Thursday
May292008

Ratios

I just, moments ago, grilled some lemon garlic shrimp and tossed them in some garden rotini and olive oil. Sometimes Francesca has to work till like 8:00 or so and I’m forced to go all wild like Julia Child in solo mode. But I am a 21st c. man and this offers no challenge to my sense of masculinity. Heck, sometimes I think about kissing boys.

Anyway, me & Jackson & Lucy are eating and Jackson says: “Dad, I don’t wanna offend you but your shrimp to rotini ratio is way off.” and I’m like: “You are 9 boy. Where do you get off using a word like ‘ratio’? I’m still not completely positive what a ‘ratio’ even is. I mean I have a vague grasp that might permit me to stumble through a conversation, but what the hell are you even talking about?” I swig my Diet Coke angrily and he says all smug and uppity: “There’s too much rotini. Not enough shrimp. The ray-shee-oh is off.”

To this I responded defensively: “No man! Your fancy ratio was fine until you started hoarding all the shrimp. Everyone with a conscience knows you eat a shrimp like every 3 or 4 bites but you—you who I am hopelessly trying to assimilate into our collective ways—you, in the same way you relentlessly defy me by steadfastly refusing to brush your teeth or put your shoes ANYWHERE but the middle of the kitchen floor, need to eat a shrimp every… single… bite. It is YOU my friend who disrupted what was, back when I first served it, a perfected ratio: a virtual shrimp yin to rotini yang. And by recklessly throwing our whole dinner out of whack, you have also caused a rift in the structure of Being itself where any hope for harmony now is but a nostalgic yearning in the world’s collective psyche.”

Jackson lunged at me and we smashed through the sliding glass door in a song of shattering and twinkling and curses between the generations. Our ratio is off.

Wednesday
May282008

Je est un autre

To the 8 or 9 people who read this blog before now, be aware that I pulled a Total Recall on your ass. BAM! We are not us. I went back through and changed my kids’ names to Jackson & Lucy. Truth be told, I always wanted to name the boy Jackson anyway. Back when he was a fetus I was in this huge Jackson Pollock phase; I was really pushing to call him Jackson Hockey Jesus (or Linus).

But how cool is this? I’m fictionalizing my family. The distinction between what’s fiction and what’s “real” is blurred. I’m in the freaking Matrix or something. It’s only a matter of time before my worlds collide, blend, and confuse each other. “Lucy! Lulu! Lily! Whatever your name is. 2nd Kid, the grouchy one. Get over here!” I understand that this will complicate the use of visual imagery as well, so I’m thinking that I’ll denote my son Jackson with a picture of Gary Coleman.
I don’t have any rational ground for denoting Jackson with an image of Gary Coleman. It just dawned on me as I drove to work like an epiphany. This will inevitably lead me to call his little sister “Willis” starting today and forevermore. It can’t be avoided. Sorry Lucy. The blog’s main photo will remain the same, but I’ve heard that they grow up so fast. Soon they won’t even resemble my children. Or no wait—I actually found the blog’s main photo on a clip-art site and thought it was goofy. Who the heck are those kids? In the video of us playing guitar & drums (2 posts down), the stand-in for Jackson is some random neighborhood hooligan and I am masterly played by our reasonably priced gardener, Raul.

So… let’s review:
I am Black Hockey Jesus.
My son is Jackson Hockey Jesus.
And my daughter is Lucy Hockey Jesus. Or Willis, depending on my mood.

I’m going to call my wife by a different name every time I mention her. The reasoning for this is threefold. 1). Every time I see her, the world rejuvenates into a vivid sparkling newness articulated by various Asian religious traditions as satori, moksha, etc. (Sparks will FLY in the Black Hockey Bedroom tonight.) 2). A frequently changing identity for my wife will help express James Hillman’s notion of a polytheistic psychology, one of the cluster of ideas that motivates this entire blog. And 3). Giving my wife a new name all the time will seem like I sleep with all kinds of different women! (The Black Hockey Bedroom is dark, sparkless. Not a creature is stirring.)

My place of employment will shift with my whim: now the factory, then the hospital, and then again the potato fields from some lonely Van Gogh. Even my location will be a function of whatever hunk of geography autonomously hurls itself through my mind. I busily type this current blog from lovely Sequim, Washington (Population: 4334).

THERE! I’m a myth, as easy to locate as Keyser Soze. And why, my curious blog reader wonders, am I picking up all the bread crumbs that lead back to my identity? Because my step-mother-in-law thinks that my liberal use of the word “vagina” in the blog title will inevitably lead to termination of my employment (from the Herman Miller furniture plant in Zeeland, Michigan). Did you read that correctly? My STEP-mother-IN-LAW. She’s not just a stepmother and she’s not merely a mother-in-law—no no not so fast—we’re talking STEP-mother-IN-LAW. She makes me do all the chores AND I’ll never be good enough for her little girl. Anyway, no one’s gonna be all that shocked even if I do get fired (from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio). When Beatrice (my wife) met me, the only thing I owned was a copy of Rimbaud’s Illuminations and a carton of smokes that I had just bought with a credit card. Wasn’t the writing on the wall back then?

