The Energy Vampires Arise

Energy Vampires are people who leave you exhausted after you spend time with them.  I have a few in my life, some at work and some in regular world life.  The work EVs are the worst.  They don’t realize what they’re doing.  They can’t stop talking about things they have either ALL the knowledge about and steer conversations to those areas, or they have no idea what’s going on and spew opinions that are counter to what common sense and decency dictate (Election Season!).  They are in a constant state of near-panic, yet when somebody suggests that we’re going to get the work done and it’s no reason to freak out, OH WELL WHO IS FREAKING OUT I’M NOT FREAKING OUT AND IF I WAS FREAKING OUT I WONDER WHY YOU GUYS AREN’T FREAKING OUT…

Point, proven.
That shit gets old, fast. It starts off “weird” and tails off to “annoyingly tiring.” And usually, the EV’s – much like regular vampires – don’t see their reflection and so, can’t change it. They find any reason they can to turn up the tension, though it’s usually whatever’s going on within manifesting outwardly.  I was once stuck in a 30min car ride with one… 30 MINUTES… and it resolved itself soon after a 4-hour period of brisk walking and green tea.

I’ve had two pop up recently.  One at work, one in my personal life.  I’m positive I have been, and will probably be in the future, a bit of/an EV.  I can be a handful of weirdness if I ain’t slept much and get hungry.  I’m human and I would bet a bag of O-neg that I’ll have my own version of “Twilight” happening before Inauguration Day.

This blog, MindBodyGreen, has a great reference of EV’s, listing the various types… Anybody look familiar on here?

“Energy vampires can be your family, friends, clients, colleagues, teachers, neighbors, lovers, or even strangers. And they come in all types…
  • There is the blamer, who lays blame on everyone else without ever taking any responsibility. (Narcissists are some of the old-blood EV’s)
  • The guilt trippers use shame to get what they want. 
  • Jealous bees can never genuinely feel happiness for anyone else. 
  • Then there are the insecure ones, who pull others down to their level of low self-esteem. 
  • The fun haters seem unable to embrace joy. The bullies stomp on the little guys to elevate their egos.
  •  The Debbie downers, the whiners, the short-tempers, the gossipers, the drama queens, and the list goes on…”

I don’t have any real advice that isn’t covered in that blog, so if you’re vexed by such sucking of energy please visit that.  I have a few that I’m keeping an ear and eyes open for, psychological garlic in hand.  Stay strong out there.  Stay out of the shadows.

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Players Play, Parents Parent, Coaches Coach and Parent

I’m coaching my oldest son’s soccer team – U08 (6-7 year olds) – for a couple of reasons. I enjoy coaching. Like anything new, I wasn’t sure if I’d do well a few years ago when I got into coaching 3 year old at T-ball.  But there are many resources on how to work with kids of all ages and abilities and attitudes.  Mostly you just have to simplify communication, make it fun for the kids with games instead of drills, and let them be kids.  Also, work on their listening skills and encourage their effort instead of their results.  So, you know, like being a parent.

It’s also extremely rare that a parent jumps right in and volunteers to coach.  We work in and out of the house, there’s laundry (daily), meals, lunches, calls, work, family, parties, LIFE, it’s all our time, all the time.  How can I possibly fit in some coaching?  Well, here’s how… Like anything else in my life, it gets a spot.  It gets about 5 hours a week, 3 for practice and games, 2 for planning practices and communicating.  5 hours.  That’s it.  I am positive I have more time for bettering my coaching self, but I’m also the General Manager and Head Coach of a Fantasy Football team, the Kirkland QuietHours, so that needs its own attention.  Volunteering is hard when you don’t realize how much time you actually have.

I waited a few weeks after the notice of the roster and email list came out.  Nobody jumped in. Part of me knew I’d probably do it, but also I’m not a soccer whiz so I just hung near the back of the room.  Then I  hopped in.  I’ll hop forward now a bit, to last Saturday’s game, a “win” over the Jets (6-2, but we don’t keep score officially), running our scoring tally to 20-6 this season.  But we have fast players and talented dribblers, so I have to just keep them passing and moving.

