Saturday, October 22, 2016
Among the many expectations levied on Perry children, there were two music requirements: you must learn the piano, with lessons beginning around age seven. You must, then, also learn a second instrument starting a few years later. I chose the guitar for obvious reasons (see above), and for obvious reasons, my mom put me into classical guitar training, where I was regularly humiliated due to extreme incompetence over the course of the next eight or so years of training.
I must here inject, though it has no bearing on the story but allows me to brag, that I learned THREE instruments, the upright bass as my third, though four if you count the electric bass as a separate instrument, which I of course do. Interestingly, I am known as the most musically inept and untalented Perry, and the family psychology involved there I leave to the reader to interpret.
I was in many bands as both guitar and bass player, and in none of them did I particularly distinguish myself. My cousin John Huff, on the other hand, attained a lot of local renown as the best member (an unbiased opinion of course) of an a cappella group, Voice Male. I'd watch him and dream of glorious grandeur as lead singer/guitarist of The Chris Perry Band.
Alas, it was not to be. Lack of talent? Ambition? Maybe. I think the true culprit is debilitating social anxiety that I have very slowly beaten back over the past thirty five years. Maybe if American Idol existed when I was in high school I'd be able to point to failed audition instead.
In a different life I'd be writing this from my golden bed in a suite in the Bellagio, instead of a dirty couch I got second hand surrounded by molding socks, tufts of cotton, and an unopened spoon rest (I can explain). But every night I put my two year old to bed and sing him all of the songs I wished I could cover in my other life. I pull out the guitar and belt out Hotel California, More Than a Feeling, then put him in bed and stroke his hair and sing him what I believe is the best rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight that has ever been heard on our planet. He knows the words to all of our songs, and tonight we crooned together "more than a feeling!", and "oooooooooweeeeeeeeee oh wim-oh-weh"
I never made it big. Not as a pianist, not as a guitarist, not as a bassist, and definitely not as a rock star.
But I've done my best performances for the people I love the most. Performances that may never be eclipsed, and will certainly never be known outside a little boy's crib. That which I wanted the most I cannot have, but for a few moments every night I am a Rock Star to an adoring fan.
And that's enough for me.
Monday, September 5, 2016
Going to church with kids is one way we attempt to develop the inner moral code of our children. Success at that task is measured over decades, not the half hour you actually spent at church because you fell into the mud while chasing your child outside, which then split your pants wide open, which resulted in a long walk of shame back to the van.
Remember when you were single, and wondered if you were appropriately spiritually centered, or getting what you needed out of church? Just wait until you spend the entire meeting trying to keep a toddler from playing every single piano in the building, or set up every single chair in every single classroom per his endless demands.
Going to church with kids is easy because look how easy it is for everyone else. Their toddler is casually listening to the speaker while taking notes in her own baby's set of scriptures. Your kid is plastering sticky grapes all over the pew because of something you've done wrong. The other toddler is casually grasping her daddy's hand saying, "father, might we visit the loo? I'm afraid I've soiled myself." and yours is desperate to stick his hand in his diaper and is yelping "home! home! home!" during the prayer as you pull it away.
Going to church with kids is the right thing to do. Everybody needs spiritual rejuvenation, and what better way to get that than placing a human tornado next to a bag of fish crackers and hoping for the best? Oh yes, you'll definitely be listening to this talk.
Going to church with kids is a good idea, because you'll get to listen to spiritual insights from people who have really thoughtfully considered deep moral issues, and you probably won't get stuck with your kid screaming in the gym, and the only messages you get to hear are the lame starter joke from the youth speaker, and then your son will calm down just in time to be very quiet and reverent during the entire talk of the resident racist.
Sundays are a special day, and if you feel disheveled and discouraged at the end, don't worry, another one will be here in six more days.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Movies these days are totally unrealistic. Take, for instance, action movies. They routinely pit some highly-trained single dude against legions of henchmen in situations where the odds are stacked horrifically against their favor, but they always squeak out victory. This is obviously unrealistic, because everyone knows that single men can't possibly do any of the tasks portrayed in the movies. Only fathers have the training and skill set necessary.
