Rage against the machine

If you ever feel like your teacher has it out for you, and you’re up against it – I want you to be armed with the ability to humorously get your point across.  I suppose you could take a page out of the Arlo Guthrie playbook and sing a bar or two of Alice’s Restaurant and walk out of the room.  But the Grattan girls will have no truck with public statements that square against defense of our allies and the choice of freedom over communism, so our plan will be a tad more grassroots and much more democratic.

There will come a time when you’re right, and you know you’re right – and the teacher is wrong, and pretending she doesn’t know she is wrong.  You’ve reached a stalemate.  If this ever happens to you, simply respond softly, respectfully, and almost under your breath, “No Roger, no Rerun, no rent.”  To which the teacher will reply, “I’m sorry?” With a little more volume, and just a hint of additional emphasis you say again, “No Roger.    No Rerun.    No rent.”

The teacher, confused, will be speechless – left wondering how you would know of such monumental historical movements in American history.  You’ll go on to repeat, excitedly, “NO ROGER, NO RERUN, NO RENT.” Suckers for your enthusiasm, other students – namely the liberal youth in the room that will proudly jump on any protest bandwagon that has a catchy tagline – will join in support.  Together, you exclaim, “NO ROGER, NO RERUN, NO RENT!!!”




After-school detention is nothing to be ashamed of.  There are consequences to everything in life.  Just make sure those consequences are worthwhile.

This Story Has Got Some Cajones…

Attention gentlemen friends and colleagues: If you need to discontinue any direct connection with your nads, I know a guy.

So, today was V-day. A time to turn my actual family of five and my dream of a family of five into a permanent reality of a family of five.  The bilateral vasectomy they call it- as if a unilateral vasectomy is another option.

Before I begin with the nuances of outpatient male sterilization, let me take you back to the eve of my voluntary nut-sack assault. I had what I would call a ball-bag breakdown. I saw this coming – after all, external though they may be, I feel pretty close to mi cajones. So after work yesterday I took my giggleberries and sat them down on a barstool for a little reflection. Funny as it seems, I didn’t reflect on my inability to have more kids – I was well past any regret there – rather I waxed philosophically on the theoretical detachment. I’m not sure I really cared, but it made for a splendid excuse with the Mrs. to disappear for a beer and some alone time with my bollocks. I think I made up the reflective part to buy sympathy and understanding – I knew it would work.

So today I awoke and performed my usual morning routine. An athletic supporter would be in order I was told, so I ventured to the sporting goods store where I also picked up some wiffle balls (no pun intended) to replace the ones I cut up with the mower (damn, the unintended puns get better and better). Then, on to the doctor’s office where I spent 45 minutes in the waiting room trying to figure out which fellas leaving had just had their gonads snipped. In good time I was brought in and asked several times if I was sure I wanted to go through with this. A no-brainer in my book, but I appreciated their concern.

The procedure itself was a breeze, less for a needle being somewhere you wouldn’t want it to be. I quickly realized that if not for the needle, I would not have been able to laugh and joke with the doc and the nurse as they clipped vital guy-tubes. We talked about favorite beers, and I verified that I could imbibe post-surgery with no issues – good for me. In less than ten minutes I was dressed and on my way out the door – barely aware that my nuggets had been worked over. You leave there like any other doctor’s appointment – apparently no worse for wear.

That is, until about 45 minutes later while stuck in traffic on the way home. The local anesthetic wears off and you begin to wonder at what point a mixed martial arts fighter attacked your knackers.

With the huevo-pain-clock ticking, I quickly stopped by the beer distributor and picked up some of the doctor’s suggested remedies. Then me and my bruised avocados made our way home. Of course, with three little ones this is where things can get interesting. Thankfully the Mrs. was able to prevent substantial damage with a pretty good “daddy has a boo-boo” campaign, and the climbing, jumping, and “hold me!” was put off for a spell  Plenty of time for that after the yam bag is at 100 percent.

The only other thing I have for you is this: stay away from the beers in my fridge – I’m not sure what’s wrong with them, but I’ve been drinking them all day and my balls are KILLING me!


Sometimes you come across the damnedest coincidence.  Today while riding the train I ran into a young lady who, several years ago while at college, had a frightening accident.  While biking down a steep hill, she rounded a curve and crashed head-on into a man riding a golf cart up the same side of the road.  That’s right, a guy in a golf cart.  She went flying, landed on her head, and was knocked unconscious.  She suffered a large cut to her head and lost most of her front teeth – in addition to sustaining a concussion (I’m not exactly sure what that is, but think it’s like an accident-hangover).  Her teeth were replaced with some sort of implant/veneer things.  They look fine.  Anyway, when she returned to her college campus she had trouble getting around from building to building – something to do with the post-surgery head pain that became worse as she walked.  So what did the school do to help her?  They gave her a golf cart.

That’s awesome.  There’s nothing else to the story – it’s just funny. No?  I think so.

How many Silver Alerts does a man need?

Don’t let previous blog posts or commentary about the in-laws fool you, I love old folks just as much as the next guy.  They’re like cute, lovable, excessively wrinkly babies – except they need a special lift to get into bed.

And just like kids, they wander.  I don’t mind looking for them either.  But every time I drive through New Jersey I see the same damn Silver Alert for this missing old fart.  How many times do we have to look for the same gray 1993 Pontiac before someone just hides the keys from this coffin-dodger?  I mean c’mon – it seems like each time they wrangle him and bring him back home he just jumps in his car again and heads for the Jersey Turnpike.  Stop putting out the all-points bulletin. The man likes to step out – who are we to stop him?