One of the parents behind me was yelling at their son to get more involved during the game.  It’s distracting for the player because I’m getting them in one area, and their parent is yelling at them to do something else.  So that’s where the title of this blog came from.  If you’re a parent with a kid on a team and you’re not a coach, which is to say you haven’t gone to every practice and meeting and planning session and huddle, and you haven’t taken on the efforts of:

  1. Planning 2 hours of practices a week that keep kids interested, learning, and having fun
  2. Signed up the whole team’s parents for 10 weeks of snacks after games
  3. Communicated on a weekly basis with parents as a group and individually to make sure we know when practices are happening, and if their sons are enjoying it
  4. Placed orders for uniforms, then made 2 trips to the manufacturers offices when they screwed things up
  5. Talked with the league office about weird rules and changes to those
  6. Managing 8 family schedules for the best possible practice time and location against the league’s approved fields
  7. Had a background check
  8. Taken 2 hours of coaching clinics
  9. Watch a few hours of videos to find fun games for the kids to run instead of drilling them on repetitive, boring stuff
  10. Conduct practices with 8 boys who are jumping, yelling, burping, eating boogers, drawing faces in the dirt, and being BOYS!!!
  11. Getting the kids excited to play on a day when they could be home staring at tablets or cartoons, and managing their requests for playing time on a minute-by-minute basis…

… then just yell for your player from the sidelines and let the coaches coach.  We’ve earned the right to do supercede any parent telling their kid what to do over our shoulders.  Some kids already know where to go and what to do.  Some need a little redirection. And some are just gonna need more encouragement.  Parent them and coach them off the field.  We’re gonna do the rest, with the intent that we’re having fun, getting better, working hard, and respecting each other.  If that’s not good enough, go back through those 11 items and see how many of them you’ll happily do for the sake of kids having a good experience.  If it’s less than 10, just focus on washing the uniform and bringing some allergy-friendly snacks one time.

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Quitters Never Whine – Why I Let My Kids Stop Doing Everything

My youngest child has a vehement disdain for few things in life.  He’s usually got a song in his heart and hums a tune while building with LEGOs or battling with the foam LightSabers (no relation, no endorsement$) against his brother.  Nobody gets excited about the little joys of life than he does. At 4 years old, upon getting a cookie when we thought we didn’t have any, he shouted in his slightly abrasive boy-voice, “BOO-YAH! WE GOT REAL COOKIES FOR OUR FACES!”  He “gets” joy.  He lives to play, and learns a LOT while he does, usually with his older brother and the kids of-ages in between his and his brother’s (26 months older).

His disdain is saved for just a couple things.  Anything that involves slow movements with smaller kids is going to get stiff-armed.  He wants action and progress and commotion.  I get it.  He’s tried a few sports like tee-ball and soccer and karate.  When he was interested in karate he was greatly involved.  Jumping and punching and blocking.  Then he got tired of it and wouldn’t participate.

Here’s where some people say “Well take his butt out there on the mats and make him stay or there’s no cookie tonight!”  First off, thanks, that might work. Second, shut up.  Most parents try that, more than twice.  It might work.  But eventually you spend half a session goading your kid into doing something, then they MIGHT do it with no enthusiasm just for  a cookie.  And oh, you still pay full price for the session, so your bank account is the only thing getting kicked in the crotch.  So maybe there’s a correlation building between defiance, half-assed performance, and reward.  That’s not something I want my kids to understand until they get a job in Corporate Middle-Management.

This past weekend I quit, too.  I quit pushing him to do something he obviously doesn’t want to, resists attempting, and gets angry about being involved in.  I quit.  And it was glorious. Handing that oversized t-shirt back to the coach and saying “Not this year, coach. Maybe when he’s 5 or 6.  Have a good one, thanks for your effort!” was like a cloudy day after weeks of back-sweat-inducing heat.  The stress was gone, THE STRESS WAS GONE.  From all of us.  He lightened up, my wife lightened up, and we get 2 hours of our Saturdays back for the next 8 weeks.

