Justin’s First Text from His Brother

Brothers have a special way of communicating with one another. Some brothers use their words and some brothers use their fists. My boys have elevated the art of communication to a higher level thanks to Justin’s new phone…and Garrett’s confiscation of my cell phone.

Below is the non-verbal communication of The Priluck Boys, courtesy of $1 billion dollars’ worth of Apple iPhone development and technology, Verizon’s cell phone service, multiple satellites in space, and the fastest bandwidth available:

Brothers and phones. Yea…that’s a good use of technology!

 

Justin’s Jelly Bean Prank Backfires

barf2Honestly, I’m a little behind with this blog. It’s not that I don’t have enough to write about. It’s that there’s too much to write about and the stories are getting backed up. So – let’s re-start slowly…

Last week, GWE took Justin to Six Flags on an afternoon when there was an early dismissal from school. While I worked, they had fun riding roller-coasters, eating junk food, and then sending me selfies of themselves riding roller-coasters and eating junk food. (Did I mention that I was working??) When I got home that evening, I expected to find Justin passed out in bed. To my surprise, he was awake…and oddly excited about something.

“Daddy!! I bought you some jelly beans! I know how much you love jelly beans,” Justin exclaimed. I could see that he was trying to contain his laughter, so I assumed he was up to something.

“No thanks. I’ll pass,” I replied – knowing that it would drive him a little nuts.

“Daddy! These are the best jelly beans! I bought them just for you!!!!!!!!” The giddiness was causing him to vibrate.

With cautious optimism, I took one jelly bean from his hand and popped it into my mouth. I did not chew. I just waited for him to respond. After a few seconds, I gave up and decided to eat the jelly bean. At first, it tasted like popcorn. And then…….this disgusting flavor and odor of dead fish invaded my mouth and nose. It was awful! Justin rolled on the floor laughing about how he got me as I scrambled to get the taste out of my mouth! While I gulped half a container of milk, Justin explained that I had eaten something called “Bean Boozled.” They are purposely awful jelly beans.

barf

Justin thought I was over-reacting to how bad the beans were, so he decided to show me that he could eat any of them and it wouldn’t affect him at all. I told him that I would chose the bean and he would have to eat which ever I chose.

I chose “Barf.”

Justin took the bean and ate it with the same bravado you see from a drunk college student who is dared to drink an entire bottle of hot sauce. He smiled as he took the first two bites. All of a sudden, his expression changed. He coughed twice…..and then threw up all over the kitchen sink. The bravado on his face vanished and was replaced with confusion, fear, and tears. He was not expecting that as an outcome. After a few more dry-heaves and a glass of water, I tucked him into bed.

While tucking Garrett into bed, I heard Justin run down the hallway…then some banging….and then the sound of him running back to his room. When I went back into his room I asked him what happened. He responded, “Daddy. I threw out the jelly beans. I don’t want you to trick me with those beans ever again!”

Oh how the trickster becomes the tricked!

Garrett picks up Women using Art

starbucksWhile running errands with Garrett, we decided to stop at our local Starbucks for a snack. Garrett chose an apple juice with a fruit box and I ordered a Purple Drink. (Look it up! It’s pretty good!) As we waited for my drink, Garrett asked if he could go and find a seat. I told him that would be fine. But, he needed to make sure that he chose a table that no one was sitting at AND it had to be within view of where I was standing. Garrett took his snacks, wandered the restaurant, and then chose an empty table for two….right next to a cute college-age girl. I saw her look up, acknowledge him, smile, and then go back to what she was working on.

I sat down across from Garrett and we began to have our snacks and chat about our day. I knew I didn’t have Garrett’s full attention because he kept looking over at the woman sitting next to me – the same one he chatted with when he sat down. Garrett leaned over and whispered, “What’s she doing?” I looked at him and said, “Why don’t you ask her?”

“Excuse me. What are you doing?” Garrett inquired.

