A Brief Interview with Colin

Colin is kind of the man.
When he looks into the distance, he sees snow.

I asked Colin a few questions I pretty much knew the answer to, after he expressed his desire to wear no pants despite the rather drafty nature of the house last night. I laugh when people say, “Colin, you’re going to be cold.” Because no, he’s not.

Colin, have you ever been cold?

No.

Can’t you remember at least one time when you were cold? Like when you get out of the bathtub or go outside with no coat and no shoes?

Um . . . no.

What’s your favorite season?

Winter!

What is your favorite thing about winter?

I get to play in the snow!

And you don’t mind the cold?

No. I like it.

So. There you have it. He’s not, nor will he ever admit to being, the slightest bit cold. Keep in mind, his second favorite season is summer, because he gets to play in the sand. He likes to play in stuff, that’s really the bottom line.

Humbug

Stuff. There’s an awful lot of it around here. Toys. Tools. Appliances. Gadgets. Clothes. Bric-a-brac. Implements of organization. Electronics. So much stuff. And now, apparently, we need more.

We need fun. We need beauty. We need distractions. We need proof that we love each other. We need pants. We need status. We need peace. We need order. We need power. We need newness. We need vintage. We need answers. We need Siri.

It’s Christmas time. The days when we can officially stop being thankful and start wanting more without shame or restraint. I’ll spare you the moralizing. I wasn’t that thankful. I’m not so satisfied that I don’t want more stuff. I don’t blame the media. I don’t blame companies who want to sell stuff. I don’t blame people who want deals. I’m just bored with the fact that our favorite stuff is crap, our perceived benefits are reconfigured problems, and our gifts suck.

Right now I’d be fine to go without presents. Give me none, expect none. Except that’s the real crappiest gift isn’t it? The gift of a condescending message? Oh, yeah, that’s brilliant and cheap.

This is probably the point of the post where it would be good to have . . . well, a point. I don’t know that I have one. I wish we didn’t feel the need for more stuff. I wish we gave gifts at Christmas out of an overflow of appreciation for each other instead of an insatiable lust for an easier, more presentable, more entertaining life.

Maybe the point is that it’s not a terrible idea to just work hard at satisfying each other. Make the people you love feel loved. Make the people you like feel loved. Make the people you don’t like feel loved. Try not to throw garbage at the people you hate. Oh, and give gifts that show how much you appreciate people. Gifts that mean something. Gifts that don’t come in plastic bubble packaging of death. Because that stuff is evil.

Secret Thank Yous

Around the Thanksgiving table, there are things you say you’re thankful for because of course you are. And there are things you don’t admit to being thankful for because you know better. Here I am, refusing to know better.

I’m thankful for . . .

All the people in our neighborhood who can hear us yelling but pretend not to.

People who, when they pray in public, don’t go on forever.

Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” Because that’s a good song.

Everyone around me who makes a diligent effort not to fart.

That when I look down at people and use my low esteem of them as an excuse to invalidate their negative opinions of me, they do me the favor of pretending their retaliations against my arrogance are simple unfortunate accidents.

Commas.

The way our bodies and our brains are designed to keep most of the nasty stuff from just trickling out.

Bad things that happen to bad people.

Things that happen to them and not me.

Lapses in my memory that really work out to the benefit of everyone.

Curse words. See also: the ability to mutter under my breath.

That my kids are quite a bit like me even though I know where that can lead.

Everyone who thinks I’m kidding.

Everyone who thinks this is the worst of it.

Everyone who doesn’t read this.

Everyone who falls into none of the previous three categories but loves me anyway.

Friday Randomnity

There has been snow around here. That’s great. Totally ready for it.

At our parent/teacher conference, Addison’s teacher used the word gobsmacked. How awesome is that?

Some things you just can’t stop thinking about. You want to, but you know they’re of greater import than anything you might focus on instead.

And then you have to move on, because holy crap.

The song stuck in my head this morning: alarm clock buzz. That “nahhhh, nahhhh, nahhhh” sound. I don’t even use my alarm that makes that noise anymore except as a backup. Grrr, Memory. Grrr, Brink of Consciousness.

Cash. What’s that about?

Sometimes people say and believe dumb things. Can we just let that kind of thing go, or is being the Right Police that important?

Because I say some dumb stuff.

And by we, I almost always mean society.

If you don’t watch or have never watched Friends, the cultural gap that exists between us can be crossed only by hard work, commitment to understanding, love for each other, and/or mad dumb luck.

I’ve loved the Cubs for a long, long time. These days, I’m really starting to like them.

The Muppets movie can’t get here fast enough. Which is weird, because the days and weeks are flying.

We’re having a baby.

And by we, I don’t mean society.

