Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Parenting Playoffs

     I am a self-described College Football fanatic.  No doubt about it.  I have loved the game since I was knee high to a grasshopper.  Of course, I do live in the state that is famous for such things.  The great state of Alabama, that is.  I am a devoted follower of the Alabama Crimson Tide, and whether I like it or not football has played a huge part of my life pretty much since the jump.  However, that is not the purpose of this blog post.  This year major college football will have a four team playoff for the first time in its history, and this has inspired me to construct a playoff bracket of my own.  Not just any playoff bracket, but one that would be defined as the "Parenting Playoffs."  That's right, the top 4 Parenting Problems if you will, pitted against one another.  This is a scientific process, and my results are top notch.  Win or go home.  There can be only one.

     Before we get to the final four let's look at some of the parenting problems that didn't make the cut.  Nick Saban often speaks of the need for and the prevention of "Explosive Plays."  How bout an Explosive Diaper.  Been there and cleaned that up.  We want to avoid that at all costs, but the Explosive Diaper didn't make the cut.  In the grand scheme of things, diaper changing is only a proverbial drop in the bucket as it relates to time spent parenting.  Maybe a bad analogy with the drop and the bucket, but you get the point.  Another problem that didn't make the final four is the ding dong ditch, by girls, all flippin' night long.  You see this happens to us on a regular basis, and I know the girls only want Jesse (my 11 year old son) to come outside and I understand that this is only youthful expression of some sort of love or like or something.  However, it gets a little irritating, but it can be fixed.  I was sort of able to nip it in the bud with one quote, yelled for all of Doss Ferry Residential to hear, "If I catch you, I'm going to hang you up by your toenails on the light down the street as a message to all other potential ding dong ditchers.  That is a promise.  Try me."  That kind of stuff worked for the Romans, so why not the Perrys.  The Ding Dong Ditch was knocked out early, and did not make the playoffs.  There was one more parenting problem that almost made the cut, and deserves an honorable mention.  Finger and toe nail cutting.  Tough to do, and it is like the child is being drawn and quartered.  Both of my children have had a cow every time that their nails get to Freddy Kreuger or better yet Edward Scissorhands stage, and need to be trimmed.  The constant pulling and whining make the task that much more difficult.  My fear is that a digit would be removed.  Accidentally, of course, but removed none the less.  Never happened, but if it would have finger and toe nail cutting would have made the top 4.

     Here we go.  Without any further ado - the Top 4 seeds in the Parenting Playoffs are as follows:

#1-  Helping your children understand that the world is not fair, and never will be.
        -this one is a tough sell, because conventional wisdom says, "if you work hard and are dedicated
         success will follow.  Good things happen to good/hard working people."  Sounds good, but
         unfortunately as we all know, it is not always the case.  It is hard for me to understand, so it
         would stand to reason that it would be hard to explain this to my children.

#2-  Broken hearts.  -sure we know it's coming, but it doesn't make it any easier.  I've told my son 
       that one day a little girl is going to rip his heart out and stomp all over it, but until it happens he 
       won't understand.  This can also cover those goals that come up a little short, and the 
       disappointment that will follow.  It's hard to mend a broken heart, especially if it is directly related 
       to the #1 seed.

#3-  The Empty Nest Syndrome.  -I haven't experienced this one yet, but from what I am told, it is a
       doozy.  When you've spent some 20 years of your life, (or maybe longer in some cases) devoted
       to the development of other human beings it can be tough.  Just like Boyz 2 Men said, "It's so
       hard to say Goodbye, to yesterday...."  Yep it is.  Some folks thrive when they are free from the
       children, but I would suspect that most people feel like a part of them is gone- and that is tough
       to deal with.

#4-  Being told, "I hate you!" by those who you brought into this world.  Gave life to.  Raised, fed,
       clothed, loved, prevented from meeting a horrible demise, etc., etc.  Nuff said.

     That would be my list, but your top 4 may be much different.  That's ok.  However, for the purpose of this blog post I had to pick 4.  So now the actual playoffs.  First, you have #2 taking on #3.   Broken Hearts got out to an early lead on The Empty Nest, but a late comeback helped put the underdog over.  The Empty Nest defeated Broken Hearts, and advanced to the championship round.  Next, you've got the top seed Life Ain't Fair taking on I hate you, and very quickly we observed just exactly why life is not fair.  Life Ain't Fair hammered I hate you, and it really wasn't even close.  Fitting really, when you think about it.  The Championship is set, Life Ain't Fair vs. The Empty Nest for all the marbles in the Parenting Playoffs.  Let's Get Ready to Rumble!!

