Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Family News in Brief -- June ’09

Earlier this month, my 5-year-old son was racing a friend down the slide at a local playground when he stumbled over the ledge and took a head dive down the sloping chute, injuring his two front teeth and his upper lip. My boy took the necessary precautions the following day at school. “I told all my friends not to squeeze my teeth because they hurt,” he said. Apparently our schools are filled with renegade kids who are squeezing each other’s teeth. Local law enforcers weren’t available to comment on the teeth-squeezing epidemic in the area.

Two weeks ago, I decided to speak my mind about some major problems we citizens are exposed to every day. I first pointed my rampage at various restaurant chain managers. “There are a few hamburger joints that expect you to dip your French fries into tiny ketchup cups the size of soda caps,” I said in a statement yesterday. “There are also a few taco joints that give you a similar cup to fill with salsa for chip dipping. You can’t even fit enough fry or chip into these cups to get a taste of the dip. Nobody’s saving resources by using tiny cups. It just forces customers to use more cups and make more mess.” Also on my problem hit list were those water-saver flushers. “If I blew my nose and dropped more than one tissue into the bowl with these water-saver flushers, I’d end up plugging up the toilet,” I told a local plumber offering me one of the units. “Before you know it, I have to flush the toilet again and again to get the paper down, and I end up using more water than if I had a flusher with the power to suck up two oak trees at the same time.” Among many other problems I brought up this month, I surveyed several people about problematic elevator behavior. “Why is it that when you’re in an elevator, you must stop talking?” I asked various elevator riders. “On many occasions, I’ve been in mid-conversation before getting into an elevator, and I’ve had to stop talking because of this unspoken elevator code. It’s very inconvenient.” Here’s an unrelated but similar problem: Why is it OK to stare a stranger’s baby in the face and say, “How cute,” but it’s not OK to do the same to the stranger without getting slapped with a lawsuit or an open hand? These and other grievances are not being addressed at all. According to numerous reports, people are sick and tired of complainers.

Late afternoon on Sat., June 13 in the Sacramento home belonging to my parents, my 5-year-old son announced that he didn’t need a bath, even though he’d spent the better part of the day playing in the sand box at a nearby park. Sweltering weather conditions gave my wife reason to believe our kid got dirtier and sweatier than usual while playing, and that he was more in need of a bath than ever. “You’re all sweaty,” my wife said to the boy when he put up a fight. “No,” he snapped, “I sweated when we were at the park. I’m not sweaty now.” My wife replied, “You deserved a reward for good behavior when we were at the park. You don’t deserve anything but a timeout now.” And while the water in the tub turned dirty brown and sandy when our child got in, he didn’t really need a bath.

Father’s Day is a great day to sit in your favorite chair wearing your favorite pajamas and reflect. I did plenty of reflecting this year with a close friend who plans to get married and start a family very soon. “Some of the years go by really fast,” I warned my friend. He nodded his head as if he’d heard this before, and as if he believed it. “But some of the afternoons last an eternity.” My friend nodded his head and decided not to talk to me about marriage and kids anymore.

-June 2009

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