Saturday, November 19, 2005

Can A Smile Get Any Bigger Than This?

The other day, my kid came home from school and while he was walking by, casually handed me an envelope. A big one. Oh gee.

As I started to follow him into his room, the unopened envelope in my hand, I had dread in my heart. What could this be? What did he do? I did a quick u-turn and went into the kitchen. I decided in that split second that I should not jump to conclusions. It might be nothing. And it could be something really bad, and I didn't want him to see the look on my face when I opened it.

With a deep breath, I tore it open. And then wished he could of seen the look on my face, because it mostly consisted of a smile a mile wide. My kid made the Honor Roll.

Yup, that's right, I said, "My kid". The one person in this world, that I can say is mine. The one person that I have the most influence on. The person who actually has to listen to me when I give advice or instruction. The person who has my attitude, and sometimes sarcastic mouth, strangely mixed with his father's quiet, laid back personality. Despite the odds, he made the Honor Roll. Pretty damn great, huh? I am so proud of my kid.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Have you ever noticed just how many "Idiot's Guides" are in your local bookstore? What a waste of money. I don't need no guide for idiots or dummies. I can dumb down my world all by myself, without the help of some stupid expert. Take The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Leasing a Car, for instance. You don't need a guide for that. Everyone knows you just take any car you want, and leave a lemon in the parking lot.

Or The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cooking a Chicken (hint: make sure the chicken's dead). Can you imagine just shoving the poor thing into an oven and waiting for it to die? Kinda reminds me of how we cook lobster or crab. Same in theory, but just not a good idea for your chicken dinner.

How about The Complete Idiot's Guide to Spas and Retreats? Hmmm, the Love Canal sounds like a romantic place....

God knows how many lucky orphans now have complete idiots for parents, thanks to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption.

Then there's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Your Baby. Anyone who buys that one, shouldn't have kids.

Or what about The Complete Idiot's Guide to Decoding Your Genes? That's all we need -- idiots learning to clone themselves. Whoo hoo!

How about The Complete Idiot's Guide to Choosing A Pet? As far as I'm concerned, the only pet that a complete idiot deserves to own is a Pet Rock.

What's Dogs for Dummies all about? Let's see, a Lab is supposed to be pretty stupid... duh, he won't outsmart me.

Don't look in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Breaking Bad Habits for help. There's nothing about heroin in there. The prerequisite is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gambling Like a Pro.

Then there's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cool Ways to Communicate Online. Nobody will know you're an idiot if you describe yourself online as a jet-fighter pilot or a brain surgeon or a model. Just make sure you can spell.

You'd have to really be daft to need The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood. Stick penis in vagina and presto!

Then there's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sex on the Net. No problem. Just make sure it's tied to the tree so you don't get tangled up in it.

The Complete Guide to Sunken Ships and Treasures? Easy. Go to pet store. Look in aquarium. Caution, make a note: avoid piranha tank.

Don't bother buying Container Gardening for Dummies -- grow your very own vegetation in the bottom of the garbage can. It can be done! Trust me.

Cooking With Kids for Dummies? Easy. Put kid in pot. Simmer until flesh is tender and falls from bones. Kidding! Jeesh...

Learn all about Desk-Top Publishing and Design for Dummies -- carve the F-word right into the wood on top of the desk.

In The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dog Tricks you can learn how to catch a Frisbee in your mouth and play fetch just like a real dog.

Cold Fusion for Dummies? Stick tongue to metal pole in winter. I think one of my brothers wrote that one.

Then there's Cool Careers for Dummies. May I suggest Arctic explorer? I hear it can be pretty cool there.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Changing Your Career should be one page with three words: "Quit your job." I wrote the book on that one.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Conquering Procrastination? A bit of advice: "First of all, put down this book!"

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reaching Your Goals? Arrange beer, TV remote and potato chips in 180-degree arc around easy chair.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching and Relaxing? Place beer, TV remote and potato chips just out of reach in 180-degree arc around easy chair.

The last thing we need is a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flying and Gliding. Aren't there already enough idiots on the road?

I'm sure The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict is full of helpful suggestions -- it's related to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Winning Through Negotiation (hint: bring an Uzi).