To tell you the truth, I don’t see the big problem with using “vagina” in my blog title anyway. It’s been 12 years since that watered down feminist wrote those Monologues and Oprah and everybody and their moms & aunts were screaming vagina this and vagina that. I’ll be straight up. I’m cool with vaginas. Jo’Quisha (my wife) has a fabulous vagina. In fact, I burst onto this scene straight out of a vagina, and proudly too. And wasn’t there some Walt Whitman poem like “Out of the vagina endlessly rocking” or something?

But I’m being silly. The potential problem of course with my use of the word “vagina” in my blog title is that I’m talking about my YOUNG DAUGHTER’S vagina and the way this might connote pedophilia and incest. Well, those possible interpretive moves sadden me. They make me feel like syrup and Monday and Adam Duritz. I don’t even have the energy to defend myself against them. My value for tolerance is challenged by them. I think that if my blog title offends you or if it leads you to make suppositions about lewd relations between me & my daughter—I think you should be shot. I think you should be taken behind some tired old church, and shot.

(Important clarification in the interest of maintaining family relations: I’m not talking about my sweet step-mother-in-law in this regard. She doesn’t need to be shot; she is however worried about me being harmed by the kind of people that do indeed need to be shot.)

My daughter screaming from a swing that the wind feels nice in her vagina was a pristine use of expressive language. It was pure and funny and true. I love you so much, Willis. Let the wind blow where it may.

Tuesday
May272008

An Imagined Conversation with My Son About Wholeness

Jackson: I saw on your blog where you put that video of us making music together, me playing my drums and you playing your guitar. Did you notice how we smile in the beginning? It’s fun to rock out with my Dad. I want you to know that. And it’s fun when we play Chess or watch movies or talk about dreams. But I’m not so sure that posting videos of us having a great time is completely fair. It’s not really the whole story, is it? Do you remember when Lucy broke the coffeepot? How you yelled?

Lucy: Too loud, Daddy. Too loud.

Jackson: And even while you were sweeping up the glass and we thought you might be done yelling, you just kept right on yelling and yelling. And it was like you weren’t even yelling at Lucy anymore. It wasn’t about a coffeepot anymore. You were just yelling and yelling and yelling at… I don’t know what. It was like you were yelling… at the whole world or something. Where’s that video, Dad? Where’s the video of you coming unglued, falling apart, smashing into pieces all over the floor like a dropped coffeepot? Where’s the video of me when my whole life compresses into a single clenched wish for you to stop yelling please stop yelling?

Dad: Jack, you don’t need videos for memories like those. Some memories live inside your bones where they become the theme of every night and all dark things.

Monday
May262008

Drum Lessons

You will have noticed by now perceptive blog reader that I dwell in a kind of ambivalence about living in a master planned community. My house looks EXACTLY like the houses to the left and to the right and on and on. Robert Downey Jr., in his heyday, would've been doomed. There are pages and pages of rules about how our house and yard are allowed to appear. With all that said, this is how Jackson & I distinguish ourselves in a neighborhood that lacks distinctions.

The neighbors are pounding at the door / 8:00 on a Sunday morn / Jackson & his Dad are at it again / Gonna get kicked out of Summerlin

Monday
May262008

Dear Jackson & Lucy,

There’s a fundamental contradiction in the core of a Dad’s job description.

1). I am supposed to assimilate you into our culture.
2). Our culture is sick.

This fundamental contradiction goes for the most part undetected because the mass of Dads are so successfully assimilated into our culture that they can’t see it for its sickness. Our disease insists we don’t have one.

But here’s our little secret. Nana & Grandpa failed with me. I’ve slipped through the cracks. And I don’t mean I’m some wacky Dad who likes to get down at Disneyland. You know who I’m talking about—all those idiots who act all fun & “childlike” while the others are looking. No. Kids, gather in close and listen: adulthood itself is a sham.

The moment we stop screaming about our vaginas, the game is over.

Careful now. There’s a kind of dance to it. If you don’t learn it well, you might go to prison or get fired or, worse, lose money. But there is a way. We can still dance in slow motion in the orange graveyard. We can knock down all the blocks and have candy for breakfast. And even though the city is burning—O there’s no doubt the thing is alive with fire—we’ll keep dancing. We still have ears for the music in the flames.

