Tag Archives: dad

My Baby Is Way Better Than Your Baby

Shutterstock / Evgeny Atamanenko
Shutterstock / Evgeny Atamanenko

I know this sounds crazy, because what parent doesn’t think his or her baby is the best? But in my case, it’s true: my baby really is the best baby. And I know I’m totally biased here, so believe me or don’t believe me, whatever. But regardless of whether or not you think what I’m saying is for real, it doesn’t change the reality of the situation, that my baby is the best. He’s the number one baby around. No other babies come close to being even a fraction of how awesome he is.

Read the full piece at Thought Catalog

I’ve heard that story a million times already

One night at dinner my dad said, “Did I ever tell you kids about the time I raced your Uncle George when we were little kids?”


And I was being a typical teenaged jerk, and so I said, “Yeah dad, you’ve told us like a million times already.” Even though that wasn’t true. I’d never heard my dad talk about racing, or Uncle George. Uncle George lived in Minnesota somewhere, and I couldn’t remember the last time we’d actually seen him. There was a photo album somewhere around the house, in one of the big bookshelves in my parents’ room. But even that was kind of off-limits. If we ever got caught snooping around upstairs, it was a big deal and it always ended with a lot of yelling.

My dad gave me an annoyed look, and he was just about to open his mouth to say something to put me in my place, when my younger brother Neil said, “Dad, I’ve never heard that story.”

So my dad closed his mouth and smiled a little, and without looking away from where I was sitting, he said, “Well then Neil, you’re in for a treat. Because this is a great story.” And I kind of rolled my eyes really dramatically, like, man, now I have to sit here and listen to a boring story from my dad. “But your brother’s already heard it, so why don’t we get out of here? I’ll tell you in the car.”

And my dad got up and pushed his chair in, walking away from his dinner plate. “Where are you going?” my mom said.

“Neil and I are going out of for a ride,” he said to my mom, and then turning to Neil added, “You want to grab some ice cream?” to which Neil bounced out of his seat and ran to the foyer to get his coat.

I waited until my dad was out of earshot and said in a mock-loud voice, “And who’s going to clear up all of these plates, your mother?” and nobody heard me, not my mom, definitely not my dad. And that was fine, because I didn’t know where I was going with that comment, not really. As soon as I said it, I realized that all I was doing was inviting my mom to make me stick around and help her clean up. The phone rang, my mom went further back into the kitchen, and I disappeared into my room until I was sure everything would have been put away.

And then I went back downstairs, my mom was smoking a cigarette at the kitchen table, I asked her, “Mom?” and she said, “Yeah?” and I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was in an OK mood, like she wasn’t pissed off or anything, and so I said, “What was dad talking about at dinner?”

“What do you mean?” she said.

“That whole race thing, with Uncle George?”

And her forehead got really tight and she said, “Uncle George?”

“Yeah, dad was going to say something about a race?”

“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him when he gets home.”

And just then the driveway lit up as the station wagon pulled in right by the kitchen. My dad and Neil got out of the car, and when they walked into the house, Dad had a pretty big smile on his face. I didn’t really want to stick around and see if he was going to start smiling in my direction, and so I got up to go to my room. As I rounded the corner from the kitchen to the hallway, I could hear my mom say, “You didn’t bring any ice cream home for the rest of us?”

I didn’t say anything that night, and I was pretty good about trying not to think about it for the next couple of days or so. But just when I figured that the thoughts of my dad and my brother and the story about that race were going to fade away for good, they rallied and made a comeback, something like three or four days after that night at dinner. It was all I could think about. What was so important about a dumb race? Why did my dad have to leave the house to tell Neil? Why wasn’t anybody else talking about this?

So I cornered my brother when I got home from school that day. I said, “Neil, what did you and Dad talk about when you went out for ice cream after dinner?” and I was ready, I mean, I wasn’t going to let Neil go without him telling me what happened. If I had to twist his arm behind his back, or threaten to scratch all of his CDs when he wasn’t home, I hadn’t really left anything off the table in terms of forcing him to talk.

But none of that was necessary. Right away, Neil was like, “Dad didn’t say anything. We drove around town for like fifteen minutes in complete silence. It was so weird. I kept thinking, where are we going for ice cream? Why isn’t Dad saying anything? And then finally he talked, he was like, Neil, when we get home, I don’t want you to say anything to your brother. He’s going to ask you about the race between me and Uncle George, and you don’t say anything, got it? And I was like, what are you talking about? And he said, the race story, from dinner. And I said, OK, are we going for ice cream? And he said, no, no ice cream, I think we have ice cream in the freezer. But there wasn’t any ice cream in the freezer. There’s never ice cream in the freezer. And then I said, but dad, what’s the deal with the race story? And he said, what? And I said, the race, you know, with Uncle George? And then he said, shhhh, be quiet, I love this song. It was that song Old Time Rock and Roll. You know that one, right? And that was it. There wasn’t any ice cream.”

My first instinct was that Neil was lying, but after a while he just wouldn’t stop talking and so I left the room, satisfied that nothing had really happened.

And then later that week at dinner, in between bites of meat loaf, my dad said out of nowhere, “So, I bet you’re wondering about that race story between me and your Uncle George.” And he kind of just smiled. I looked down, but he probably gave Neil a wink.

And I didn’t say anything for a second, but then came back with, “Who are you talking to?”

Dad looked pissed off, but pissed off in a way that tried to make it look like he wasn’t pissed off. So he had this kind of half smile, half scowl. And he said, “I’m talking to you. Don’t you want to know about the race?”

And I looked down at my lap and said, “Dad, you’ve already told that story like a million times. You tried to race Uncle George, but he was always a lot faster than you, and so you never beat him. Come on dad, that’s a pretty lame story. I don’t know why you keep telling it.”

Mom started laughing, but it was like she was trying not to laugh, and my dad shot her a nasty look. Everyone was really quiet for a good amount of time, all you could hear were the sounds of forks and knives clinking against plates and teeth. I thought about ratting Neil out, telling everyone about how Neil told me that him and Dad just drove around in circles listening to classic rock. But I didn’t.

And then five more minutes passed, and I opened my mouth and said, “Hey Mom, do we have any ice cream for dessert?”

And my mom looked at me with a really confused face and said, “Ice cream? Dessert?”

I said, “Yeah, Neil, didn’t you say something about ice cream in the freezer?”

“No,” he said, looking down at his lap.

And I said, “Oh, my mistake. I thought you said something about ice cream in the freezer.” And then I looked up at the table and my dad was just staring at Neil with a really pissed off look on his face.

Stroller rage

I was riding my bike to school today. There’s a good stretch of my route along 34th Ave. in Queens, a dedicated bike lane, but one with a traffic light at every single intersection. I’m not a reckless cyclist. Whenever I come to a red light, I at least slow down to make sure no cars or pedestrians are in the way before going through. I know, technically cyclists have to obey all of the rules that a car does. But that doesn’t make any sense. It takes a lot more for a bike to get going after a full stop than a car.


So I’m approaching this one red light, very slowly. It wasn’t even an intersection. Here was a traffic light that served no purpose other than to keep a spacing continuity with all of the other traffic lights. And this isn’t a busy street. It’s a single lane both ways. It’s not Queens Blvd.

The pedestrian crossing signs were white, for walk, on both sides. On one side of the street there was a dad holding one of those exercising strollers, but there wasn’t any child inside. At his side were three little kids of various ages, the oldest couldn’t have been more than five or six. Do you know why I had a chance to notice all of this? Because I was coming at the light really, really slowly. I wasn’t even pedaling, I was just rolling through.

Like I said, the dad and his kids were on one side, and I had a clear path across, and so I just went for it. But it wasn’t going to be so easy. As I made my way through, the dad ran across the street, leaving his kids back on the corner, and pushed the stroller right in my way. So I stopped, I got off the bike, and I kind of made a confused and annoyed face at the guy. “Come on man, we both had the light.”

“What?” he screamed at me. “You didn’t have the light! You had a red light!”

And yeah, whatever, if he was a cop, I guess he could’ve given me a ticket. But he wasn’t a cop. And there was no harm being done. This was just some vigilante super dad taking the laws of traffic into his own hands.

Then things escalated. I didn’t say anything back to him, but he started yelling. “You almost hit my kids!” and he took his stroller and started pushing me, hard. Like my whole bike was moving. And I looked at him and his jaw was clenched, he was physically shaking with rage.

Now I was getting angry too, call it fight or flight or whatever, but this guy was pushing me and all my body was doing was telling me to push back. What would have happened? I don’t know. This guy was about the same size as me, maybe a little shorter, but he had the whole really, really angry thing going for him. Thankfully, it only took about a second or two for me to realize that, no, I probably shouldn’t get into a physical fight with some random dude on the street, even if he did push me with his giant red sporty cool dad exercise stroller.

“Listen man, I apologize, OK?” I said it as sincerely as I could. My goal was simple, to defuse the situation and get out.

“OK!” he screamed at me, and I could tell that I’d gotten through to him somehow. That in the basest part of his animal brain, I’d submitted to his power, and even though he probably still wanted to punch, there was really nothing he could have done now short of straight out attacked me.

I used the moment to push free of his stroller and take a couple of steps forward. But now that I was sure he couldn’t get me, I called back, “Hey kids,” and I said this in one of those parenting voices that super annoying moms and dads use to talk to their kids like babies, “Daddy needs anger management classes.”

And he started coming at me and screaming something unintelligible, but I’d already pushed my bike ahead and started pedaling away. When I was positive that I’d made an escape, I yelled back, really loudly, “Hey asshole, I’m not really sorry, I just didn’t feel like getting beat up!” and they I just gunned it, not looking back.

Because, I’m serious, there’s no way I was even close to hitting his kids, absolutely zero percent. And I’m happy with how I handled the situation, not getting into a fight, speaking my mind once I was free of immediate danger. I probably shouldn’t have said asshole in front of his kids. That was my bad. But at least I didn’t do what I really wanted to do, to fight back. Because come on man, don’t fucking push me around. You want to yell at me on the street? Fine. I can take getting screamed at by some random d-bag. But don’t start pushing people. Maybe next time whoever you start pushing around is going to be a real whack-job. And what are you going to do when they start throwing lefts to your face? You want your kids to see you get your ass kicked?

Happy Father’s Day, dad

While everyone else is out there spending time with their dads, I’m in here alone, trying not to get too lost in my own sadness. It’s just that, Father’s Day is always pretty dark around my house, because my dad was lost at sea when I was a very young boy.


No, that’s not true at all, my dad never went out to sea, I don’t know why I said that. Sorry dad. I was just trying to beef up your backstory a little bit, make everything a touch more heroic. But the truth is unfortunately pretty mundane. One night my dad went out for a pack of cigarettes, and he never came home.

Again, that’s a lie. My dad didn’t leave us. And he never smoked. I guess I was just trying to make him seem a little cooler, but when I wrote it out and read it back to myself, it’s not cool at all. And if you’re reading this, and your dad actually did the whole, “I’m going out for some smokes” bit and never returned, I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t bring up too many weird memories, I’m sure your dad had his reasons.

And I guess I should apologize for the first part too, if your dad was lost at sea, I wasn’t trying to trivialize your loss, or make fun of what I’m sure had to be a really long and vague process of waiting for answers, coming to terms with the fact that, even though they couldn’t find any wreckage, even though it’s theoretically possible that your dad could have somehow survived, maybe taken refuge on a deserted island somewhere, like in Castaway, you eventually had to force yourself to move on, to let go of that stubborn hope that maybe someday dad would walk through the front door.

I was also going to write this story about how my dad was actually a really famous hockey player from the 1980s, and while he was on a road game thirty years ago, he got my mom pregnant but then disappeared, and so eventually the league had to get involved and they forced my dad to financially take care of us, but only on the condition that we all had to keep his identity a secret.

But imagine if that really happened to you, what would it be like to read some random guy on the Internet making fun of your story? I wouldn’t want that. Even though it’s really unlikely. Is it? Maybe it’s not that unlikely. That’s basically the whole first part of that movie The Place Beyond the Pines. Right? Except instead of hockey it was carnival motorcycle riding.

No, I should just keep it simple. And sincere. Dad, Happy Father’s Day. I still miss you. I can’t believe it’s been over three years since you were taken away from us. If only you’d known about that heart condition, maybe you could have sought treatment, maybe you wouldn’t have died while driving that Jeep Wrangler with your second wife.

At least I have all of your old interviews and championship matches to watch on the Internet whenever I get too sad thinking about how you’re not here with us anymore. I used to get really mad with the fact that I had to share you with the whole world, but it’s just another way that I get to keep your spirit alive. Besides, while the whole world knew you as Macho Man Randy Savage, how many people actually got to call you dad? That’s something nobody can ever take away from me. I love you dad. Happy Father’s Day.