They have Amber Alerts for kids – no argument here.  But creepy men in vans are not scooping up geezers from playgrounds.  So can we please do without the state-wide manhunt?  I should think if this old bag made it to the century mark without incident that we could probably look the other way on his midnight joyrides.  If you must restrict him, just disconnect the battery to his car –  at least you’d find him napping with his head on the horn in the comfort of his own garage rather than in a Denny’s parking lot in Delaware.

I’ll tell you right now – if I see this guy out and about I’m pulling up next to him, rolling down the window, and shouting “rock on you old blue-hair you!”  I think four generations on God’s green earth earns you the right to take to the highway without looking back.

Glitter allergy

When contemplating fatherhood (read: when your wife tells you she’s pregnant), you expect certain hurdles. You hear things like “good luck getting any sleep” and “if I ever see another dirty diaper again…” These things are hardly surprising, but there are some things that sneak up on you.  They’re not in any book, and most parents don’t seem to put them on the priority list when griping about their own offspring.  So here’s one: the damn glitter is enough to drive you nuts.  I’m not kidding – it actually bothers me, and enough to write about it on an otherwise fine Saturday evening.

When it comes to parenting, most of the basics are summed up in any normal conversation with a parent or a what-to-expect-when-you’re-expecting book.  For example, it wasn’t a total surprise when, after bathing my oldest daughter and getting her all dry and laying out her jammies she stops, smiles, and proceeds to piss a stream clear across the room.  You go into it thinking you’re fairly well prepared for all the crazy things that children bring on.

Not glitter though.

Maybe it’s just my compulsiveness.  It’s bad enough I’m forced to have other people in my house – like the wife, kids, and water treatment system maintenance guy.  Not to mention they touch things and move stuff and even use the bathroom (not so much the water treatment fella – he comes and goes).

Little known fact: glitter is permanent.  It’s like the Sharpie marker of the confetti family.  You can barely see it – in fact I’m pretty sure it’s microscopic – I think the only thing you see is the reflection off of it.  Forget about sweeping it up – it laughs at brooms as it slithers its way through the bristles to remain where your little rug rat put it.  And any single bit of glitter (a glit?) that does get caught in the broom long enough to make its way toward the dust pan just slides right underneath it.  So go ahead and put your finger on the glit – think you can pick it up?  Nope.  Doesn’t stick.  Now lick your finger and try it.  I’m serious, you know that’s the next thing you want to try – go ahead – do it.  Still doesn’t work. Glitter only sticks to stuff you don’t want it to.  It’s in it’s DNA.

Try the vacuum you say?  You’re so silly.  You may as well play the dust pan game.  The vacuum wind at the heart of the vacuum suctioning process is not nearly enough to catch glitter and bring it along for the ride.  Glitter is immune to high wind speeds.  And don’t forget the microscopicity (new word) of glitter like I said – if the vacuum does catch it, it will just go through the filter and be shot across the room and land on the already glittery sofa.

I’m sure it’s impossible to ban the stuff too.  First of all, kids will be kids – and glitter is part of the program.  Secondly, it’s everywhere.  Forget about kids for a second – you buy an anniversary card for the missus and there’s glitter in there.  Hallmark has a piece of the action, so it’s not going anywhere.

So this rant really isn’t about solving this problem, it’s about petitioning to add glitter to the list of things-to-expect-when-you’re-expecting.  Give everyone a fair heads-up, that’s all I’m asking for.

Get well soon crazy cousin!

Girls, your cousin is on the mend after a bout with some sort of affliction I cannot spell nor pronounce. So we send him our best. Publicly, of course (who needs email? we’re not telling secrets here).

Hello Crazy Cousin! –

I hope you’re feeling a bit better. I heard that you handled the surgery like a champ and are well on the road to recovery. Don’t recover too fast though – this is an excellent opportunity to have your mother bring you snacks, skip homework assignments, watch endless hours of television, and give your older brother a hard time – all without repercussion. If your family insists that you are doing better you just DENY DENY DENY. Who are they to evaluate you? When mom and pop think you should get out of bed they suddenly become doctors? If that were the case they would have removed your appendix themselves in the kitchen – but they didn’t, did they? No, they trusted the doc. And thus you should not yield until they get a professional opinion, in writing, on your ability to get back to full duty.

I recall when I was a wee lad and I had my adenoids removed. Now to this day I’m not sure what those are, but I trusted the physician’s assessment at the time that I no longer needed them. I’m not even certain how many adenoids one has, though if they are like other things on the human body (some we won’t make mention of) then they likely come in pairs.

What I distinctly remember about the procedure was the anesthesia. Knocks you right out doesn’t it? Now you will have that feeling a few times throughout your life – like when you take some crazy cough medicine, or drink too much whiskey – or while sitting in physics class – but it will NEVER come on that fast. They used gas on me – probably a formula that has long since been banned, and asked me to count to ten out loud. As I recall, it took me FOREVER to say “two” – and I never did fully complete the word (oddly, I was so whacked I also pronounced the W in “two”). Next thing I knew, I woke up in a different room and it felt like it was six months later.

Side note: it takes a bit for the anesthesia to wear off, so if you ever wanted to jab a pen through your hand to freak your mother out, now would be the time to do it.

So I hope you feel better big guy (when the doctor tells your parents that the evidence suggests you should be feeling better). Now you can enjoy the summer properly, as a young lad should – without the burden of yet another useless internal organ.

P.S. The next time you’re pondering an internal infection or other serious illness, try to schedule it for the middle of the school year – during a long gap between holidays. Make these surgical procedures really work for you.

Uncle being serious for one moment: get well soon – we miss ya buddy!