Let's go through each skill in detail:
Silently entering the enemy base and avoiding detection
Who is quieter than a dad after their child is asleep? I swear to you, you cannot even hear the breath out of our nostrils when our kids are down. We move around the house in total silence like freaking ninjas: cooking, cleaning, brushing our teeth IN ONE HUNDRED PERCENT TOTAL SILENCE. No way we could do that when we were single. We've had YEARS of training at this point, and are way better than any action hero. I'm even TYPING in total silence right now.
Manipulating a sleeping guard
What's harder than moving your baby from the carseat to the bed WITHOUT HIM WAKING UP?? NOTHING. Nothing is harder than that. Adults are fat sleepy creatures and you can get the handcuffs on that guard no problem. Try moving an entire human being around and see what happens. Nothing happens because fathers are magical fairies and they have the touch of tinkerbell wearing slippers.
Anyone can swerve to avoid bullets, but try entertaining a child who is in a car seat facing away from you while you're in rush hour traffic in the bay area. I don't want to say that we have the worst drivers in America, but we have the worst drivers in America. Single dudes just swerve around in their Tesla like it's nobody's business, but fathers have to do all of that while driving some crappy car that they don't care about getting puke all over while a hotbed of terror is exploding behind them.
Going without sleep for long durations
The action hero is always on the move, never sleeping, never tiring, and that is just baloney. Every single dude I know sleeps like ten amazing hours every night and they wake up to happy birds chirping. Put them in an action situation they're going to be calling time out for a nap. But a father? I went three days on three hours of sleep when my son was born and my wife got less and NBD FOLKS NBD. If you need someone who can drive that car from New York to LA in complete silence while getting shot at by attack helicopters, you call up a dad and they'll be like 'yo only 41 hours straight and then I can actually sleep without someone spitting on me? no problem, sign me up bro'.
Diffusing the bomb
There's always the scene where some explosives need to be handled very gently, or possibly diffused through a terrifying scene where the hero has to very delicately open the bomb and navigate the triggering mechanism without disturbing anything. That's easy! They even have a countdown clock! The bomb isn't an already-exploding live human kicking and screaming and doing everything in its power to get off of the changing table and spread poop as far as possible. No way a single dude can handle that bomb. Enlist a father, and he'll have a system for keeping the child under control and delicately wiping off the writhing body with nary a drop of poop misplaced. Situation diffused.
Crawling through raw sewage
Every time one of those scenes come up I just laugh because no way a single dude is going to do that. He's going to go back and cry in his shower where he doesn't get interrupted a thousand times by a kid who wants to come play in the water and point out daddy's bum. Not only have fathers already smelled all of the noxious smells of the world, I have literally held crap in my hands today and we routinely deal with disasters coming out of both ends of those terrors, so put a daddy in that sewer line and he'll be like, 'oh it must be a day that ends with a Y'.
That all said, this is redundant, because my dad is already an action hero. He plucked me and my sister from the ocean at the same time to save us from drowning, he ran so fast his shoes melted off of his feet and jumped on a neighbor's roof with a single bound and saved their house from a fire, he routinely brings people back from the dead, including himself after his heart literally stopped for several minutes, and he spent his younger days in the Green Berets jumping out of airplanes and then working several jobs at the same time where his record is working a 140 hour week (was it 150 dad? I was too blown away to remember which).
So, Hollywood, stop trying to get us to believe absurd things. Start casting fathers of 2, 3, and even 4 in your action films, and it'll be a lot easier for me to believe when they can do anything. And a happy early Father's day to you all.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
It's 8PM on a Sunday night: the kiddo is down and my level of work backlog hasn't quite reached ox-in-the-mire proportions, so you know what that means folks: it's time to dispense with more infinite wisdom.
"Oh what, random stranger," you say, "could you possibly enlighten us with this evening?"
Well, I'll tell you what. Being the father of approximately 1 and three quarters children, I am the world's expert on them. I routinely get the chance to insert myself in conversations with childless co-workers and friends and deftly steer the conversation to me and my knowledge of children. Just last week I had dinner with two people who are obviously smarter than me in every way, and I got to pretend like I knew more than them because they only had two thirds of a child, which, if my math is right, is less than my 1.75.