The young woman sitting next two me stopped what she was doing, looked up, smiled (again) and replied, “I’m painting a birthday card for a friend.” She opened the plastic case of water colored paints and showed him.

“Can I try?” he asked.

“Of course,” she responded. She handed him the paints, the paint brushes in a cup of clear water, and a piece of paper. Carefully, she explained how the paints worked.

watercolor

For the next 10 minutes, Garrett and his new friend were on an “Art Date.” I quietly sat there (like a third wheel) as they painted together and talked about their friends and common interests. He told her a joke that he got wrong, but she laughed anyway. She told him about a bigger art piece she was working on! I sat there in amazement watching my 5 year old son pick up a 20-something year old woman without him even realizing it.  When he was done with his painting, he put everything back together and then offered her his finished art piece. She told him she loved it. If he was 13 years older, he would have gotten her number right then and there. At 5, Garrett is more of a ladies’ man than I am at 41!

Ultimately, he decided to bring the art piece home to GWE instead. Right now, Mommy is still the only woman he cares about.

What do you think of Daddy? A Questionnaire

picThere is a Japanese proverb that says we all have Three Faces:

The first face, you show to the world.
The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family.
The third face, you never show anyone.
It is the truest reflection of who you are. 

In this social media world filled with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we are a society that works very hard to cultivate public personas that (we think) match who we think we are…or are trying to be.  And, no matter how hard we try to project one type of image, we can’t escape how others really see us.

I believe that younger children see us the clearest. They see the good, bad, and everything in between and process it without judgement or ego.  That is why I decided to ask my kids the following questions. Some of the answers I expected. Some, I didn’t!

Garrett’s Questions and Answers:

1. What is something I say a lot? Bad words
2. What makes me happy? When I’m playing with you.
3. What makes me sad? When I’m not listening.
4. How tall am I? So big, very big
5. How old am I? 12
6. What’s my favorite thing to do? Golf
7. What makes me proud of you? When I listen
8. What is my favorite food? Broccoli
9. Do I have a favorite child? Yes, me!
10. If I could go anywhere, where would I go? To the golf range
11. Do you think you could live without me? Yes.
12. What’s my favorite song? Ghostbusters
13. How do you annoy me? Bothering you when you’re working
14. What is my favorite movie? I don’t know
15. Who do I have a crush on? Me
16. Where was I born? Atlanta
17. What’s my favorite show to watch? Doctor Who
18. Who’s my best friend? Aldis
19. What scares me? I don’t know.
20. How do you describe me to your friends? By showing you to my friends.

 

Justin’s Questions and Answers:

1. What is something I say a lot? “Have a good day at school”
2. What makes me happy? Me getting good grades
3. What makes me sad? Me getting in trouble
4. How tall am I? I don’t know
5. How old am I? 45 (I’m 41)
6. What’s my favorite thing to do? Play golf, watch Doctor Who
7. What makes me proud of you? Beating you in golf
8. What is my favorite food? Pie (Didn’t specify Apple or Pizza)
9. Do I have a favorite child? Yes, me!
10. If I could go anywhere, where would I go? You would go somewhere to golf with me
11. Do you think you could live without me? NO!
12. What’s my favorite song? The “Hot Day” song (Uptown Funk)
13. How do you annoy me? A lot of things. Saying “daddy, can I please have this? daddy, can I please have this? daddy, can I please have this?”
14. What is my favorite movie? You like tons of movies. You like “Back to the Future.”
15. Who do I have a crush on? Mommy
16. Where was I born? Atlanta, GA
17. What’s my favorite show to watch? Doctor Who
18. Who’s my best friend? Your clients
19. What scares me? Me getting bad grades
20. How do you describe me to your friends? The best dad in the world. The best dad no one can have. But that he yells at me a lot.

The Audition of a Wimpy Kid

Script1There are certain things in life that I don’t want my kids to experience. I don’t want them to experience war on a battlefield. I don’t want them to experience the inside of a jail cell. And, I don’t want them to experience life in Hollywood as actors.

