Sweet and Then Sour; A Five Year Old Imitates a Popular Gummy Candy Although the Order is Reversed

I habitually call home as I leave work. I do this because I love my family and I can spend a few extra minutes interacting with their minds, even though we aren’t physically together.

A couple of days ago my wife was busy straightening up our board game cabinet. (We are huge board game people. Our Christmas tradition is to buy a game for the family. This year is going to be Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and I couldn’t be more excited.) She was a little stressed so she handed the phone off to the five year old boy we love so much.  I asked him how his day went and shortly after this conversation petered out he said “You’re my favorite sweet-pea.”

I responded with similarly sappy drivel and said “Thank you, buddy! You’re my favorite sweet-pea too!”

I drove on for a few seconds reveling in the pure love my son had just expressed. My son was silent also and I could hear muted conversations in the background over my son as he breathed right into the phone.

I was nearly startled off the road when he snarled “I’m going to fight you.” It sounded as if a demon had stolen the phone and spoken to me from the depths of the appalling Inferno envisioned by Dante. I was understandably taken aback and remained silent for a moment before uttering a tentative “What?”

“I’m going to fight you!”

“You’re going to bite me?”

He wasn’t speaking clearly and my brain was busy composing a “The power of Christ compels you!” type of speech.

“No. I’m going to fight you!”

“But…wh…wh…wh…wh…why?” I stammered, confused.

And then, in a sweet, nearly sing-song voice he said “Because you’re my favorite sweet-pea!”

“Why would you fight your favorite sweet-pea, buddy?”

“Because,” he said, “you’re my favorite sweet-pea!”

I’m still pondering whether or not to contact some Catholic authority.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy your family despite their occasional demonic quirks.

A don’t…forget the look up the Pope’s address. You know. Just in case.

P.S. Here’s a demonic quote from my seven year old daughter, just so you understand my concern: “I’m thankful for the dead people because they died.”

Sweet dreams fellow bloggers and blog readers. I hope your family is much less demented than mine apparently is.

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The Turnpike Conspiracy; I’m Probably Way Off

There’s a toll road that my wife and I must travel should we ever wish to visit her parents. For some, this would be a sufficient deterrent to skip a trip to the in-laws’. I am blessed with in-laws that are a pleasure to visit and be fed by. We often take to the Turnpike and suffer the inconveniences of pulling over for every brightly lit toll plaza between here and there for the sake of family togetherness.

I’ve had many a choice word to share with my wife about the Turnpike as we drive it. I’ve pointed out every skid mark, rough spot and guardrail dent I can find. If they’re demanding I pay to drive on their road, shouldn’t the road be perfectly kept? Maybe they could get a crew out to mow if they didn’t have to pay the electric bills on those ridiculous plazas. Who knows how much they spend to employ the toll collectors and maintain the toll-taking infrastructure? I’m sure someone does and I’m sure that someone is highly paid to know it.

Despite the fact that they take money meant for road maintenance and spend it on better money-taking, I’ve come to love the Turnpike because I’ve realized what they really are. I know where the thousands of dollars they take in daily is really going, and I fully support it.

I only realized what they’re really up to yesterday morning at the toll plaza. The guy in the little booth had a nametag on and I had never bothered to notice before that they bother to wear those. But they do. The guy who stole my money yesterday was, according to his tag “Gary” (name changed to avoid litigation). And “Gary” was also apparently #1032 (number changed to avoid litigation). I thought benignly about this as we drove on and this was the first time I had ever had a benign thought about the Turnpike. I emotionlessly considered whether or not “Gary” was employee #1032 or whether he was actually “Gary #1032”. I think, for my own well-being, he must’ve been “Gary #1032”, which means that the reason the Turnpike takes so much money yet fails to keep the road in perfect condition is because they are perfecting techniques to clone employees.

Why is this a good thing for me to believe? It comes down to peace of mind. I become inordinately angry when I think about paying to drive on an imperfect road. It drives me bonkers to see that most of the money taken in goes into maintaining the ability to keep taking money rather than maintenance on the road itself. If I can convince myself that the Turnpike is involved in cloning, I can further dream that one day the entire Turnpike system will be maintained by mindless peons who demand no pay or days off because they’ve been programmed by the dude at Turnpike headquarters who makes a lot of money to know where Turnpike money goes to love and cherish and nurture the Turnpike and to serve said Turnpike with their lives.

