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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kid stuff

My wonderful friend over at Waiting For God accidentally gave me the idea of telling stories about my kids. For those not up to speed, that is KC, son, 21 and on his own, and Shenan,daughter, 17, with her mom. Rather than relive all their embarrassments in one post, I thought I might tell a couple or three stories for each.


Name is short for Shenandoah, btw. Mom used to love that song. She is a sweetheart and once you're a friend, you've got a good, devoted friend. However, she and the educational system exist on different vibratory planes of reality. Here are some of her stories.

1. The Funeral. My dad's brother Len passed when she was still pretty little. I was a bit worried what her reaction would be at the showing, so I picked her up to go to the casket. Soon, I had a sense of how the nintendo generation sees death.

She: "Is he dead?"
Me: "Yes, Punkin."
She, pausing for a second: "Did he get shot?"
Me, hiding a smile: "No, Punkin."

2.The walk, part one: When they were little and I was usually broke, our main mode of entertainment was walking. One day on a New Haven sidewalk, it was the three of us plus Laurie and Scrappy's predecessor, Fred. I was trailing the pack, Shenan just ahead of me and looking down, headed right for a mailbox. "Look out, Punk," I

said; she lifts her head just in time to get a good look at the mailbox before she ate it. Her brother has never let her live that one down.

3. The baby store. One weekend when I had the two of them Shenan, who was maybe 5 at the time, was really pissing me off. I had told KC earlier that I was considering a trip to Target to kill some time when I decided to put the trip to good use. "If you're going to act like a baby," I announced, then we'll take you to the baby store and get you some big baby diapers to wear!" With that I loaded them into the car, KC riding shotgun. All the way she was in between crying her eyes out and pull-out-a-gun-and-shoot-you mad. KC and I kept checking the rearview to look at her, and it was hard not to laugh, though we contained it to snickers. Finally KC broke and laughed, and smoke poured out of Shenan's little ears. "You wouldn't think it was so funny if YOU had to wear diapers!" she snarled and we both lost it. At that point I had mercy and let her off with lesson learned.


KC had the unfortunate position of getting named by his mom, after her late grandpa's nickname. I was not aware that she intended it to be KC, "No initials, just the letters "K" and "C" "until she told it to the nurse filling out the birth certificate. He takes a lot after my mom's side of the family, right down to the red hair. Here's some dirt on him.

1. Mashed Potatoes. When he was little, we listened to a lot of alternative- Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, stuff like that. He had a good ear for music even then ( a dear ol' dad trait), and one day asked me to play "the

Mashed Potatoes" song. "The Mashed Potatoes song?" I asked. And he says "Yeah, 'Mashed potatoes, MASHED POTATOES!' " sung to the chorus of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Reminds me of some of the messed up lyrics I had at that age.

2. Old Black Joe. We used to live in the Dupont Estates trailer park (nice place, retarded management) after the divorce. They had a groundskeeper that mowed the common ares, an older black gentleman with what looked to be a straw hat, whom like an idiot I referred to as "Old black Joe". Their mom got Shenan involved in twirling (batons) in school, which got us involved in going to parades (not something I would've done otherwise). I don't remember which occasion it was one summer day when we were stuck amusing ourselves along Parnell waiting for Shenan to go by. (We'd already walked like a mile looking for a pop machine, but that's another story.) Along comes an 1800's style horse drawn hearse, I think sponsored by D.O. McComb ("where high-touch means high-tech"), driven by a gentleman with a more than passing resemblance to the groundskeeper. Naturally KC waits until he's within earshot and announces, "Look! It's Old Black Joe!"

I'd been a dad for a while, then. I knew just how to cover my face and pretend it didn't happen. And I couldn't be too mad at him, considering my first public experience meeting a black person (which we WON'T go into right now). However, I learned my important lesson that day.

3. The April Fool's prank.

Fridays used to fall out this way: I'd pick up the kids in the morning, spend the day at Laurie's and get back to the trailer after midnight. So one April Fool's day, I decided to have a little fun. When you come in the front door, the hallway to the bedrooms was across the living room on the left. There was a low watt light halfway down. Right at the edge of the hall, I set a kitchen chair, put the standup vacuum on the seat. Wrapped an old coat around its "shoulders" and put a ball cap on its "head". Made sure all the lights were off except the hall light. Flash forward to approximately midnight. We get back to the trailer and I hand KC the keys, saying, "Go unlock the door, I have to talk to Shenan." KC was little enough that this was a big deal to him, and he was beaming with pride as I unbuckled Shenan and warned her what was coming. KC flings the door open and stops dead just as we ascend the porch.

KC: "Dad! There's someone in there!"
Me: "Well, what does he want?"
Me: "Well, go ask him!"

I know someday he will pay me back for that.


  1. The younger gaming generation of today has a plethora of death scenarios to choose form and will be asking their respective fathers questions like:

    Did they get eaten by a zombie?

    Did the evil overlord of doom finally get him? (I don't know that there is actually an overlord of doom in any video games, but there are a lot of overlords out there to choose from)

    Did they sacrifice themselves in order to save the world?

    Did the invaders from a far off galaxy abduct them and replace them with a cloned dead body?

  2. CWM:
    LOL...that's some cute AND funny stuff.
    Makes me think of what MY Dad would say about when I was young (probably don't want to know NOW).

    As long as they GROW UP with good did YOUR work(well).

    Very good post.

  3. Read the whole thing-pretty cool. Especially the Old Black Joe part. Oh, I've had to endure things blurted by my children (and, to be honest, me).
    Great prank with the vacuum!
    New Haven? Connecticut? California? Or somewhere else?