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Observations from my Mixed Up World

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Party Boy

From time to time, being the father of an aspiring actor makes me look back at how I handled various social situations.  I try to keep in mind that Milo is ten and compare what I was like and how I acted to how he is.  I am noticing more and more that this is a very humbling practice.  I was pretty out going and confident as a kid but but the words to describe me aren’t even on the same page that Milo is classified on.

Here is a fine example.  After the Performance Festival on Saturday, we went to a party hosted by a colleague of my wife.  We knew her and her family but pretty much no one else there.  As soon as we arrived, Milo interrupted my raid on someone’s beer cooler (I’d been unable to bring anything) complaining that he didn’t know anyone.  As I cracked open my newly acquired ice cold craft beer, I said to Milo, “For God’s sake, Milo.  You’re an actor.  You should have no problem meeting new people.  Just get going.”  I wasn’t even a quarter of the way through my beer when I noticed him with a really attractive young girl.  She was grinning like


a fool listening to him chat her up.  It was an odd chance that she was exactly his age, just a foot taller than him, in the same grade and looking for a friend to hang with.  They spent the evening attached at the hip and I was tickled to have Milo run up to me later in the evening to ask me what his cell number was since his new friend really wanted his number.  The bunch of guys that I was socializing with looked at me, looked at Milo and one guy says “Wow.  Your kids is really something.  He is so… confident.”  “Yeah,” I replied, “I plan to get a condom welded on him when he turns twelve.”  We all laughed but I think inside we were all thinking that none of us ever got a girl to ask for our number at his age.

One thing is certain about going to a party with Milo.  He’ll know everyone at the party before you are on your second drink.  People always comment that it freaks them out when he laughs at adult sarcasm and then can give as good as he gets.  I’m almost afraid to take him to New York City.  What are we in for??

(Photo of Milo and new friend sitting on a wall looking at his drama award.)

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On the Occasion of my 41st Birthday

At first, I thought to make a bucket list of all the things I still hope to do before I slough off this mortal coil.  But on reflection, I figured this could be an opportunity to reflect on some of the things I’ve already done.  So here is a list of some of my high lights, low lights and just plain weird experiences.  They are in no particular order.

  • Watched both of my kids’ births
  • Watched both of my wife’s episiotomies (once by accident and the other from between the fingers covering my eyes)
  • I once, and only once, ran a mile and a half in 10 minutes, 14 seconds
  • Stayed best friends with my high school buddy for almost 30 years now
  • Marched through the Rocky Mountains carrying an 80 lbs pack and a rifle wishing I were dead and exhilarated to be alive at the same time
  • Participated in the greatest high school heist of all time, where my best friend and I “borrowed” a teacher’s master key, ran to the hardware store, had it copied and returned the key in under 6 minutes.
  • Ran a school photography club for junior kids
  • Stood in the Sistine Chapel and marveled
  • Drove a Nissan Micra with no air conditioning 14,000 km across the United States over 12 days enjoying 2 days in Vegas, the 4th of July in New Orleans and finding the US Navy underwater warfare school in the middle of the desert (still seems fishy to me)
  • Spent 10 years involved with and eventually commanded an Air Cadet Squadron
  • Suffered 3 sports related broken bones (not so cool when you consider 2 broken fingers due to not catching a football and a basketball respectively and a broken toe due to a bad judo fall)
  • Saw Milo stand on stage and take his bow in front of an audience of over 1000 people
  • Got denied entry to a brothel because I brought a girl with me – and to this day I swear I thought it was a bar in an odd place
  • Watched Maya get her first soccer hat trick (the first of many I hope)
  • Sat on the cobble stones near the Trevi fountain, eating panini with my wife on her birthday
  • Stood in wedding parties for many friends
  • Watched as some of those friends were buried
  • Helped a friend start a business and later watched the police arrest him for fraud
  • Swung from the political right to the left
  • Rappelled down the side of a sheer cliff
  • Joined the military and in the words of my buddy’s dad “was the only guy to come back less up tight than he left.”
  • Ate my first tomato in Monte Carlo
  • Visited the grave of Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Coached kids soccer and didn’t need the defibrillator even after running the field for 45 minutes in the hot sun twice a week
  • Paid $600 bucks to the vet and got a stellar X-Ray of the giant turd stuck in my cat’s ass.  It’s now my screen saver.
  • Investigated and successfully prosecuted a company for a workplace accident that crippled a worker
  • Recognized when I was working for an unethical company and moved on
  • Put a bottle of whiskey in my grandma’s grave because flowers seemed wrong

I haven’t exhausted all of the things that came to mind and that in itself makes me smile.  While my birthday is not until Tuesday, I’ll share this now so that if you’ve forgotten to get me a present you have time to find something great.

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Well, here in Ontario, the week of March Break is winding to a close.  None too soon for me, I can tell you that.  Despite the fact that the kids were in art classes for half of each day, there was still an abundance of energy and creativity.  The only natural outlet for the amount of energy and creativity that I’m talking about is for kid’s friendships to be perpetually swinging between states of war and peace.  It doesn’t seem to be a big problem with Milo, but Maya and her friend next door are constant drama.

At least 3 or 4 times each afternoon, Maya and Olivia reach a point where words become as knives, glares are lasers and the screeching deafens banshees.  Each girl will storm back home, vowing to never speak nor even see the other until biblical plagues again punish the Earth.  As the girls pass the thresholds of their various homes they will call for their siblings to burn crosses on the highest hills to summon the clans to battle.  They will demand that the priest of their various gods make sacrifices and read the omens.  Yet before the entrails are even cold a door bell will ring and there will stand their rival seeking to begin the cycle anew and off they go to play Barbies, jump on the trampolines, play house or just run amok BFFs once again.

I’ve always maintained that this behaviour is a girl thing.  Men just get pissed off, tell their buddies to fuck right off, perhaps throw a few punches and then realize that the whole thing is bullshit and go for a beer.  Total time elapsed less than 5 minutes.  Not only that, but these types of blow ups happen only once every few years.  Men can’t hold grudges otherwise they’d never be able to put together a scratch hockey game on a whim.

Women are another thing altogether.  I think that women operate on a model where they are constantly giving each other emotional noogies that they can cling to and nurture for the rest of time.  In my office, not 20 minutes after hearing someone torn to shreds you will watch them go off shopping or for lunch together.  Just like kids.

The ultimate example of women’s need to give and take at the same time is the baby shower.  Under the guise of celebrating the birth of a child, women lavish gifts on the young, apprehensive mother to be and all the while compete in a terrifying game of one-up-manship as they compete to demonstrate why their pregnancy and delivery was the most difficult.  I’ve seen random strangers approach pregnant women in public just to congratulate them on procreating and then to pass on why their delivery was the most horrid on record.  It is so great you’re all sisters.  I’d hate to be your enemy.