9 February 2013

The Lie: No, I’m sorry, Tucker has to stay at your mother’s. I’m allergic to guinea pigs.

The Truth: I’m allergic to the concept of pets that don’t do anything besides eat and defecate. Merely thinking about housing and feeding a guinea pig, or any other domesticated rodent, makes my eyes get watery and my nose start running.

What’s the point of a pet that just sits in a cage all day and doesn’t contribute to the well-being of the household? Cats keep your home free of vermin, and dogs provide security – or, if they’re too little to be intimidating, they at least jump on you when you get home, which is somewhat pleasant. The rest of the so-called “pet” options (i.e. rodents and non-mammals) exist solely to make you have less money. I’ve already got two children who serve that purpose.

(Mind you, Olivia and Troy have been clamoring for a dog for some time now, but until they’re old enough to walk it on their own, then I’m allergic to that idea too.)

21 January 2013

The Lie: Yes, it was difficult for your mother to give up sushi when she was pregnant with you.

The Truth: It wasn’t, because she didn’t. Olivia recently learned that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat sushi, and she wondered how her mom had possibly curbed her five-rolls-a-week habit for nine whole months. I’m not about to be the one to tell my daughter that her mother very willingly endangered both her and Troy’s developmental well-being. If Michelle wants to cross that bridge one day, that’s her prerogative – although I think we ought to wait until Troy’s first round of standardized test results come through, just to be certain.

In fairness to Michelle, she had fully intended to stop eating sushi, and I made the mistake of agreeing to abstain along with her. One too many nights of me slinking into the apartment reeking of cheap wasabi pushed her over the brink.

11 November 2012

The Lie: Sorry, guys, I forgot to bring the orange slices this week.

The Truth: I didn’t forget – I’m just trying to do my part to combat the unnatural ubiquity of orange slices at soccer games. A perpetual sideline fixture since the days when I used to strap on pint-sized shinguards, and probably well before that, the Tupperware bin of orange slices is a misguided tradition that’s overstayed its welcome, and I intend to hasten its long-overdue demise.

I’m all in favor of our mini Donovans and Wambachs being able to enjoy an energy-packed snack at halftime (or any time during the game, in the case of those kids who spend most of their time on the bench, i.e. both of mine). But why should a messy, sticky, inconvenient fruit occupy that crucial role? What’s wrong with raisins? Or blueberries? If kids are big on the “slices” angle, for some inexplicable reason, then how about sliced peaches? Or sliced apples, which are local and abundant this time of year? Perhaps sliced cucumbers would be an unexpected hit. I’d even be willing to provide dip.

Why, I ask, must we continue to venerate a tropical, non-native fruit that, when sliced, encourages a method of consumption in which the uneaten rind is invariably tossed anyplace convenient – usually the ground – thus necessitating manual clean-up once the re-energized little dynamos are once again making fools of themselves on the field of play? And, more to the point, who’s responsible for picking up all of those random-kid-chomped, disease-ridden sticky orange rinds? The poor sap who brought the orange slices, that’s who. Yeah, no thanks – I’m out. It’s raisins and cucumbers from now on.

10 August 2012

The Lie: No, it would not be “funny” if you cut your sister’s hair while she slept.

The Truth: It would be hilarious – perhaps even more hilarious than the time he scribbled on her face with marker while she slept. My son seems to naturally possess all of the proclivities necessary to participate in the Greek system.

As for Olivia, she’ll apparently sleep through anything – a trait which will cause me no shortage of unease if she ever decides to participate in the Greek system. (Or go to college at all. Or leave my house, ever.)

13 July 2012

The Lie: I can do it.

The Truth: I usually can’t, but it’s crucial that they think that I can. If my frustration attempting to assemble or repair something is so evident that my kids are actually offering their help, the odds are pretty good that it’s a lost cause, and a clandestine visit to a specialist – the Genius Bar, their uncle Shawn, etc. – will ultimately be necessary. (This is increasingly the case these days, as the number of electronic devices in my household goes up and the amount of space in my brain allocated for the mastery of new technologies goes down.)

However, it’s vitally important to my veneer of fatherly relevance that my children remain unaware of how diminished their old man’s mechanical acuity has become. I’ll never forget what a game-changing moment of disillusionment it was when I realized that I was better at programming the VCR than my father, who I’d thought until then to be all-knowing and infallible. The inevitable point when my kids come to understand that their minds are more acclimated to today’s world than mine will be when I’ll need to actively begin checking out nursing homes.

26 June 2012

The Lie: If a stranger offers you candy, don’t take it. They might be trying to hurt you.

The Truth: Nobody who’s genuinely trying to hurt you is going to offer you candy. It’s become such a pedophile cliché that no practicing pedophile would be caught dead doing it in this day and age. Same idea with the windowless van – it’s too sketchy to even be sketchy anymore. Anyone driving a windowless van and offering you candy is apparently so blissfully unaware of the connotations of his behavior that he’s probably as trustworthy as any stranger you’re going to find. Go ahead, hop in the van and take the candy. That way I don’t have to pick you up or buy you a snack.

17 June 2012

The Lie: It’s my old computer, and it’s in the closet because it’s broken.

The Truth: It’s my Super Nintendo, and it still works beautifully – at least two or three times a week, in fact, whenever I’m having trouble falling asleep. It’s in the closet because if my kids ever discover the brilliance that is Donkey Kong Country, they’ll never do homework again.

(Despite the convenience it affords me, I’m truly shocked and horrified that we live in an age in which children don’t know what a Super Nintendo looks like.)

12 June 2012

The Lie: Of course I’m sad that the Celtics are out of the playoffs.

The Truth: Sad isn’t the right word for it. I’m disappointed, yes, but there’s a certain degree of relief paired with that disappointment. As much as I love postseason basketball, it takes a lot out of me to spend three hours cheering and groaning every other night for an entire month. On top of that, they lost – I watched them dutifully for twenty games, screaming my lungs out every time, and they lost. Why should I force myself to expend a ton of hope and investment on something only to watch it end in disappointment? There’ll be plenty of time for that when my kids are applying to colleges.

Truthfully, the Celtics getting eliminated reminds me of how I felt when it was determined that Michelle would have primary custody of the kids. I was disappointed, sure, because I’m a fan of theirs, but I was relieved as well. It felt nice – as it does now – to know that I’d finally be able to spend a bunch of evenings in a row without once having to shout at the top of my lungs.