Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dictator For Life or Until Age 18

     The job of parenting is tough.  That is the understatement of all recorded and unrecorded history.  Ensuring that the next generation is well stocked with available humans is important I suppose, but getting the little people to the adult stage is a long haul.  They don't tell you at the "baby store" just how difficult this whole deal is, and even if they did you wouldn't listen.  The babies are so cute and cuddly, and I truly appreciate the miracles that they are, but make no mistake they want to control you.  Whether it be late night feedings, diaper changes, incessant crying, homework, misbehaving, refusal to conform to the rules, and any number of other methods that they use to gain the upper hand. Then, just when you think maturity may have blossomed on your pride and joy, you can look forward to teen angst, and having someone tell you daily how much they despise your very presence.  Well, its probably not that bad, but close.  My two children are revolutionaries, but they think they are visionaries.  They believe they have seen the future, and it involves them running things around here.  As a later-in-life college student who has a bit of "seasoning" I have come to embrace the Scientific Method.  It works for pretty much any problem, for example:  Question:  How do I suppress a child uprising?  Observations:  Children do not seem to be willing to negotiate.  Hypothesis:  To stop the revolt we must use any method, fair or unfair, and break the will of the revolutionaries.  To test the theory, I have issued the proclamation that King Christopher James I will be declared "Dictator Perpetuo" or dictator for life.  Unlike Gaius Julius Caesar or Lucius Cornelius Sulla of Roman Republic fame, I plan on keeping my title.  Or at least until the Insurgents turn 18.  This is the only way to test my theory, and I for one will do what it takes to benefit Science.  Did Thomas Dolby not teach us anything!  Science!

     My first law:  Listen to what I say, and do exactly what you are told.  No questions!  No rolling of the eyes!  No unnecessary noise or unusual sounds!  If I say jump, you say "How high sir!"  If I say, "Take out the Trash" you should say, "I would be glad to sir, thank you for giving me life!  Oh father, how I love you!"  It's that simple.  My will be done.  Fathering 101.  However, it's just not that easy.  I can ask the same question a thousand times or give the same command, and it's like my two darling children have lost their hearing.  I can open up a bag of chips and they come running, but call them to pick up some clothes and....crickets.  Do they not understand that all of my vast empire will one day belong to them!  They do not see it this way however.  Jesse the Jackal and his partner in crime Maddie aka Miss Spartacus have started a resistance movement that would make the Sans Culottes of the French Revolution proud.  The Sans Culottes were working class revolutionaries during the French Revolution, and they said they would not, "wear the pants" of the more wealthy classes.  Or at least something like that.  Thus, the Sans Culottes literally means "without pants."  Jesse and Maddie have fought many a battle without pants, and one in particular comes to mind.  It was a guerilla type raid that took advantage of one of my weaknesses as a stay at home dad.  The weakness being washing dishes.  I'm good at it, but it is a painfully slow process.  I like to turn my radio on, and do a little dance, wash a dish or two, and get down tonight!!  The dynamic duo attacked when I was most vulnerable, and did it while wearing no pants.  It was summer and I have no real explanation for the lack of coverage on the lower body.  This occurred a few years ago and it will forever be known in Perry lore as, "The Dishwashing DePantsing."  One of the participants distracted yours truly while the other one did the deed.  In this case the deed was to pull down my shorts.  Don't ask me why.  I don't know.  Sometimes you can understand why those who believe they are oppressed will rise up and fight, but in this case it made no sense.  This was a pure act of terror.  The dictator does not negotiate with terrorists, whether I'm wearing pants or not.  That's just sound foreign policy.

     I'm no stranger to revolution.  If Frank Perry Sr. and his beautiful wife Patsy were still here they would tell you all about it.  I picked Green Tomatoes, stole Playboy magazines, was unruly at school, peed in a big wheel in the middle of the street on good old Bessie Ave., and strutted around like a peacock wearing parachute pants.  I was a flamboyant revolutionary (The peeing incident happened when I was very young and I really had to go, and I also wanted to know what would happen if water entered the chassis of a big wheel.  I should point out that this incident had nothing to do with flamboyance, that all came later.)  So if you again use the Scientific Method you can see why my children are the way that they are.  My wife is a Saint.  She is a Saint just to put up with all of us mad people.  You've got the dictator and the revolutionaries and all the while the Saint is acting as a intermediary trying to make peace.  Why can't we all just get along?  She will say, but these kids are like little pieces of iron and will not bend nor break.  I'm not one to quit on a fight either.  Heck, it took me about 20 years to change my choice in footwear to something modern.  Reebok ex-o-fit high tops black in color, straight outta 1988.  Yep, I'm stubborn like that.  If I'm not willing to quit on a garment that has long since gone from the in-style then I will not give in on a good fight.  This entire area of thought reminds me of a historical event, and that shouldn't be surprising.  So far in this post I've referenced the Roman Republic, The French Revolution, and cool 80s shoes.  The moment in history of which I speak happened in Ancient Greece, and involved Philip II of Macedon the father of Alexander the Great, and the Spartans.  You see Philip had led the Kingdom of Macedon to control most of Greece, and he only had to deal with one city state that was holding out and resisting the inevitable.  That one city state was, of course, Sparta.  Philip sent a message to the Spartans saying, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army on your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city."  Expecting the Spartans to get with the program and submit to his rule he waited patiently for their response.  The Spartans sent a one word response to the powerful Macedonian king.  The message simply read, "If."  Philip never attempted to conquer Sparta.  If that ain't hardcore awesome I don't know what is, but lest we forget I love that kind of stuff. Plus, it does fit with the Perry version of the Sans Culottes revolution, and you know what, the Spartans didn't wear pants either. Coincidence?  I think not. 

     Let it be written that I will be Dictator For Life.  That means that I will be all up in my children's business, and I will make sure they understand that I will be their biggest supporter and harshest critic.  I will attempt to provide a place of refuge when the world gets tough, and give them words of encouragement when they feel that can't go on.  I will stand between my children and any harm.  I will be brutally honest, and fiercely protective if need be.  I will let them know that they are loved, and as long as I have breath in my body that will be the case.  They will see the pride that I have in all their accomplishments, and the understanding in things that don't go that well.  I will make it my mission in life to let them know just how proud I am to be their father.  They will always have a place they can call home no matter how far they roam, and a soft place to land when that travel becomes rough.  All this is simply because there is nothing that I have done in my life that is more important than this.  This was the destiny that I was given.  I was destined to be Jesse and Maddie's dad, and that's all right with me.  I will be the one that dictates the terms and enforces the laws, you better believe it.  I am the lucky one, and a better person because of my position.  I am forever in their debt for the joy they have given me, and happiness they continue to give day in and day out.  The Dictator will abide.