With that in mind, and before you start inching away slowly looking for an exit like everyone else, let's talk about the things you need to buy to prepare for having children.
1. A carseat
This is a gimmie. Protip: visit Babies R Us and they let you test all of the carseats in your tiny tiny ant automobile that you bought when you sold the truck in preparation to start a family, and then NEGLECTED TO INCLUDE THE ABILITY TO FIT A CARSEAT in your EXTREMELY LONG and "thorough" analysis of a car to buy. Good job Stanford grad! You're officially a moron. But don't worry, they carry exactly one carseat that fits. You found your choice!
2. Puppy pad
This is a good idea because you know, your kid might have a diaper rash and need some time outside of his diaper. Oh yes, there's absolutely no way he'll roll off of it, or emit high velocity and distance projectiles. Which leads me to...
3. Carpet cleaner
I guarantee you one thousand percent if you don't have it offhand, you're going to be dispatching one of you to Safeway one night when your kid poops through your carpet, rug, drapes, you name it.
On an unrelated note, we really love visitors at our house! Please, make yourself at home on the couch or rug. Stop by any time.
HAHAHAHAHAHA WHO ARE YOU KIDDING YOU ARE DOOMED, DOOMED I SAY! Earplugs can't stop the decible level you're about to hit my friend. YOU'LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN YOUR KID IS GOING TO CRY THROUGH YOUR EARDRUM. ALL IS LOST YOU GULLIBLE LITTLE MONKEY HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Maybe earplugs for your guests though, so you can pretend like you were trying to help them when your kid keeps them up from two AM through noon. "Oh gosh, did my kid just wake you up, oh I'm so sorry I have no idea what that feels like every day for a year. It must be hard to lose a few hours sleep approximately every transit of Venus".
5. A Muzzle
A muzzle so you shut up whenever your childless co-workers complain about being tired because they were up too late reading a book or some other absurd luxury.
Let me tell you something about people who don't have kids: they don't care.
They don't care one cent about the sweat and misery that goes into raising kids. Nope, not one bit. I know because I used to not have kids. Someone complaining about not getting sleep is like complaining about a blind date going poorly. IT IS TOTALLY PREDICTABLE AND EXTREMELY PROBABLE THAT IT WILL GO BADLY.
So shut your mouth. Your childless co-workers couldn't care a single bit, and it just makes you look like a whining sissy in front of your co-workers with children.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
I started writing posts for The Complete Guide to Everything in 2004,1 back when it was still somewhat socially acceptable for a heterosexual male to write stuff not related to computer science or startups or design and not be considered self absorbed. That time has long since passed, so let me branch out a bit for this post, and target the main blog-reading audience that still exists.
Dear mommy bloggers,
It sure is easy to save money on baby food. You'd be a fool not to! Here are some quick and easy steps.
- Don't buy that baby food in a packet. It's $1.50 on sale, and it is only a magical concoction of healthy things for your baby to eat that will help him grow and be happy, packaged in the most amazing invention since pre-wheel.2 Be dissatisfied that it's not cheap. Everything should be cheap.
- Decide to make baby food yourself. This is a good idea.
- To make similar-quality food, go drop by the store and pick up a box of raspberries for $5, and a banana for $.29. So you're already ahead. And a sweet potato for $something.3
- Buy a re-usable packet on Amazon. You can get six for $17, and at least four of them will work.
- Wait for your baby to get hungry.
- Instead of instantly opening up that magical device and dispensing food, hurriedly make yourself some baby food. It's easy! Especially easy to do while holding a crying toddler.
- Mash up that food and stick it in the packet, spilling at least half on the floor.
- Your baby will eat about a quarter of it and then out of anger that it is not real baby food, squeeze it out all over your bed where you foolishly brought him like a sucker.
- Clean the mixing bowl, floor, clothes, bed, and son.
- Throw away the "reusable" packet, those things are uncleanable.
- Go buy more baby food.
1. Maybe it was 2003? I dunno, the point is I'm too old to remember things. I hand write my own HTML and I long for a good RSS reader. Now get off my lawn you darn "Millennials".
