On Saturday night, my old lady and I hit the town... Levittown that is. We met some friends at the Diner and had a quick bite to eat. The Diner is a very tricky place. It's like an island filled with the mythical Sirens and a bunch of fat people. The Sirens just sing their sweet melodies, calling you and whispering sweet Tuna Melt temptations, luring you with the waking dreams of Gyros and Mozzarella Cheese Fries with Gravy. Evil I tell you. I myself am a fan of the Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich. I even had a little WTF moment and partook in the Matzoh Ball Soup. Dee-lish! Also, against my better judgement, I had a Corona to boot. No I don't need no stinking glass, thank you kind sir. The white trash meter was running high indeed. Anyway, you're probably thinking, why so fancy schmancy? Wasn't it your anniversary a couple of blogs ago? Yes mine kinder (Yiddish for small children - Shout out to all the Bubbies in the house, say yeah!). Be patient. Let the story unfold. This was a special night. After the Diner, we hurried over to the theater to catch the 9:00pm performance. Well not exactly a theater. It was a local comedy club. That's a pretty huge night out for us these days. The comedy club is such an under rated activity. I've only been to them a few times but what's not to like. There's booze and hysterical people that have only one intention: to make you pee your pants laughing. My wife got the tickets a while back. Kudos to her. Such a good call. The headliner comedian was Louis CK. He's the dude from the short lived show Lucky Louie. It was on HBO for about a nano second and then got canned after a most memorable season one. In a nut shell it was like The Jefferson's with white people, cursing and full frontal nudity. I'm pretty sure that sounds like the worst piece of garbage on TV but it was truly brilliant. Season One is on Amazon. I ordered it on my phone in the car after six pints but I'm glad I did. I swear there is a point to all of this gibberish somewhere in here... Oh yes, Louis CK. One of the reasons I love his comedy is because he has two daughters. Just like me. His girls are almost the exact same age as my angels, so it's particularly amusing to hear him rant in mostly Rated R mode about the trials and tribulations of parenting. Turns out he just got divorced, so on this night, he was in rare form indeed.
I'll let you pick up the DVD and check out Lucky Louie for yourself but there is one thing he said that got me thinking pretty good for most of the night. While kvetching (Yiddish for Whining. Sorry it's a theme. I get like this every year around Shavuot) about his divorce and his kids, he warned everyone in the audience that once you have kids, your whole life is pretty much over. He went on to say that when you have kids, you can basically forget about everything that used to be fun. Forget about all the things that you used to love doing. Just forget it. Done. He also said that all that's left is to basically follow around your kids and try to enjoy the things that make them happy. But that sucks too so screw it all.
Ok, so I don't exactly make Louis CK sound hilarious but he had me going pretty good during that schtick (Yiddish for bit, piece; comic act; eccentricity). I actually agreed with him one hundred percent that night. Maybe it was the beers and the euphoria from the Triple Decker or maybe it was kinda true, sort of. I mean, seriously. I can think of about a hundred things I used to love to do but can't, now that I have kids. For instance, I love Italian Zombie movies (I know, I'm a total loser). The bloodier the better. I love the cheesy Italian accents and creepy 70's music score that accompanies it. I used to watch them all the time. I'd stay up until all hours of the night, just laying there like a total burn out, watching away. But now, I NEVER watch zombie movies. Heck, I hardly watch anything that doesn't have dialogue that rhymes. If you can't sing along with it, It's probably not playing in our house. Zombies just aren't conducive to a kid friendly environment. Although I do fantasize about decapitating Caliou and feeding his intestines to Zombies. Another thing I used to love to do was read the paper on the weekend. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, didn't matter. I'd read them all. Cover to cover. It was so damn relaxing. Chillin' on the couch all day. Maybe even drink a Bloody Mary or two. I actually think that since my kids have been born, I've slowly become illiterate. It's hard to read the paper when little kids are jumping on you, ripping the pages right from your hands. I actually think my oldest daughter used the business section to paint with this weekend. It's probably for the best any way. You don't know your losing money if you can't read about it, right? There's one thing in particular that I used to take great pleasure in doing solo. How about going to the bathroom? No, really. I need to go there. This can't only be me. I can't remember the last time I went number one or number two without some sort of meeting or kid conference happening right in front of me. This morning, I played Miss Mary Mac with my boxers around my ankles, while my youngest kid wrapped me in toilet paper like a freakin Mummy. Seriously, I felt completely degraded. I'm worried that my kids don't have a sense of smell for god sakes. I want to take them to the pediatrician just to make sure but I can't bring myself to explain my concern to the doctor. I can't even take a pee without my little one sneaking up behind me and poking her tiny pea head through my legs. "Daddy making sissy?" Holy cow, I always thought I was King of my castle but now even my throne has been taken from me.
So I think that's what Louis CK was talking about. You do kind of lose your personal space. But then... Bam! As usual, I have a moment of clarity that always seems to come on Sunday for some weird reason. What happened was, I was thinking about it all wrong. I was thinking about it from a really far out perspective. What I didn't take into consideration is all the little things that my kids make me realize every day. Let's look at the flip side for a moment.
Today I got to spend some time alone with my two year old. She's so damn cute. I sometimes can't even stand it. She might be the most polite and gentle human being on the planet. Everything is a please or a thank you or a "Yes Daddy" or "OK Daddy". I'm not sure why God sent her to us. You'd think Charles Ingalls raised her. I really can only screw her up at this point. But I digress. Anyway, we did our favorite thing. We took a walk to the Pizza place. It seems like we do it every weekend. It's a great time passer and kids LOVE Pizza. While we were sitting in the Pizza place, I noticed two kids walk in. They looked like they just got finished playing football. They were wearing their Jets jersey's and bandannas on their heads. It made me smile. I instantly thought about all the times I used to ride my bike to the local Pizza parlor with my best friend and order the "Special". The "Special" is always two slices and a small soda. Still is today. Then I realized that before I started taking these walks with my kid to the Pizza place, I had not actually sat in one in years. As an adult, I'd always order Pizza in. Most of the time our nights are filled with Sushi or Chinese food. If it hadn't been for my little Laura Ingalls, I wouldn't have remembered how much I used to enjoy ordering and eating that two slices and a soda in those Orange / Red booths. Ahhh, misty water colored memory number one. Later in the day, when both of my daughters and my wifey were all home, we went outside into the backyard to let the kids run around and play on the swing-set. Usually, this is a good time for me to relax and watch the girls have some fun but today I felt compelled to join in. I got my fat ass on the swings, hung out in the tree house and even hit the slide a few times. The kids loved it. I loved it! It made me remember the swing-set I used to have in my backyard when I was a kid. It was the aluminum kind. It made so much noise that you thought the thing was going to collapse on top of you. It was red, white and blue and covered with rust. I think it was rusty out of the box. I'm surprised my mother didn't have to administer tetanus shots to my brother and me every time we played on that thing. I don't remember a ton from my childhood. As a matter of fact I don't think I've thought of that swing-set in thirty years. There was something about running around today with my girls that triggered that one. A doozie for sure. Last but not least came the trifecta. In some kid circles if you experience all three in the same day, you are guaranteed entry into the Kid Hall of Fame. This Sunday happened to be a bye week for my Chargers, so my football viewing was quite discretionary. In the middle of watching one of the other games, I heard the girls laughing hysterically. I popped my head up to see what was going on and I noticed the little one perched on top of her older sister. She was giving her the business and good. An all out, good old fashioned tickle fight. I couldn't resist. I rolled off the couch and crawled over to them and attacked! I definitely think that tickling little kids is the single most amazing activity in the history of fun. My parents got divorced when I was about nine. I don't have a lot of fond family memories. Certainly not with my Dad around. But the one thing that sticks out in my head is the uncanny knack he had for tickling. He'd get me really good in that spot on the knee. All he had to do was apply a little bit of pressure and I would lose it. Tickling is truly good for a kid's soul. Today it was good for mine as well. One thing led to another and before I knew it, we were playing hide and seek. Man, kids can play for hours at a time and never lose their enthusiasm. Again I realized that all of these things my kids love to do were things that I loved to do!
There I was drinking beers and listening to Lucky Louie bitch about how shitty his life was because he had kids. To think I almost fell for it hook line and sinker. Maybe his problem is he spends too much time thinking about all the things he can't do now that he's a Dad and not enough time allowing himself to dig just a little bit deeper and let his kids open up a place in his heart that most of us haven't been to since, well, since WE were kids. They say it takes one to know one. I say we all have a fair amount of Kid buried inside of us. Sometimes it just takes our kids to let it out. All we have to do is listen and pay attention.
The last part of the trifecta came after bath time. All of us got into our PJ's and snuggled on the couch. My wife had Tivo'd a program I hadn't seen in ages. "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" came on the TV and I think I almost cried. My two munchkins lying on me after a long weekend, like big fluffy marshmallows. There are a lot of reasons to love being a Dad. I might not be a comedian but I certainly knew at that moment the Pros had the Cons Out-Numbered...