January 31, 2011

Gonzo Parenting

An homage to Hunter S. Thompson


Credit: AP via NY Times 

January—the rest. The serenity I had expected to be conveyed by snowflakes gently falling from the crackling boughs of the bamboo trees near my apartment has proved to be a fantasy. The poor trees are screaming “bring on the warmth. We do not deserve this wrath.” Beautiful winter, my ass. It feels like the Marianas Trench of the seasons, with the cold and dark enveloping all that is Good and Right. This Cold is not the cutting, moral ice and snow of my Canadian youth. This one is a terrorist: holding back, dodging, attacking on its own terms by sweeping in to bite fiercely, then slip away into the dark again. It sustains a tawdry psychological arthritis for two months every year.

So, troops, what has the merry band of Rising Kids been engaged in recently? We last left you with Christmas warmth, then new year hope. These have been dashed on the rocky shores of January proper. Sleep deprivation reigns supreme in our humble little home. I had a terrible dream last night that we had resorted to small additions of peyote in our youngest’s formula to promote at least one full night’s sleep. Imagine a tiny Grace Slick, circa 1967, swaddled in layers with Crazy Dancing Eyes. Despite these vivid images – they remain vivid images only -- the little M is thriving. Even though we implored her to simply run, and don’t look back, she teeters adorably at home, nearly standing now before she learns to crawl. Attagirl!

This dream ended with President Obama tacking on a sentence during the recent State of the Union address specifically for me, and me only: Hey, you! Out there! Be better. At work. At play. At everything. And stop bitching about the weather. Tall order from a former community organizer. My eyelids flickered, moving me on to groggy, just-opened-my-eyes, pre-coffee tears. I lurched for the drip of caffeinated lucidity, and soon sipped its rich, heroic brew. Thus appeared another vision, of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, heavy-lidded, accusing me of being another Canadian whose schizophrenic subconscious has moved south of the 49th parallel.
Hey, I live in Japan! Leave me alone.

To get through this horrid month, on the down slope to spring, I Get Motivated.
To counter lethargy, this family frolics in the snow. (OK, one day of it.) I do my job thing. My wife Leads, Supports, and Engineers.

I ask: why are there no fireworks in January? There ought to be. I mean, if we cheer on the Giant Colliding Men of the Superbowl, then it only makes sense that sporting spirit should be husbanded for the real thinking man’s sport—baseball. In the meantime, blow shit up, please.

Yes, sports. Thanks to sumo wrestling on TV and yours truly wearing track pants, my eldest daughter, I’m sure, is the only child in her pre-K class who knows the English meaning of “asscrack.” The younger one, roiling at the indignities foisted on her by infancy, seeks her revenge with her two sole weapons: a solid mini-right-hook and her two bottom front teeth, which she uses to nibble at my ears like a pint-sized Mike Tyson.

Did I mention that I heat our apartment with kerosene fan heaters? I fear the carbon monoxide got the better of me this morning. I slipped on the frozen Terracotta brick tile outside our apartment building’s entrance. The ensuing three-hour blackout endowed me with new powers similar to those of The Flash. As The Dad, I defied the laws of physics by changing diapers at super-speed; completing Pumpkinhead #1’s A-B-C printing practice with unerring accuracy in milliseconds; fulfilling the rigors of my job by churning out intricate Word documents at the office every few seconds; tending to the political crisis in Egypt; ending cholera in Haiti. and being a Super Husband, too. And, yes, I was happy. Who wouldn’t be?
© DC Comics
The upshot of this tale? I regained consciousness, dusted off the accumulated snow particles, and got on with It. The powers lasted but only one day, though (sigh). That’s why January is important. If nothing else, the cold makes the art of flaky cognition somehow seem rational. Wouldn’t you agree?
Good luck & Thanks.
CJK 31-01-11

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