Me: I was just trying to dislodge something from inside your mother....
My daughter is five in a week or so. In which time she's been relatively unscathed as far as emotional and physical trauma goes. She's avoided breaking any bones or having any serious lacerations and whatnot. In fact when I think it through that nasty sliver under her toenail is the only real incident that I can remember offhand. As far as mental, emotional handling she's done rather well. She moved from one country to another - from house to house a few times - and even endured buying our house now with far more ease than any of us handled it. She took to school and all the changes that go with that with great aplomb. She understands a lot of difficult concepts without them being terrifying - like human mortality, death and what exactly we do with regards farming animals for food.
Still - I've never had to explain very uncomfortable stuff to my kids about willies. We've never been walked in and had my daughter ask, "Daddy what are you doing to Mommy!?" Followed by weak excuses about taking temperature or trying to reach a tricky hair deep inside somewhere. More pertinent is that I have never been surprised sporting a massive erection and then trying to think up an explanation that isn't shockingly awful. "Stung by hornets, honey. Quick! Run out of the room before you get one of these as well!" I'm not sure how I've managed that particular feat but I have. In the morning when nature plays it's cruel trick I've always managed to deal with it all unseen. And any other moments when said guilty spam-javelin could have been perceived have been cleverly hidden behind various objects/furniture/pets until it went away. Considering the frequency of an emerging Shame Stick over a five year period I'd have thought that I would have been driven to perusing online guides for ridiculously hormonal young men looking for ways to camouflage the horrid thing at short notice (such as this which brilliantly involves a man mentally picturing a pork pie to get him to change his mood). Although I did genuinely have a quick goose about and this Yahoo Answer genuinely states that I should point into the distance," and exclaim "look, a walrus," then tuck that bad boy into your belt when she looks away." I'm sorry - but if anyone can successfully hide an erection from anyone under the ruse that a walrus is, "just over there" then something is seriously wrong.
Anyhoo - the reason for this alarmist willy-worry was the realization that whilst I am still confident I can hide any inappropriate tallywhacker sightings of my own from my kids, that my son is going to be waving his about like a Carebear squirting it's Sharing light all over the place. I hadn't even thought of that. My wife then reminded me that not only will he be ridiculously proud and fascinated by the pork-plunger he'll be showboating, but that his sister will start wondering what on earth it is. And as the parent at home a vast majority of the time it will fall upon me to unveil the whole sorry can of worms (or in this case - a can filled with erections) to her. I can picture the enormous domino effect already. One recognized and explained erection will lead to inquisitiveness and questioning about other erections, where they go and when she'll get to see one. It's a horrible prospect just because getting that explanation right is important obviously. I really need to figure out how to explain all that before she starts asking if me and her mother ever use one. Bah.
Right now my kids are enjoying a morning of television. They had absolutely nowt for over a week and have been quite nice about asking if they could just sit calmly for a short while this morning and watch something silly. They took a break in the middle to have breakfast and do some coloring/playing but I let them watch Dinosaur Train before we are heading outside to do something else. First off they watched the very middle-class, white show Arthur. It's weird how it can come across like that when all the characters are actually animals. It's that type of show that depicts diversity of the very safe WASP nature of things by having a Japanese/Turkish exchange student visit the school and wow everyone with their clearly superior science and math knowledge. Also the writer has felt the need to depict all the teachers at the elementary school as Jeeves and Wooster-types obsessed with high-culture, classical music and the thrill of poetry. Consider that in this morning's episode alone there's been mention of hors d'œuvres and one of the eight year old kid's actually said that he has, "an affinity for knitting." In fact the episode they're watching right now is about how kids have different fads that they secretly like - and that you shouldn't be embarrassed about the things you really love doing. Except the storyline is rather flimsy in the sense that it turns out a lot of the kids find out that they all love knitting (yes - it really is a "knitting is cool!" storyline) and that some of the bigger boys like ballet. I'm sure it was like that at your school. I recall some weird trends where everyone seemed to be obsessed with Top Trumps, the older kids all walking around with lollipops (and everyone thinking that was unbelievably cool), wearing your tie with only the little bit showing, lots of people getting really into White Dwarf and all the young men trying to out-do each other for how miserable Grunge made them feel. I myself look back in amusement at thinking that Eddie Vedder (alternative name: The Laughing Cavalier) and his pompous "everyone look at how troubled I am in spite of having no reason!" routine was proof-positive that other people were just like me. It's funny how on reflection that was every bit as false and doing-it-to-get-a-blowjob as the Cock Rock of the late 80s that the every same people had dabbled with before Seattle ruled the world. But knitting? Nobody did that. The idea that is even plausible fills me with confusion.
