Aquarium Bones

“Be careful what secrets you unearth, for the secrets that unearth you are not far behind.” ~Theodicus

I used to have an aquarium. Not the kind with fish. That would have been too simple, or too complicated, whichever you prefer. But the kind with treasure in it. You know the sort, the one with sand at the bottom, a little rake up against the glass, and the opportunity to mine for gold, or scarabs, or just the faded bones of fish who used to live in those environs before the water went away.

It seemed morbid to me at the time, the idea of an aquarium without water, a place without the one thing that gives it its name (aqua = water), the idea that “once upon a time” and “nowadays” were two distinct terms to label that glass walled cage. Eventually, though, I got used to the idea that nothing was as it seemed, not just in the aquarium, but in the wide world as well. I realized we are all nothing but aquarium bones, waiting to be unearthed when someone sifts through our lives many years from now.

I think of all the people who have come before, all the generations and generations of folks who felt, in their lifetimes, that the things they did mattered, that the time they spent was worthwhile. Continue reading “Aquarium Bones”

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The Uneasy Truth of Fatherhood

“Any man can be a father. That simply requires DNA. But it takes a real man to be a dad.” ~Anonymous

It’s just so messed up, this idea that fathers aren’t as necessary to a child’s development and sense of security as mothers. I honestly have no idea where it came from. Maybe some psychologist somewhere in the late 1800’s or something decided this was true, and the thought just floated down the timeline. But it’s false, patently false, this thought that kids who grow up without a father are getting just as much.

They just aren’t.

I don’t say this to try and discredit single mothers. Quite the opposite. Single mothers are the backbone of love, of support, and of teaching their children to be quality members of society. Because they have all the responsibility single mothers often take it as a challenge they do their best to meet, because they love their children and give them the absolute best of themselves. All I’m saying is that kids need both, that they need two committed parents, two committed guardians, to care for them. Continue reading “The Uneasy Truth of Fatherhood”

You Can’t Change Men

“Men don’t change. They just learn to disguise the lack of change.” ~David Gemmell

Ladies, remember when you first started dating your man? You thought, “he’s a pretty good man, but he could be a pretty GREAT man if…” and then you thought of all the (subtle) ways you could change him to make him into your perfect representation of MAN. If you tweaked a little, nipped a little, and tucked a little, he could get there, and be worthy of you.

Then, like a miracle, like turning water into wine, it happened. Little by little you noticed the changes that you had set in motion. Bit by bit you saw the shining specimen of a man who had come through the fire, forged like newly burnished steel. And you danced the Macarena with your girlfriends, believing that the almighty had blessed you with what you’d always wanted in a man.

But you celebrated too soon. As time went on you realized that all the “changes” your man went through weren’t really changes, that he had simply learned to hide those “rough spots” from you, dressing them up like wolves in sheep’s clothing, so that you would stop harping on him to change. If he pretended to change enough you would believe he had, and leave him to his own devices.

And you fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. It’s not because you’re dumb, either. It’s because you wanted to believe in it more than kids want to believe in Santa Claus. It’s because you thought if your intentions were pure and true enough that positive things were bound to happen. That was your first mistake, because, ladies, despite the best of intentions, you can’t change men. Continue reading “You Can’t Change Men”

The LP Experience

Who listens to entire music albums anymore?

The other day I was playing Katy Perry’s Prism from start to finish, and my kids asked me what those “non-radio songs” were. I told them it was the whole album and they looked at me like I had two heads.

I remember waiting all day so I could go to the record store and buy Janet’s janet. album, when I would camp out all night so I could be the first one to get the new Sheryl Crow CD. I recall the first album I listened to from start to finish like it was yesterday, and while I sometimes listen to a song here and there I’m largely still about entire albums.

There’s just something about listening to the music in the way the artist intended, and when an entire album flows from song to song, creating an entire masterpiece, it’s simply transformative. Complete albums like Michael Jackson’s Bad, Counting Crows’ August and Everything After, Babyface’s For the Cool in You, and Pearl Jam’s Vs. have been there for me in difficult times of my life. Continue reading “The LP Experience”

30 Promises: Day 15

Day 15: I promise to be more adventurous.

Ireland Pictures 034

When I was younger I did more things. I was often out and about. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more sedentary, preferring to bunker down at home instead of venturing forth into the great wild yonder. Well, I’m not saying I want to go into the wilderness or anything, but I need to make more connections, to get out and do things with actual people sometime.

Sometimes I feel like I’m turning into a statue who goes to work, who ferries the kids places, and who writes. That’s not me. I want to be no man’s statue, not even my own. So this summer I promise to travel places, to do things I haven’t ever done, or that I haven’t done in a good long while. No one’s getting any younger. I guess I’m feeling like carpeing the shit out of the diem, seizing the damn day and shaking it like a rag doll.

The other day I was at a restaurant / bar with some friends. It felt weird, but cool at the same time. I didn’t know the etiquette of how to order and pay for a drink so I watched other people for a while to try and get the hang of it. People kept asking me if I wanted a drink because they were headed to the bar, but I never quite figured out the intricacies of all of that. So I said no. Continue reading “30 Promises: Day 15”

Parenting For Tomorrow

“Be the parent today that you want your kids to remember tomorrow.” ~Anonymous

We hear all this talk about living for today, about being in the moment, about doing what we want right now because tomorrow is never promised to us. But, as a parent that’s not quite the way I view life. For me it’s about making sure the future is as hospitable place for my children as it can be, and that my children are as prepared to survive in that future as they can be.

I’m what you might call an “involved” parent. I’m the one who is at the school whenever there is a small issue, whenever there is a big issue, or just because it’s a Tuesday sometimes. I’ve been known to bring another sandwich because I was worried the first sandwich wasn’t as fresh by lunch time as it should have been.

But I don’t think I’m an overly involved parent. I don’t take my children to school because I don’t trust the bus system, or anything like that. I’m a concerned parent because I know that what happens to my children right now can have a huge effect on how they envision their own future, and on how the world sees them. I believe in the “teach a kid to fish” philosophy. Continue reading “Parenting For Tomorrow”

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