Then there's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences -- what, hold breath for four minutes? Stick knife in toaster?

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Losing Weight? Hack off a limb.

If I really was a complete idiot and I saw a book like The Complete Idiot's Guide to Palmistry, wouldn't I think it was a book about masturbation, or that The Complete Idiot's Guide to Curling was a book for hairdressers?

What about The Complete Idiot's Guide to Soccer -- a how-to guide about how to smack your wife upside the head or put a sock on her foot?

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Windows... well, usually there's some kind of latch or something. There are guides for Windows 95 and Windows 98 -- those really difficult modern windows with sliding screens and tricky blinds with long cords.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine is obviously about complaining in a high, squeaky voice, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Yahoo! is about pretending to be in a rodeo.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to How to Make Money in the New Millennium? I know! Write a Book for Dummies or a Complete Idiot's Guide. It's better than The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Money on Wall Street. Who wants to dress up like a hooker and sell their body for cash?

Monday, November 14, 2005

How Old Is Your Mom?

When I first read that scientists had discovered a way to reverse menopause, the reactionary part of me thought, "Oh, great. Here's another excuse to keep women barefoot and pregnant and slaves to their biology for the rest of their lives!"

Then a slightly less reactionary part of me (but not much less) thought, "Oh, great. This could mean another 20 years of getting your period." What woman would choose to experience another 20 years of cramps, PMS, ruined sheets and buying tampons, pads and Pamprin when you could have that fresh and panty-liner-free feeling full-time?

Just think: post-menopause, you can go hang-gliding and do all those fun things girls do without worrying about "feeling secure."

By the way, why is the government still charging women tax on feminine hygiene products? Why do they not see that feminine protection is an absolute necessity, like food? Why are they taxing our biology? I guess the government knows that in a pinch, a woman could always filch a couple of safety pins and a roll of toilet paper and fabricate herself a little homemade, tax-free nappy. Or if she completely wanted to avoid paying taxes, she could just stay at home and pretend her futon was a giant tax-free sanitary pad. You see these futons all the time, being dragged out of houses when women move from place to place, the movers looking discreetly away while the woman explains, "Oh, those stains. Those are from when I cut my finger accidentally... eh hmm...with a chainsaw."

Maybe in a couple of years I'll feel differently. Maybe in a decade or two, when I first start experiencing those hot flashes and what society perceives as the last vestiges of my femininity sadly slipping away, I'll be on my knees, begging the doctor, "Gimme one of those pills! My God, make me feel like a real woman again! My family is treating me like I'm just Buddy Ebsen with a wig!"

I am assuming I'll be acting in this emotional way because by the time I make this request, I will be experiencing the mood swings associated with menopause. Of course, part of being a real woman is experiencing menopause, and if you really want a child that badly at age 50, maybe you should consider adopting.

One aspect of menopausal reversal that I find particularly disgusting is the way it caters to that selfish baby-boomer point of view: "The world is all about me and my baby." Just think of all the little orphan babies who won't be adopted because a woman chooses vanity over philanthropy. Aren't there too many people on the planet already without extending our Western imperialist concept about tyranny over nature to planning even more pregnancies?

Also, I don't think anybody has really thought out the consequences of having all these really old moms around. I can see it now. The geriatric mother at the drugstore counter: "I'd like a box of Pampers for my daughter and a box of Depends for me."

Then there will be women who choose to give birth simply to provide themselves with a free caregiver by the time they're 70. There could be an entire generation of children around 11 years old who were born to parent their parents, pushing them around in wheelchairs that are the equivalent of giant strollers. Then there's the whole idea of mom's mind getting feeble, or mom going deaf, as in, "What baby crying? I don't hear any baby crying. Did I have a baby?"

Menopause reversal could also create a whole new generation of orphans. It caters to the delusion most of us live under, that we are somehow immortal: "Oh, death won't happen to me. Death is something that happens to someone else." Imagine this touching scenario, as told by a geriatric mom to her seven-year-old child: "I know you're only seven, but Mommy has to die now. Mommy is too old! I'm sorry, it's a biological certainty... things are getting dim... you're on your own, kid... goodbye."