Millennials, Take My Interjection And We’ll Make It I Swear

I’m not going to. Obviously. But if I did, this is what I would say to the two millennials sitting next to me, very close in proximity, at Starbucks.

“Pardon me, I don’t mean to interject, or be rude, or tell you how to live your life, or really do anything other than just plain help you, but I just couldn’t help overhearing (despite my headphones) about how your undergraduate classes are proceeding and thought maybe I could offer you some words of wisdom. Free of charge.

First, to take a look at some raw statistical data, the two of you have been sitting next to me for over two hours, 137 minutes, to be exact. If I had to ballpark it, let’s be on the safe side here, I’m going to go ahead and say that out of the 137 minutes, the amount of time that both of you spent actually STUDYING, learning, doing what I presume you set aside this time for, is roughly five minutes each. Let’s call it seven. To calculate this as a percentage (I’ve got this one since math makes you sooooooo sleepy), the actual amount of your study time that you spent, um, studying, is 0.051%.

So, not to belabor the point here, but I think that a brief search on effective study habits might help with that failing science class or the “annoying” professor that gave you a D on your last paper. You know the one whose feedback you spent approximately eleven minutes reading out loud and making snide comments like, “Passive voice, what does that even mean?” And, “The only paragraph I wrote that he actually liked is the one about America. So what does that tell you?”

I want to help you. The fact that both of you are not looking up your ex-boyfriends on the Internet tells me that you are good people that want to succeed. Also, that you each spent close to eight minutes (ballparking here) looking up Danielle’s ex-boyfriend on the Internet tells me that you are easily distracted. (Millennial A: He is hot! Millennial B: Yeah, a hot mess.)

This tendency to get distracted is all the more reason to look up effective study habits and perhaps find a quiet place, away from professional writers with professional blogs that professional plumbers click on often, to their confusion and dismay.

Look, this isn’t about grinding an axe or my own stress in revising work set to be published. Never mind the job interview I have to prepare for or the giant stress zit on my forehead. I’m simply offering advice as an elder. It’s not your fault. Many schools never teach how to study.

There are many small things that make a big difference. Turning off your phone I think actually qualifies as a big one. Location. Scheduling breaks for snacks and coffee. (Seriously, Google has over 154,000,000 results for “effective study habits. Just do a quick search since you haven’t put down your phones the entire time.) Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but perhaps you two aren’t right for each other, Study Buddy wise. While it’s obviously clear that you are great friends with a lot to talk about, including potential boyfriends (the advice to “go home tonight, write about him in your journal, wake up, read it, and see if you feel the same way,” shows how much you care about each other and want nothing but good things like finishing college to happen); it might not be clear that academically speaking, you guys are oil and water.

To again return to some hard data, something that is often useful in making important decisions like where and how to study (even if your stats teacher is “clueless on how to actually teach”), I’m going to go ahead and ballpark estimate here, on the safe side, that each of you spoke roughly 5,000 words in the past two hours and now twenty-one minutes (roughly 35.46 words per minute, each). One thing I’ve found in earning both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, is that it is difficult to study and talk at the same time.

Why not plan to meet up after studying? You’ll both feel much better about having been productive because you won’t have distracted each other (or those around you, like professional writers editing an essay for publication, an essay that has already been accepted, one where the writer has to concentrate, really scrutinize each word and sentence so as not to make a small error that could slip past the editor and this small error could hurt this hypothetical writer’s chances of really making it as a writer? Unlike a blog which allows writers, even professional writers, to write off the cuff and make all kinds of misakes.)

So now, as the students from the nearby middle school swarm in and eliminate the remote chance that the two of you will do anymore studying, let me end by closing my eyes, turning up my headphones to dangerous levels so as to drown out your incessant chattering, and pretend to be Jon Bon Jovi, wearing leather pants, grabbing my pen as a microphone and singing to you, while the middle school kids spontaneously join in as background singers and and flash dancers.

Wooooooaaa! Just going to Starbucks is only half way theeeerrrree! Woooaaa! Livin’ on a prayer (if you think this is studying)!  Take my polite suggestive interjection based on actual data constructively and we’ll make it to adulthood I sweeeaaarr!”



Indispensable Parenting Advice: The Soap Game

My four-year-old would not wash her hands. It was dinnertime. Food was getting cold. We were all hungry. And tired. We asked nicely. We asked not so nicely. We told. Then the inevitable threat, rendered less effective as an interrogative sentence.

“Do you want to go the stairs?”

Still, the hands remained unwashed. They were visibly dirty. Playground equipment. Three-day-old rain water. Probably some nose-picking.  I imagined the bacteria singing a high-pitched, prokaryotic version of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Good times.

That’s when I made a fatal error.

I was fun.

Both the Blue Soap and the Clear Soap wanted to be chosen. They started to argue.

“Pick me!”

“No, pick me!”

Mia, despite her four years of worldly experience and skills as a negotiator, didn’t see this coming. She did “eeny meeny miny mo.” Clear Soap won. Blue Soap threw a fit. Then, to show her deep compassion for losers that never get picked, she allowed Blue Soap to do her right hand and Clear Soap to do her left.

Problem solved. Until the next night. And the night after that. And every night. Because now we have to play the soap game before washing hands. And I don’t really mind. The soaps argue. Or Blue Soap falls asleep and then the spatula wakes him up, to the dismay of Clear Soap. It’s fun.

Except of course, when you just want to wash hands and eat.

So the lesson here, parents, is obvious. Never do anything remotely fun or interesting.

You’re welcome.

This is really funny*

* If you are sleep deprived and have recently spent a lot of time with children under the age of 10.

“Which one is your favorite Daddy?” Mia asked.

She showed me five animals that she had drawn from her new trace-your-hand-into-an-animal book. There was a cat, fish, dog, raccoon, and snail.

“I like the raccoon,” I said.

Megan laughed because of the way I had pronounced raccoon. I said it, “ruh-COON.”

“Is that really how you say RAH-coon?” my wife asked.

“No. I don’t why I said it like that. I’ve never said it like that before in my life. I have no idea where that came from. But her ruh-COON is definitely my favorite.”

“You’re a doh-doh.”

The next morning, I was pointing out (NOT complaining) that I also had a seat in the lack- of-sleep boat.

“You didn’t wake up with Delaney at 1:30,” Megan said.

“True, but I was definitely awake at 3 when you brought her into our bed.”

Megan’s entire being, without saying a word, said, “You poor thing.” Her eyebrows were the loudest. By far.

 “Delaney kicks me,” I said. “She slaps me in the face. Last night I took a head-butt to the  nose.”

Not a single cell belonging to my wife shifted position. Not one cell. If anything, the trillions became more rigid.

I continued. There was a lot at stake: an entire Sunday of unscheduled parenting time lay ahead of us. If I could get just one hair of her recently waxed eyebrows to loosen in sympathy…just one…it could make all the difference. Desperate, I stammered, “When you bring her into our bed she is like a wild ruh-COON!”

At least I made her laugh.

Blogger’s Note: If you did not find the above post funny, please spend at least 14 hours with children under the age of 10, sleep less than five hours, and read again. Repeat until this post is hilarious.



Two Declarations of History

Declaration Number One:
When: July 4, 1776
Where: Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA
By Whom:- John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and a bunch of other white dudes
Most Significant Passage: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Outcome: The birth of the United States of America.

Declaration Number Two:

When: February 25, 2019, during dinner

Where: Our house

By whom: Mia, age 4

Most Significant (in this case, only) passage: “I am out of ketchup.”

Outcome: Mia received more ketchup


You’re Damn Right I’m Crying Over Spilled Milk

Yesterday my four year-old daughter Mia spilled her milk. Three times. Three. Times. In one day.

The first spill was a full cup backhanded by a mermaid tail that had no business whatsoever of being at the table during lunch. The second spill was an ill-advised play tea cup full of milk given to her at snack by her older sister, a co-conspirator with a long rap sheet, my seven year-old daughter, fellow milk spiller Mazey. And the third and final spill was an overly enthusiastic cheers at dinner with our one year-old Delaney, just getting started on her milk spilling career. Mia’s grip wasn’t where it needed to be.  Delaney had more oomph than Mia was expecting. The accuracy and angle. I could write more. Complicated sentences with physics terms like “center of gravity.” But I won’t.

Instead, it’s time to examine with fresh eyes the wise, age-old saying, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk.” Which is true. Once it’s spilled, or spilt, it’s spilled. What good is crying going to do? Crying won’t clean it up or get it back in the cup. In fact, the tears will only add to the total surface area of wetness.

On the second spill, crying doesn’t help much either. For one thing, the tears are already pent up, so it’s going be more like bawling, which is not a good look for a forty year-old male that needs to show strength at all times to his three daughters. Sniffling, though, while you are squeezing out a dish towel already soggy and smelling faintly sour from the first spill, I found, did help a little. Just a little quiet shuddering sniffle that originated deep in my core. Nobody heard it. It helped. It did. There’s sense in that.

On the third spill, the saying is clearly inaccurate and misguided. Thanks to thirty whole seconds of research, I was able to glean that the saying is at least 350 years old when some guy in the 1650’s said “no weeping for shed milk.” It is possible that he is referring to milk that is stored in a shed, and that if you weep, you don’t get any. But it is more likely that this confirms my original thinking: that for much of human civilization a child would not receive three cups of milk in a day, so that spilting or shedding three times would not even be conceivable.  Therefore, I would like to start a new phrase that could easily last a few hundred years, assuming milk in some form remains plentiful.

“On the thrice shedding of milk, weeping doth good.”

Talking Oompa Loompa Genetics with Jimmy on the way to the bar

“Did you see my text?” Jimmy asked.

“The tweet about the Tarik Cohen play? Yes. Hilarious.”

“Can you believe they named a play Oompa Loompa? Can you imagine? All right guys, we’re gonna have a play were we pitch it to Tarik and then he’s going to throw it. We’ll call it Oompa Loompa.”

“It’s funny.”

“Then in the huddle. Oompa Loompa on two. Break!”

“Very amusing. I wonder, though, isn’t it just a little offensive?”

“To whom? Short people? Green-haired white overall wearing chocolate factory workers?”

“I just thought it might seem a little derogatory,” I said.

“No, you’re right. It is offensive. If you’re a midget with green hair working in a chocolate factory. It’s deeply offensive.”

“Or what if you had like just a little Oompa Loompa DNA. I just got my 23andme results. It turns out I’m a sixth Oompa Loompa.”

“You could write the NFL a letter: ‘Dear Chicago Bears and NFL executives, please see the attached 23andme results. As you can see, I am a sixth Oompa Loompa. I find the Bears recently naming a trick play Oompa Loompa to be deeply offensive. I believe this kind of flippancy towards the Oompa Loompa people contributes to the negative image that the NFL is broadcasting to our society at large. Please take necessary measures to remediate.'”

“They would have to make a statement.”

“Oompa Loompa DNA. That’s good.”