Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Suburban Man: They Say the Darndest Things
By Rick Kaempfer
Everybody knows about the sacrifices involved in raising children. For a few decades you have to be willing to put yourself on the back burner. Spending time or money on yourselves isn’t really a viable option anymore.
That may not sound like a great financial deal, but I don’t know if anyone has ever done a cost-analysis on this before. For instance, what did you spend on entertainment before you had children? Did you go to several movies a week? Did you go out to dinner several times a week? Did you go out to bars several times a week? Go to the theatre to see a play? Start adding it all up. You spent a fortune.
You don’t do any of that anymore, but you still get a truckload of entertainment...free of charge. One person who recognized this phenomenon was Art Linkletter. In the 50s and 60s his television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” helped make him a very wealthy man. I’m sure all of the parents who read this have at least a dozen examples of things their kids have said or done that entertain them to this day. (Send some examples to me and I’ll include them all in a future ‘Suburban Man’)
My kids are no exception. I now present a dozen of these in no particular order for your amusement. I grant you that some of these weren’t entertaining to me at the time (and I think you’ll be able to figure out which ones I’m referring to), but they will probably be entertaining to you. Some aren’t laugh out loud funny, but remember that you don’t always pay money to see comedies. Sometimes you see a drama or a movie that makes you think.
*Every time Sean hits his head he says “Tweet, tweet, tweet.” I finally asked him what he meant by that, and he told me that there were little birdies flying around his head.
*While grocery shopping with 3-year old Johnny in the soft-drink aisle, his face lit up when he saw the all the cans. He screamed: “Dad, look, BEER!”
*When Tommy was 5, I asked him: “If you could have three wishes, what would they be?” He said the following with very little hesitation: “I would wish for more nature like trees, grass and plants. I would wish for a double chocolate chip ice cream cone. And I would wish to someday discover a color that has never before been seen by the human eye.”
*When I dropped Sean off at my Mom’s the other day, he proudly said to her: “My mom says that you have a lot of crap in your basement.”
*Johnny has a bit of an anger management problem, but he’s very careful not to use bad words even when he’s enraged. Instead, he makes up his own swear words. A typical outburst goes a little like this: “YOU GO GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE AND GO TO JAIL YOU ALLERTICOTT!” When he’s really mad, he drops the B-word. If he ever calls you a “Biggie,” you are on his list forever.
*After coming out of a soccer game in which he let the ball pass him by a dozen times, Tommy came up to me and asked: “Dad, why is Elvis so popular in Hawaii?”
*Last summer we were in my Mom’s backyard, and my Mom’s neighbor was standing on her driveway. Sean sprinted across the lawn because he had to talk to her right away. When he got there, he realized he had nothing to say, and he stood there in silence for about ten seconds before blurting out: “Love your nails.”
*Last summer Johnny came up to me with a heartfelt confession. “Dad, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I really do love the Cardinals more than the Cubs. I’m sorry.” I said, “That’s fine, Johnny, but why do you love them?” He answered, “Because I think they are the prettiest birds in our backyard.”
*This is an actual conversation with Tommy after Easter Mass a few years ago.
Tommy: “Dad, who is Jesus talking to on the Cross when he says ‘Why have you forsaken me, Father?’”
Me: “He’s talking to God.”
Tommy: “So there are two Gods?”
Me: “No, there is only one. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one God.”
Tommy: “Then who is he talking to? Himself?”
Me: “Go ask your mother.”
*Typical Sean question at breakfast--After asking “Why” for the thirtieth time in a five minute period, he pauses and says: “Why do I ask Why all the time?”
*Typical Johnny question at breakfast: “Dad, can a panther eat a boy?”
*Typical Tommy question at breakfast: “Dad, are the words ‘downtrodden’ and ‘melancholy’ interchangeable?”
See what I mean? Those are just a dozen examples off the top of my head. Every day brings a new little moment of free entertainment. Granted, when I start paying for those college tuitions I won’t consider it free any more, but until that time, I’m going on record as saying I’m getting at least as much for my entertainment dollar as I did when I went out all the time.
That, my friends, is my best rationalization. Feel free to use it yourself. It will help you get through another serving of macaroni and cheese.
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