Lastly, my family is in the strange position of having missed the Olympics in it's entirety. Our camping vacation coincided perfectly with the whole thing so I've no idea at all what is going on. Therefore I feel nothing. None of the patriotism and happiness that is all over my friends' Facebook accounts, the British newspapers or Twitter has worked it's way inside me at all. And as I'm ten days in I feel no compulsion at all to get on board and watch any of it. It just feels like I've missed the boat and that's okay. Th only thing I am truly aware of is that NBC's coverage of the whole thing is apparently a complete shambolic disaster. It's a bit like being one of those people who had never heard of Lost and were told to start watching in Season 4. In fact the only exposure we had to it was my wife turning it on to show my daughter the spectacle of it and seeing the NBC nightmare in full flow. I'm not sure why EVERY SINGLE television spectacle in the US that doesn't involve actors has descended into a farcical shove-the-treacle-down-your-throat pukefest, but that seemed to be evident here. And by that I mean instead of showing something happening Bob Costas would introduce a ridiculously emotional montage about a US athlete and their struggle to get to the Games. And not in the "we had no sporting facilities and I had to pay lots of money to go through college" stuff either. And certainly not the genuine tales of daily strife that many other athletes go through to balance their dream of getting to the Olympics and still getting through their lives in other less prosperous and more unstable countries. No - this is that rank saccharine shit that presents every sporting event like an American Idol audition. Where Bob Costas will talk somberly over a shot of a nineteen year old attractive girl stating, "...but in 2009 tragedy struck her family. Her uncle - a surrogate father to her in many ways (she still has a real Dad who happens to be a well paid professor at Brigham Young - but that doesn't really fit the narrative) lost his hand in a hay-bailer on the family farm. Unable to work and wracked by the economic collapse of the late Bush Presidency - he lost the farm that his Great Great grandfather first started. But that's not all he lost that day. He also lost Hope. Three years later Brayden wants to win Gold for him and try to remind him that stood together, shoulder to shoulder, hand-in-hand - America brings Hope to the World." The only thing they didn't do was actually hold up placards that said, "CRY" and "U-S-A!" on them. It's revoltingly irrelevant and insulting and typical of the let's make-Super-Citizens-out-of-some-people bollocks that is prevalent over here. After a ridiculous number of commercials ("fuck the actual Olympics - let's sell burgers and tell people about another upcoming hospital drama") my daughter got to see another montage about a gymnast. At which point she began throwing herself all over the living room. At which point she said -:
Daughter: Watch my special Olympics dance Daddy.
Me: No honey - that means something else.
Daughter (proceeds to violently twitch after slamming to the floor).
Me: No comment.
All of which has led me to wonder whether I can avoid politics for the next few months. I usually love it. The meta-narrative in particular jazzes me up no end. But it always ends up with the same nonsense said about the same types of people and pretty much makes everyone feel bad. Worse that it comes at a time when I'm getting irritated by my immediate locale, am very frustrated by my extended family, getting easily perturbed about various aspects of the US as a whole and am quickly irritated by a lot of stupid things that normally don't bother me. So instead of smirking at things like the photo below I'm starting to extrapolate illogically and making silly internal comments about how I'm surrounded by muppets.
I'm very aware that is an illogical process. But it perpetuates and leads to a general feeling of malaise. I don't want to be one of those people that makes stock-judgements about a country of hugely diverse people that only serves to make them feel somehow smugger and unhappy. I also need to figure out how to not let that train of thought translate into comments that my kids - my AMERICAN kids - start hearing about.I've already caught myself stood behind a guy at the store wearing a t-shirt that declared "All America Needs Is God And Guns" and my internal voice reflexively yelled, "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY?
Ah well. I shall keep this up as a reminder to stop being silly until the mood changes.