February 15, 2007

My Growth Spurt ...

Most days all I ever think about are my wife, lunch and whether or not on-base percentage is a better indicator of talent than batting average. But today was different. Today I cleaned the bathtub. I’m not sure if it was the hard labor of scrubbing grout with a toothbrush or the three plus hours I spent in a small, enclosed room breathing in chemicals, but an idea crossed my brain that was never there before: I’m not a kid anymore.

Sure, after 27-plus years you’d think I’d take this news fairly well, but I didn’t. I’m used to being a kid. Hell, I’m good at it. There’s proof everywhere. At Thanksgiving, I’m the life of the party at the kids’ table. I like my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into triangles (not squares). Plus, I can’t pass up a good game of hide-and-go-seek. For example:

Brian: “What a slow day.”

Brittany: “Why don’t we clean the house?”

Brian hides.

Now I knew this day was coming—after all, I have a job, a house and, oh yeah, a wife. But none of those monumental moments forced me into adulthood. Having a baby forced me into adulthood. It made me consider things that I’ve never considered before, like does my car have a high safety-rating or do I live in a good school district or which nickname is cooler: Beefcake or Chunky Monkey? This vital information—while trivial just a few short months ago—now consumes my life.

So, the real question here is: How do I successfully transition into adulthood without losing the edge that’s made me popular in many, many goofball circles? Do I wear more ties? Eat more veggies? Stop basing all my important decisions on an up-or-down vote by my Reds bobblehead collection? These are hardly appealing options, so I developed a six-step program to help myself (and all eventual fathers) become an adult:

Step one: Get rid of the Homer Simpson slippers.

Step two: Learn to successfully set the alarm clock so you’re not late for work.

Step three: No, really, get rid of the Homer slippers.

Step four: Stop believing in such childish figures as the Dish Fairy, Laundry Claus and other cleaning mascots.*

Step five: If you don’t take off those Homer slippers and trash them, I’m going to wrestle you down, duct tape you to the floor and make you watch a continuous loop of “The View.”

Step six: Acceptance.

With this basic plan in place, I started my transition. I went through closets and got rid of old silly posters. I trashed all my CDs with explicit lyrics, including Eminem, 2 Live Crew and “Weird” Al Yankovic. There was only one thing left to do. As I stared Homer in the face and said my goodbyes, I started to get choked up. I could swear I saw him shed a tear (although there’s also the small possibility it may have been foot sweat). I just couldn’t throw out such a close friend.

Then it hit me harder than a Brittany elbow in the middle of the night. Just because I no longer can be childish doesn’t mean that I can’t be immature from time to time. Most men are. I know many of you think there’s no difference between the two, but there is and it’s distinct: Being immature is laughing at fart jokes; being childish is telling fart jokes.

With this realization, I decided Homer and his buddy (left-foot Homer) could stay. In fact, everything could stay. Growing up isn’t about giving up the past, it’s about rising to the challenge of the future. I’m not sure if I hit a growth spurt or if the chemical buzz was wearing off, but I knew I was going to be OK. Even if I’m not a kid anymore, it doesn’t mean I can’t still cut my PB&J sandwiches into triangles—it just means that I’ll have to plan ahead and cut enough triangles for my entire family.

And if you take one thing away from this column, let it be this: On-base percentage is a MUCH better indicator of baseball talent than batting average.

* I can’t take credit for “The Dish Fairy” nor “Laundry Claus,” as both were the brainchild of the Alex “The Authority Guru” Weber. But thanks, Al, for making them an important part of my life.


Wise One said...

I have a couple points to make regarding this post:

1. Man... you're clearly jonesing for softball season Beefcake.

2. If you ever seriously considered kicking Homer out we wouldn't be friends anymore.

3. Most good points come in threes.

mmmm... bacon

mitch said...

Hate to bust your bubble, but I am the Dish Fairy AND the Laundry Fairy!

...and I don't make house visits. You are on your own buddy! :-)

Love the blogs. Keep 'em coming.


january said...

as i was reading.. i felt myself speeding up to see if you were really going to get rid of homer and left homer.
i was totally worried.

and the only reason will beat me to the comments is because i was out at the bar singing karaoke and being distinctly nongrown up on a school nite.

suddenly seymour is the best name so far.

happy birthday bk2.
you know that if you just keep mentioning bacon that baby is gonna start craving it eventually....

kdg said...

Happy birthday, Brit! That belly's getting awfully cute.

Brian, take it from this wise old mom: You never need to throw away your CDs with explicit lyrics. You just need to (a) convince your children that when someone sings "shit" they're actually singing "ship" or (b) develop a keen sense for turning down the radio or coughing loudly during bursts of melodic profanity.

Of course, with Eminem and 2 Live Crew, that's going to make for very long silences. Or your kids will think you have pneumonia.

NKYGAL said...

I am the proud mother of two crazy young boys and I can tell you that you don't have to give up any part of yourself in order to embrace and succeed at being a parent. It is all about building the layers of your person. I still "rock out" (isn't that what the kids call it??) to my Duran Duran cd's (don't judge me...) and watch my reality-tv, I just do it on my own time now - thank gosh for Tivo.

Congrats on the pending pregnancy. Having been through it twice myself i'm interested in reading about it through a guys perspective.

just4ofus said...

Don't throw away your CD's and give up being a "big kid". Some of the best dads are the ones who enjoy the PB&J's and being in the sandbox as much as the kids.
: )
You do have to give up the "fairies" though....

Vivian said...

—it just means that I’ll have to plan ahead and cut enough triangles for my entire family.

I love that line, you are going to be a great dad.