Go ask daddy about driving rules, alcohol in the kitchen and illegal football moves

stormtroopers elephants (2)
Inspecting the elephants at our Airbnb haunts in Fredericksburg.

I couldn’t wait to get my permit.

GAD GRAPHICI was just a dumb kid in Colorado with the delusion that acquiring my permit would automatically result in:

1) Getting a brand-new Pontiac Fiero;

2) Driving my butt from Greeley, Colo., to Seattle

3) Actually making it back home.

How could I forget? I was also going to pick up my cousin, Raquel, in San Francisco. All this, before I’d even learned to parallel park. But I was ready. Kids these days? They’re not so ready. Why be ready to drive, when you parental Uber toting you around?

I’m okay with this.

My best conversations happen with Madison in the 30-minute ride home after I pick her up at work. I get to hear the goings-on of Dick’s South Park, and also her rantings and ravings of current politics and what she’d do if she called plays for the Carolina Panthers.


1. Could I drive outside of North Carolina with my permit?

This state is stricter than Quaker parents when it comes to anything behind the wheel.

Alabama, Arkansas and Colorado say yes, you can drive here, North Carolina learner. Others say no: District of Columbia, Hawaii and New Hampshire, for instance. Other states, such as New York, try to make their rules sound like War and Peace:

New York will recognize another state’s learner’s permit subject to the restrictions printed on it and the New York State restrictions for junior driver licenses under 18. A person with a valid out-of-state license for the vehicle being driven may accompany a junior driver. You may not drive in New York state if you are under 16, even if you’re licensed in another state. An Out of State learner’s permit is “NOT” valid in New York City. In all areas of the state except New York City, Nassau or Suffolk counties, a non-resident under 18 years of age may operate a vehicle from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. when accompanied by a licensed driver over 18 years of age. He may operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. only when accompanied by a legal parent or guardian.

That’s a lot of ifs, ands and butts. Better just let me tote you around, kid.

2. Didn’t a woman have eight babies?

Yes, and they called her Octomom – which sounds like something that would try to vanquish Batman and take over Gotham City.

It happened in 2009. Her name: Nadya Suleman. Her doctor, Dr. Michael Kamrava, said he didn’t know she was having octuplets (which are eight babies, not just babies born in October.) He claims to have implanted her with 12 embryos in-vitro treatments.

Then, she disappeared, he said. Wouldn’t even answer her phone.

He suggested four, because, you know, the law of averages. Usually, a woman Nadya’s age would get two. She insisted on 12. It was a bad idea from the start. She agreed to fetal reduction, which is an injection to kill fetuses if more than one starts to grow.

The whole pregnancy is at risk with fetal reduction.

That’s a lot of embryos. That poses other risks for the mother and babies, including:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Development delays
  • Premature birth

So the good doc found out with the rest of us. In February, the kids celebrated their eighth birthday. Mom – now known as Natalie – named the historic kids Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah.

Next time, ask me about Kate Gosselin, would you?

beer shirt
photo credit: Lone Star Beer Tee 1987 via photopin (license)

3. Could you get drunk from eating beer bread?

You’d have to eat, like, eight loaves.

You could even bring it to school. I could even bring it to work. I wonder if I could eat it while driving. No, I won’t go there. Unless it’s used in a sandwich made of whiskey ham and rum cheese (sounds kinda delicious), beer bread is harmless.

(I just typed in beer break! Then I typed in bear instead of beer which means I should slow down on this buffalo chicken pasta I’m eating for lunch.)

The beer gets all evaporated out, and only the flavor (and yeast) remain. And yumminess. The crust, especially. Any time I get beer too bitter for my white-bread beer palate, it gets poured directly into the pan, deliciously, for beer bread.

You’re welcome. Now pass the butter.

4. What is it called when you turn trans?

My belief is that one doesn’t turn any way as far as sexual orientation, and, extensively, to becoming transgender. The transformation in transgender awareness, in my eyes, is in the revelation or realization of it.

It’s a tough concept for me to describe, because I am not transgender.

I’d struggle similarly with an explanation of being a vegan or a dodgers fan. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the first one.) Transgender means a person doesn’t associate with the gender they were born into.

I’m going to try and explain this in simple terms.

(Any offense taken is unintended. I will not apologize, though. As a parent, we have to try to describe the world’s challenging concepts as well as we can to our children. This happened in our own home, and now, with my child’s question, it’s on this public blog.)

Once, I bought a 12-pack of Pepsi Max.

Stick with me. It was filled with regular Pepsi. This is the closest I can come to understanding this myself. For whatever reason, the outward manifestation of a person doesn’t match what is inside. It’s very real and I can’t imagine how it must feel.

Support and acceptance is crucial.

It’s not as simple as the Pepsi example, of course. Some people don’t identify as either gender. And I know for some, that has changed. Can you blame them? It has to be an incredibly confusing spot to be in.

Also, I can imagine, being able to identify what gender is to you, to finally be able to label it and find others who also do, that has to be liberating. Isn’t that what any of us want? An identity, a sense of place? I know I do.

football player
photo credit: Poison Ivy cosplayer via photopin (license)

5. What happens if they pull the mask?

I’m nearly certain this question arose while we watched football, not some construction worker welding something.

Or a patient in a hospital with an oxygen mask. Man, that could have been it, though. Curiosity doesn’t seem to know bounds as far as the profane, and pulling the oxygen mask of a person? Well, that’s a story, and probably not a good one, but a story, for sure.

Let’s stick with football.

Back in the day, you pulled the facemask, it was automatically a 15-yard penalty. It was swift and authoritative, the call, in contrast to the general vibe of football, what with no regard to concussions (have we come that far, really?) or hydration.

(I played in the era just after coaches would limit a team to one water break if they were lucky, to share the same ladle and water bucket.)

In modern times, the facemask penalty has branched into two:

Intentional: You yanked this dude around by the face. 15 yards.

Incidental: Oops! Hey chief, that was his facemask. Say you’re sorry. 5 yards.

Pulling off Batman’s mask would be tougher than Robin’s, whose was bought at a dollar store in HIaleah, Fla. Pull off Darth Vader’s, you see the facial equivalent to leaving a bandaid on too long. Pull off Hannibal Lecter’s, and you risk becoming dinner.

Any of those should be 15 yards. Easy.

Hayes quote penalties



  1. stomperdad says:

    Way to handle that “turning trans” question. I fielded that one from a certain 6 year old when he was 5 asking about how boys turn into girls. I like the analogy of what’s on the inside doesn’t match what’s on the outside. That’s putting it in its simplest terms. Did you hear The Donald’s take on football? Harder hits and fewer penalties among other things…

  2. I remember the octomom! I never knew the kids’ names, though, so I learned something today.

  3. Beth says:

    Some good questions here this week! I actually just saw an article about the Octomom I think. I had wondered what happened to her as well. Wasn’t there another famous mom besides Kate Gosselin that had like seven babies? I can’t think of her name either. And LOL at getting drunk on beer bread. I love me some beer bread but yeah, you’re not going to really get a buzz. Haha!

  4. Holly says:

    My son is 21 and doesn’t even have a learner’s permit yet (not for lack of trying, he always fails by one question). He’s not stressed and just pays for Uber or pays UberMom. It’s his money so I guess it’ll go on until he decides he needs more flexibility with his transportation but I can’t imagine it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I had the worst time passing my driver’s test here in North Carolina, Hol. I feel his pain. Madison’s starting to make noise about getting her license. It would help, but there’s the issue of a car, too. I bet you don’t mind a bit being UberMom.

  5. Loved all of your answers, Eli! Football has always been a mystery to me (even though my son played for two years), until today that is. Thanks for the info. Yes, I would rather take a football player’s face mask off than Batman’s or Hannibal Lecter. Darth Vader? I could go either way. Very well explained on turning tran, well, at least the part about being supportive. As usual, a witty and thought provoking post.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lisa! My daughters have such a great understanding of football, which makes for interesting interactions with their male friends. Glad as always to toss a little knowledge around here about the sport!

      By far, Hannibal Lechter’s mask is the one I’d vote to keep on.

      The trans question wasn’t easy, but I’m glad they asked. it’s just a broader conversation about support and empathy, right? We could all use a little of that.

  6. ksbeth says:

    the problem is, i would probably love to eat the multiple loaves of bread, and then where does that leave me? over carb-loaded and drunk. a lose-lose situation for sure. i like you explanation of the trans question, your answer was one that most could identify with – you are a good dad

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The multiple-loaves problem would at least leave you smiling, Beth. Carbs and drunkenness aside. You’re sweet, you know that? Thank you.

  7. Lauren Becker says:

    Oh, I remember Octomom – I think I read a recent update article on her too. I think you handled the transgender question, and yes, you don’t turn trans, just like you don’t turn gay. It’s more of a realization – but it can be tough to explain, especially to kids!


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Probably someone writes an update every birthday those kids have. I was glad they asked the trans question, actually. I think kids probably have an easier time grasping some concepts than grownups, anyway.

  8. Whoahhh! You’ve got some hard-assed questions to answer there and I absolutely love your answer on beer bread! Lol. “What do u meeaan you cannot get drunk on beer bread!” 😜

    Transgender can tough concept for kids indeed. We used to live in Thailand and it is such a widely accepted gender. They are so visible too and not an uncommon sight.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know! I was glad the beer bread question was tossed in there. I could use a chunk right about now. I wonder if someone has tried to get their buzz on with the beer bread …

      Transgender can be a tough concept for lots of people. When you go in with a better idea of inclusion, that’s a good start. We all have to fight traffic, pay taxes, brush our teeth and attempt to flirt, don’t we? So much more in common than differences.

      1. More than you know! (Common vs difference) yet most choose to look at the difference and create that big divide. Why oh why….!

  9. messymimi says:

    Yummm, beer bread. It’s fun to make, but you are correct that like most items cooked with alcohol, the alcohol burns off and leaves nothing but flavor. Which is good in my case, since i can’t hold my liquor.

    The Octomom was very, very fortunate she and those babies didn’t all die.

    It’s not easy to answer the questions about gender, and i have a daughter with many trans friends. You have done as good a job as i’ve seen.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s good with some strawberry jam, isn’t it Meems? It’s so easy to make, too. I’d be drunk after two slices if they were anything like real beers.

      Yes, the Octomom story could have had a tragic ending, but those kids are big now, and seem to be doing well.

      Thank you, on the trans issue. I think when we don’t fully understand something because we don’t live it, going in with some empathy first is a good plan. After that, inclusion. We always can find something in common, can’t we? That’s a good place to go with the second step.

  10. akaleistar says:

    Beer bread is really good, but I don’t think that I could eat 8 loaves 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d split them with you, Ashley. We could just eat the crunchy ends.

  11. Kisma says:

    I think you nailed that Trans gen question beautifully! The world today has become way more complicated in all matters that refer to a persons self identification. Beer bread sounds amazing and I always feel a little more rounded in my football knowledge when I read your blog.

    Thanks Eli!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Tiff. There are issues in today’s world I can’t rely on experience for, just a little contemplation (and kindness – you can’t go wrong with some of that.) I love that the girls ask me football questions – Madison texted me yesterday and said let’s watch some !@#$ !@#$ football and drink some beer! (Proud dad moment).

  12. These are the best posts. And, wow…beer bread. My Granny used to make that. I loved its unique taste. I would never eat eight loaves, or even one! Hugs.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks so much, Mac! I have a bottle of beer in the fridge too strong to drink, and just begs to be made into beer bread. Every beer makes a different flavor, doesn’t it? I’d eat the ends off eight loaves. That’s the best part.

  13. The day I got my license my mom sent me to the grocery store! LOL! She loved having another driver in the house to help run errands, but she was paranoid about letting my little brother go anywhere with me because she was scared we would be in an accident and kill both of us.
    Octomom was a joke… albeit a real person but she certainly did everything she could to cash in on her situation. Some people should be prohibited from being parents..
    I don’t think you could get drunk from eating 20 loafs of beer bread because the beer is put into the batter before it is cooked and the alcohol evaporates while it is baking. The real question is, can you get drunk from Rum cake because you put the rum on AFTER it bakes in some recipes. Yumm!
    I have zero -0- comment on the transgender thing because my momma taught me if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin at all!
    Penalty shmenatly… who the hell cares about the penalties? They should be penalizing players who do THE WRONG THING in real life by not letting them play… and NO I am not talking about “taking a knee”!
    The good old days of football are long gone… it’s all about the money. Not the sport! Owners don’t give a crap about their fans.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You became practical with a driver’s license, Courtney! I want Madison to take a defensive driver course. Octomom did seem to absorb the limelight, didn’t she? There should at least be a course to take before you become a parent.

      I might have to do some field study and let you know about that rum cake …

      I think there are pockets of NFL ownership that still care about fans. Did you know in the new Falcons stadium that concession prices are super cheap? The team vows to keep them that way, too, for the fans. I can get behind that.

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