Sunday
Jun152008

Ask Me.

Guess what? I just got a sweet invitation to guest post for Cynical Dad while he's on vacation next week. I'm not sure what I'm going to do exactly but my head is swirling with ideas. And one of my ideas entails a mock interview format. So I need your help.

Ask me a question. Anything. I know you think I'm kinda weird. So isn't there something you're wondering about? Ask me! Leave a comment and ask away! Your question might end up in my Cynical Dad guest post. Or even if it doesn't, I'll try to answer all your questions. It'll be fun. Maybe.

ASK ME A QUESTION.

Sunday
Jun152008

Jackson Day

BABY JACKSON: Dada.
BLACK HOCKEY JESUS: That’s right little guy. I think Surrealism was overly programmatic too. Dada was fresh and innovative and—
BABY JACKSON: Dada. [and the world exploded]

Let’s get this straight, Jackson. I was just your mother’s boyfriend. I met her when she was 2 months pregnant with you and there was no way in hell I was getting wrapped up with some pregnant chick but she acted like she fell asleep at my place when we were watching movies. She looked like a wayward Goddess who took a wrong turn at some sacred crossroad and got lost in our profane world. So I let her stay.

Then when Bryan hooked up with that job clearing trails in Colorado, I couldn’t afford to rent the place above the tattoo parlor by myself. I moved in with your mom just 1 month before you were born. But, like I said, I was just your mother’s boyfriend. That was the agreement. You were her kid. You were her responsibility.

The capacity for male denial to convince itself of blatantly absurd realities in the face of the contrary is far reaching. In due time I will verse you in its ways.

Without getting too technical, there’s an interesting branch of philosophy that denies the essential existence of things. They don’t believe that the world of things existed first and mankind went around naming everything second. Rather, they believe that the existence of a thing is bound up in language, that, for instance, a tree was called into Being by the word “Tree”. This is tough stuff to get your head around because there’s a place where reason fails you and something else is required. But I know it’s true, Jackson. I know in my heart it’s true.

Because you spoke me.

Do you understand, boy? Please understand this someday. I was a disparate collection of blurry fragments until you uttered me into the world. You spoke me. You said “Dada” and called forth a Dad out of the teeming formless void. The word “Dad” blurred the myriad distinctions in the impermanent march of ceaseless change and instituted my emergence: a somebody, a Dad in service to his Son. You Dadded me. The who of who I am coheres in your word. I am the plaything of your speech.

The mouth of the baby gives birth to the Dad. You made me a man, little boy, with the sound of your newly emerging voice. So this morning, today, Father’s Day is not just about me. It’s about you.

For you are the boy with the magical golden tongue.

Saturday
Jun142008

Rubber

Lucy appeared in our bedroom like a ghost. She was scared. “What are you afraid of, sweetie face?” Guinevere queried, the sympathetic one of our parenting duo. Consciousness makes me irritable. “This,” she said and revealed in her tiny little hand a green frog made of rubber. “The frog? You’re afraid of the little frog?” Lucy nodded, and in the act of this admission, her whole sad face tightened and a single tear tracked down each of her perfect cheeks.

“I’m. I’m afraid that it’s real.”

My wife is an oncology nurse. Her day to day life entails walking people gently into their good nights. She hears their last stories, laughs with them, cries with them, hugs them as they lay dying when they are unable to bid farewell to their loved ones stuck in traffic. My wife is a saint. Where she works there is a brilliant doctor. He’s on the verge of curing cancer. He lives in a mansion on top of a big hill that looks down on us all. He is intelligent and funny and he looks like Patrick Dempsey. His penis is a monstrous serpent that makes a mockery of my ridiculous penis. One day he asks my wife for a chart and their eyes lock and he is struck dumb like I was when I saw her for the first time in that bookstore. Suddenly, his life revolves around her. It’s even hard to focus on curing cancer. I stop shaving and bathing and I take to drinking heavy. I pick up the kids on weekends and every other Wednesday to have dinner at T.G.I.Fridays. When I drop them off at the mansion on top of the big hill that looks down on us all, my wife refuses to answer the door. The doctor answers. He wears no shirt and has rock hard abs. We shake hands. He’s made of rubber, but I’m afraid that he is real.

