Monday 29 July 2013

I'm Also a Rotten Sister

Many moons ago, back when Frick was still a little wee baby, we used to go hang out with my oldest little brother, oh let's call him Arnold.  He'll hate that.  Yeah, Arnie's good.

So Frick and I used to go hang out with Uncle Arnie a lot.  Sometimes we'd go to the park, sometimes we'd just hang out at his place and jam a little (we're all musicians of one sort or another in my family) and sometimes he'd come live on my couch for a few months.  

Because when your brother is a musician he's gonna need a couch to live on from time to time.  I'm just hoping he remembers that when he's a famous rock star.  He better be buying a state of the art luxury couch for me and my family to live on, that's all I'm saying.

We'd love to hang out with him more now, but his band is doing a lot better than it was when Frick was a baby (since it was non-existent back then) and we live across town from each other now (as opposed to just a few blocks, or occasionally a living room, away).  


One fine sunny day when Frick was a wee baby, we met up with Uncle Arnie downtown for lunch.  After lunch I convinced him to come back to my place for the afternoon and maybe have dinner with us that night. We packed little Frick into his stroller and, since it was such a nice day, we decided to walk home.

One thing you need to know about Uncle Arnie is that there is zero family resemblance between us.  We are half-siblings who bear striking resemblances to our respective fathers.  He is tall with dark hair and big brown eyes.  I'm shorter and had blonde hair and green eyes.  Ever since we were teenagers people always guessed we were dating instead of related because of how different we look from each other.  

One time we were visiting a rather senile elderly relative we hadn't seen since we were small and he simply refused to believe we were brother and sister.  The old fart had completely forgotten I existed and kept making jokes at Arnie about what a "handful of trouble" I must be for him.  After a while it was just easier to agree with him.  We laughed our asses off at that one.

So we're walking home when we approach this construction site and we see HER.

She was a goddess in a hard hat.  Blonde, tight jeans, white tank top, steel toed boots and a body that wouldn't quit.
I call her "Construction Worker Barbie"

I looked over at my brother and was utterly unsurprised by the super smooth, gazing-over-the-rim-of-his-sunglasses to check her out move he was pulling.  He couldn't have been more obvious if his jaw fell to the floor and he started wolf-whistling at her.  He was single at the time and I could see that he was definitely interested in trying to make a move on this chick.

Always quick-witted I seized my opportunity for comedy.

I started beating the shit out him with my purse.

"Really!?!  Can't you control yourself for one second?  Jesus Christ!  And right in front of the baby!"

He was flummoxed.  His face turned beet red as he stammered, trying to come up with a response that wouldn't make him look like even more of an asshole and knowing that, in a situation like this, no such response exists.

I started crying.

"I'm sorry if I haven't lost the weight yet.  It's not like I just had a baby or anything!"

Construction Worker Barbie was shaking her head at him in disgust.  Passersby were watching us with increasing interest.

"How could you do this to me?"  I wailed.  "Especially after what happened with that waitress!  You promised!"

And then I stormed off with the stroller leaving him, still stammering incoherently, to face the disapproving glares of Barbie, her coworkers and the spectators on the street.

And that is the story of how I used my baby to epically cockblock my brother.

It's a good thing he has an excellent sense of humour.

Thursday 25 July 2013

An Open Letter to the Dude Who Posted His Wife's Crazy Tantrum on Youtube

Dear Jim Mongiat,

         I, like more than 600,000 people, recently watched your wife's crazy tantrum that you decided to post on Youtube.  First let me just say, Holy shit Dude!  I am sorry you had to live with that.  There is a lot of speculation over which one of you guys is the bigger asshole: whether what we were watching was a result of immaturity, poor mental health or perhaps you are a sociopathic bastard who pushed her to that point.

I don't think you are a sociopathic bastard.  I've seen and experienced what sociopathic bastards do in a relationship and while they can make you crazy to the point of acting out the results do not look like your wife.  Yes, there's crying and sometimes screaming but it looks a lot less like a tantrum and a lot more like a nervous breakdown.

Your wife was most definitely having a tantrum.  As a mother I have seen lots of those.  Looking at that video was almost exactly like watching a video of my son melting down over a loss of privileges.  Your (now ex) wife has spoken out and to me, even her own defense sounds like she decided to up and have a tantrum because she did not get her way.  Oh, I believe her when she says you egged her on (I'll explain why in a moment) but I don't think that explains/justifies why a grown woman in her thirties decided to reduce herself to the antics of a spoiled three year old:

Man, I feel for you.  I really do.  To be in a marriage with someone like that must be awful.  I have no doubt she was likely making you look bad to your friends, and that must have been very frustrating.  If I knew you as a friend most likely I would have been on your side.......right up until you decided to post a video of your wife's tantrum on Youtube.

I get that this is ironic since I wouldn't even know who you were and would therefore have no opinion on you or your marriage whatsoever if you had not posted the video, but life is weird like that.  Here's what I think:

I think it must be frustrating to think you were marrying your life partner and ending up with a child in adult's clothing.  I think it must suck to know that all her friends think you are a primo asshole.  Having lived with some pretty epic tantrums from my kids I even know what it feels like to want to document the behaviour on video so you can say, "Can you freaking believe this?"

But you know what?  As much as I empathize with you I can't help but feel like maybe you knew she was like this before you got married.  I find it difficult to believe that your relationship never experienced stress or you guys never had any arguments before marriage.  Did she really never throw a tantrum in front of you before you popped the question?

Well, maybe she did.  But hey, the heart wants what it wants, right?  You were in love and believed it wasn't a deal breaker or foolishly thought it would get better.  It happens to the best of us.

And maybe you have the right to be able to defend yourself from her accusations.  It sucks to have your reputation destroyed by the person who is supposed to be most loyal to you.  I can understand how living with this behaviour took the spark out of your relationship and made you want to phone it in.