Again, he’s not yet 5 years old.  There weren’t any teams for under-5’s when I was growing up. I wanted to play so bad by the time I was 6 that I slept in my uniform the night before any weekend game.  So if he doesn’t want to perfect his side-arm to first base, his foot placement on a basic front-kick, or changing direction mid-dribble on the pitch, THAT’S FINE. I can’t make him love any sport.  He’ll find what he wants to do and we’ll help build bridges and paths to those goals.  A wise man told me “You sometimes have to just pour the bucket out and follow the stream it creates.”  So we poured it out.  He doesn’t love soccer at 5.  That’s okay. There’s a lot of time left to get a sleeve of tattoos and learn to scream and flop when somebody gets too close to you. As long as he doesn’t embarrass me.


You gotta practice every day to get to this level of boring.

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Wisdom Of The WebAge

Ah, the memes of wisdom. What was once inked onto parchment with quill and mortared bone-black in liquid by the age-scarred hands of the Stoics, the Poets, Lovers, the Timeless Thinkers… now… oh, now it resonates in 4 different colors of 3 type-faces across a photo of a (overly-fished, polluted) oceanscape, reminding us that not only is Life a Fleeting Folly, but Also, It’s Friday, Yo, So Get Thee Into Thine Drinkin’ Britches!

Confucius, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Shania Twain, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maya Angelou, and so-on, all have been credited with far more than they probably actually said.  Most of them weren’t even alive when the internet was around!  So, I’m kinda updating a few bits of wisdom based on today’s society and the unwise therein, and my experiences.

Old Saying: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind.
New Saying:  Be kind to everyone you meet, for they are fighting a battle you know nothing about, and you don’t wanna piss ’em off if they’re off their meds.

Old Saying: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind.
New Saying: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle; but that doesn’t mean they’re right.

Old Saying: People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

  • New Saying:  People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you grabbed their step-mom’s ass at your dad’s retirement party.
  • New Saying:  People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember that you farted at their Grandma Edie’s memorial service.
  • New Saying:  People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember that you “liked” but didn’t “retweet” something they thought was genius.

More to follow after I break some stuff…

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The Brain Game

I have low-level, high-function (when I want to be) form of ADD. It’s been there most of my life, and when I look back on my years in school where I was taxing my physiological resources just to maintain a 3.0, I think I could have done more, or better, had I known – or accepted – that I had something different happening.  The more I learn about how our brains work, the more I realize that ADD is not taboo or a sentence to a muddled, unfinished life.


Accused of being a “Grammar Nazi,” I simply detest lazy writing, but I am in no way “anti-Semantic.”

Here’s kind of what it’s like to have ADD when I’m not feeling great:

  1. I recently lost an argument with my wife, which took place ENTIRELY IN MY HEAD.  I didn’t want to go to a certain place for a home project, but I knew she’d want to, and every time I thought up a reason why we should NOT go, her voice kicked back why it was better to go there. I just agreed and, outloud, said “Fine, fine, we’ll do it your way.”  I WAS ALONE IN THE KITCHEN AT 6:45AM, WAITING FOR COFFEE TO BREW.
  2. I started to empty the dishwasher, which I hate doing but wanted to “get something done.” The top rack was a mish-mash of cups and smaller plates, and… plastic dishes with no tops.  There were no tops in the dishwasher. And my brain put the brakes on, and started figuring out ways to wiggle out of this.  “I can’t do THIS. There are no tops. I’ll have to dig through the cabinet for tops.  Who the hell is using these as dishes? We have perfectly good dishes.  We have small bowls.  What if there are no tops for these, like we got them from somebody else? Who did we get these from? Was I there? Are these from a kid’s friend’s house?  What play-date did they go on?” 

That’s how an ADD brain works.  Sometimes the smallest thing causes my Professional Crastination skills to fire up.  I’m a ProCrastinator.  When a task seems “too big,” I pump the brakes. I pretend, sometimes, that I’m “planning” or getting notes together to do it right.  But we all know that you can’t eat an elephant in one bite.  You have to own a national sandwich shop and have the money from that pay for your big-game excursion to hunt and kill it!

I heard about Dr. Robert Cooper, Ph. D. on a podcast a while ago, Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey.   Dr. Cooper’s a neuroscientist who has studied not only How our minds work, but Why they do what they do.  His insight into the natural programming of our brain’s commands (Find something that works, stick with it, avoid change so we don’t falter or die, etc.) and how to change (i.e. UpWire or “hack”) the command center via Conscious Awareness has changed a lot for my own life. I highly recommend his podcasts for insights for everybody’s better understanding of how our minds work, and how to be conscious of little things that could hinder our Best Selves.

Eventually I’ll have something pretty funny to enter here.  I hope.  Right now my comedy brain is inundated with some new material about our upcoming elections, voting, and using drugs. Pretty sure one thing leads to another there.

Please leave any comments or tips you have for getting focused for Life stuff.  I know sleeping enough, getting some exercise, and eating well are three main components.  What else?  High-grade fish oils?  The will to see your enemies drown in the wake of your success?  Whatever’s good…

And as always, my deepest thanks for reading.


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Ties That Bind

It’s been a while, I know.  Been busy but not working a day-job, which happens from time to time as a consultant.  It was a weird run of job seeking, wherein I finally made a big shift in order to get work going again.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Perhaps it’s my age, experience, or self-acceptance – or all three and a few I haven’t thought of – but my ability to shrug off dipshittery is really robust at the moment.  From a comedy show wherein an audience member had issues with a joke I did, to a former colleague’s opinions garnering an emotionless but true response, I have found a level of “OK’ness” that I’m both enjoying and trying to maintain in a mature way.

First off, the colleague.  As a consultant, my work is usually contracted with companies for a specific rate over a stated period of time.  I was looking for a new assignment, which my firm usually had access to moreso than the average job-seeker.  Managers at companies usually need a specific skill set, wherein they’ll reach out to a consulting firm, which plays matchmaker.  But for whatever reason, I was being set-up on some dates that just weren’t clicking.  The account manager for a few of the spots had made a few weird edits to my resumé that I was unaware of, which led to some odd questions.

Skipping ahead past a bunch of dead-end interviews (2 of which were with different people who weren’t sure what position I was interviewing for), I was able to find a position with a former manager for whom I loved working.  She needed people with my skills on her team, pronto.  My colleague tried to negotiate for me, but had a barrier to entry over a few dollars difference in my rate.  My colleague told me “Well if they do things this way, you don’t want to be there.”  I responded with “I want to work, and I found this role which you just about let get away over a few dollars without us talking about it, which is unfair considering all the other lost opportunities this year.  I’m going to cement that job by tomorrow, ok?”

Don’t tell somebody what they do or don’t want.  Facts, Pros & Cons, maybe.  After a few months of wanting a paycheck and not wanting no paycheck, I wanted to work, and it was juuuuuust over this barrier of a few dollars.  Those few dollars, btw, were part of the firm’s profit margin, not mine.  And that’s where I had to say good bye to that firm.  No hard feelings there, but also a great lesson; Other people’s plans can’t prevent your progress.

So I negotiated the gig and am back to work and will be paid and miserable in no time.  WOO HOO!

Oh, and the audience member.  I did a joke about how I don’t spank my kids, because it teaches them that physical violence is an OK way to express anger, makes them feel weak, and shows them that anybody bigger than them should be allowed to treat them with disrespect, not to mention how it can cause trauma and resentment.  I was spanked as a kid, back in the 1970’s.  I did a few things to deserve some punishment, but a couple of those were brutal.  I don’t put anything negative on my parents about this; grounding me wasn’t working because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and had a pretty good talent for talking-back.  Eventually I stopped getting spanked when, one day, knowing I was about to get it, I quit being scared.  I saw the belt and that look and just started laughing.  I think I was 5 or 6.  And that was that.  After that, not having a bike to ride, or being forced to sit in front of a window and watch my friends playing was all I needed to check myself.  After that, I rarely wrecked myself.

So anyway, this thunderbitch in the audience took issue with the material.  The joke goes like this:
“My wife and I don’t spank our kids.  We don’t think physical violence is how you teach kids they were wrong and should be punished.  We’ve had a pretty aggressive pillow fight break out, but no hitting.  Plus, I found out that, in public, people FREAK OUT when you spank a kid.  Especially theirs, WOW.
Get in MY face? He was peeing down a slide, sorry you had to look up from your phone.”

The woman came up to me after my set, during the headliner’s set, and asked if I “have something against parents who spank their kids?” I said “I don’t know who does what, but I have read enough to know it doesn’t really work the way the spanker thinks it should.  And if a kid acts out violently towards other kids, then yeah, I’m gonna take issue with the parents.”
She replied with “Well, I spank my kids and they’re FINE. And I look at my phone when they’re at a play area so that I can get a little personal time.”
I asked, “How old are your kids?”

She says, “4 and 2.”

I said “OK, well, good luck with that. I wouldn’t hit a toddler for spilling something or writing on the walls or whatever, but that’s me.  I don’t hit children.”

After telling me I don’t know her life (duh) and to F off (duh), she wobbled to the restroom, then returned to tell the club owner that I was rude to her.  The club owner said “Well, tell me when you want to come back and I’ll make sure to book him that weekend.”  She was confused, I chuckled.  Life went on.

Sometimes other people’s issues are also a sore spot for them.  This woman was probably nice and a few of her neighbors weren’t totally disgusted with her, but my joke and principles still stand.  My last firm’s business model works most of the time, but for most of this year, it hadn’t.  So I cut and run. Some of Something is always better than All of Nothing.  Unless it’s getting spanked and you aren’t “into that.”

Not judging, if you are.  Some of us could use a good reddening from time to time…



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Hot Links

I know, super-inventive title!



I rarely get political here because there are so many factors to politics that lead a discussion from “The policies of Party X are against my own morals about societal bettering,” which isn’t a term, and lead to “YOU’RE A COMMUNIST SYMPATHIZER AND NO LONGER ALLOWED AT THIS DINNER TABLE, SON.”  So, as to avoid another scene at BackSteak OutHouse, I’ll just include a few things I saw that I like. Going forward, I hope to do this at least once a week.  I’ve been slacking for no good reason.  I guess if you have a good reason, it’s not slacking, is it?

  1. 25 Excellent Pieces of Advice That Most People Ignore by Lolly Daskal – We hear these quite often, but acting on them is tough sometimes.  
  2. A Peace Activist In Brussels Shares 5 Things To Know about the Attacks there, and moving against Daesh – Yes, there’s a way to defuse these attacks, maybe.
  3. The Man In The Tree in Seattle – No, not a brother to the Man in the Box, but I’m thinking he’s probably in need of a nap and some counseling. (who isn’t?) Plus he stripped a city-living Sequoia, lost a lot of Instagram followers, I’m sure.
  4. Fish oil and why you’re screwing it up – Take care of your brain with the right food and you’ll have a sharp mind long after your friends are space-flighted to Mars.

That’s it this week.  Thanks for reading, or at least looking at the letters!

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A Taste of Stardom

Last weekend I performed with Jim Breuer at the Parlor Live Comedy Club in Bellevue, WA.  I’ve been lucky to get to open for comics I’ve loved and were inspired by, such as Jim Gaffigan, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Paul Reiser and yes, Jim Breuer. Jim’s energy is like a rock band, coming out to get the warm crowd notched-up for some hard riffs and big drums.  It was inspiring.

It was also the chance to work in front of full rooms.  Sold-out rooms, about 300 people in a space to share energy and laugh themselves damp.  Incredible.  And to be able to go up in front of a room like that and do really well (I can’t say that I “killed” because I have a certain standard for that and it’s not in an 18-minute set), and have zero nerves about it, and really enjoy the moment shows that I’m still in the right path here.  I still have moments of silence on stage, mentally working through a bit or have a planned pause, and I like that.  But this was “get in and go go go.”  Also, I was asked to work “clean,” which means, to me, nothing beyond “asshole.”

Some comedians hate that. They don’t like the constraints of language.  And I’m honestly on the side of free expression and speech.  But also, having done a lot of clean sets, and a lot of sets with more than a couple S & F-bombs, I see how vulgarity can be a crutch.  Being conscious of what you’re expressing is vital to any form of communication, which is why I try to keep my kids from saying “like” and “guess what” in the middle of sentences.  Stay engaged!

Anywho, after knocking it out for about 1,000 people last weekend, I’ll be trying to get the laughs out of 150-ish folks at an Eagles Lodge in a town better known for crystal meth than comedy fame.  Seems like the perfect place to record a demo tape for HBO, or maybe Dateline.

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Blog Fatigue in Bloom

A friend of mine on Facebook and in life who is also a mom raising a 3 year-old kiddo by herself (explained below) posted this on Facebook on Jan. 31. 2016.  I think it’s absolutely brilliant and necessary.  If you’ve ever been into a niche of blogs you likely picked up on common threads, thoughts, and trends.  The niche here is “Mommy Blogs,” written by moms (presumably) about their child rearing, parenting, advisory efforts and often make it appear to be simply easy.  And some of whom are very authentic.  Regardless, this post was timely in that we’re easily inundated with information we seek… My inbox is about 40% Unreads from blogs, sites, or apps I tried a few times and *might* revisit, shrug.

So… here ya go.

Why I’m Unsubscribing From All the Goddamned Mommy Blogs

For fucks sake.

After a day of taking my kid to the skating rink and bowling alley and celebrating the birthday of my best friend, I finally get my threenager to bed (at like 12AM, I shit you not) and I scroll through my Facebook bullshit only to find out that I’m…

…a douche bag…


Those moms at home, those moms at work, the moms with 3, the preggers ones…it’s such a fucking kill joy. I’m doing it all wrong. Somehow, some way.

Being a parent.


It blows sometimes. More than sometimes…

I’m a single mom of a 3 year old. There is no dad to take her every weekend. (Not a bad thing, he’s batshit crazy)…I’m the Saint and I’m the Asshole. 24 hours a day.

But for fucks sake…

It seems like there’s a constant reminder. A spotlight on the shit stew of parenthood.

So what?

Maybe you haven’t found the right wine. Or right friends. Or family.


Get yer blog on.

But why am I fucking subscribing to this shit?!

I realize it’s written with the intent to let you know that you’re not alone, but…

For fucks sake.

This little asshole sleeping on the couch. The love of my life. Is really awesome. And in the little bit of free stupid browsing time I have, I don’t want to read about the negative shit.

I want to be reminded of the good shit (and there is enough of it to go viral)


….You don’t wanna have a 3rd kid (I don’t care why, just don’t),
you don’t know if your kid is gonna be ok because he ate formula (he will), you’re afraid your kid will be weak because you co-sleep (my head strong a-hole 3 yr old proves NOPE. Hell nope.)….

I have a feeling we shared some pretty helpful and relevant shit back in the day. MORESO! I think we supported each other much more personally.

You want to relate?

Make a meal. Offer to babysit. Clean the house. Sit around and talk the shit out of parenting…there’s a lot to be shared.

But don’t post your negative bullshit online. Women don’t need that. Men don’t need that. And kids don’t need their parents fed that.

So I’m Unsubscribing.

I don’t want to hear about why you aren’t doing this or that. Or why you’re judging someone for doing this or that.

My little asshole is 3 and she can’t help it. Scientifically, her brain just can’t control the ups and downs. And she is bright, and funny, and gorgeous, and way more outgoing than I’ll ever want to be…she’s got a charisma that I can’t begin to describe.

Write more stories about that. Meet me in person to focus on that stuff.

We’re all doing the best we can. Did they wake up alive? Were you parenting out of love?

Good on ya.

That’s the manual we’re all searching for…

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It’s For The Children, and other BS

I have two sons who are the reason I get up every morning, and leave the house as fast as I can.  To go to work, usually.  They really are the best thing t’ever happen to me.  And I’m hoping my wife/their mom and I are the best things to happen to them.  It’s still early.  A lot can happen, but we’re really involved in Parenting as a responsibility and passion, and not a hobby.  They’re still little, 6 & 4, but already have big ideas about the world, friendship, the passage of time, the afterlife, and Star Wars.  Life works in phases, everything that progresses works in phases, and to pretend we always have to do everything at the same pace is counter-productive to Life.

Our kids are involved in just enough to keep them, and us, nearly over-active. It’s all for the kids.  I totally get that.  I hear that all the time.  And sometimes it’s complete bullshit.

It really dawned on me last Summer, and hit home in October, when somebody took it upon themselves to act as Authority! in a situation that needed Guidance, not a Crossing Guard, and caused bigger problems than they solved.  At each of these scenes we were in “holding patterns” for “the kids” to get in line, or arranged or whatever, before starting things up.  It’s always For The Kids, if it’s at a little league baseball game, or a Junior Hoops 7U Basketball Camp, or a Tiny Tae Kwon Do seminar.  I GET IT. THE ROOM IS FULL OF KIDS, NOT DRUNK ADULTS. SO THIS, YES, THIS IS FOR THE KIDS.  What’s the actual reason for this horse-shit, time-wasting, misguided, poorly-planned event backsliding to the slop-trough of “Reasons To Disengage From This Organization”?

In both situations the “authority” figure disallowed any progress until all the kids were paying attention and in line and smiling and holding 2 fingers over their hearts and mouthing the words to “Bringing In The Sheaves.”  Pretty much.  Getting 100+ kids to do any combination of that (and to be honest, 4 year-olds are 100x better behaved than 9-12 year-olds with their yelping and backslapping and gas-masking*) is like herding birds.  But when I asked “Can we start with this section since they’re ready?” I was told “We have to wait so the kids near the back don’t feel left out.” 

Dwell in that space for a moment.  The kids in the front, ready to go.  The kids in the back who are farting around, not ready to go.  Kids in the front, attentiveness being tested and punished for the misbehavior in the back.  But this is for the kids, again, so there is no “starting” until the kids in the back are ready.  So do we reward the kids in the front for being ready to go (these are the youngest of the entire gang), or do we shame and push and loom over the kids in the back for holding everybody else up?  Because the latter is what was going on.

In the moment the Keeper of the Potluck stepped away to find out who had napkins, I started handing plates to hungry parents and kids at the front of the line and said “Here ya go, enjoy!”  And I have to be honest about what happened next, which I wasn’t expecting… Total normalcy.  Nothing weird or sloppy or violent.  No fights, line-cuts, or RNCs**.  Nobody threw-up from confusion (salmonella, yes), nor blacked-out from excitement. Captain Potluck wanted to know who said they could start. I said “That was me, I figured these little kids were close to a meltdown so we got started.”  Zero reply.

So when somebody says “it’s for the kids,” whatever it is, it’s often more about making themselves feel better about doing something involving kids, but not actually helping.  Coaching is helping.  Teaching is nurturing.  Parenting is cultivating.  Mentoring is empowering.  Telling people to hold their horses until we get feedback on who brought Sunny D is bureaucratic bullshit and should be met with a gas masking and RNC, even if they’re just figurative.


* Gas Masking: Placing one’s hand over the mouth and nose of a bystander, friend, cousin after breaking wind into said hand moments before.
** RNC, Rear Naked Choke:  A potentially deadly choke-hold placed from behind on an opponent, assclown, or suspect by wrapping the forearm around the neck, under the chin, and locking the hand into the elbow of the other arm. 


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