Sometimes I lie awake at night and my vivid imagination sees 4 piles of bones. We will all one day perish. When you see Jackson & Lucy rolling around, wrestling, laughing and making messes, it seems impossible to fathom. When you tickle Lucy’s belly, the sound of her laughter itself seems an airtight argument against the truth of death. But sometimes when I can’t sleep, I am haunted by these images of bones. And I wish I wish with all my might that they were only made of rubber.

Friday
Jun132008

Literal

Jackson was trying to skin the cat. Pan was giving him a tough go of it too. Pan’s very nervous. He has 5 feet of personal space in which he rarely permits invasions. And when you’re trying to give him ear drops or skin him, you better look out. I don’t usually mess with Pan. But Jackson was getting all scratched up and he was holding the knife wrong, so I had to intervene.

BLACK HOCKEY JESUS: Dude. Stop. Jackson. Stop. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
JACKSON (bleeding): Please do tell.
BHJ: You gotta hold him by the scruff of the neck. Tight. Like this.
PAN: Damn!
BHJ: Quiet down you. And then—gimme that knife—you pick a leg and start at the top like this.
PAN: YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER! I’LL NEVER JOIN YOU!

I was showing my son another way to skin the cat when a very ugly woman from the SPCA busted the front door off its hinges.

VERY UGLY WOMAN FROM THE SPCA: Freeze! Drop the cat! Everyone freeze! I said drop the cat! Drop the cat! Drop the cat! I said drop the cat!
PAN: Lemme go.
VUWFTSPCA: What is the meaning of this?!?
BHJ: Nothing. We’re just goofing around. Relax. Good lord you’re shockingly ugly.
VUWFTSPCA: You call skinning a defenseless animal “just goofing around”?
BHJ: O you mean the cat? Hold on one second. We’re not really skinning the cat. It’s a figure of speech we’re riffing on. It’s not really happening. We’re not inside a literal space here.
VUWFTSPCA: Not inside a literal space?
JACKSON: No. This is… text. Words.
PAN: Psst. Lady. Cats don’t really talk.
VUWFTSPCA: O but this is merely showy evasion. Maybe you’re not literally skinning the cat. But you condone cat skinning. Your writing perpetuates cat skinning. You’re admitting your support for the skinning of defenseless cats.
BHJ: Nope. Not really. Like I said. We’re not being literal.
VUWFTSPCA: But these are first person prose pieces on a personal blog about your specific family!
JACKSON: Again. Not really. For instance, my Dad’s not as cool as he’s portrayed. We’re characters. It’s not real. Lighten up Very Ugly Woman From The SPCA.
VUWFTSPCA: Not real?!? But I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m real.
PAN: There is no self that abides.
BHJ: You’re not real and this conversation never really happened. We’re just having fun.
VUWFTSPCA: But how can you have fun in a world where cats really are skinned? Children are starving to death. Right now. Children are starving. Women are being beaten by aggressive males. Races are being oppressed. Life is not fair for homosexuals. People drink merrily in front of anxious recovering alcoholics. Members of differing socioeconomic statuses are having major conflicts based not in logic itself but rather in the clash of opposing logics springing from their respective socioeconomic statuses. There is suffering, sickness, old age, and death. We are at war. How can you write poetry after Auschwitz? And did I mention death? How can you have fun when there's death? What of death?
LUCY: I wanna play. Will you play with me, Daddy?

Thursday
Jun122008

Revenge

From whence this wretched racket? There was mewling, whimpering in the dark, probably Lucy in the midst of some goofy night terror. When do you get to finally sleep? How old must these little people become before they just let you sleep? She is 4 for the love of God. It’s 2 AM. When will she end her perpetual argument with the wind? But not so fast. I didn’t make it to Lucy’s room before I was stopped in my tracks. Jackson? I opened his bedroom door.

BLACK HOCKEY JESUS: I am too tired to provide any sympathies for the likes of you in these wee hours. Get a grip, boy. Do you need a thrashing?
JACKSON: (hushed, urgent): Dad, there’s someone in my closet.
BHJ: Paaa! Cats, Jackson. Are you serious? You got me out of bed for some freeloading scoundrel cats?!?
PAN & LUNA (in unison): We’re over here. [in bed with Jackson]
BHJ: So you are. Scoundrels. Let’s have a look in your closet then so we can put an end to this foolishness.

I heard something too. I was totally freaked out but I’m still trying to present an image to Jackson of a Dad who doesn’t get freaked out. But I do. I know that not every noise in the night leads back to some rational explanation. That it’s actually some errant fairy or cartoon figure or worse. Some noises are the malcontent undead bumbling around the creases of the living. The dead are clumsy. Scary shit. But this time I discovered, not before screeching like Lucy when you tell her it’s naptime, that it was only Calamari. I grabbed him by the hair on the back of his head and yanked him from the closet.

BLACK HOCKEY JESUS: Got you! What business do you profess to have in my son’s closet, rogue?
JACKSON: Dad?
CALAMARI: O but scores need a little settling, Mr. Jesus. My business is with the boy.
BHJ: You dare to threaten my son? In my house? Ah but you’re a foolish tongue kissing squid.
JACKSON: Dad?
CALAMARI: The boy must pay for his verbal transgressions.
BHJ: O shut up, Calamari.
JACKSON: Dad? Stop it. There’s nothing there.
BHJ: But it’s that idiot Calamari. [puts finger in idiot’s face to indicate evident truth of idiot] What the hell are you talking about? Use your imagination, boy!
JACKSON: Dad. There’s nothing there.
BHJ: So it’s true then. [I sat on Jackson’s bed and put a comforting hand on his knee] Our modern visions of science, metaphysics, psychology, and theology have stultified your imagination. O Jackson. You’re so effed come Christmas.
CALAMARI: I’ll have my leave then.
BHJ: Damn right you’ll have your leave. Right out the front door. Stay away from my daughter’s room you pervert.
CALAMARI: I’ll deal with you later, Jackie Boy.
BHJ: O shut up, Calamari.
JACKSON: Dad. I’m concerned about you.
BHJ: Vice-versa, dude. We live in completely different worlds little man. You think we’ll still make it as the greatest father/son team in the history of the world?
JACKSON: I think we’ll manage.
BHJ: Do you think our worlds are similar enough for us both to have some ice-cream before we go back to bed?
JACKSON: Word.

Wednesday
Jun112008

You Better Not Make Me Mad

It's another overcast morning here in dreary Seattle. Let the Alice-N-Chains play on: "I feel so alone /gonna end up a big old pile of THAM BOWWWWNZ". RIP Layne Staley. Just sayin...

A few notes:

You gotta check this out. I won 4 Turkish bowls. Thanks Natalie!

I am categorically refusing to bow to the cultural pressure to write “REALLY?” after every single statement of irony. I just read a blog post with 16 “REALLY?”s. Do you need to write “REALLY?” 16 times? For realz? WTF?

Previously, I had banned all goofy internet abbreviations from my usage, but Jenny The Bloggess has breathed new life into “WTF?” for me. Jenny The Bloggess can drop a “WTF?” like nobody’s business. And so I steal from her like a thief in the night.

Lastly, this dude, Josh Haley, has impeccable taste in music as he displays in his recent comment to the “Drum Lessons” post. He inspired me & Jackson to shred our living room in the name of Rock with a capital “R”. For those of you familiar with Jackson’s struggles with neighborhood bullies, note that we sit and wait for those punks to ride their bikes outside before we play this gem. The rock-n-roll camera angles were created by Lucy’s visionary relationship to cinematography (reminder: she’s 4!). I love being a Dad!

I am wayyyy too punk rock to be understood, so here’s the lyrics: “You better not make me mad / Cause my dad can beat up your dad / Throwin’ rocks you better think twice / My mom says you better be nice / You better not make me mad / Aw screw my dad I’M gonna kick your ass” (again with the language – I am a bad person).

100 Black Hockey Points for the person who guesses who my tattoo is (you can see it around Lucy’s finger sometimes). And if you know me already, don’t spoil the fun for others.

EDIT: WTF? OK you can't see the tat so well on the scaled down Blogger video. Guess anyway. It's a contest.

EDIT: I celebrate myself, and sing myself! It's Walt Whitman! Good call Always Home & Uncool! Game over.