I realize this is an odd thing to say considering I represent actors. But, this business is not meant for children. Most of the “mom-agers” are nuts, the pay sucks, and (even in success) this business has the ability to affect even the most grounded person. Plus, no child should have to endure that much rejection. Once the boys become adults and graduate from both Law School AND Medical School, then they will be free to make their own choices. But, for now, I will be making these decisions for them.

So…with all that being said and against my best personal and professional judgement, I allowed Justin to audition for a major motion picture. I don’t know why I caved. Maybe it was a moment of weakness. Or, maybe I was curious to see what his experience would be. Either way, he was going to have this one-time-only experience and it would be in a controlled environment.

Several weeks ago, there was a casting ‘breakdown’ (a detailed casting call of each of the characters) that came out for “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” This is one of Justin’s favorite books. Twentieth Century Fox was looking for the two lead kids: “Gregg” and “Rowley.” The studio wanted kids within the age range of 8-10. Initially, I ignored the breakdown because I don’t represent kids. It never crossed my mind to submit my own 9 year old.

However, someone sent GWE the public casting notice on Facebook, she forwarded it me and tagged “FARB” (You know who you are…I’m keeping you anonymous, but I’ll send you a note explaining your acronym.) because FARB is associated with the project. Reluctantly, I agreed to facilitate a taped audition. Normally, an actor would physically go to an audition where they would read for a casting director. I opted for taping an audition in the privacy of our home with GWE and Uncle (Actor, Producer, Director, etc.) Ethan.

So, on a Tuesday evening, with MoGWE by my side (as my witness) – I explained to Justin that Twentieth Century Fox was making this movie and he had the opportunity to audition for it. It took a few minutes for him to wrap his head around what I had just told him.

His first question was: “Am I going to be famous?!?!?!?”

“This is just an audition, buddy. Just a try-out.” I tried to explain.

“Will I get fan mail? Where will I put it? Do I get to do “Dancing with the Stars???” (I found his last question odd considering I had never seen him show an interest in dancing before.) His questions and level of excitement began to escalate very quickly. The best way to describe it is by imagining you’d handed someone a lottery ticket and having them assume they already won.

His final question was: “Can I tell my friends I’m going to be in the movie????” I had to keep lowering his expectations. “Justin – You don’t have the role yet. You have to audition for it. And, I’m sure 10,000 other kids are going to audition as well.”

That night, Justin went to sleep and dreamt of fame and fortune.

The next morning, when Justin realized that the audition was for “Rowley” (the side-kick) and not “Gregg” (the lead,) he was disappointed. Like I’ve done 1000 times with my clients, I had to explain to Justin that just because YOU see yourself as a certain role, THEY may not. BUT, if THEY see you do the role THEY requested and then THEY decided you’re more right for the other role, then YOU get to do the other role. I also explained to Justin that he would have to memorize the sides to audition. “Gregg” had 8 pages of dialogue. “Rowley” only had 3 pages of dialogue. He seemed satisfied with that explanation (and a little relieved to not have to do all that work.) GWE heard my explanation and marveled at the brand of bullshit I just fed my own son. She laughed and said, “You really are in the right career.”

Script2

Over the next few days, I heard Justin going over his material so many times that I could do it for him. I heard several logistical discussions between GWE and Uncle (Actor, Producer, Director, etc.) Ethan about how to put Justin on tape and who would be reading with him. I heard about the lighting and acoustics in his bedroom not being optimal for this type of recording. I was asked 500 times if I knew how to send casting the audition. I may have tersely reminded my wife….”Um, this is what I do professionally! Yea, I got it.”

And when everything was said and done – Justin had officially auditioned for a real movie!

Much to my relief, he didn’t get it. It’s not that he’s not talented and it’s not that I didn’t want to support him. I just want him to enjoy being a kid for as long as possible.

I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer before I can commission his allowance!