Justin

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What started as a funny, throw-away line in “When Harry Met Sally” has become our family’s “call-to-action” when it comes to dancing. It’s called, “The White Man’s Overbite.” It’s a silly, seductive dance I used to perform for GWE to make her laugh or let her know that I was really appreciating the Yacht Rock radio we were listening to. But, once Justin and Garrett took notice, the dance has taken on a whole new (even sillier) life of its own.

Here’s how you do the dance: put your two front teeth over your bottom lip (show your teeth and curl your upper lip,) both thumbs in the Fonzi “HEYYYYY” position, and then gyrate your hips. The instructions are simple, but each person’s dance is completely unique…and a guaranteed way to be single for the rest of your life.

I now present to you, two different versions of “The White Man’s Overbite!”

I was accused of trying to be cool by one of my son’s friends. It’s unclear if the thing that I was accused of doing made me cool or if the reverse psychology of someone thinking I was trying to be cool inadvertently made me cool because I was doing it…not knowing it was cool. (Yes, this explanation invalidates all my claims of coolness.)

Here’s what happened: I was with Justin in the car and we went to pick up one of his friends to bring him to our house. Usually, I leave the boys alone to have their private conversations and I zone out and listen to my music. Once they were on our way home (and I think GWE was in the car with us,) I stopped paying attention to what the boys were saying. However, I was mindlessly singing along to Kendrick Lamar and SZA on the “Black Panther” soundtrack. Yes – I realize the optics of a 40+ year old white guy listening to Kendrick and getting into it, but I like what I like.

From behind me I heard Justin’s friend say, “Hey, Jason. Stop trying to be cool.”

Once I got over the fact that my son’s friend decided to address me by my first name as if we were peers, I realized what he was saying. He thought I was trying to be cool by playing this music. He didn’t know that I’ve been listening to Kendrick regardless as to whether he was in the car or not.

Tell me what you gon’ do to me
Confrontation ain’t nothin’ new to me
You can bring a bullet, bring a sword
Bring a morgue, but you can’t bring the truth to me

So, I think an 11-year inadvertently acknowledged my “coolness” while trying to get me to stop singing. I prefer to view the incident as, “he brought the truth to me.”

Much like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Echo, my children are always listening to my conversations and only responding half the time when their names are called. One afternoon I made the mistake of passively mentioned that I really, really, really hated something. Clearly, the boys heard me. From that day forward, Justin and Garrett have chosen to torture me with that knowledge.

I hate the song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” HATE IT!! The moment I hear the opening notes, I have a Pavlovian response that immediately pisses me off and has me reaching for whatever device it’s on so that I can turn it off (or smash it.) I hate that song. Why?

In 1992, during the height of “Wayne’s World”, I was working at a camp radio station. That song was requested EVERY SINGLE HOUR. Imagine listening to any song, 12 times a day, 7 days a week, for three straight months. Now imagine listening to that song (all 6 minutes and 7 seconds of it) over and over and over and over and over again. I would have gladly accepted water-boarding over listening to that song one more time. And for 25 years, I have not had to listen to that song…until Justin and Garret discovered my true hatred for it.

It began with Justin walking up behind me while singing, “Is this the real life?” I did my best “stop it” dead-eye-stare at him, but he just happily walked off. Garrett picked up on what was going on and he too would slowly creep up to me with a mischievous smile as he began to sing, “Is this the real life?” I learned to walk away. They requested it in the car (which I won’t play) and Justin tried to play it for me on iTunes. Angrily, I thwarted their attempts at making me listen.

GWE took a picture of the sheer joy on the faces of Justin and Garrett and they sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” to me in the middle of the LA Auto Show. The lady behind them thought it was funny. I did not.

 

So, now you know my weakness…my Kryptonite. I absolutely, unquestioningly, categorically, and conclusively HATE “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

To Queen, I say: “Let me go….let me go…..let me go ooh ooh ooh!!”

Justin and Garrett have become aware of the concept of revenge. “If you do this to me, then I will do this to you.” Nowhere has this become more clear than in my car.

When the boys were younger, we used the child safety locks on the back doors to make sure that they didn’t try to open a door and flop out of the car while it was in motion. Luckily, no one tried it. But, they also knew that they could not get out of the car without some help from the outside. They’re much more grown and (cough, cough) mature now. They can get in and out of the car on their own.

Recently, Justin thought it would be funny to switch Garrett’s child safety lock to “on” without telling him. Justin could easily get out of the car, but Garrett was stuck behind…and then he got frustrated at his brother and tried to yell at him from the inside of the car. Justin heard nothing. I became deaf.

