That's What He Said

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!!”

gg68286266Justin is at an amazing age where he wants to joyfully believe in things that require great imagination like spooky ghosts, super heroes, and time-traveling DeLoreans. But, he’s starting to question whether or not he believes in those things. He knows there is no Santa Claus and he knows there is no Easter Bunny. However, he’s still uncertain if The Tooth Fairy exists.

Since he was a little boy, The Tooth Fairy had been sneaking into his room at night to collect his loose teeth in exchange for money and a personalized note. The amount of money that was owed fluctuated due to unexpected demand on The Tooth Fairy Reserves without any given notice. (Basically, I gave him whatever few dollars I had left in my wallet at the end of the night.)

In the beginning, he was excited to get these notes! “Read it to me, daddy!! Read it!” he would squeal. Pretending like I had never seen the note before, I would read him what The Tooth Fairy said. Each note was different, but it was generally a gracious note thanking him for the tooth and leaving him a “gift” in exchange.

Several “teeth” ago, I crept into his room in the middle of the night only to discover that Justin had booby-trapped his room in an attempt to catch The Tooth Fairy in the act. I was able to quietly make my way to his pillow without falling onto the bed or twisting an ankle on the obstacle course of Legos, Skylanders, and random shoes Justin left on the floor. I think he continued to believe in The Tooth Fairy beyond that point because….who else could have navigated those obstructions without waking him up???

One tooth ago, I made the tooth-to-note-and-cash transfer without any difficulty. What I didn’t know was that Justin was prepared for The Tooth Fairy and left a note that The Tooth Fairy didn’t see. The following morning he showed GWE the note he left and wondered why The Tooth Fairy didn’t take the note or follow its instructions. (Cash was nice, but Yo-Kai Medals were better!) The note is below:

tooth-fairy

Last night, another tooth was lost and (once again) The Tooth Fairy did his/her job. Based on what happened the last time, I thought there might be another note. I was right. Here is note #2:

tooth

The following morning, Justin pulled GWE aside and asked if The Tooth Fairy was real. She inquired, “Why do you ask?” He responded that his friends at school were telling him that The Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. Without directly answering the question, GWE was able to “answer” the question in a way that allowed him to continue to believe and look forward to watching his younger brother get visited by The Tooth Fairy someday as well.

And, for the record, The Tooth Fairy is a traditionalist. He/she is prepared to pay for teeth with cash, not plastic!

WMNEach Spring, GWE and I bid on one particular item at Justin and Garrett’s school’s silent auction. It’s not a wine basket or gift certificate. It’s the experience of hosting the school’s morning news/announcement show for an entire week. We’ve done it for the past couple of years and it’s become such a tradition that even the administrators at the school know that it’s something the boys (and maybe GWE) really, really look forward to.

For the first two years, Justin hosted the show with GWE. Last year, he hosted the show with GWE, but with Garrett making a few cameo appearances. This year, GWE was replaced by Garrett and he did an incredible job.

And now I present to you: The Woodcrest Morning News with Justin and Garrett!

Tuesday, April 19th:

Wednesday, April 20th:

Thursday, April 21st:

Friday, April 22nd:

At least nothing happened to the Nintendo 3DS Justin was hiding under his bed!
At least nothing happened to the Nintendo 3DS Justin was hiding under his bed!

It was my intention to write about three of four funny recent events with the boys. However, this evening, we had an incident with Garrett that made me so angry that I wasn’t able to get into “Ha, Ha, what a funny story!” mode. Now, I’m in the “Are you F#$#^&G kidding me????” mode.

At some point this evening, Garrett announced that he had to go to the bathroom. He made us pause the television and wait for him. After a few minutes, he returned with a guilty look on his face.

“Garrett? Did you pee in the potty?” I asked.

“Yes!” he announced to me and MoGWE. (Mother of Greatest Wife Ever)

I continued my mild interrogation. “But, I didn’t hear a flush. Did you flush the pee?”

“Yes!” he proclaimed.

Honestly, I didn’t believe him. My dad-senses were tingling and he looked guilty of something. I stood up and walked to the bathroom to see what had happened. From behind me I could hear MoGWE telling Garrett, “If you did something, you better tell your dad. He’s about to find out anyway!” I turned to see that his lips were sealed…with a smirk.

I looked in and around the potty. No evidence of anything. If he did it, he flushed it and that was the end of that.

A few hours later, with Justin soundly asleep in bed, I began Garrett’s nighttime routine. I put Garrett into pajamas, got him a cup of water, and I was about to read him a book when he whispered, “Daddy. I have to tell you a secret.” The smirk was still on his face, but now his whole body began to shake in a spastic manner like he was going to burst of excitement if he didn’t say this one thing.

“Ok. What’s your secret?” I asked, expecting to hear about something that happened at school that day.

“I snuck into Justin’s room, went under his bed, and peed on the floor!!!!!”  

He said it with the frenzied excitement of someone who just won the lottery or found out they weren’t the father on “Maury.” My guess is that he thought I would find it just as funny and exciting. I did not. And, clearly, he did not anticipate the level of anger from me that this action would elicit.

Needless to say, toys were taken, tears were shed, and I made myself perfectly clear: if you piss on the floor again – you better be prepared to sleep in it!

It’s a good thing Justin doesn’t know what happened. The one thing that really upsets Justin is the thought of Garrett coming into his room without his permission. If he ever found out about what happened under his bed, he might need therapy!