Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Pinterest....

Dear Pinterest:

Why must you tempt me so?  You know that I have sworn a solemn vow to never succumb to your powerful spell, yet you tempt me with things that I find interesting.  Slowly and inexorably I find myself being pulled toward your evil embrace; I am the moth to your bright light, the Sally to your Harry.  Your methods are insidious, using my friends and family to further your evil purposes.  They say things like "Oh, I found this on Pinterest" and "Check this out, I saw it on Pinterest" and "If you were on Pinterest you would have known not to do that you idiot", and on and on and on.  Their pleas to join the cult of Pinterest are incessant and are slowly and gradually wearing me down.  My resistance is weakening and I fear that my spirit is too weak to hold out against your siren song.

My friends and family argue "Come on, everyone's doing it" and "Come on man, you don't want to be the only one not doing it do you?" and "Just try it and see if you like it” and "Give it just five minutes and you will be hooked” and even “The first one's free buddy, just tell your friends about us”, yet I continue to resist.

Why?  First and foremost, in my mind at least, Pinterest is like Secret, it’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.  It’s like Chunky soup; yes you can eat it with a fork, but what kind of nut job eats soup with a fork?  But more than anything it’s because, frankly, I do not like doing what everyone else is doing; I like to swim against the tide, I like to wear my pants inside out, I like to drive against the parking lot arrows, and I like to remove the tags from my mattresses.  In short, I like being different, I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.  Can I continue to hold out?  Only time will tell.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Father's Day....

As Father's Day approaches my mind is drawn inexorably to memories of my now deceased father, who passed away a few years ago in California.

I don't have very many memories, and none of the fond variety, of my father because he left my mother and four boys when I was four.  Between the ages of four and about eleven we neither saw nor heard from him.  At eleven my mother, who was in desperate need of a break, agreed to allow my brothers and I to live with him in California for a time.

My memories of the California days are of him selling pot out of his bedroom, getting drunk and laying out in the yard crying about a dog that had recently died and that we suspected he had killed, and him leaving us with a friend of his and then promptly disappearing.  Shortly after his disappearing act my mother sent for us and I didn't see him again until I was in the Navy and stationed in San Diego.

I never addressed my father as dad, but I also never called him by his first name in his presence because for some reason I felt that it was the respecful thing to do for this man that I did not respect.  If I ever called his house and he didn't answer I would ask whoever did if "he" was there.  After a few phone calls though I quickly learned that he wasn't someone that I even wanted to talk to.  On the few occassions that we did talk I found that he liked to discuss how proud he was of his stepson Tommy.  I always thought how wonderful it was for him to have such a great relationship with his stepson when he had completely abandoned his four boys and never provided a penny of support.

My lack of respect for him had nothing to do, necessarily, with what he had done to his kids.  Instead, my lack of respect stemmed from how he had treated my mother.  About six years ago, which was probably two years before his death, I sent him an email asking him if he regretted how he had treated my mother and walking out on her and four kids.  I told him that I wanted closure and needed to know.  His response just reemphasized for me that I was actually pretty lucky to have grown up not knowing him.  My brothers have always been angry that we grew up without a father.  I, on the other hand, was just happy that we had a mother who did absolutely everything she could to make up for it.  All I ever asked him for was some expression of regret.

I used to think that reflecting on how you raised your kids with a somewhat critical eye and fear that you didn't do as good as you needed to was something that just mothers did.  I've since learned that fathers do this too. 

A buddy of mine recently said that he feared he hasn't been the parent he wanted to be because his kids didn't have the things that he wanted to give them.  He's a great dad and being a good parent isn't about the stuff your kids have, it's about the time you spend with them and the love that you show them.  It's about being a dad and not just a father.

Kids grow up and hope that they can make their parents proud of them.  Parents raise their kids and hope that their kids are proud of them; both sides are really seeking the same thing and in that sense parents and kids really aren't so different.  At the end of the day you do the best you can and hope that it's enough.

So if you have a dad who has done the best he can, make sure that you let him know that you appreciate him on Sunday.  As for me, I take comfort in knowing that although my father's gone, he's down there somewhere looking up at me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On growing up....

Today for the first time my little girl, who isn't so little any more, and my little boy, who also isn't so little anymore, are both away from home in their first cars.  As I watched my son pull out and drive down the road I realized something; underneath my hard, crunchy exterior lies a soft, milky center.

I've always joked with the kids that they were getting a U-Haul for their 18th birthday.  In fact, I searched eBay and got my son a little toy replica of one just as I had always promised.  But today makes me realize that I never really wanted them to grow up; I've kind of grown fond of them.

All of the plans that I had for when they leave the house: walking around naked (except when frying bacon), turning their rooms into a wood shop, changing all the locks; all of those plans suddenly seemed trivial and meaningless to me.  Instead, I sat here and observed that a salty, water-like substance was carving tracks down my dusty face.  I realized that I was sad, and probably needed a shower.

So fly, fly young birds, spread your wings in flight, but you better be home by 9.  And remember, you will always be my little boy and little girl and I'm proud of the young people you both have become, but also very, very sad.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On birthdays....