Garrett got wise as to what was going on and when Justin wasn’t looking, he would walk over to Justin’s side of the car and then switch HIS child safety lock to “on.” Garrett had his revenge and he would laugh hysterically as he got out of the car because he left Justin trapped and frustrated.

For 2 weeks, this became the morning routine as I dropped them off at the school bus. They would try to race each other out of the car and onto the bus. But (inevitably) one of them would be left behind they were locked in.

And, they got smart/dumb about it! As they got into the car, they’d assume the other messed with their lock and (in an attempt to outwit the other) they’d accidentally set the lock to “on”…thereby locking themselves in.

This had gotten a little annoying, but I had a solution. One morning, I told them that I had had enough and to stop playing with the locks. What they didn’t know was that I set both locks to “on.” As we approached the bus, they both tried to race each other out of the car only to find that they were both locked in. I laughed as both tried to escape my car.

I think they learned their lesson: don’t aggravate the guy who controls ALL the locks in the car!

Today, Garrett is six! He hopped out of bed this morning, ran into the kitchen where I was making breakfast, and excitedly proclaimed that not only was he now six…but he was also taller as well. He added that since he was six, he was ready to do chores around the house and, “what would you like me to do first, daddy?” I smiled and told him that today his only chore was to eat breakfast and go to school. What he doesn’t know is that I’ll be making a surprise visit to his classroom today to read books to him and his friends in honor of his birthday.

Years ago, I started this blog on a whim. I wanted to see how blogging was done. Slowly, it evolved into telling funny stories about me (and GWE) with the boys. Lately, I’ve been thinking of it more as a time-capsule. At some point in the future, Justin and Garrett will be reading these notes and stories from me. So, here is a note to Future-Garrett:

Dear Garrett –

Happy Birthday!! Today, you are 6! You have grown up so much. In many ways, you are very similar to your brother. You’re both funny, smart, and very caring towards your friends and family. You both love listening to music for hours and hours. And, in some ways you are different. You love to play so hard that sweat drips out of every pore! You run towards danger! (“Show me the house the blew up again, daddy!!”) And, you also love to ask 1000’s of questions about everything. I’ve never seen someone so fascinated about the world around them. Your laughter is contagious, your farts are ungodly, and you know more about cars (especially Teslas) than most experts.

You have an amazing ability to ingratiate yourself into any situation. No matter where you are or who you’re speaking with, it only seems natural that it wouldn’t be happening without your presence. At five, you “work” at a Tesla store…and the other employees treat you as such!

Just the other night, we went out to dinner. Not only did you want to pay the bill, but you demanded that the waiter take you back to the register behind the counter, show you how it worked, allowed you to input the information (and slide my credit card,) and then bring it back to me as if you worked there. Your warm, inquisitive personality has led you on many adventures this year!

Mommy and I love you very much. We are very excited for you to experience the year ahead. You’re going to make great friends at school, have amazing experiences, and even find time to play a little golf with me.

Happy Birthday, Garrett!

I love you  

Daddy

GWE once explained to me her Theory of Birthdays. “Your birthday is not for you. It’s for other people to enjoy.” I wondered if she really felt that way or if it was her way of justifying why she would not be getting me a carrot cake (my favorite) as a birthday cake. Over the years, she has found many inventive ways to get around the carrot cake issue. Only recently has she given in to my carrot cake demands.

But the Theory of Birthdays still stands and has been proven to be true over and over again: Your birthday does not belong to you. It’s for others to enjoy.

I was reminded of it again a few days ago at a Costco outing. GWE decided that since our Blu-ray player was dying AND I had an older, out-of-date game console, that my birthday gift this year would be an Xbox One. (I’m a grown-ass man. I don’t need to be surprised on my birthday.) And honestly, during Pilot Season, I tend to play the most violent, bloody, disgusting games to vent my inner rage in the middle of the night. To be able to see that gore and carnage in 1080p would be glorious. The gift made sense to me on multiple levels.

So, GWE, Justin, Garrett, and I are standing in Costco and we’re doing a price comparison. I finally looked at GWE and said, “Let’s just get it now and you can give it to me on my birthday.”

That’s all Justin and Garrett needed to hear.

The next thing I know, the two of them are negotiating as to who gets to carry he empty Xbox box to the register, who gets to take the receipt to the special door to get the Xbox, who gets to carry the console to the car (mind you, there is a cart,) and who gets to bring it into the house. This was a level of negotiation and coordination I’ve never seen between The Priluck Boys before.

It wasn’t until I watched Justin carry MY birthday gift out of the store that I realized I had already lost it to him!

 

I hope Justin and Garrett understand that the Theory of Birthdays swings both ways. Their birthdays are coming up next! I hope they like carrot cake and watching daddy unwrap and play with their new Legos!!