Monday
Jun092008

Pregnant Lady Rockin A Bikini

Yesterday at the master planned community pool there was a pregnant lady rockin a bikini. It was a bold display. Many an eye was riveted. I do not profess to attribute any positive or negative judgments to the pregnant lady rockin a bikini. I leave the judging to judges, God, and overzealous Christian hypocrites. Nonetheless, judgements aside, it remains for me to explore why I couldn’t tear my eyes from her pregnant mass. It was not about sheer weight. There are plenty of extra pounds jiggling around the master planned community pool. Nor was it sexual. I have a buddy Bryan who gets all hardcore about pregnant women, but this was not that (I think, but more than 100 years of psychology have been built on this notion that we don’t & can’t know ourselves, so how do I know? Isn’t everything sexual, Sigmund?). No, the reaction was more akin to something like: “Holy Hell, there’s a baby in there! Plus she’s almost naked!” Shocked awe. I was wrenched from my mundane experience of the master planned community pool and thrust into contemplation of the fundamental mystery of creation. It was sweet. Jackson thought so too. He pointed all sneaky like & giggled. I whispered “Dude. She is rockin that bikini. Don’t point. Don’t point.” Lucy said knowingly “There’s a baby in her belly.” and I braced myself because Dads intuitively know when it’s coming: “How’d that baby get in there, Daddy?” I remembered when I tried to tell Jackson and he puked in his mouth so I thought fast, “That woman there? Well... she picked a blue tulip during a full moon and a choir of fireflies sang her praises.” She made the nonsense face, but it was enough to get me off the hook. Jackson looked ill. The pregnant lady rockin a bikini was pregnant with ambiguous meaning. She was both monstrous & angelic. She signalled something of the basic truth underlying all of our experiences, that there’s more to them than what meets our eyes, that there’s life in them. Our experiences have life inside them. They’re not finished. The life inside our experiences is changing. And we never know what they will be. So in the end all we can do is wait. We wait. And wait some more. Until the life inside our experiences starts crawling and learns to talk, word by word by word. And the faithful among us will listen closely to the words of the life inside our experiences. And with a little luck we might write something true.

O bold pregnant lady rockin your bikini / I took out my camera / I hope you don't see me / Your pregnant belly / is so pregnant with meaning / I must have a picture / I hope you don't see me

Monday
Jun092008

Summer Vacation!

Jackson slept in until an unheard of 9:32, and I suspect this had something to do with the newly instituted “No Fun Till We Run” morning father/son ritual. His sleeping in like a drunken teen led me to the following parental revelation (I’ll put it in italics to highlight its profundity): If I give these kids a bunch of morning duties, they will stay in bed all day and leave me alone. If this works, publishers will wage wars for me.

Lucy, however, woke up at 6:41 and dressed herself.


Lucy rocks to her own tunes. Rock on Lucy.

Esmerelda was working today so, because she’s so touchy about me leaving Lucy home alone, I needed to pump up the tires on the running stroller. Wives come with a lot of rules. Pushing that stroller’s a bitch; don’t underestimate how much your swinging arms help you when you're running.

Note To Single Dads: When you’re running with your 9-year-old son while pushing your 4-year-old daughter in a stroller, the ladies shoot you all kinds of love beams. Big smiles. Pockets full of digits. Lace up those shoes.

Heard on the run…

JACKSON: Dad? Is this quality time?
BLACK HOCKEY JESUS: Hells yeah!

I’ve read a lot of parenting blogs about the evils of swearing in front of the kids. Well my kids hear all kinds of shit. I’ve kicked smoking and drinking and most of the best prescription drugs and now the doctor’s stealing all the good food. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna watch my fucking mouth. Plus I think my using language has pushed Jackson to the opposite extreme. I think he’ll wind up Alex P. Keaton just to spite me. He absolutely will not curse and he doesn’t think it’s funny, which is probably why the boys throw rocks at him. Loosen up Jackson. Drop an F-Bomb. Have a smoke. Do something. Lucy, on the other hand, is wicked to her core but that’s not my fault. I don’t subscribe to our culture’s emphasis on the monstrous impact of the parent on the child. Sue me. There are ways in which we’re fated.

BHJ: How’re you doing, Lucy?

Today marks the first day I called my daughter by her blog name: Lucy. There are several perspectives from which to view this event. I prefer to see it as my extreme commitment to my work.

Jackson clocked a blistering 10:51 mile today. I was so proud of him. We’re gonna stick with the mile for a week, but our goal is to eventually bust out 30 minutes a day all summer. Then we’re going to enter a 5k and do it sub-30 minutes together and slay all the world's bullies.

I leave you today with a picture of all 3 of us on the first day of Summer Vacation. We’re going to the pool while Esmerelda provides the fiscal foundation for our carefree lives.Now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum!