Monday, October 28, 2019

How Not To Dad - Episode 9: Mine-craft

    "Why did you put that there? You're destroying the house! I just built that."
    "Fine, if I can't put that there I'll go build my own and you won't be invited!"
    “You’ve already taken over this one. Somehow the living room is now a stable with two horses in it. There are twenty dogs in my bedroom.  There are twenty beds in my bedroom.   And why are all these parrots in cages?  I can’t even walk through the place.  You stay here and do what you want, and I’ll go build another house.”

The main area of Logan Land.  It's a bit chaotic, but it has
 it's charms.
    “But I want to come too!”
    “Okay, but this one’s gonna be mine okay?  You have to build it like I say.”
    Two blocky characters hop and trot through a similarly blocky world, away from the jumble of blocky glass and blocky stone and blocky dirt.  In a way the world resembles a 3D, open world version of the original Super Mario Bros. game, minus the giant green pipes. The two characters choose a spot on a hill, and one begins clearing blocks so that the surface is flat.  While he’s doing that, the other one begins to build about three feet from him.
    “What are you doing?”
    “I’m building a clubhouse.”
    “I don’t want a clubhouse.”
    “This is my part of the house.”
    “But I said this is my area and you have to build it like I want.”
    “This isn’t on your property. This is on my land beside yours. I’m building a clubhouse.”
    “Okay well if you’re gonna do that I’m gonna make changes to it when you’re not playing.”
    “Why would you do that?!  That’s not fair!”
    “Well it’s not fair that you’re building on my land either, is it?”
    “But I’m on my land!”
    “You know what? Fine. Build the clubhouse. But you can’t build in my house.”
    A few minutes pass.  The foundation of the house is completed, and the character that is building the house begins setting rows of blocks that will become walls.  The second character, having completed his clubhouse just a few Minecraft blocks away, wants something else to do.  So he climbs down from his elevated clubhouse and hops onto the flat surface of the foundation that character #1 has been clearing for thirty minutes. 
    He begins digging.
    “What are you doing?” 
    “I’m building a basement.”
    “I don’t recall asking for a basement.”
    “It needs a basement, and that will be my part of the house.”
    “But this is my house!”
    “Not all of it! Some of it needs to be mine!”
    And the cycle repeats.
My house in the center, with an unplanned basement
beneath (unseen) and a wooden clubhouse with random white
sticks littering the base, and apparently a light show going
on behind the house.
    Does any other adult ever hear themselves argue with their child and realize that their mental and emotional capacity shrinks to match that of the six-year-old boy with whom they’re arguing? By now it’s probably evident that this exchange is happening between my son and me. We’ve played Minecraft together off and on for at least two years now I’d guess, and we always have fun.  We do not, however, always get along. And I’ll be damned if I don’t revert to a whiny little bitch when I can’t build this fictional house on a glorified child’s game to my exact structural and architectural specifications.
    The worst part about this, I always realize later, is that my son is wanting to play with me right then.  This is potential for some good quality time I'll have with him, time that won't last forever.  How many more years will I have of him destroying what I built in that game before he decides he's too cool to play Minecraft anymore?  Will I still turn the game on and stroll through our Frankenstein monster of a house after he's given up playing it?  I suspect there will be a time in the not too distant future when I'll be begging my boy to build a stupid room to house his towers of caged parrots and stalls of skeleton horses and potion-making tables.   I mean, who doesn't want a world with a house built like a giant chicken with a doorway for an ass?

Logan's "chicken house."  The butt's the doorway.  I do like this one a lot.

Moral of the Story: Let the kid build the ridiculous room onto your playhouse, you near forty-year-old squall tit. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How Not To Dad: Episode 8 - A Chungus Among Us

Words are funny...

Every now and then my kid will say something that makes me realize how out of touch I am with the youth of today.  Back in my day (he said from his old rocking chair, one eye trained on his immaculately manicured lawn while the other is watching the mailbox for the delivery of his AARP membership card) we had slang words, most of which I don't even remember now.  Some of the milder ones were the surfer-stoner words like "gnarly" or "tubular" or "wicked," ushered into our vocabularies via The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the Bart Simpson inspired one-liners like "Don't have a cow man," or "Eat my shorts."  If we referred to someone we didn't like, they were a dork or a dweeb, and a dumb person could be called an airhead.  In arguing with friends or enemies, you might suggest that they "take a chill pill" or "chill out."  After Terminator 2 was released in '92, the youth of America became just a touch more fluent in Spanish when the term "Hasta la vista, baby," was introduced.

The nineties rolled on.  By the latter part of that decade, if you were a guy that lived at home witcha  mama and didn't make no money, there was a word for you.  You were a scrub.  Your home became your crib.  Things that were cool, or "gnarly" a decade ago, were now considered "dope."  If you ganked something in the late nineties, that meant you stole it.  The explosion of R&B and rap in those times gave birth to all sorts of random syllables that were thrown together to form words which might mean something totally different than their original intent.   Years before, Michael Jackson talked us into believing the word "bad" actually meant good, and we went along with that for a few decades.  "Phat" meant Pretty Hot And Tempting, not overweight.  If you were "tripping", that didn't mean you were having trouble walking, it meant you weren't acting right or you were out of line.  You were actin' a fool, if you will.  

