Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What to Do When Your Child Sins or Tough Love

I didn't get around to writing last week because my son was in a NCFCA tournament. I don't remember what the acronym stands for but I know the F stands for Forensic and I assume there is a Christian in there somewhere. 

Despite the name they don't spend their time in crime labs while the Who plays in the background. No, this is a speech and debate club. (I may address this in a later post). It was during this tournament that I came to a heartbreaking realization about my son. I had my suspicions, but this was the first time he did it so blatantly. I think it was the influence of other kids in his debate club that enboldened him. 

It's hard for me to even say what terrible sin my son is embroiled in. As a parent I have tried to raise him right -- to instill in him godly morals that will guide him through life. I guess I failed. (If this were paper you would see tear stains all over that last sentence). I can only hope you won't stop reading when you hear the disgusting evil thing he is. I can only hope you will pray for his deliverance. Okay, brace yourself -- oh, and mom, I'm sorry you are finding out this way -- I just couldn't bare the shame of telling you. 

My son is a whistler. Worse, he is a morning whistler. The Bible is very clear about the fate of whistlers:

"And lo, those most terrible of sinners, those wretches who deserve no pity, those whistlers shall be damned unto the deepest, darkest, most fiery pits of hell." (Trust me, it's in there, you don't need to look it up.)

And, of course there is the story of why Lucifer was cast out of heaven:

"And Lucifer, that cretin, did begin his vile whistling. And God, who hadest not his morning coffee saidest, 'Get Out!'"

Since U.S. law won't let me stone him or burn him at the stake (it's the fault those ungodly communists running the country), as a loving father I know there is only one thing I can do. I have to kick him out of the house. 

Until my son is ready to renounce his terrible sin, he is not allowed back into the house. It's painful, but everyone knows that the only way to get the really bad sins out is to banish the offender and never see them again. 

The advice:
If your child whistles kick them out of the house. We should also work on getting laws passed that ban them from public places -- the future of America is at stake. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beards or How to Keep Your Teen From Having Sex

I've been growing out my beard lately. There are many deep philosophical reasons for this, which I don't have time to go into right now, but there is also an unintended bonus to having a beard -- looking creepy. (See picture below).

Why is looking creepy a good thing? Let me explain. 
I have a 12 soon-to-be-13 year old boy. This means soon I'll have to contend with hormone crazed teenage girls. I've done my best to inhibit the interest of these hormone/culture driven sex fiends by fanning my boy's nerdiest tendencies. You know: love of science fiction, books, white socks with black shoes, etc. His mom and I are also hoping for a serious acne problem, but given our own histories it doesn't look good. I can only hope and pray that I will have instilled enough nerdy awkwardness to keep even the most sex crazed girls at bay. So far it seems to be working, but teenage girls are wily creatures, so you never can tell. Which is why I was happy to have discovered that I now look creepy. 

Here's how I found out. I was goofing off on my phone (i.e., looking at Facebook) while waiting for my son's debate club to let out. Sitting near me  were a couple of teenage girls. They were babbling inanely about things teenage girls babble about. I wasn't really paying that much attention until one of them expressed the desire to move, but wouldn't say why. My ears perked up because I had a feeling it was because she was a little afraid of me, but I wasn't sure. A few minutes later they started whispering and I heard one of them say, "He's not that creepy."


I knew that whatever I did next would either solidify or dispel my reputation for creepiness. So here's what I did. I pretended to get a phone call. 
"Hello?" ... "Yeah?" ... "No, I told you the bleach will get the blood -- no, tell him to bury it with .... He said what?" ... "You'll have to take care of him." ... "Yes, I mean kill him." ... "Both bodies will fit -- sideways" ... "No bury them in the back lot." ... "Okay, bye."

I'm guessing my creepiness factor was solidified by the way they ran off screaming. The trip I took to the police station later was also a big clue. I have to say, I don't like being arrested, but it's a small price to pay to keep teenage girls away from my boy. 

As word of my creepiness spreads I imagine there will be many conversations like this:

"Keesha, I'm thinking of dating T."
"No, girl, he's the one with that creepy dad."
"Ooh, that's right. Never mind then, I'ma date John."

Crisis averted!

The Advice:

In order to keep your teenage son away from dangerous teenage girls: 

1. Do whatever you can to encourage your boy in activities, dress, and hobbies that repel teenage girls. 

2. Grow a creepy beard. If you are a mother, this will double the creepiness of the beard. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Marathon Completed or Why I Didn't Win

I did it. I completed the Chicago Marathon. I should have done more than just complete it; I should have won. The whole event was rigged against me. The marathon planners, the Kenyans, the city of Chicago and even my wife's crazy friend conspired against me to ensure I did not win. Here's what happened.

After waking up and eating a light breakfast, my wife's crazy friend convinced us to walk the one and a half miles to the race's starting point. I was dubious about this plan, but decided to go along, after all she is a seasoned runner and I am not. Looking back this was obviously a ploy to get me to walk farther than I had to. She was plotting to tire me out. I think I also saw her signal some volunteers that I was the target.

We arrived at the starting point of the race and found our starting corrals. I stretched and bounced around as I waited for the race to start. Over the loud speaker they announced the race was starting. I got set to run, but no one around me moved. I looked around puzzled. "Why aren't we going?" I asked. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy.

"The faster runners start first," they said.

Seriously? They give the faster runners a head start? If I tried that with my kids (12 and 5) it would end in tears. Who does that? I began to be suspicious.

An hour went by. An hour! C'mon how is that fair? Finally the line started to move, but it's a half an hour more before I actually get to start the race. I'm miffed at the unfairness of this, but I figure if I dig in hard I can catch the front runner, right? Wrong. The conspiracy had only begun. 

I started the race in proper running form. Head held high, eyes focused on the horizon ahead. I was cruising. I was going to catch them. Then I tripped. I looked down. My feet were tangled in someone's discarded sweat pants. I looked around. The entire street was covered with discarded clothes. Pants, sweatshirts, gloves, and socks (socks?). Those cheaters ahead of us had left athletic wear booby traps to hinder us from catching up to them. Can you believe the audacity? Not content with getting more than an hour head start, they had to resort to trying to injure us. I was mad. I dug in even harder. I was determined to close the distance between us.

I ran steadily on. I ran and ran and ran. And ran. I felt good. I was going to catch them. I would do it! Then it happened. The thing every one had warned me about. I hit that proverbial wall. Wow! They weren't kidding, it was awful. My feet suddenly felt as heavy as concrete; my lungs wondered what had happened to the air; my back felt like an elephant had landed on it . Through bleary eyes I looked for the mile marker that would tell me how far I had come. I had made it to mile number three.

Luckily there were people handing out water and I was able to choke down an energy chew. Renewed I increased my speed only to slip and slide on the carpet of discarded cups the front runners had left behind. Were they trying to kill us? I carefully dodged the cups, but unfortunately stepped on a manhole cover that decided at that moment to release the smell that is Chicago.

Go make your self a nice hot bath. Get it really steamy. Now, have every one you know take turns peeing into it. Add some rotten sauerkraut, a wet dog, and the sweat soaked jerseys of your local junior high football team. This is close to the smell that ambushed me.

I staggered and nearly fell. But I steeled myself, eyes watering, I pressed on. I tripped on potholes, more discarded clothes, cleverly placed cups, and the rakes of the co-conspiring "volunteers". They were determined to stop me from running, but after awhile I became adept at spotting their traps coming and avoided them. Ha! I'd beaten them. Or so I thought.

Suddenly I heard someone behind me. I glanced back. There was no one there. Then BAM! Someone hit my knee with a baseball bat. I swung around looking for the culprit. There was no one there. BAM! I got hit again. I screamed. I heard the invisible person chuckle. "The Kenyans send their regards," he whispered, "You'll never catch them now."

He was right. I could barely move now. My knees were barely bending. I could barely walk, let alone run. I had no chance of winning now. Three thousand people streamed by me as I slowly hobbled forward. I was beaten, but "they" weren't done with me yet.

As soon as I mustered up the strength to run again, the invisible bat wielders were back to whack my knees. They paid superhuman septuagenarians to mock me as they ran quickly by. Somewhere around mile marker fifteen they somehow slipped razor blades into the bottoms of my shoes. I looked back. They had sent a car to run me off the road. They made a terrible mistake. No car was going to run me off the road! I plowed on determined to survive this nightmare I had willingly run into.

