Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (1st Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week.  I asked the Trillion Man March to not necessarily write stories about their time on the athletic bench, but just riding the bench of life in some aspect.  Most of you did write about sitting the bench on your respective team, but some of you wrote about striking out with the ladies or not getting the results you want when you Google yourself.  And then there was this story.  This story was the obvious winner to me because it not only made me laugh harder than anything I’ve read in quite some time, but also because it gave me a glimpse of everything I want my relationship with my son to be like, should I ever decide to spawn.  With that being said, here’s a look into Matt Young's life as a benchwarmer.


First let me say that your blog is sweet.  There’s nothing like killing time at work with Club Tril.  I don’t fit the demographic of your usual fans.  I’m 38, married and have three kids.  To put it bluntly, I’m what you and most of your readers will become sooner or later.  Take what I write below to heart and realize you’ll be in my shoes one day.  Learn from my mistakes (and there are plenty) and take comfort that your future lot in life was blazed by a bunch of tool boxes like me.

If I had a blog, I’d call it “Parental Fail” because that’s pretty much what I’m good at these days.  I’m not like the Balloon Boy’s father or Todd Marinovich’s father. Instead, I’m just a regular helmet trying to make it through the day.  My kids have food on their plate, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads.  I consider this an A+ in parenting, especially when you look at kids in third-world countries.  However, in this day an age in America, that’s simply not enough.  And I guess that’s where my parental fail comes in.

Once you get married and have kids (or just knock up some hook-up and become a baby daddy or whatever single fatherhood is called these days), you’ll find that your friends and co-workers will judge your parenting skills all the time.  Every.  Single.  Step.  I quickly realized I don’t care what others think about my kids and how I parent (or as the case usually is, don’t parent) them.

Example 1
My wife was out with her friends and they came home to find our 4
year-old son in the middle of the living room watching TV while
dropping a deuce on the potty seat.  My wife, who has endured episodes like this in the past, shrugged it off.  She didn’t want to know the details.  She’s seen events like this too many times before.  Her friends looked on this scene in horror.

You see, my son was watching a TV show and didn’t want to miss it while in the bathroom.  I told him you can’t pause a TV show (We don’t have a DVR.  I don’t want my kids or my wife to have the ability to play back their shows at their leisure.  Only I can do that through the brilliance of Hulu, which I haven’t told them about yet).  I told him he’s got to hold it until the show is over or he can go now and miss a few minutes. 

This is not acceptable to my son, so he finds a third option: he hauls out the potty we have for our youngest child and goes in front of the TV.  Problem solved.  What really impressed me, and why I commended him instead of scolding him, is that he went one step further: he grabbed the baby wipes and a small trash can when he brought out the potty.  Now, not only could he crap in front of the TV, but he clean up without missing a beat.

The kid’s a genius in my mind.  My wife’s friends were horrified.  I could care less.  He took a crap and didn’t miss his show.  I allowed him to help himself.  I now don’t have to worry about kids whining about missing something if they have to crap.  That’s a win/win in my book.

Example 2
Lots of parents barrage their kids with flashcards and Baby Einstein videos and whatnot in an attempt to foster their child’s inner genius.  I don’t tell my friends and neighbors who do this that they are rubes in a money-making scheme by these companies that peddle this crap to well-meaning parents.  Let’s face it, if you’re not a genius and your wife isn’t a genius, chances are little Johnny’s not curing cancer when he grows up.  And there’s not any amount of flashcards or educational videos that are going to change this.

I’m quite comfortable with not spending my cash on such endeavors (my beer isn’t free you know) and letting my kids be kids.  Schools were invented to teach kids and I already pay for these facilities with my tax dollars, so why duplicate the efforts.  Besides, my wife handles three young kids all day and doesn’t have the time or resources to do any of that stuff with them.

Of course, this situation isn’t acceptable with our friends and neighbors.  They are mortified that my four year old can identify - maybe - five letters.  He can’t find his name at preschool.  His preschool teacher took me aside one day and told me that maybe we should sit down with him and work on his alphabet.  I told her that I thought we were paying her to do just that.  And if not, what exactly are we paying her for?  That went over like a lead balloon.

I get stares from other parents at the playground because my kids are dressed properly.  And by properly, I mean not dressed the way they think my kids should be dressed.  Who cares if my daughter is wearing hand-me-downs from her brother?  She’s under the age of two.  Getting her dressed is a chore in and of itself.  I’m not making it harder on myself if none of her clothes are around.  Just get it done.

My middle son likes to dress himself, which means he puts on his shorts and tee shirts backwards.  I don’t correct him because he doesn’t care.  Why should I?  Kids should get a free pass from societal norms like dressing with your clothes on the right way.  They have the rest of their adult lives to look somewhat decent.  Let them enjoy grubbing around in whatever they want while they are young.

When my oldest was potty training, he refused to pee in the toilet or the potty.  I asked him if he would like to pee outside, like dogs do.  He was elated.  I took him outside and he stripped himself naked (I have no idea why he did this or continued to do it for over a year) and pissed on a tree.  He loved it.  I loved it - the diaper chapter for one kid was finally closing.  Win/win.

For about a month, he’d go outside and pee on a tree or the driveway (if he had to go right away).  One morning, he’s buck naked in the driveway, pissing while walking backwards (“I don’t want pee on my leg, daddy”) and the neighbor comes outside, shaking her head.  She asked me why I would do such a thing to him.  I told her that he’s not embarrassed and neither am I.  If she didn’t like it, she could look the other way or potty train him herself.

Another time, I’m watching college basketball with my buddy.  There’s a timeout and they pan the camera to the  cheerleaders, one of whom is a bit chunky.  “Check out that porker” I said.  My son was playing blocks behind me at the time and frankly wasn’t paying attention to the game or us.

Or so I thought.

The next day, my wife comes home and utters the line that always means trouble: “Do you know what your son said?”  Evidentially, while cruising the aisle of the grocery store, my son (who’s sitting in the cart) blurts out “Mom!  Look at that porker!” as an overweight woman walks past them.  Meh.  What can you do?  I was impressed.  The kid was able to play blocks and pick up on the game at the same time.  You can never be disappointed at such a grand display of multi-tasking.

As my last gift to the Trillion Man March for Fan Appreciation Week, I decided to bypass the fan submissions for the awesome YouTube and instead share a video that I probably should not be sharing.  As you are watching this, keep these things in mind:

1)  I made this when I was 16-years-old and a sophomore in high school.  Look at the five o’clock shadow I have going.  I trust you now understand how far ahead of my peers I was/still kinda am on the man curve.

2) The picture of the guy at the end of the video is that of my speech teacher, Mr. Mark Arnold.  I made this as part of a lip sync assignment for his class and thought I’d do a little sucking up to get a better grade.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling people.

3) I was sick when this was filmed and had such a sore throat that I had lost my voice and therefore wouldn’t have been able to sing anyway.

4) I barely knew any words to this song up until right before we filmed it.  It took listening to it twice to memorize the entire song.  I’m not sure if that speaks higher of my ability to learn things quickly or the overall simplicity of the song.

5)  This was the first and only take.  My brother, Ryan, operated the camera and I took over from there.


Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder