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.”
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
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.