The miles flew by like a comatose sloth. I kept going. Mile seventeen, mile eighteen, mile seventeen. What? I had misread the mile marker sign, or imagined it. It's okay, just keep going I told myself. In the distance something strange covered the road. 

As I crept closer it became clear what it was -- banana peals! It looked like they had set deranged monkeys free with a year's supply of bananas. Tears came to my eyes. It was so unfair. The Kenyans had already crossed the finish line, why were they being so cruel?

A spectator waved a sign at me. It read, "Hurry up, the Kenyans are drinking all of the beer!" Yes, that was it! They didn't care about winning the race, the fame, or the prize money. All they wanted was the beer. I set my jaw and lurched forward. No one was going to drink my beer!

Mile seventeen and eighteen for real this time, then nineteen and twenty. I was going to make it. My knees no longer worked; I moved forward with out them. My feet were on fire; I promised to put them out with beer. 

Mile twenty-one, twenty-two. The volunteers started packing things up. The marathoners who had already finished the race ran back to laugh at the rest of us. Mile twenty-three, twenty-four.

Then twenty-five and finally at long last mile twenty six. Only the point two left to go. I turned the corner and almost burst out weeping. Those evil, evil, [insert swear word here]! They ended the race with an uphill climb. Where did they find a hill in Illinois? They must of had it shipped in from San Francisco. I crawled up the hill. I made it to the top.

I stumbled forward and crossed the finish line. I did it! I grabbed my beer and gulped it down. I collapsed weeping uncontrollably -- it was wheat beer.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Training Week -- What? The Marathon's Next Week? Crap! or Be Careful What You Visualize

I have read about visualization. The idea is that you picture yourself doing something and voil a you are doing it. Apparently some athletes use it to picture themselves hitting the ball, or making a basket, or whatever their sport requires them to do. Apparently some people use it to accomplish other things like giving up smoking or doing well on a test.

Visualizing has never worked for me. When I was in high school I tried doing it during our basketball games, but the coach still put me in the game. There was a year that I used it every time I opened my mailbox, but $100 dollar bills never poured out of it. (Neither, for that matter, did Snoopy). And it certainly never worked to get Brussels sprouts to taste like cheese cake.

Then suddenly, to my horror it did work.

Way back when I was still sane, before I signed up for the Chicago Marathon; before my wife's crazy friend bewitched us into agreeing to run; back when two miles seemed like a long way to run, I made a big mistake: I visualized myself running a marathon.

Honestly I don't know why I did it. I was probably a little crazy from running or maybe my wife had already been using her sneaky subliminal psychology techniques to trick me into visualizing this. Whatever the reason, I wasn't worried. Visualization had never worked before, why would it now? I was safe, right? Right? NO! I was not safe. I visualized it and now here I am getting ready to run
 t   w   e   n   t   y   -   s   i   x      m   i   l   e   s.
 In a crowd. Along streets lined with port-a-potties. Gah!

Don't visualize things! You've been warned.

Okay, so we've reached that awkward part of the blog where I blackmail you. See, it occurred to me that if visualizing myself running a marathon worked, then visualizing other people running one would work too.

So, here's how this is going to go: donate $50 or more here or I will visualize you running a marathon.* Don't think I won't. I'll do it. You'll find yourself inexplicably running on paths distances you would have only ever driven. Your body will spew forth sweat like a sprinkler, your legs will ache, you'll buy nipple guards! Your life will be overwhelmed with running and you will rue the day you did not donate (Here! Now!) **

*Unless, of course, you want to run a marathon, then I'll visualize you not running a marathon.
** It just occurred to me that maybe the reason I visualized myself running a marathon was because one of you didn't donate and I visualized you into running a marathon so you built a time machine, came back, and somehow tricked me into visualizing myself running a marathon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Training Week (Insert Number Here) or How to Know if Someone Is Trying to Kill You

If you have been reading my blog you know that I haven't been able to run for a while, but now I'm back to running on dry land. Illinois, like the rest of the country is experiencing SUMMER. Since I do not want to die on a run, I've been running when the weather allows it. But even if the day is a cool 80˚ it's still hot.  One day as I was slogging through a three mile run in this heat, I had an epiphany-- my junior high P.E. teacher was trying to kill me.

