Random Observations

I’ve never been much of a wine drinker. My preferences lean more towards harder liquors like scotch, bourbon, and whiskey. Occasionally I’ll order a Dirty Vodka Martini or Moscow Mule (because I like that Pimm’s Cup.) But, I have had a difficult time appreciating wine. Maybe there are too many varietals or maybe I can’t wrap my head around tastes described as “leathery” or “dirt.” The appreciation has been lost on me. Until now….

Now, I’ve begun to appreciate it a little more. I’ve discovered that it’s not about the tannins, body, or alcohol content. It’s about the Sommelier. And, I have the best!

Occasionally, GWE will have a glass of wine with dinner. Garrett and Justin aren’t very interested in tasting it, but they do insist on smelling what we’re drinking. One evening, Garrett decided to take it one step further by serving us.

Once my glass was empty, Garrett vanished into the kitchen only to re-emerge minutes later with a towel over his arm and the wine bottle tilted as to “present” the wine label to me. I thanked him as he poured me a healthy glass. He returned my bottle to the kitchen, but promptly returned with GWE’s bottle. We had both been served.

Garrett has served us over and over again during family meals over the past few months. At first, I was concerned that we were enabling him in some way…or that he was enabling us. I decided to Google whether on not I was a good parent for allowing this to happen or if I was adding to his already long list of issues that he’d have to discuss during his “Mommy and Daddy Messed Me Up” therapy sessions as an adult.

According to the World Health Organization, if children see adults appreciating wine – smelling, tasting, discussing, and consuming it with meals – it may bode well for their drinking habits in college. And, those who learn to appreciate wine, become “pricklier” about the alcohol they consume, which reduces their consumption at parties.

So, while you might see an underage child Sommelier serving his parents alcoholic beverages, I see this as a great moment in parenting! (And, yes – I wrote this sober!)

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.”

My son, Garrett has a special bond with Garrett Morris. It’s gone far beyond, “that’s who you’re named after.” At this point, my Garrett demands to speak with Adult Garrett whenever he calls me on the cell.

While at a restaurant one Sunday evening, Garrett called for an update on a project. After quickly discussing the status of the film, my Garrett request my phone so he could speak with Adult Garrett. Immediately, I watched my son take on my business mannerisms and phone etiquette. And then, Garrett began to pitch Garrett:

Ok, Garrett! I have an idea for a movie. It’s a car chase movie with a Tesla. I want you to write it. When will you be done? (Turns to me) Dad – we’re making a movie. (Back to the phone.) Ok, Garrett. Next time I see you we’re gonna make this movie. Don’t forget about the Tesla car chase. Bye!”

I sat across the table from Garrett in bewilderment. He got on the phone with a Hollywood legend, told him what he was going to do, and ended the call…like a BOSS!

I probably should call Garrett and let him know that my son isn’t kidding. He wants that script and he wants it by yesterday!

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!!”

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!!

One of the reasons we wanted Justin to have a phone had to do with some of his Summer vacations this year. We planned on having him spend one week in Atlanta with his grandparents. He also spent a week in NY with GWE. We wanted him to have a phone just in case he got separated from GWE, needed to reach me, or uncovered an emergency Poke-Stop that contained a Nidorino he really needed.

During their trip, there was one morning when GWE had a meeting that she could not bring Justin to. Her plan was to leave Justin with Aunt Rori – a casting director in NY. He was going to ‘work’ for Rori for a few hours and then GWE would catch up with them later.

I knew when Justin was supposed to be in the office. I thought it would be funny to call him on the main office line and pitch him some of my clients. When I called, an assistant answered the phone and I explained that I was Justin’s dad and I wanted to talk to him and pitch some actors to him. (Ha Ha!) I was put on a brief hold. When she came back on the line, she responded, “He said he’s very busy. He said to please call him later.” And, then she hung up.

I thought he was joking with me, so I called his cell. He picked up on the third ring. “Hi dad. I’m really, really busy right now. I can’t talk. I’ll call you later.” I could hear the exasperation in his voice and imagined him rolling his eyes as he saw my caller ID on the phone. He didn’t give me a chance to utter a single word. He simply said, “Bye” and hung up

In less than 5 minutes, I went from thinking he was kidding, to being pissed that he wouldn’t talk to me….to hearing the lyrics to “Cats in the Cradle” in the back of my head. It was a sobering moment.

The more I thought about it, the more it became apparent that this was a double-doozy of self-realization. Not only did Justin (sort of) reject me by not taking my call….but, it also dawned on me that I’ve probably had the exact same exchange with my own dad a few times too many. It sucks to be on the other end of that conversation.

“I’m gonna be like you dad. You know, I’m gonna be like you.”  The older you get, the more sobering those lyrics become.

Excuse me while I make a call……..