Not the first one. One of the last ones. Maybe the last one. There was this epic battle between the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex (sorry, my generation gave the big guy his due – no T-Rex) battled a mega super ultra mean swole somethingasaurus.
I kept thinking, what could they possibly do to top that?
And then this sea monster pops up and eats that bastard like he’s a potsticker. That’s kind of how 2020 is feeling right about now. You think you’ve wrapped your mind around your circumstance, and then … well, sea monsters.
Are you seeing this too? Some days are good. Some not. Like the Raiders’ draft history, there appears to be little rhyme or reason to it. But Wednesday? Wednesday, I felt calm. I felt … vital.
Walt Disney is a dude lots of you know, and he said something kind of profound about making dreams come true.
He cited 4 Cs – curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy. (I’d have added cheeseburgers, but he didn’t ask me.) The greatest of all, Walt said, was confidence. (Again, no opportunity to pimp cheeseburgers.)
I’m not even kidding … this is a book review! And I read it all by myself.
Schooled: A Love Letter to the Exhausting, Infuriating, Occasionally Excruciating Yet Somehow Completely Wonderful Profession of Teaching
By Stephanie Jankowski
Stephanie, the loveable voice of the blog When Crazy meets Exhaustion, has written a book! She’s a long-time blogging friend of mine and I’ve loved her work for years.
Schooled is a collection of stories from the field. Her essays are humorous, sincere, and beckon to every crush on a teacher I ever had. As a dad of three kids, it gave me insight into what life is like on the other side of the desk.
So, there’s a story I want to tell and I don’t care if you judge.
One of my kids made a gesture at the TV yesterday that told a story. We’ve navigated this lockdown like good astronauts (minus zero gravity and Tang.) But as my girls worked on a puzzle during a Hulu session of Malcolm in the Middle, an ad came on and triggered her.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean we have to be distant socially, the sugary-voiced lady was saying to promote something I can’t even remember.
Instinctively, a middle finger arose. She didn’t even look up from the puzzle. I said nothing. I get it. Social listening data tells us that people love ads like this. They want to know corporate America is in it with us. That they’re doing their part.
I take it with me on flights. If it isn’t too wacky (or sometimes even if it is), I’ll ask the person next to me to pick a prompt for me to write about while we’re flying. Sometimes, I just pick one.
The one I’ll use today is one I picked.
It’s about stuff we should learn in school. I feel like there are some things we learn (or struggle to learn, often in my case) that would be better serve being replaced. There are things I’d like to have learned, but didn’t.
Mine happened in middle school. It lasted on into high school, and, by great fortune, into adult life. My first exposure to The Temptations came with the Daryl Hall & John Oates album Live at the Apollo. I learned fast the history and prestige of playing that venue.
Hearing my favorite Rock N Soul duo mix it up with legends was priceless.
Temptations songs resonated with me at 12 (and 32, and 42) Just My Imagination was my theme song for those formative years. A girl made a mixtape for me with I Wish That It Would Rain on it and it took me a decade to understand what she was trying to say.
The cool thing about being a dad, I was telling Camdyn while putting on my shoes, is that we can wear anything we want.
She gave me that look again, the one you’d see from someone on a practical jokes show. I just kept tying my shoes and didn’t even care they were Adidas soccer shoes with black dress socks. With a Hornets jersey tee and grey shorts with a pattern of fish bones.
I can too, she finally said, and pull it off even better.
So it’s in moments like this I get a bit more clarity why I am these girls’ papa. Clearly, it’s to force them to think on their feet in ways no ordinary dad could do. It’s definitely not to give clarity to life, although I spend an awful lot of time in that sad endeavor, too.
There’s some serious reconstruction happening, friends. It started right around the time I left for Detroit and it’s happening now. It hits me when I step back into this blog and realize it’ll be more than a month since my last post.
A month. I remember times when I’d shun a plate of tacos to get a post posted. Like anything, nothing stays the same. Sometimes there’s work to be done and walls to demolish and structure to save, and sometimes the work feels tedious and pointless.
And sometimes the light breaks through at just the right angle. It illuminates something just well enough to show you a way, to demonstrate what’s possible. Even when you feel like you’re in the middle of the impossible.
The slow demolition of the small, old arena attached to the former Cobo Center stopped me in my tracks during my stay in Detroit. When you freeze a moment on the decomposition of one element for another? It gives you incredible insight.
I’m in a spot with not enough time to finish this, but also not so little time I can’t start.
And that’s sort of been the calling card in my life lately. Again, were this blog a goldfish in a bowl, it’d be floating belly-up. Interestingly, I feel better equipped to handle a hectic life than ever. And life is still keeping me away from this space.
I’ve kept up (mostly) every day with the gratitude journal, so there’s plenty of material. Hopefully, that’ll get finished tonight after my boys’ soccer training and Camdyn’s teams’, when that Monster Energy drink kicks in somewhere between here and the Lowe’s Y.