     The two sides looked nervous, and maybe not ready for such a big stage.  You could cut the tension and energy surrounding this one with a knife.  Early mistakes by Life Ain't Fair led to an early lead by The Empty Nest.  Once both participants settled in to the contest it was a well fought affair, and nip and tuck throughout.  The lead would bounce back and forth, and it was clear that both involved truly wanted the win and the championship of the Parenting Playoffs.  When the smoke cleared, just like in the head chopping classic, "Highlander" their can be only one!!  The one left standing once it was all said and done was Life Ain't Fair.  The number one seed had done exactly what it set out to do,  Just win baby!  The Empty Nest was quoted as saying after the game, "That wasn't fair."  It wasn't, and that is why Life Ain't Fair won the day, and the championship.  This proves what we know very well-  Life Ain't Fair, and the sooner you can understand that the better off you will be.  Better luck next year, Empty Nest, but you probably won't be around for next year cause you're leaving and all.  The moral of the story is that no matter what we do as parents to prepare our children for what curve balls life will throw at them the bottom line still is that Life just is not fair.  You have to fail to learn how to succeed, and the cream will rise to the top if given the time to do so.  That's all I got.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Elevator Music

     What is the exact moment when you know for sure that you are over the hill?  Getting old?  Preparing for a diet consisting of prunes and applesauce?  That moment is clear once you start to hear the music that once was kind of a big deal, and now it is being piped into an elevator.  Or even a Piggly Wiggly.  I recently realized this was the case as I entered the Pig the other day, and was greeted with the Richard Marx classic, "Endless Summer Nights."  I thought to myself, "What the heck is going on here?  This tune used to be a make-out classic.  The world has turned upside down."  I've also heard one of my favorite bands of all time, Bon Jovi, being played in a Doctor's office.  Doc, tell me it ain't so.  You can't be playing "I'll be There for you" in the waiting room.  Come on man.  I never liked it when I heard Francis Albert Sinatra and Dean Martin in an elevator, and I sure don't like it when you mess with my 80s music.  Leave it alone.  I should not have to hear Ratt rock out in an elevator, and Skid Row should never be played in a Sporting Goods store.  Give me a break.  Stop the Muzak!

     These young folks today listen to some odd stuff.  Trust me, I know.  My son, Jesse, is a big fan of the popular music of today.  He forces me to listen to that stuff.  Pretty much all I've learned from his music is that the players are gonna play, play, play and the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate.  Plus, I know the sound the trumpets make when they go....cue music.  Don't tell 'em, Don't tell em.  Most importantly in this line of thought is that it's all about the bass, no treble.  Don't you give me any treble, because all I want is bass.  I understand this way of thinking more than young Jesse knows, because after all my generation does like the cars, the cars that go boom.  Same thing.  See, I'm not an old fuddy duddy - I'm hip.  I've got the moves like Jagger, although I remember what Jagger really moved like and it wasn't all that special.  Love the music, but Mick wasn't exactly Dancing with the Stars quality or maybe he was- have you seen Tommy Chong.  Sorry, I digress.  Just don't start Mick up, because if you do he may never stop.

     Recently, as I have mentioned several times before, I've taken a turn as a 42 year old college senior.  However, now I am officially a 42 year old college graduate.  Which is cool, but I miss hanging with the younger set on the lovely campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  I was really able to learn a lot, and hopefully teach the young'uns about my brand of ancient history.  I had a discussion with a couple of young ladies concerning music, and the topic was how great Taylor Swift was at singing the revenge/break up type songs.  While, I'm no expert on Taylor Swift, I do believe I know a few things about break up songs.  I provided a thesis for what I thought was the greatest woman scorned song of all time.  My contention was that the bitter break up angst filled greatness of "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette was by far the best song in that particular genre.  The two twenty something young ladies looked at me and said almost in unison, "Who is Alanis Morissette?"  Then, I thought I could enlighten the younger set about what I thought was good music, so I played the song.  However, it had been a while since I had listened to Alanis belt out her revenge laced tirade.  So, it slipped my mind what happened in the theater, and what she did with her nails.  Bad idea for a middle aged guy, with good intentions mind you, to play such things for the youth of America.  They were rather shocked, but surely not that much - Miley Cyrus is a product of their generation.  What Alanis chooses to do in her song is her business, and while I would not promote such behavior it does make for a pretty good song.  I want you to know, that I'm happy for you...sure Alanis.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  That's a fact.

     We all have different taste in music, and that is really a good thing.  It definitely keeps different types of musicians employed.  I always knew there was a reason that Yanni had a job.  However, when it comes to the music I listen to when I work out there is no substitute for some good Rock 'n Roll.  I like to amp it up with a little AC/DC, Motley Crue, or even old school rock like Led Zeppelin and Rush.  It gets the blood pumping, and can help put your workout over the top with an added dose of adrenaline.  However, my wife and I share songs on my iPod and sometimes her songs pop up.  I love the Grateful Dead like the next guy, but Uncle John's Band doesn't exactly help me push and pull that extra weight.  You may disagree, but it is what it is.  Just the other day I was performing the bench press on chest day, and I was really getting into it.  I decided to up the ante a bit, and add some weight.  I was feeling really good and getting after it until all of a sudden Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band" dropped on the ole' iPod, and it was a bench pressing buzzkill of epic proportion.  It's really a good song if you want to sit and watch grass grow or mellow out, but it doesn't do a whole lot while you're trying to push a bunch of weight off your chest.  At least it wasn't Barry Manilow.  Her name was Lola, She was a show girl....you know the rest.  I heard that in an elevator the other day too.  That's all I got.