It’s 11/11/11, if you don’t mind swimming in the waters of pre-Y2K nomenclature.

Is this a long enough list to just post? I hope so. I don’t feel any more random things coming up.

Oh, wait! No. Never mind. I got nothing. Maybe I’ll add to this later.

No, wait again! 11/11/11 is a palindrome and . . . whatever the word is for all the same number. That won’t happen again until long after we stop caring that this happened today.

Also, coffee.

UPDATE: One more thing. It’s a terrible thing to evaluate your day based solely on whether or not you’ve showered. Showering is overrated.

Also: today you may want to stand just a bit farther away from me than you normally would. No reason.

Antoine Dodson > Joe Paterno. Who knew?

When one witnesses or hears accusations of abuse, the appropriate actions are to 1) intervene and 2) run and tell that, homeboy.

This is not a joke. When Joe Paterno was fired, a lot of people spoke out to support him. When Antoine Dodson appeared on a newscast and in 265,000 autotune YouTube manipulations, he was roundly mocked. I’ve wondered repeatedly whether there is something in the human condition that prevents us from responding when we suffering of great magnitude and horror and stops us from accepting the truth and doing something to write the horrible wrong. Joe Paterno and everyone involved in the Penn State atrocities lend some credence to this theory. Antoine begs to differ.

Hoping for a Girl

We have two pepper shakers. Everyone in the world hopes we’ll soon be blessed with salt. Because three pepper shakers? That would leave us with an awful lot of cartoon sneezes and absolutely nothing to throw over our shoulders for luck (which we’ll need by the truckload if we hope to have any chance against three pepper shakers).

I’m not exactly sure why we (and by we, I mean society) seem to carry this need for intrafamilial gender balance, as though having a girl would complete the set of Kelloggs we’re collecting. I do know that a lot of people wishing for the next Kellogg to be a girl have divine retribution, not balance, on their minds. They giggle gleefully at the prospect of me raising a girl. Because, you know, they think that would be cute or something.

I’m sure it would be.

But other people have a different cloud of purpose lingering behind their eyes. We have two boys. They’re a handful. They’re high energy. They’re boysssss. Gasp. (They are kids, by the way. I’m not at all dismayed by the fact that they’re not boring.) A third boy? Holy Moses, what would that do to Heather? What would it do to our house? What would it do to the universe?

Break them all, obviously.

So we simply must have a girl. Honestly, yes, we would love to have a girl. Heather would love a girl (finally). I would love a girl (obviously). Addison wants a girl (not all that surprisingly if you know his occasional feelings of angst toward Colin). Colin has expressed his desire for the baby to be a boy who is invisible (repeatedly).

Colin’s answer is the funny one, right? Too ridiculously specific and extraordinary. Except, everyone who says they want a girl or that we should have a girl does so with very specific qualities in mind, n’est-ce pas?

Girls are sweet. Girls are quiet. Girls are obedient. Girls are cute and pretty and sugary and spicy and exhaustively nice. Girls learn to read faster. Girls don’t wrestle. Girls don’t belch loudly. Girls wear pretty dresses and play with dolls and don’t crash trucks into your head.

I grew up with three sisters, and I know as well as you do that the above paragraph is a load of crap. Girls in general may exhibit similar qualities to those listed above (or below, if you’re standing on your head or reading this in space). But, as far as I know, there’s very little chance that Heather is giving birth to girls in general. There’s a 50% chance she’s giving birth to a girl. And when we do find out the gender, that will tell us absolutely nothing about what this child will be like.

She might be a tom boy. He might be a dancer. She might be a princess-loving, Barbie-toting, run-of-the-mill average girl. He might conspire to destroy the world. Somehow, I think we’ll love this child all the same.

Some people sagely advise that we hope and pray only that the baby is healthy. Oh, and cute. And smart. And nice. And successful. Because nobody wants to parent a sick, ugly, dumb, jerk of a failure. I don’t know. I just want to meet this kid and see how we get along.

All I know is that this kid is the size of a lime, and be he a he or be she a she, a lot of people seem to be placing an awful lot of expectations on the child. I just want my baby to feel loved. That’s something I can influence. Everything else is fart noises.

New Mumford & Sons: Ghosts or Something

So, Mumford & Sons has three moods: spirited and angry, spirited and hopeful, slow and mournful. They appeared last week on Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 (just out of thin air, they appeared!) to perform a a new song from that third genre of breezily shuffling melancholy. It’s called “Ghosts.” Or “Ghosts That We Knew.” Or “Who Cares, Just Shut Up And Play the Song.”

After giving it several listens and analyzing the lyrics over the weekend, here’s my merciless review:

It’s nice. Check it out if your current device is so enabled.

For the flash-unfriendly, here’s a youtube version: