Archive for December, 2011

2011 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE ALTERNATE ENDING

December 21, 2011

I ended the previous video on a happy note because I wanted it to go viral but it didn’t. This is how I wanted to end it.

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2011 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

December 18, 2011

 

I decided to take over for Santa this year and guess what, it went really, really, really, really, really, really, really, well.

The Preservation of Innocence in these Moderne Tymes

December 13, 2011

Gavin’s sweet post about childhood innocence (followed by a few back & forth emails with him on the topic) got me thinking about how we influence our children to become the people we really hope they will be. We try to provide opportunities and experiences that leave them both in awe of the world but never suckers who give all their money to cult leaders or Microsoft. There should be wonder and innocence for kids, it’s cute. Yet naivety is one of the very worst traits we could allow. It’s the opposite of cute.

I am both mindful and fearful that I’m creating a cynical, over-logical, jerk, egghead-of-a-loser math nerd who will be picked on (yet make billions and disavow me). There are just too many liberal Ph.D.-holding family members on the white side of her family. Fortunately, my side of the tree has few hustlers, gangsters, and con artists. I have hope for the well-balanced and well-adjusted offspring.

Does Beasley believe in Santa Dorothy? No-doy! That shit’s long played-out, son. God too. But she probably still believes in democracy, the poor, cute thing.

So when my beautiful, intelligent, lovely, and generous wife and child gave me a nice new MacBookPro for my birthday–I’m still amazed that they both care so much and also catch clues so well–It was a joyous moment for all since I had promised the kid–now 9 & a half–that I’d simply give her my old machine when I ever got go new one. Win-win, right?

But it wasn’t so easy. I had to remove all sorts of things she didn’t need to be involved with, from processor-intensive applications to cached images (oy!). From explicit music to bookmarks to dark-ish places, etc. I had to make a fully functioning computer kid friendly to, you know, protect her innocence. I even dumbed-down Firefox so when she’s looking for Dick’s Sporting Goods she doesn’t get something like this: [clicky for NSFW sample of what you get when you Google “dicks”] See what I mean? Too soon for that. Too soon to explain that.

I got that computer all spiffily reformat and configured for her. She was beaming. All full of Allstar Weekend songs and Good Luck Charlie videos. Sweet. Mission accomplished! I was beaming too.

But one day a couple of weeks after delivery, I used her new machine for something and decided to click on her browser history. Whoops! Kids are pretty curious, aren’t they? I guess one YouTube video leads to a long and perilous descent into dumb, sexualized, and injurious adventures.

Fortunately, or not, she appears to have an affinity for Fail Compilations so far. I was crestfallen that my kid was going to grow up to be a total jackass meth addicted loser!

I felt so bad for a while, too. I blamed myself. I even installed Net Nanny software to prevent her from wandering into the ugly areas of the net. We had a talk. I briefed the mother. But I was also relieved because it could have been much worse. She didn’t make it into anything too bad yet, thank goodness.

Today I used her computer to check an email and decided to check the history again. Just checking since I’m a parent, not being nosy or anything. I found nothing. I mean, I literally found nothing. She disabled the history function to cover her traces.

I am so proud! She’s growing up wonderfully.

DO THEY REALLY BELIEVE IN YOU KNOW WHO?

December 13, 2011

We left this out for him last year and he barely touched it.

This is a tricky thing to discuss publicly because some kids are old enough to read but not old enough to um, know, about a certain thing involving a December event that defies physics. I am referring to a certain gentleman (besides Jesus) who dominates the holiday with spellbinding feats of generosity. Let’s call him “Dorothy.”

Do they really believe in this guy? On Saturday, I took my kids to a tree lighting ceremony where Dorothy was just standing there like it ain’t no thang. He had a bell in his hand and wasn’t really talking to anyone because the whole lap thing was going to happen afterwards. I pointed him out to my kids (3 and 5) and they could have given two shits. I don’t get that. If I threaten to call him when behavior is bad at home, they practically have a heart attack. This trick works any time of the year. Even in July. My daughter once said, “It’s weird how God is Santa’s boss.” They live in awe of his powers but when he’s standing three feet away, yawn.

Later, they got to sit on the lap of this person and they quietly listed a bunch of expensive toys they wanted and got off. It was as cold as a Russian serf picking up his monthly stipend for bread. How could they not be thrilled they were meeting someone who is one down from God? Then things got really weird. On the road above the event, a second Dorothy pulled up on the back of a flatbed truck. He had music blaring and lights galore as well as a whole posse of dancers who came out to meet the kids. Dorothy 1 just sat there at the bottom of the hill as everyone ran up to greet his doppelganger. Were the kids confused? Nope. It didn’t even register.

Now, my kids are not dim. They are very curious little creatures. When my dad started screaming in a rage at Woody earlier this year they both said, “Calm down Grandpa, it’s only a toy.” So why aren’t they asking questions about multiple Dorothies? And why don’t they care that he’s sitting right there?

Here’s my theory: They don’t literally believe the whole thing the way Born-Agains are said to believe there were never dinosaurs. Their Dorothy beliefs are a lot like your average Christian’s beliefs: Just a groovy kind of a love of the whole vibe of the thing with a perfumed pile of platitudes and a total aversion to specifics. My kids get excited about him making the rounds on the eve of the big day because it’s fun and they know it leads to presents. They line up and sit on his lap because that’s part of the custom. They don’t really think that’s the real guy sitting there. That’s why there are so few questions about what the hell he’s doing here at the busiest time of the year.

Of course, the only way to be 100% sure I’m right is to walk up to Dorothy, yank off his beard and yell, “THERE, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT KIDS? INCONGRUOUS HUH!?” If they freak out, I’m wrong and they really do believe the whole story. If they shrug, I’m right and the whole thing is more of a ritual than a belief. And if you really do do this, I will kill you. (Ha! I said doodoo.)