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
~Jennifer Yane

I turn 45 today and the above picture was taken 27 years ago when I was just 18.  Back then I was a lot smarter, or at least I thought I was.  Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and tell 18 year old Phillip that he's an idiot, and I'm sure that there are many who share that desire.

As I approached my 45th birthday I started to wonder why in the heck we celebrate birthday's anyway.  I suppose that when you're young and yearn to be older it's just another step in what you consider to be the the right direction.  But with every passing year it becomes less of a celebration, for me anyway, and more of a reminder that I'm not young anymore.

I've already decided what I want for my 46th and subsequent birthday's, and that's to forget that it's my birthday and that I'm a year older.  Of course, as several people have pointed out to me today, getting older is better than the alternative, but it still sucks.  Maybe I should just consider myself 18 with 27 years of experience.

Friday, March 9, 2012

On the Mayan calendar....

December 21st will be here before you know it and I don't know about you, but I have an extra pair of Fruit of The Looms packed away with my Vienna Sausages just in case I'm wrong and all of the nut cases aren't.  I find comfort in the knowledge that that I have a spare pair of drawers and a can of congealed pig parts should the unthinkable happen.

My mother always taught me that you should always have a clean pair of underwear with you in case you're ever in an accident.  I guess she figured that if you had that clean pair of underwear and were in an accident you could put them on quickly before emergency crews arrived.  Or maybe she meant that you should always wear clean underwear.  I'm not sure exactly how she meant it, but just to be safe I will change into a fresh pair the morning of December 21st and have that spare pair on me.  I call them my doomsday underwear and I have them behind glass.

In a post-apocalyptic world clean Fruit of the Looms are going to be worth their weight in gold.

People have been predicting the end of the world for about as long as the world's been in existence, so I really don't expect anything to happen except for a lot of disappointment and wall-to-wall news coverage of the nothing that was.  Every network will go live to correspondents across the globe who will all confirm that nothing happened.  Then, the very next day, some scientist will hold a press conference to say that his calculations were incorrect, thus spawning renewed distress in people who have nothing better to do than worry about stuff that they can't control.   

On the other hand, those news reports might look something like this:

I remember sitting down to draw up a multiplication table when I was a kid because I was too stupid to realize that there already was one in the back of my math book.  I got to about 2x9, saw something shiny, lost interest, and went outside to annoy the neighbors.  I kind of figure the same thing might have happened to the Mayan who created their calendar.  Doing all of those calculations and then transferring said calculations onto a big ass rock is hard, tedious work, and the guy might have had a short attention span, or he might have just been tired and wanted to be outside sacrificing rival tribesmen like everyone else; he just never picked back up where he left off.

Every 18 months or so I create a calendar to stick on my wall that I can glance at and see all of the important dates; vacations, holidays, etc.  The calendar I currently have expires on the last day of July, 2013.  Just because I didn't complete all of 2013 doesn't mean the world ends at the end of July, it just means that I got lazy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On assvertisment....

My post on Exciting Business Opportunities and the Waistline-Age Continuum got me to thinking about butts and money for some reason, two things that aren't often closely associated with one another.  Nevertheless this is how my mind works; it's the cross that I must bear.

You've probably seen the shorts and pants with stuff written on the butts.  I don't really understand the rationale behind them; I personally don't want to draw any unnecessary attention to my buttocks, nor do I want my daughter drawing attention to hers, but to each his own. In case you don't know what I'm referring to, here's an example:

Like I said, I don't really understand why anyone would want anything written across their butt, but being a guy that tends to roll with the punches I think that I've figured out a way to cash in on the pant writing craze.  Instead of some nonsensical term or word, why not sell ad space on your backside?  After all, if you're going to have writing on your butt, you might as well cash in on it, right?  Here are some samples of what I propose:

After the idea came to me I broke out my abacus and slide rule and did some cyphering to try to figure out if the numbers would work.  I didn't want to go off all willy nilly investing my hard earned fortune on some crackpot idea that came to me in the shower; I learned something from my failed Port-a-Hottie venture.  And I don't want you to lose money either because this isn't about me, it's about you. 

I took a class or two in Quantitative Business Analysis when I was getting my Bachelor's in Business Administration at a highly prestigious business school (Spoiler alert:  I've just started my sales pitch, the first part of which is to point out and grossly exaggerate my business qualifications) and came up with a chart that I believe accurately reflects potential assvertising revenue projections.  Here is the chart:

Don't ask me to interpret this chart because that would just confuse and disorient you, and I don't want you to be confused or disoriented just yet, that comes later.  The important thing here is that it's a pretty chart, and pretty charts sell.  All that you really need to understand is that this is a cottage industry in a growth market.  There is a ton of low hanging fruit out there and I expect incremental growth if you're willing to take it to the next level and think outside of the box.  I just used six catch phrases in the last two sentences, which should illustrate to you that I know what the heck I'm talking about.

So I'm looking for business partners, people who are willing to absorb all of the risk in exchange for the empty promise of future rewards.  It's time to quit working for the man and instead make the man work for you.  This is a limited time offer, so don't miss out on this exciting opportunity.  Supplies are limited and callers are standing by.

Disclaimer:  Offer not available in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  Past performance is not indicative of future results, people can and will lose money.  Contents may be hot.  Exposure to this offer may cause lightheadedness, hair loss and trouble breathing.