But then you posted the video on Youtube.

You posted a video.  Of your wife.  On Youtube.

Look, I can see that she is acting like a child but she is not, in fact, a child.  Like it or not she was your wife.  Your adult wife.  That you freely chose to be married to (I assume).  And you can tell me all you like about her drinking problem or the fact that she can't be bothered with couples therapy or that she calls you every prick under the sun to your mutual acquaintances but I still fail to see how your decision to publicly post the video to Youtube makes you any better of a person.

Because it doesn't.

All you have proved is that you are every bit as childish as your wife.  You have not redeemed your reputation at all.  And based on the smug, condescending tone in your voice when you are talking to her I have no problem believing that you encourage her tantrums when she is having them.  It sounds like you think they are funny.  You do not sound like a guy who is invested in problem solving, or compromising or doing any of the things that are necessary to make a marriage work.

Because what you obviously haven't learned from your 15 months of marriage is that it isn't how much you love each other, or how great your sex life is, or how much you have in common that makes a marriage last.  It's how you handle the shit.  The defining factor to the success of a marriage is what it looks like when you are both at your very worst.  It's not why you fight but how you fight and how you resolve conflict that makes it work.

It's pretty easy to point a finger at your wife, she makes a great and ridiculous target.  But if you think you are going to solve any problems in your marriage by trying to "fix" her flaws or, failing that, humiliate her by posting them on Youtube you have a lot to learn my friend.  Maybe you did try everything.  Maybe you've completely given up and that's why you come across as such a jerk in your video but you could have taken the high road, filed for divorce and moved on.  Like an adult.

But you didn't.

So now the whole world knows what a brat your wife is, but guess what?  You are internet famous too,  and now everyone also knows that you like to solve your relationship problems by vindictively showing your partner at her very worst to the entire world.

Who wouldn't want some of that?

Poor, misunderstood, nice guy.

Friday 5 July 2013

Fuck Cursive Writing

So about a week ago I came across this article: Why Johnny Can't Sign His Name.  In the article a father laments the fact that his 14 year old son can't sign his name because he was never taught cursive in school.  This man is in a swoon because his son printed his name instead.  His reaction, in my opinion, is a little over the top.  He says, "When I picked myself up off the floor...I was absolutely shocked."

Really, dude?

You're acting as though the kid is completely illiterate and just signed his name with an "X".

I tried to take this issue seriously.  I am a huge supporter of writing and literacy but I just can't get on board with this one.  Because every way I look at it I have to ask just what kind of damage is being done to our kids by dropping cursive and the answer seems to be no damage at all.

Says the Dad (no doubt while hysterically untangling his underwear), "Your signature is your mark.  Are we having a whole generation who can't write their name?  How are you supposed to sign cheques - put your fingerprint on a legal document?"

Actually that sounds like a fan-fucking-tastic idea!  Welcome to the future people.  Signatures can be forged but unless you are willing to commit some kind of grisly, gangland-style maiming/murder it's probably going to be pretty damned hard to get away with forging a fingerprint.  And this isn't a new idea at all.  In ancient Babylon fingerprints were used as a means to protect against forgery and Ancient Asian cultures used fingerprints and handprints as signatures for hundreds of years.

Speaking of history, about 600 years ago, Gutenberg's printing press began to render calligraphy into a quaint, artistic pastime.  I'm sure the establishment would have found this devastating had they not been pre-occupied with populations who used the new technology to read and distribute information widely, ushering in the Age of Enlightenment and fomenting revolutions that ultimately led feudal Western Civilization into Democracy.  (Phew!  That was a mouthful!)  For us, the death of calligraphy at the hands of print culture was called progress.

So why cry over the loss of cursive?  I fucking love typing!  I used to do all my writing in cursive and my hand  is just way too slow for my brain.  I often wouldn't finish things I started because it was too messy and frustrating and my hands would get cramped up and sore.  Also I can write beautifully when I try but for the most part my penmanship is terrible and always has been.

I had to develop a sort of half-cursive-half-printing script to make my quick writing legible to myself and others.  (The above picture took me several tries to write in my best old-fashioned cursive and I still lapsed into my print-cursive script on the "r" and "s").  It wasn't until I started blogging on the regular that I discovered how much better a keyboard is for getting the ideas out.  Like a MILLION TIMES BETTER.  I write best when I can just get the words out as fast as I can think them and then edit myself later.

(If you could see how many times the F-word shows up in an average blog post before I edit you might call my sanity into question.  Seriously.  I make Jason Mewes sound like Ned Flanders.)

And isn't getting the ideas out the most important part?  Isn't that the reason penmanship used to be such a big deal?  So that other people could understand your ideas and build on them and create progress for humankind?  Isn't that why we went to print hundreds of years ago?  To disseminate information freely and quickly to cause the kind of revolution that dragged our asses out of the dark ages?  Isn't that why we type today?

Obviously we aren't using our fingerprints as signatures yet but that is definitely on the horizon and it looks like it is going to make all of our lives a little bit easier.  Until then, of course Johnny needs to sign his name.  But do we really need to use up public money and precious school time on it?  I'm pretty sure it should only take about an afternoon to teach your kid how to write the two or three words that make up his name.

And really, it probably doesn't even matter if he knows how because, as I've mentioned before, no one can read a signature anyway and it doesn't seem to hurt them at all.  Check out Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's signature:

They say it looks like a Hostess cupcake.  Laugh all you like but he's the freaking Secretary of the Treasury so clearly his signature has not handicapped his job prospects in any way.  In fact it seems like the only job you might get screwed out of is cake decorating.  And I guess that is horrific.  A future filled with cake wrecks...

Congratulations, Class fou 5th Yr.