I never liked my junior high P.E. teacher. He was one of those former jocks that despise anyone who isn't going to be the next pro basketball/football/baseball star. Since all my athletic talent was maliciously stolen by my younger brothers, I was often the focus for his disdain. He put us through the normal shaming rituals that are common in P.E. classes throughout the land: comparing our abilities to girls, making sure there were plenty of teams to be picked last for, laughing hysterically as we tried to do chin-ups, etc. He once forced us to do one hundred one armed push-ups (okay, it was only ten normal push-ups; but seriously, at that age what's the difference?) His malignity would have been terrible anywhere, but it was worse where I lived.

I spent my junior high years in the it's-so-hot-nothing-will-grow-so-we-paint-the-pebbles-in-our-yards-green city of Tucson. Tucson is hot. No one owns an oven there because they can cook all their food by just sticking it outside for a few minutes. I lived there for three years and sweated the entire time. The whole city would have burst into flame years ago if it weren't for the miracle of diverting water from another state's river. This practice allowed for brief areas of almost greenness.

One of these areas was a park across the street from my school. It had grass. The only way to keep it alive was by the perpetual use of sprinklers. If I recall correctly there were even a few trees. Our P.E. teacher would have us start running in this verdant place.

"This isn't too bad," we'd say to each other, "We can run through the sprinklers!" "Maybe Mr. S__ isn't so bad after all." For a moment we were happy and carefree. Fools.

The path the teacher plotted for us quickly left this little oasis and we found ourselves slapped back into the reality of where we were and what we were doing. We were in the desert. We were running.

"Holy Crap! We're running in the desert!"

Yes, the desert. For those of you who have never been to Arizona, let me explain. First, you have to understand that the desert has no shade. None. There are no trees, no skyscrapers to block the sun. There are no clouds. (For some unfathomable reason Arizona banned clouds from entering the state in the late 1880s.) The sun takes full advantage of this. Every day it works hard to catch as many things on fire as it can. I once saw a child's ice cream cone catch on fire. Our teacher made us run in this heat.

Just for fun set yourself on fire. Now try running. Yeah, it was like that.

Then there are the cacti. When movies and television shows depict the southwestern desert they mainly show the Saguaro cactus. These are benign cacti. They smile pleasantly at passersby. One in my neighborhood handed out lemonade to thirsty kids. But these are not the only type of cactus. There are others like the Cholla cactus. This devious pin cushion spends the nights carefully spreading caltrops over every centimeter of the ground. It cackles as it hides them under thin layers of soil. When morning comes it cleverly positions itself in the glare of the sun. Then when some poor sun-blinded fool comes near it it throws a few more caltrops at them just for good measure. No material known to man can stop these spiny missiles. The spines of these deadly little balls happily slide right through sneakers and skin. Our teacher made us run through fields full of Cholla.

Just for fun go get some sewing needles and stick them in your foot. Now try running. Yeah, it was like that.

Then there are the animals: rattle snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas. If you have ever watched the Crocodile Hunter you have heard how these animals won't attack unless they are provoked; how they want to be left alone, etc. Steve Irwin is a filthy, filthy liar. As soon as you stop to wrench the Cholla caltrop from your foot, the scorpions and spiders attack in perfect military formation to the beat of the snakes' rattling. Our teacher met with the rattle snakes every morning to let them know exactly where and when we would be running.

Just for fun inject your leg with scorpion venom. Now try running. Yeah, it was like that.

Any sane adult would have stopped and said, "This is ridiculous. I'm not running through this. In fact, I'm calling the police, this guy is obviously trying to kill me."

But we were junior high students. So, when an adult told us to run through the desert we ran. Eyes burning and stinging with sweat; we ran. Limping and delirious; we ran. Our heads burst into flame; we ran. Snakes attached to our legs like leaches; we ran. The demons in our near death experiences collapsed from heat stroke; we ran. We ran and ran and ran. We saw the bleached bones of other runners who had succumbed to the desert; we envied them and ran. It was torturous, it was agony, it was an attempt to murder us, but hey, at least it wasn't math class.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Traini ... er, actually, I've lost track. So, let's try this: 17 Weeks Left or Running IN Water

When I last wrote all those weeks ago my doctor had pared away bits of my foot and forbade me to run. She still has not given the okay to run and I'm pretty sure she placed a surveillance device in my foot to make sure I don't. If you thought I was panicked before, imagine me upon hearing this news.
What am I going to do? I can't run. I'm not even supposed to walk long distances. Meanwhile my wife is gloating on Facebook about how far she's run; rubbing it in every chance she gets, "Honey, I'm going to run ten miles tomorrow morning," and "I've been running so much I have to buy a new pair of running shoes."

My running shoes in the meantime have started complaining about the dust gathering on them and trying to get me to at least take them up to my wife's closet full of shoes where they at least have the chance of a date.

I was about to ignore my doctor's warnings when I remembered that I used to swim. I swam a lot as a kid. One of my friend's mother was a life guard at a local pool. We would go there frequently and swim until the pool closed or we turned blue from the cold.
Swimming! Great idea. There is even a pool nearby that has times just for lap swimming. I was all set ... except, well, my arm.

My right arm is mad at me for some reason. If I move it too fast, or in a certain direction, or too slow, or in another direction, or not at all it screams at me and send sharp pains up and down itself. This makes it rather hard to use my arms to swim. But I decided it was my best shot at continuing to train for my potential reenactment of the very first marathon.

I got in the water, kicked my legs, tried to stroke with my arm and promptly blacked out from the pain and drowned.

Okay, not really, but it hurt a lot. Not wanting to give up (not because I am resilient, but because I had already paid for a month and I am cheap) I turned over and commenced the backstroke. Or as I like to think of it, "the self-induced waterboarding stroke." No matter how hard I kicked my feet I did not seem to be getting anywhere and my arm did not care that I was now on  my back. It glared at me, picked it's teeth with a knife, and dared me to try another stroke. 

My brilliant swimming idea was not going as planned. Then I stumbled across this:
This is a water jogging belt. It keeps the wearer upright so that they can run in the water. So, until my doctor gives me the okay to run on land, I'll be running in water.

And please, don't forget why I am doing this in the first place. Click the link above and donate money to a great cause.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hiatus Week 1 or Stupid Foot

Some of you may remember that I used to go barefoot all the time. My feet were allowed to frolic freely through the lush green fields of life. They were unconstrained by shoe's evil choke hold. They were happy. They loved their freedom.

Enter the villain.

Driven crazy by years of Lucky Charms and Pixie Stix abuse my pancreas saw their happiness and hated them for it. It devised an evil plan to end their freedom. Slowly but surely it converted nerves to its cause; those it couldn't convince it killed. When my nefarious pancreas finally had enough nerves on its side it struck. It gave my feet neuropathy.

My feet never saw it coming. They rallied and tried to fight back, but their constant attempts to trip the pancreas out of the body just made my chin and nose really mad. In the end they were forced to concede defeat. Totally unintentional pun. I swear. Mourning the loss of  the tickle of soft grass on their soles or the cool squishiness of mud oozing through their toes, they lay limp and resolved to die.

Since I am allergic to having parts of my body amputated I resolved to do what I could to save their lives. Unfortunately that means  I have been forced to keep them imprisoned in tiny cages of leather and rubber.  They hate it. And because they no longer have to fortify themselves against concrete and rocks they have become weak, thin skinned, whiny babies. Which is why my right foot got a blister.

For a normal foot a blister is not that big of a deal. Put a Band-aid on it and move on. But for my foot it is the end of the world.

My foot: "Aghh! A Blister! Let's fall off his leg before he makes us run more. "
Me: "You'll be okay. I'll rub some anti friction stuff on you -- no worries."
My foot: "Ohhh-kay, I guess."
A day later
My foot: "Aagh! It's worse! You are trying to kill us! We need to stop running!"
Me: "Calm down. We can keep running."
My foot: "Take me to a doctor NOW!"
Me: "Okay, okay."

At the Podiatrist.
Doctor: "Are you trying to kill your foot?"
My foot: "Yes, he is! And ... and he keeps us locked up in his smelly shoes all the time -- arrest him! "
Doctor: "You need to stop running."
My foot: "See? We told you so … wait, what is she doing with that knife?"
The doctor carves away half of my foot.
Doctor: "There, that should heal better now."
My foot: Sniff sniff "You quack! Who gave you your degree? Hannibal Lecter?"

So, my doctor has told me to stop running until my foot is fully healed. Hopefully it will be soon. Regardless of the state of my foot you can still donate money so that people can have access to clean water.