Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Last Wednesday evening, after getting home from work, I headed upstairs to check a couple of things on the computer before hitting my post-bike commute shower.  I flicked on the TV to Vh1 for no particular reason and noticed they were showing “ 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.”  Shows like this are notoriously terrible in that the rankings are horrendously off base.  I suppose no one would watch the first few installments (#’s 100-50) unless they swapped out a #18 to #81 here and there.  Great example was “Every Breath You Take” landing at #46 while Hall & Oates’ "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" and “Come On Eileen” managed to land in the top 20.  These lists are always going to be flawed, which is partly why I refuse to do top 10 lists.  
     In any case, just before I flicked it off, Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” showed up, resulting in memory blocks falling like dominos.  “Push It,” in my childhood experience was the quintessential roller rink song, followed closely by Snap’s “I’ve Got the Power” and Scandal’s “The Warrior.”  The Fatboys also did well in that category.  Good times.  

     That nostalgia led to my thinking about how much of my childhood I’ve mostly forgotten about, which would otherwise be great guidance for my future fatherhood.  No, wifey’s not pregnant, but it’s only a matter of time.  We’ve got bunny duty pretty much down, but they tend to be a little more self-sufficient than children are rumored to be.  I’d like to really sit down and mull over the pluses and minuses of my little man career to hopefully make sure my kids have good youthful glory days.  

     Getting frustrated and yelling that I’ll send them to foster care?  Probably needs to be out.  Camping trips, especially backpacking into places like the Adirondacks, definitely in.  Year-round City Rec league sports (soccer, basketball, etc) is iron-clad, no matter how much chirping I get from the wife.  One I can’t fully decide on is day care.

     While imprisoned in Children’s World Penitentiary Center, I was unhappy about not being allowed to stay at home unattended (my sister and I had a nice afternoon sitter for a year or two, but she quit and Deadspin  has reported she had some sharp words about my character on the way out).  Humility is getting out of school and having to board the short bus with smiling suns and rainbows on it; you have to hang around someplace and dart onto it immediately once it arrives with your face in your chest.  Looking back on it all, there were positive and negative aspects of it, but a lot more positives than I could have recognized back then.

     Positive:  great social immersion.  Sitting at home or playing with a couple of buddies doesn’t teach you how to make friends or deal with social circles anywhere near as much as Kid Pen.  Don’t take that as only entailing the make-believe superhero adventures outside during recess, you also had to learn how to hold your own.  The Day Care adult-to-child ratio is anywhere from 5-10, but when everyone’s outside, it becomes one huddled and chit-chatting mass of 5 burnt-out adults to a half-ace of 30-45 kids.  Believe me, there are plenty of darkened back alleys in the afternoon because of this.  So I literally knocked teeth out here and there as I got older.  You had to be ready to go.  Going to the supervisors was always the wrong move in the long term, so was turning the other cheek.  Clearly, I can’t apply this literally to life today, but bursting the bubble on life conflicts has to happen sooner or later.  You shouldn’t wait until you’re halfway into a career to have Vito slap you across the face and tell you to act like a man.  

     Positive: takes you places.  Tons of great field trips, especially during the summer: the roller rinks, the movies, the zoo, NASA, science museums, etc.  Takes pressure off the parents to think of them all, and it’s a lot more fun when you’re with a pack of friends instead of just your parents.  

     Negatives: the shame, oh the shame.  Letting on that you’re in child care is never cool.  Even if you’re 6, you’ll be shamed by it.  At the latest, you need to get out by 6th grade.  It won’t be hard, because by that age, the staff will be helping to persuade your parents.  

     Hey, I survived.  I’m probably better for the experience: allowing me to kick back at home watching cartoons by myself probably wouldn’t have offered much benefit in my development.  We’ll have to see what I do when my demon seeds become school age.


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