They may never totally do away with the tolls. After all, they still need to feed, clothe and house their clones. Probably they have to pay some royalty to the original DNA owner. But the tolls should decrease. Even if they don’t, though, it is enough for me to know that I’ll be paying to drive on a road that is meticulously maintained and that my money is going to feed a scientific miracle.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider some sort of medication if you agree with any aspect of this post. I become so irritated by the most mundane inconveniences that I sit in front of a computer for long stretches of time crafting ludicrous posts.

A don’t…enslave clones. Or anyone else. Ever. Even if you did clone them and they could help lower the tolls on the Turnpike, no one deserves to be “owned” by another.

Halloween and Trust; A Holiday We Love Incorporates a Virtue Society Needs

This Halloween I left my house at 6:30 to pick up my kids from their mom. As I drove through my neighborhood, I saw the first few early bird trick-or-treaters flitting quickly from house to house and it brought a tear to my eye. I didn’t understand exactly why until I got home with the kids and we began our own evening of candy hunting. As I watched the kids running from door to door, crossing the street on a whim, laughing and hollering about which house was next, staying just within the boundaries of what I thought to be a safe distance from me, I realized I had teared up earlier because Halloween is such a trusting holiday.

This may sound like a strange idea, but our Halloween actions truly denote a level of trust in our neighbors that I hope we never lose. We put our children in costumes and canvas neighborhoods, sometimes not even our own, in attempts to take candy from strangers in the strangers’ own territories. On any other day of the year, we’ve lost our minds! But that one night a year it is perfectly fine to throw all the rules out the window and trick-or-treat.

I worry a lot. I worry about things that most other people probably wouldn’t even consider.  When I first published my book I got back onto social media, which I had shunned for approximately two years, and I was sick to my stomach with worry that I’d somehow overly complicated my life. My wife is a saint in sinner’s clothing though, and she showed me the ridiculousness of my concerns when she stated, in a whiney sing-song voice, “Oh noooooo….I have a Faaaacebooook!” It really put the situation into perspective. The point I’m making here is that, despite my sometimes crippling worry and anxiety, I felt no concern as we walked in the middle of the street in the dark begging for treats from people we didn’t know. The few cars we saw drove so very slowly as they passed that a kid would’ve had to really try to get hit.

What about the candy?, some might ask. But in all my own trick-or-treating years and the 8 I’ve so far shared with my children, we’ve never suffered any illness other than nausea induced by over-indulgence. We’ve never found a razor blade in a caramel apple or rat poison in a candy bar. In fact, the only behavior approaching inappropriate I’ve witnessed has been on the part of my own children. Last year, the first year we handed out candy after our own trick-or-treating, my four year old son innocently enticed other children to enter our home. He is fast, reached the door before we could, and stood with his arm outstretched into the living room pleading, over and over, “Come in, guys! Come in! We have caaaaaandyyyyy!!!!” This year he and the girls stood at the door, with my wife and I close behind, and at the first hint of the sound of trick-or-treaters they bolted. Most of our visitors this year were met halfway down our driveway and had three children excitedly encouraging them to take candy from three different buckets. Most of the candy they handed out was candy my children themselves had just collected. If an adult were to act in these ways the police would surely soon be summoned. And the treats they offered would’ve lacked candy’s inherent sweetness.

In short, there are some creeps and weirdos out there who ruin Halloween for some, but they are few and far between.  And, despite the mild risk, we still dress up every year and go out with trusting hearts to bring joy to our neighbors and ourselves. I especially enjoy the smiles the elderly candy-givers display as they try to decipher my son’s over-excited babbling. Most times he is complimenting them. A few gems from this year: “I like your rocks!”, “We have that ghost!”, (in reference to an inflatable yard decoration) “You should get three ghosts!”, “Thank you for candy, you have nice pants, I like your dog!”. And a less polite offering from my picky seven year old daughter as she held aloft a bag of granola (that was delicious, by the way), and in a horrifically loud voice in close proximity to the house from which she’d received the granola, “That guy gave me food!!???!!”

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy Halloween for what it is. A display of neighborly trust that we desperately need in these times of danger and uncertainty.

A don’t…be too hard on your daughter if she’s mildly (very) rude. After all, kids have been trained by the very name of the act of trick-or-treating to expect things they consider treats. But adieu…gently advise them not to look a gift ghost in the black cavity that represents a mouth.

 

 

 

The Prophet in the Pit; A New, Non-Threatening Cult for the Cultist in All of Us.

I’ve been thinking of starting a cult.

I know what you may be thinking. If you follow my blog it’s “Holy crow, why am I following this blog?” If you’re simply reading this post it’s “Whaaaaatt!!!??!!! I’m not going to read this! Cults aren’t good at all!”

Before you judge me, though, allow me, as a potential cult leader, to draw you in. I’ll start by assuring you that my cult is completely safe. The word “cult” is built right into the name. “The Cult of the Prophet in the Pit.” This should comfort you greatly.

The idea is simple. A man (most likely me) sits in a pit. Surrounding the pit is a gothic stone wall. I imagine it will look like a castle or manor house. There will be a heavy portcullis. Outside the portcullis will stand an acolyte who will instruct you, upon your approach, to hold your offering in your outstretched hand. He will then await a command from the usher. Upon hearing the command, simply the word “Next!”, the Outer Acolyte will raise the portcullis. The faithful will then be bid enter and the usher will accompany the parishioner to the pit, insuring that, in these dark times, he or she places not his or her hands into his or her pockets. Upon reaching the pit, the parishioner will toss his/her offering in and the reward reaped will be a prophecy from the depths of the pit.

Most likely the prophecy will be nothing more than what you’d expect from a fortune cookie. In some cases it will simply be my patented raptor noise. A scribe will sit in an ornate chair outside the pit and record the prophecy for posterity.

Should the prophecy so move you, you will be offered (but not pressured into) the chance to by a book of all the prophecies given so far or a verbal recording of your own personal prophecy. The Scribe will mildly suggest that you post your prophecy on Facebook and encourage your friends to pay a visit to the pitted prophet.

Your personal information will not be collected. The only collection is your offering and it doesn’t even have to be monetary. Books, DVD’s (or as my daughter says “Diva D’s) and candy are all acceptable to The Prophet in the Pit. You will never be pressured to be faithful or to return at the next appointed time because there is no appointed time. I’ll post my pit times on social media and you simply show up if you’d like.

Finally!  A safe, non-threatening cult for those of us who yearn for a cult lifestyle but want to continue living as a normal person! I can also assure you that my cult will not contradict any religious beliefs you may have. You can count yourself among my followers without betraying whichever God you happen to worship. No religion I’m aware of forbids you from paying for a small bit of entertainment. All proceeds collected will be promptly donated to the “Fill My Wallet Fund”. And if you don’t believe in a Deity of any sort, you’ll certainly have no qualms about visiting The Prophet in the Pit.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…comment if you’d like to see this become a reality. I can certainly offer franchise opportunities in your area.

A don’t…take it too seriously. It’s a joke, even if I truly would like to see it become a reality.

Mothman: Another Misunderstood Monster

As far as I can tell from all the Mothman stories I’ve read and that one movie I watched, Mothman, although menacing in appearance, was after nothing so substantial as our very souls.

I’ll explain. I read no accounts of disemboweled animals. No eviscerated owls or exsanguinated cattle were ever found that I know of. Simply humans. Frightened horrified humans. And what is one thing that all humans, especially suburbanites in the 50’s, have in common?

They have clothes on. Right? No one that I read about was out for a nude stroll when Mothman confronted them. They were out with their families having completely G-rated (and in the case of the teens that saw him/her/it no more than PG, it was 50’s conservative suburbia, for crying out loud). They were wearing clothes!

Moths eat clothes. Men wear clothes. Mothman was either hungry or ashamed of his nudity. He didn’t want to horrify folks. He wanted to eat their Sunday best. He didn’t want to scare them. He couldn’t help that, by nature, he was scary. He wanted to either eat or wear their clothes and he hesitated. He never killed anyone because he just couldn’t decide which clothes looked tasty and which looked fashionable and I think, deep down, he didn’t want to kill anyone anyway. Otherwise, he would’ve.

Now, about that bridge collapse and the idea that Mothman prophesied it. Perhaps he truly did. But I think, in his innocent monster way, he didn’t show up to warn people about it. I don’t think he truly realized that people were dying. I think he simply thought “CLOTHES BUFFET!” And all the carnage was lost on him because it all had this decadent stagnant water sauce on it and he didn’t even stop to think about the terror that had been wrought on the small community he’d been terrorizing. He was, after all, a monster. A hungry, naked, confused monster.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear clothes, even though it might attract mothman.

A don’t…stroll nude to repel him. The police are much more prevalent than mothmen and much more likely to complicate your life should they find you unclothed in public.

School Breakfast: Scientific Miracle, Conspiracy, or Simply One Man’s Overactive Imagination?

I think it is worth noting that as I’m writing this, a cup of coffee (Cain’s; black, no sugar and steaming hot) is sitting next to me. I think this is worth noting because it is the first time I’ve ever written anything with a cup of coffee (as perfect as previously described) next to me and it somehow feels right. With that out of the way, let’s proceed:

I went to school with my kids this morning for breakfast. They invite the dads a few times a year for breakfast and guided conversation with their children. I’ve been to several of these but this morning, for some reason, I suddenly realized that it felt like neglect, if not outright abuse.

That last sentence probably begs some explanation. Here goes: We woke up at our usual time but, instead of fixing some pancakes or spreading Nutella on toast we simply watched cartoons and did a little work on the cardboard haunted houses we’ve been building. The kids kept telling me they were hungry and I kept reminding them that we were going to have breakfast together at school. They brushed their teeth, as usual, commenting on how weird it was to brush before breakfast, and we piled into the car. The trip to school was dark and wet and chilly. This morning was a real Halloweeny type of morning here where we live. I didn’t realize it was a fore-shadowing of what was to come. When we arrived at the school we hurried in before we got too rained on or shivered ourselves to death. Once in the cafeteria we lined up and the kids encouraged me to help myself to chocolate milk. I did. I didn’t regret it. We made our way to the end of the line where the trays sat ready to grab with a steaming breakfast (technically that’s exactly what it was; breakfast.) of a single biscuit, a slightly larger in circumference than a half-dollar yet wafer thin sausage patty and a small tub of apple juice. The biscuit looked like it was made of whole wheat flour, so there’s that, but…I hadn’t even fed them and now the school wasn’t feeding them either. We found a place to sit across from some other dads who didn’t have forlorn looks on their faces. They must’ve fed their kids before breakfast.

Maybe my kids eat more than usual. I sat looking at the barely breakfast before us thinking of how my kids usually eat like ravenous pigs in the morning. Two and sometimes three, pieces of toast or pancakes (whichever we’ve made) heavily laden with Nutella followed occasionally by, as my daughter calls them “Canola bars” (although when I call them canola bars she laughs and says “not canola bars, they’re canola bars”). I harassed them to eat it and eat it all so they wouldn’t get too hungry before the end of breakfast. They nibbled at bits and crumbs. My oldest daughter ate three small bites of her sausage patty and, after I’d harassed her sufficiently, tried enough of the biscuit to realize she didn’t like it. My middle child, canola bar girl, didn’t try any of it and got a tub of fruity cheerios, which I didn’t even know existed. My son ate all of his and I was relieved even though he made some sort of weird sausage-upside-down-biscuit by mashing the patty onto the top of the bread. He sat there chomping away with a disturbing ravenous carnivore sneer on his face, oblivious to anything but the dinosaur fantasy I’m sure he was having. I wolfed my own down and was surprised that the taste wasn’t all that unpleasant. I spent the rest of the breakfast ignoring the goings on the administrator initiated such as a video on respect and an opportunity for dads to stand and brag on their kids. I wasn’t disinterested. I was simply worried that their little tummies would be growling before they got to class.

That’s when the idea first crossed my mind that the school gets away with neglect. I understand that it is a parent’s responsibility to feed their children. I wasn’t worried about my own who, even if hungry this morning, wouldn’t have to worry about that tomorrow. But what about the kids whose families can’t afford to feed them and a free school breakfast and lunch are something they look forward to? I know some people have misgivings about the government being involved in welfare and such, but I don’t think kids should suffer hunger simply because their parents can’t afford enough food. I have no problem at all with my tax dollars going to fund free school meals for kids who truly need something to eat. But for crying out loud, I thought, give them something to eat!

As I sat there having these thoughts rather than paying attention to the goings on, I began to realize that I, a full grown man, felt satisfied in my belly. This was nearly three hours ago and I’m still not hungry! Now I’m thinking new thoughts. It seems school lunches are scientifically engineered to swell to the size of your stomach. Maybe my kids really did eat until they were full. Maybe now I should be worried that my son is going to founder rather than starve because he ate just as much as I did and he only has a flat, tiny five year old tummy. I only hope that this isn’t some make-them-feel-full conspiracy. I hope that the little bit of food provided had some disproportionate nutritional value. I hope it wasn’t that we were essentially filling our bellies with cardboard and, though feeling satisfied, were left lacking essential proteins and vitamins and such.

Or, as the title of this post suggests, perhaps my brain was bored and I’ve severely overthought this.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…spend your time with your children enjoying their company rather than letting your mind race to bizarre and distant places. After all, we spend a large portion of our lives hallucinating in the dark. Why do it in the daylight when you could be enjoying your family?

A don’t…let them eat too many school breakfasts if you can help it. I’m not completely convinced it’s real food. It certainly didn’t behave like real food this morning. But it did taste good.

End of the World Prophecies End, The World Survives; A Possible Solution to the Age-old Conundrum

Perhaps you’ve heard the most recent Doomsday report that claims the world will end Saturday. If you haven’t, the end of the world has been predicted for Saturday, September 23, 2017. Get ready.

Or don’t bother. We all know that it won’t happen (not all of us, I guess. Most of us). The Mayans were wrong. Perhaps more fairly put, the people who “interpreted” an ancient calendar with no surviving users were wrong. Nostradamus was wrong, (I’m no expert on Nostradamus but surely he’s prophesied on this) web bots were wrong. Biblical scholars, Jewish scholars and crack-pot prognosticators have all been wrong. It isn’t because they are stupid or uneducated. Perhaps it is simply because the world has already ended and we are already in some sort of after-life.

It’s very simple to throw out theories like this. Rest assured, I have substantial evidence to back my claim.

Let’s consider technology. High-end tech labs continue to churn out products at a pace that is nearly as unbelievable as the products themselves. I heard on the radio the other day about a phone security app that gives access to you only after scanning your face to be sure you are an authorized user. Apparently this even adjusts itself over time so that it continues to recognize you even as your face droops with age. Amazing! Slightly scary. Fraught with bugs? We should know the answer to that in about ten or twenty years. I also heard about a pair of pants that will vibrate one leg or the other to notify you that you need make a turn as you progress toward your destination. That’ll be off the market as soon as someone allows their pants to lead them into the path on an oncoming train. Maybe the pants are smart enough to detect trains. At the very least you could call someone smarty pants and literally be correct. It’s about time. Thank you, techno geeks. But I digress.

The unbelievable nature of these products and the speedy  jumps of technological history could be attributed to the fact that the world has already ended. This would go a long way to explaining why these unrealities are realities. They could simply be mass hallucinations inspired by something in the atmosphere we believe we are breathing in.

If we were already in an after-life setting this would also explain Bigfoot, UFOS, ghosts, ESP and every other new-age idea and supernatural experience. People don’t die, they just leave behind their “body” and become invisible.( Or maybe there’s some after- life after the after-life. I hadn’t considered that until just now.) Some people have really seen Bigfoot. Some people have actually been abducted by aliens. People can really read minds and make the Statue of Liberty disappear and keep their teeth white and do any other unbelievable thing because the science we profess to understand doesn’t apply here like it did before the world ended.

Anyway, just food for thought.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…think about it.

A don’t…overthink it.