the following post is not for small children. there are also no pictures of my daughter, only words and some vitriol. if this is not for you, come back later.
like lots of people, i do some of my best thinking in the shower. and also during complex neurosurgery. sometimes i just need to take my mind off of what i'm doing and focus on something else. and so there i am, washing and stuff, and i get to my bathing suit area and i'm reminded that zucchini is on sale at the supermarket and we should pick some up. just kidding, it's not on sale.
but then i'm also reminded of this story i read about during the dodgers-phillies series (which is now over and the dodgers lost. ha ha ha, suck it manny. you're a future hall of famer, one of the greatest hitters to blah blah blah and you're even an underrated fielder, but in spite of what you say you didn't try one-hundred percent every day, you didn't always give it your all, and you weren't always a happy and easy to get along with teammate. i was almost always laughing at you, not with you, and while i selfishly liked what you did for my team, i never really liked you as a player. i'm glad your season is over. love, josh. p.s. the sox didn't make it either, but not for lack of effort. we did the best we could with an average team age of fifteen. when masterson and lowrie get back to tenth grade the other kids are soooooo going to tease them) i know i'm supposed to be in the middle of a sentence here, but that was such a long parentheses that i'm just going to start over.
so there was this story about how the dodgers got commercials for kevin smith's new movie banned from the game broadcasts. for those of you who don't know, it's called "zack and miri make a porno." it's about two best friends/roomates who can't make ends meet (ahem) and decide they could make a lot of quick cash if they make a low budget porno. now, of course the movie is about their efforts to film this x-rated movie of theirs (not the actual filming of said movie), and somewhere along the way they realize that the person they've been looking for their whole lives has been beside them all the while. cue phil collins and that 'against all odds' song. i'm just making an educated guess here. you know with that title there's going to be a shift in the focus somewhere and people will see it and fall in love with the magic of storytelling and tell their friends something like "yeah, you should totally see it! it's not what you think it's going to be- i mean, they do make a porno, but it's really funny and there's a love story in there and it's sweet and... well, i don't want to ruin it for you, you should just totally go see it." then their curiosity will be piqued and they'll go and see it and the same magic will happen and they'll tell their friends all about it and word of mouth will make "zack and miri make a porno" the number one movie in america for 'x' straight weeks!
which will totally piss of the dude who complained to somebody willing to listen (there's always someone, it seems) that he didn't want to have to explain what a porno was to his little boy while watching america's favorite family past time. you know, the same family past time where, once the post season starts, the games are on so late that 'families' are asleep by the fourth inning and little boys and girls are tucked away in bed at an even earlier hour on school nights. the family past time that now a days little kids have to watch dvr'd and has an entire generation of fans who will grow up having never watched a complete world series live on television. stick that in your apple pie, america. we need to sell chevys and shaving cream and tickets to movies that may cause some actual parenting to happen. except of course in the dodgers' market area.
the gist of this, as i understand it, is that this protective father was not offended by what he and his son saw in the add itself, but rather by the fact that he was being asked to explain something he considered distasteful or challenging to his son. they're just trying to watch baseball, for crying out loud! leave them alone with your adult subject matter. any trailer or commercial I've seen (and I've now watched them all) has been one-hundred percent free of porn of any kind. even the red band trailer (this is an adults only trailer where you have to verify your age on the website, and swear that you're not lying, to be able to see it) is free of, shall we say, provocative physical episodes (for all you prudes out there). there's some swearing, and that's about as nasty as it gets. anyway, it happened like this:
during the game (no, I don't know which one. nobody watches the national league except for losers) one of the teams attempts a suicide squeeze. I'm super lazy and a terrible typist so I'm going to cut and paste from wikipedia here:
"In baseball, the squeeze play is a maneuver consisting of a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but only after the runner on third base scores. A bunt can be attempted with two outs but it is uncommon because there is a significant chance that the batter would be thrown out at first base, ending the inning.
In a safety squeeze, the runner at third does not take off until the batter makes contact bunting, waiting for more certainty that the ball will go to a location from which it will be difficult for the fielding team to make an out at home plate.
In a suicide squeeze, the runner takes off as soon as the pitcher begins to throw the pitch, before releasing the ball. If properly executed, a play at homeplate is extremely unlikely. However, if the batter fails to make contact with the pitch, the runner is likely to be put out at homeplate (hence, "suicide"). Therefore, the suicide squeeze usually requires a skilled bunter who can make contact consistently, even on poor pitches."
got it? good. so the boy and his dad are sitting there and the suicide squeeze attempt takes place. the boy turns to his dad as they go to commercial and says "what's a suicide squeeze?" the dad explains the play as the first commercial ends, but oh, lurking there in the shadows of teevee land is the pervy commercial for zack and miri. the kid watches the commercial and turns to his dad and says, "what's a porno?"
now, I can't be sure what happened next, but I think it's safe to assume that the dad got all red in the face and knocked the bowl of popcorn or whatever off of the table. then he yelled at the kid like it was his fault and while the kid cleaned up the mess mr. uncomfortable called his congressperson to lodge a complaint of the most formal kind. eventually some members of the dodgers organization got offended and involved as well, and that led to this petition to get the commercials removed, which I think they were. and so, are you kidding me? I mean, that should never have happened in the first place. do you know how close that guy came to having to do some actual parenting? you know, the awkward, uncomfortable, often difficult education of one's offspring? thank god this kid can still go to school and find out what a porno is from someone else, or else he may never find out! and what if his next question had been "what's suicide?" thank god for the internet, that's all i'm gonna say.
even before i was a parent, and even before i was willing to be a parent, one of my greatest pet peeves was any parent's lack of parenting towards their children. i understand that you're busy. that you work. that you're a person too. you have needs of your own. sweet. if those needs greatly out weigh the level of attention you feel comfortable giving to your children, then don't have them in the first place. problem solved, swing on, swinger. otherwise, you are a parent. it is your job to keep your kids from falling out of windows. or from drowning in the bathtub, or anyplace else for that matter. it is your job and responsibility to teach them everything, or to at least fill in the gaps. this applies to all manner of things, easy or difficult, common or uncomfortable. there are no days off. they should not run around a restaurant screaming their little heads off until they fall down into something and you sue the place for having the nerve to set up tables for people to sit and eat at. they should know the difference between their inside voice and their outside voice. what kind of a world do we live in when eminem of all people tells us "apparently, some of you ain't parents."
smith was even forced to change the movie poster from a photo to two stick figures who (eerily and accurately) depict the stars of the film- seth rogen and (pittsfield's own!) elizabeth banks. and people are still upset. and by 'people' I mean simple minded assholes. they want billboards removed from the sides of highways because they're afraid that while their kids climb all over the place unseatbelted in the family car that they'll pause long enough from throwing flaming debris out the windows to look up and read the word "porno" on a billboard. next thing you know, they're asking questions. welllll, we can't have that.
How hard is it to explain what a porno is? Try this: A movie where Two or more people engage in the act of love used to create children, minus the love, the children, and plus some lube and groovy music (let the kids find out about solo action and gay porn on their own. There's no need to ruin all of life's surprises. that said, if the movie we were discussing had been called ron and larry make a porno, i would suggest altering the description slightly. i'd say 'lots of lube' instead). And if you don't feel like saying any of that, you've still got the option of appearing human and saying you don't know either, and what a funny world we live in where people, even parents and grown ups, don't know everything. wacky. no dad, I'm sure, wants to come off as soft to his kids, but pleading ignorance is a whole lot better than breaking something, blaming the kid, and punishing him or her to take the focus away from an awkward conversation.
it's sad and ironic that the one thing that human beings come by the easiest is also the one thing that requires the most work to do successfully.
with this in mind, i would like to suggest the creation and implementation of PAT, or, the Parental Aptitude Test, a set of carefully designed questions which would rule out those people who are not ready or capable to be parents, or who want a baby for the wrong reasons: folks who just want a little something of their own to love, but lose interest once it shows the ability to not love them back, people having a baby to save a marriage, people who want a baby, not an eventual grown human being... as well as the more obvious reasons, like organ harvesting, black market profiteering, and tax breaks. i mean, people are not having kids for the right reasons (though that tax break will be nice this year).
an even simpler system that already exists would be if you're not the type of people who would be granted adoption, then you shouldn't be allowed to reproduce. if you can't demonstrate some sanity, stability, sincerity, or at least a shit load of cash (in madonna's case) then maybe having a baby is not for you. no matter how much you just want one. if you don't pass the test to demonstrate a natural or learned ability to parent with some measure of competence, you're out of luck. and since some people don't test well, you can take prep courses and test until you pass. the wife and i always said how lucky we were to have the experience with small children/babies that we do. if some people knew what you had to give up or how hard it could be, there'd be a lot fewer people in the world. but there might be fewer screwed up and abandoned ones, too. maybe you'd be required to do an in-home observation of a family unit. the point, after all, is to get you to learn what you need to know, not keep you from reproducing. On second thought…