours of sleep on similar days. By following my procedures exactly, you too can experience this breakthrough!

Here it is...Step one: "Wake your kids up at 5:20 with a cold cloth in hand, just as a threat, and then asks if they would like a few more minutes. My hypothesis was that they'd thank me and drift back off into unconsciousness. Well, that they did my friends, that they most certainly did!

However, don't be fooled, that was only step one in obtaining total and uninhibited "jovial reclamation." There are three crucial steps that need to be taken to produce similar results as explained. I say be a partaker and advocate this movement and take back your sleep!

Step two...send in three easy payments of $19.95 to get step three! If you act now, I'll include a double coupon for a single corn dog at "Gutter Balls!" Also, as an added bonus yet still, I will see to it that all those that read my blog celebrate with me by congregating on lane number 2. Sorry, Obama and I will be on lane 1!

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Vanishing...

So what happens when you're in a crowded place such as an amusement park and you loose sight of your three year old? How about at a mall or a grocery store? What happens when you call their name and you get no response? What do you do when you know you've taught them not to wander off and they are no where to be found? I'd bet your heart races and your senses heighten. Well friends, that happened to me. I lost my youngest. Not at an amusement park however, nor a mall. Neither a grocery store and not even a 7-Eleven. It was, I'm ashamed...at home! I know, I know...You're thinking "nuh uh" but you bet I did!

Well...It twas a warm and sunny Spring day at the Mason residence and in addition to the weather, the day was going superbly! There were hummingbirds effortlessly floating a few feet from my office window and a fresh breeze in the air. The neighbors were out grilling and the aroma conjured images of me hustling to the mall to get me a short set! The kids and I were out front practicing America's past time by tossing the ole baseball around. Even the three year old. I say start 'em young! I believe that as a Dad, if nothing else, they all need to learn how to read, swim, defend themselves, ride a bike, throw a spiral and properly catch and throw a fast ball. Those are just for starters and in no particular order.

Now my three year old had just gotten sent into the house under disciplinary action for his lack of effort with the lessons. This right before their Mom stopped by around lunch and mentioned that she would possibly be taking him out with her for the remainder of the day. Upon her arrival and through her departure the lessons continued. We were now well into pop-fly's! The older two were both doing well and in mid season form but no longer wished to continue. Apparently my "Follow through" and "Don't be scared of it" tirades weren't exactly helping! After my arm became wearied from rolling what seemed to be thousands of grounders, we went in for a breather. The kids turned on a movie and I somehow nodded off.

Awaking, I found myself disoriented and finding my two oldest asleep on the couch as well. I then decided to call their Mom to see how the youngest was making out and if he was ready for his batch of grounders he no doubt knew he had coming promptly upon his return! It was then that she answered the phone and explained that she had not taken him. "Remember I told you I couldn't?" "Nope!" "Remember, you were tossing..." - My heart nearly beat out of my chest as I searched the house frantically for the boy. I checked the bedroom, followed by the basement, the office, then outside...nothing. Then the remaining bedrooms and closets as I held the phone to my ear with loud garbled sounds emitting out...nothing still! He had vanished! "How long had it been? He could be half way across town by now" I thought. Continuing to check every nook and cranny, I checked the linen closet and there he was balled up in the corner!

It's a funny thing. Those feelings I'd been feeling before changed rather quickly. "Did you not hear me calling your name? Why didn't you come out? I was worried!" This I said after letting go of my chest and picking myself up off the floor... no response. Then he said it. "I thought I was in trouble and didn't want to be punished." Punished why...for what? I said. Apparently, he thought I was a bit hard on him for tossing the ball to me under handed!

Man was I embarrassed and relieved all at the same time. I picked the little guy up and held him tight and told their Mom to stop the Amber alert that was no doubt being initiated. I sat him down and explained that he should never do that again. That it was simply inexcusable what he had done. I told him to think about how we felt, what his Mom would feel like if her son...was caught throwing a ball under handed in public! I know, I know...You're thinking "nuh uh" you bet I did! Then I explained that hiding from me was unacceptable because I loved him so much. I think he got the message. The boys got quite a fast pitch today!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Commercialism....

Have you ever turned on the T.V. and come across a commercial so absurd that it just makes you scratch your head and say ShamWow? You know what I mean right? Take for instance the "Snuggie." Apparently they've sold millions of these things and I just don't get it! So, what they did was take a robe, model it backwards to couch potatoes with clickers in hand, and watch the money pile up!?! If that made money, boy do I have a bag of magic beans to sell you!

Besides that one and the many others like it, there's another to which I don't fully understand. It's a whole series of them. In the commercials, some kid is attempting to do some mundane task like open a jar to which he obviously can't. This until some sloppy dude in a t-shirt comes in and does it for him while the Superman theme song plays. Up until that point, I like it. Then they say it - "It doesn't take much to be a parent - Adopt a child" Huh...what just happened!?! I tell you all what, if all it took to raise a child was to "pop a cap" on a jar I'd for one have triceps the size of bowling balls and a whole army of kids from here to Bagdad!

Now I don't know a lot but I do know better than to think that's all the responsibility needed to raise a seed. The problem is though, that message in varied degrees is constantly poured into our community until that absurd notion becomes reality. The reality of so many black men especially. Is it really to far fetched to believe that the only male role models or figures, for that matter, in a kids life would be on T.V.? Nope! Then in some cases that child's reality is based on fiction and the obvious not so - not to them.

Ok, maybe you say I'm reading too much into this. I just might be but I know that advertising companies believe what they believe. They believe that the African American community models themselves and purchases what "They" commercialize and by "They" I do not mean the white man necessarily. "They" includes all those with influence over our children from the Hustle Man to Gucci Mane. By the way, at the risk of sounding old "I'm not against rappers but I am against those thugs!" Know that I don't care about their material possessions nor the women with whom they pay to be in their videos! It simply lacks substance with the message being "I am what I own" when your reality is "what you own owns you!" Oh, that and the fact that he buys into the notion that anything can be accomplished by actually "popping a cap!" - ShamWow!

Look, all I'm saying is that we need to make sure our children understand their culture and what the world thinks of them, from here to Bagdad, so they can react accordingly. I say sit down with them and the clicker while wrapped in your Snuggies and have them decipher a possible intended message attempting to be portrayed by "They" in those commercials. Whether, it's to purchase a BigMac or a BigMic, or simply that they think black men dressing up as women is hilarious, try it. Hey, I'll try it with you. I'm far from above reproach. My daughter got a pink Snuggie for Christmas and it feels real nice like. I think I might buy one - better yet...maybe I could trade one for these magic beans I bought! I'm out - "Gucci!"

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Dreamcatcher...

I opened my eyes to a purple sky. My awakening prompted only by the rain faintly falling on my eyelids. My left hand began to feel pressure as though being squeezed and crushed. My lips seemingly only capable of omitting silence. That seemed of no matter. In addition there was a faint voice to which I was unable to decipher. Then other voices on top of the others still. All proving incomprehensible. I was wearied. My head began to feel as though weighted and my eyelids heavy but no doubt open. Open to see the city streets before me and the rain drops whose rhythm beat on me. The color of it the hue of a certain orange.

I took with me those feelings and stood. While feeling weighted, my stride felt as if my whole was consumed in weightlessness. I began to walk those streets. My peripheral vision noticing the scenes, noticing those lurking in the shadows. I kept my pace with no indication of me noticing them and stepped off the sidewalk in a subtle attempt at avoidance. They noticed me however. No sooner than my first step toward my intended destination did those within the shadows emerge. The creatures were red in color and no doubt wanted to harm me. My stride quickened and so did theirs. My pursuers' four legs proved to be quicker than my own. They overcame me and I succumbed as I was unable to elude them. Their nails were as a humans and began to pierce my arms when they captured me. My eyes flickered with the sensation and a new vision appeared. It was the face of my mother, but it only flashed.

The creatures disappeared one by one as a voice spoke my name. I turned to see the street sights collapse and that same purple sky falling. The orange rain now dissipating with a piece of the purple haven landing with a fall on my arm. The exact location as the piercing of the nails. I could only describe the pain as a hard excruciating pinch. At once I again saw her face - her expression able to be deciphered. She was stone faced with despair. Why was this happening, what had I done?

The year was 1991 and further inspection revealed my state. I was coming to and it all made since to me. The sensation of the gripped hand, the downward pressure on my head, the multiple voices crying out, and the feel of the hard pinch. I took a quick glance at my arm- the pain still lingering. It was as purple as that dissipated sky and those orange droplets...well...

They proved to be a direct result of the squeezed Capri-sun pouch I'd sneaked in earlier. It's contents now cascading down my face and arm. It seems I had fallen asleep in church during prayer and was awakened by two hard pinches by my dear mother. Ironically enough, she'd become my dreamcatcher, saving me from the pursuers who wished to harm me and protecting me from my nightmares.

As parents now, it's our job to become dreamcatchers and see to it that we protect our children from those things that wish to harm them and give them a little nudging when situations and foreign feelings overtake them. To make sure that they listen to the message being spoken as to assure that their perceived nightmares do not become their reality. Well... that and to get our revenge and coming toos by making sure our pinches are just as legendary!

That was not the last time she'd save me but you better believe I got the message. Always...always...hold Capri-sun pouches at the top!
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