Being a lily white southern kid who had lived his entire life in a small town in Alabama, I didn't use a lot of those terms but they were definitely in my lexicon.  Everyone knew them, especially if you were a teenager.  My parents, however, had to think kids had invented a new language or something.  There must have been a revolving carousel of frowns and befuddled expressions rolling across their faces whenever kids talked.

It hasn't changed today.  Well, it has changed in one way I guess: I am now the confused parent.  Through the early 2000's I followed along with the slang of the time.  I know what YOLO means, for example.  I know that ratchet doesn't necessarily just refer to a device that loosens bolts; it now means "wretched" as well.  I was a meme connoisseur for a few years there, and was able to keep up with pop culture following the trends created by that medium.  You get past the year 2010 or so, though, and I start to feel a little two-thousand and late.  That world began to mean less and less to me, without me even realizing it.  

So that brings us to the present.  A few weeks ago Logan was playing in our bedroom.  We were preparing to go somewhere, and Abby and I were sitting on the bed while Logan engaged in his usual routine of darting in and out and talking a little too loudly about any number of random subjects that popped into his head.  This day, he introduced us to a new word.

    "I'm a big chungus!"  He shouted as he hopped around on the bed.

    Nikki leaned back from her station in front of the mirror in our bathroom.  "That's the third time he's used that word today."  She said.

    My interest was piqued.  "What's a chungus, Logan?"  I almost giggled at the word as I asked.

    He just shrugged and mumbled some response that sounded like "I don't know" minus all the consonants.

    "Sort of sounds like..." I trailed off, and waited for Nikki to lean back into frame again.  When she did we shared a grin.  Let's just say both of us have found certain urban dictionary words and phrases rather funny, and this one sounded like it might belong to a certain group of definitions that would relate to the sexual experience.  Off to the internet I went, on a search for the almighty chungus.

    "What's wrong with chungus?" Logan asked while I searched on my phone for the meaning.

    "We're just trying to find out what it means."  Nikki said.  "We don't want you to be saying it if it's a bad word."

    "Chungus isn't a bad word, it's just a big fat thing."

    My mind raced as I tried to find the word.  Any number of hideously inappropriate definitions found their way into my thoughts.  If it was as bad as I feared, I'd have to find out where he heard it and tell him why he shouldn't say it, and the worst part was that I was going to have to do it without laughing.  

It is no secret that I find it hilarious when a kid says things they shouldn't say.  In my opinion bad words are funny and that's all there is to it, and it's even funnier when a kid says them.  Having said that I do understand the need to teach my kid which words are and are not acceptable to say. 

Finally I found a definition for chungus.  Google led me, as I had feared, straight to the Urban Dictionary. 
Basically, a chungus is a giant, overweight rabbit that destroys things.  Images that popped up during the search portrayed a hefty Bugs Bunny, a lazy smile pushing up his fat cheeks under dazed, stupid eyes.

Part of me felt relief.  An equal part of me wondered how in the skittle-tits a word like that, with a definition like that, even existed.  Sure we had our slang when I was a kid, but not once in my childhood do I ever remember feeling the need to reference and overweight destructive bunny in my day-to-day conversation.  To be honest I'm kind of disappointed that that never came up...

I read the definition out so we could all hear it.  Nikki and I shared confused glances, but all in all thought it was pretty funny.

    "Why didn't y'all want me to say it?"  Logan asked.
    "We thought it might be a bad word."  Nikki said.

    "You mean like B-" Logan began, and cut himself off because he knew the word he was about to say was a bad word.

Guess who else knew?

    "Like what?"  I ask him.

    "The B word."  He said.

    "What B word?"  I feigned ignorance.  Come on, say it! I thought.

    He paused for a moment, looked at both of us across the room, and said it.  "Bitch."

    "Logan!" Nikki said.  I could see the smile in her eyes though.  When Logan turned from me I chuckled.

Look, it's funny, okay?  It's funny and it's not hurting anybody, and I will think it's funny for the rest of my life.  We made sure he knows not to say that word, but I suspect I will always ask him to repeat himself if he accidentally lets one slip, just so I can hear him say it again.

Don't judge me.

Moral of the story:  I guess you shouldn't teach your kids bad words, or ask them to repeat them.  And keep up with the lingo.  You never know when your kid might be saying something that sounds cutesy, but is actually slang for some devious sex act.  Don't believe me? Just take a stroll through the pages of the Urban Dictionary.

How Not To Dad: Episode 2 - Speedbag

How Not To Dad: Episode 2 - The Speed bag       There are two problems I have with furniture at my home right now.  Two things that have ...