2. It's basically on the same level as fire and exchangeable currency.
3. This is the part where you realize you can never trust someone who works for Google to quote you food prices.
Being healthy is pretty awesome. You sleep well, you can run whenever you want, and you can look down with moral superiority at the sick people who come to work to try and infect you. The only way being healthy can be a downer is living with someone who is sick.
First of all, any pity is just totally out of the question. If you're sick, it's all, "oh I'm so sorry you must feel terrible let me make you chicken noodle soup instead of telling you why I think it's a disgusting dish and should never be allowed in our home".
No no, if you're healthy, you only get people saying, "oh gee you look good today", and, "how are you my friend". If you let slip your true feelings on your wife's illness, all of those hypocrites change their tune quick as a flash to, "I can't believe you'd be so selfish", and, "in what world do you think it is socially acceptable to blog that you beast of a man".
And you deserve pity after all! It is mildly inconvenient to be woken up by someone coughing and writhing in pain. It sure sucks up time to play with your son at the park as he laughs and giggles and spends precious moments of a golden childhood beaming at you when you could be pushing him off to his mother and reading The Economist. And the puking in the background sure can make it hard to hear the game.
Yes, my perfectly healthy friend slaving away at your blog post with coughing in the background, I feel your pain. And I will definitely be there for you when you get kicked out to the doghouse. As long as you don't get sick too.
Monday, December 21, 2015
It used to be that to really dislike someone for their absurd views you'd have to actually speak with them for a sustained period of time. Those were the golden years of civil society when it didn't really matter if you had a racist aunt because you'd only have to disavow her every Christmas.
However, now our public forums are bombarded daily with politicized messages seeped in missionary zeal, and what they lack in the ability to convey nuance or background, they make up for with being totally anathema1 to civil discourse. Everything is reduced to a photo with an absurdist caption and a like button. I'm running out of people who post incendiary things to unfollow.
So, my fair reader, and you are just one reader,2 today I grant you an escape from the madness, talking about the only thing I can that is remotely entertaining.
Having a kid is like playing a round of that old classic,3 "Don't wake Daddy", except you don't lose the game if he wakes up, you die a miserable death listening to a rabid monster screaming for your blood in the other room. The great part about raising a family in California is that instead of retreating into your master bath several kilometers away from the nursery, you get to slowly tiptoe into a creaky bathroom inches away from the angeldemon, cursing every time a train passes by as you perform all of your necessary nighttime actions in a very pained complete and total silence.
Of course, if you mention this to anyone who has children they will immediately judge you4 for a) not having enough children,5 or b) mention something about sleep training. I have a bone to pick with sleep training.
"Sleep training" is a term made up by pop psychologists looking to foist guilt on the modern parent. Sure, sleep training sounds cut and dry right? Sort of like toilet training but with sleep. It is a filthy lie. Sleep training is like training for a marathon. It is a constant bleating force in your life for anywhere from one to thirty six months depending on how much you lie and/or drug your children. And it gets better when they learn to talk because they get to scream at you by name.6
Our kid's first word was daddy, which I thought was really sweet until we realized he was talking to his stuffed raccoon (and he still does). His second word was no. Third word is up in the air, but we're a little afraid it's going to have four letters.
I think I'm overstating my case just a little bit here. Getting a kid to sleep is really reasonably easy, as long as they aren't teething, going though a growth spurt, sick, weaning, have a poopy diaper, have lost their stuffed raccoon, have their legs through the crib slots, aren't thirsty, aren't hungry, can't see any light, can't hear any noises, oh and there goes the ^&*$ train again blaring the horn, or in any way deviant from the most pristine situation you can imagine, which is ALL OF THE TIME.
Parenthood is awesome and rewarding when it's 8:30 and he didn't cry this time and it's only another eight and a half hours before you're at it again.
See you on the flip side!
1. This means I like to use big words and be sure to show everyone that too.
2. Hi wifey! Love you!
3. I'm using that term very loosely here.
4. Judging is the currency of parenthood.
5. He's just a first child, you obviously don't know what you're doing.
6. We have to coach every babysitter the same way: he's going to cry, it's going to be terrible, you'll be okay, BUT DO NOT GO IN THERE BECAUSE HE WILL DESCEND INTO MADNESS.