My little ones. Never, never, never mistake yourself for these literal people. I love you like the night loves its stars: Dad

Sunday
May252008

2 Rubber Snakes

For the last 2 years, Northwood has been relatively quiet, but it has of late been overrun by hooligans. These hooligans ride their bikes around with no hands and no shirts. They just ride about screaming "Hey!" to one another. Hey Blake! Hey Austin! And so on. When Jackson & I drove past The Dog Park, a park so named because I guess people take their dogs there, we spotted a pack of the above mentioned hooligans.

Me: Hey Jack. Why don't you go play with those hooligans?
Jack: (suspiciously) Really?
Me: Yeah just... you know, if they start doing dumb stuff like throwing rocks at cars or whatever then just - what's that? you know - just... do the right thing. There you go.

I had visions of him laughing, being one of the hooligans, sharing cigarettes, being rude to girls. The boy doesn't have friends. I want him to have friends. Like me & Dan Parker & Chris Delaney friends. Spend the day riding bikes back & forth to each other's houses kind of friends. Scoring brownies & red juice from each other's moms. But Jackson is 9 and he still can't ride a bike and he doesn't really have friends. And yes you do note a tone of shame in the atmosphere of my relation to my son but please know that the presence of this shame makes me want to sob out loud like Pablo Neruda outside a barbershop.

He was back in the house crying within minutes. A boy had whipped him with 2 rubber snakes. You read correctly. It was 2 rubber snakes. I asked him how old the boy was, how big the boy was, and why he didn't grab the 2 rubber snakes and whip him back. He said he was a 3rd grader, that he was of average height & build, and that he didn't know. His answers led to this pearl: "If a kid is whipping you with 2 rubber snakes and he's younger than you and he's not some weird hulky kid, then just grab the 2 rubber snakes and beat him about the face and neck."

I thought about changing my blog title to If A Kid Is Whipping You With 2 Rubber Snakes And He's Younger Than You And He's Not Some Weird Hulky Kid, Then Just Grab The 2 Rubber Snakes And Beat Him About The Face And Neck but I'm hanging in there with the vagina thing.

Calm down peace lovers. I know this was the wrong advice. I knew it was the wrong advice the whole time I was giving it, but that's what popped out. It popped out as a kind of safety device to protect my son from the question that was really trying to press through me: "Jackson, honey, lovely little curious boy, why? Why don't the kids like you?"

I underestimated this blogging business. This might be too hard.

Saturday
May242008

By Way Of Introduction...

Greetings. My name is Black Hockey Jesus. Says so right on my birth certificate. Remember when Pony Boy Curtis said that to Cherry Valance in The Outsiders? I’m already lying. Expect it. It doesn’t really say that on my birth certificate. It says Jon. But, you must admit, it would be cool if my birth certificate did say Black Hockey or Soda Pop or The Wild Black Dog Lurking Behind The Moon Who Is Said To Devour Each Moment In His Voracious Maw. Who would mess with me then?

Anyway, my name is Black Hockey Jesus. You might consider this a name that the “real” Jon hides behind, but you’d be wrong. It’s more like an empty name, something more fundamental than my given name, a container from which the fantasy of Jon, among others, emerges. Nice to meet you.

I conceived of writing this blog to explore the fantasy of myself as Father. I’m a Dad. I’ve been a Dad for almost 10 years but it’s a notion that’s shockingly resistant to sinking in. You know when you wake up and you think it’s Saturday but it’s really Monday? Then it hits you: oh man it’s Monday. Sometimes it hits me like that: whoa! I’m a Dad. Other times it’s like I think it’s Friday but it’s really Saturday and I think: hey! I’m a Dad. There’s so many ways my Dadness Dads, but it’s always a little like I’m waking from a dream.

I emerge as this Dad in relation to Jackson, 9, and Lucy, 4. The only possibility of our survival is grounded in the being of Angelina, the heart of our family. Angelina shook me from my poststructural godlessness and turned me into some goofy Greek pagan convinced he traffics with divinity. Don’t get me started. We live with 2 cats, Pan & Luna, in a master planned community where nobody knows our names. This is the context wherein my rage wavers between repression and eruption.

Friday
May232008

Stumbling Blog

Today I am a blogger. And this is the initial, self-conscious, exploratory post about the what of a blog, why blog, and to what end blog. I seriously don't know. My summer job just fell through. I'll be spending 3 solid months with Jackson & Lucy. This both thrills and morbidly depresses me. And I want to blog that contradictory thrilled depression. O sure I have a pocketful of cute stories about my kids to make you chuckle and forward to family & loved ones. But there's also parts of me that find my children despicable little creatures. I am so many. And who can say anyway that I want to write post after post about those 2 raving Gods? Let's face it with Yeats: "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."

For the most part I want to stumble along in the dark, not know, and, hopefully along with you if you're so kind enough to stumble with me, witness the blogging of the blog as it blogs forth in its own way. Perhaps we could prop each other up like a couple happy drunks.