5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About J-Law, Beach Water and Getting a Shark to Say “Cheese”

photo credit: Si-MOCs via photopin cc
photo credit: Si-MOCs via photopin cc

Dads do hard work.

GAD GRAPHICWe have to open pickle jars.

Eat pizza crusts. And rejected pepperoni.

Take kids to baseball games. And buy ice cream in baseball hats.

Coach soccer teams and chaperone field trips to museums.

Partake in post-game snacks and post-season pizza parties.

Snuggle on the couch to watch Indiana Jones movies.

Explain rules during football games. And baseball games. And why we hate the raiders.

Say “yes” to a little snick-snack at the grocery store.

And … research Go Ask Daddy questions. Like the first one this week.

Someone’s got to do it …

1. What other movies is Jennifer Lawrence in?


J-Law’s signature role, of course, is as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games. But other movies, such as Winter’s Bone, for which she learned to chop wood, fight, and skin squirrels, likely prepared her to become Katniss.

And to handle awkward male fans twice her age.

She was also in The Devil You Know, Silver Linings Playbook and House at the End of the Street, after which I had recurring nightmares. And by nightmares, I mean dreams about her character scampering through the forest in jeans and a white tank top.

Next question.

2. Do worms have hearts?

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc
photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

Focus, Eli.

Worms do not have hearts in the sense that we humans do. In fact, a worm is shaped like a section of intestine, because it basically is an intestine, with a mouth on one end and a pooper on the other. Worms have two aortic arches rings that pump blood back and forth around the digestive apparatus that make up the vast majority of the worm. But we wouldn’t call it a heart, in the true sense.

Worms do not observe St. Patrick’s Day or get teary when they hear the National Anthem.

3. How does the water at the beach stay so clear?

ocean water
photo credit: Waves via photopin (license)

After a lifetime of visits Myrtle Beach and the Charleston area beaches, wrought with murky waters and angry jellyfish, you finally got to visit a beach, Grace, where you could stand in the water and see your toes.

Without dipping a beaker into the waves to test it, my guess is that there’s less algae and plankton at Topsail than some beaches. Pollution plays a role, too. Pure water is perfectly clear; ocean water isn’t pure, but the less stuff it has floating in it, the better clarity it will have when you look at your toes.

I’d prefer to believe in this theory than consider sharks, whales and ocean-swimming families are dirtier in Charleston and Myrtle Beach than in Topsail, mostly because I’ve had my mouth open when I swam in those places.

4. Why are softballs bigger than baseballs?

photo credit: Day 136/365 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Day 136/365 via photopin (license)

Because, Jennifer Lawrence.

Actually, because softball players participate in far-off tournaments an average of once every 17 minutes, the balls they use are swollen from constant battering by expensive aluminum bats.

NO REALLY, softball diamonds are several feet smaller than baseball fields. If softball players hit the smaller, harder baseball on the smaller diamond they play on, can you imagine how dangerous it would be? Softball players would be toothless gum-chummers with bruises upon bruises upon bruises.

And not even worms deserve that.

5. How do they take up-close pictures of sharks?

photo credit: Shark Cage Diving in Hermanus via photopin (license)
photo credit: Shark Cage Diving in Hermanus via photopin (license)


Because strapping a camera to the arse of a yummy seal proved costly and provided gruesome footage, nature biographers took to using underwater cameras they hold out in front of them. Discovery Channel used an $18,000 camera for the most recent Shark Week, a high-tech model they call the Phantom HD Gold – and which some sharks refer to as “crunchy appetizer for human flank steak.”

No thanks. I’d rather be gummed to death by softball players using the wrong ball, or slowly digested by overzealous worms. Because a dad has to draw the line somewhere.

I wouldn’t film these sharks for anything.

Not even an armload of Jennifer Lawrence’s pizza crusts.

sharks quote

How to face your fears, or at least blog about them.

fears lede
photo credit: 137194_7306 via photopin (license)

So, the first-grader was less than pleased last night with my effort as a goalkeeper to stop her sister’s shot.

“It’s like you’re scared of it, dad!” she said with disdain and disbelief. (Star players sometimes have precious little tolerance for the everyman on the roster). No no no. I can make a remarkable save now and again.

But sometimes, the mind moves quicker than the feet.

And the hands. But usually not the tongue. That’s fodder for another story. “Dad’s not scared of ANYTHING,” I declare with a boom. “Not anything??” she asked, unbelieving. If you only knew, honey.

Know what scares me?

1. Bridges.

photo credit: Sydney Harbour Bridge via photopin (license)

Not for me. But for you kids. I know it sounds silly, but every time we go to Charleston, or any town with a big bridge, I have a nightmare that night. You girls cross it by yourselves, hand in hand, while skies threaten storms, through angry, unrelenting traffic.

Probably with snipers lying in wait, resentful poisonous snakes and oakland raiders fans with weapons and bad attitudes just beyond my scope. Not to mention mean-spirited jellyfish and hungry sharks and really sharp pieces of glass waiting in the waters below.

I wonder in my sleep – where am I? Why am I not with you at a time like that?

2. Playgrounds.

photo credit: King Henry VI via photopin (license)

I’ve touched on this one, but yeah. When you were toddlers, I’d walk around the little structure, all its steps and poles and slides, and walkways, just to see that you were safe.

It probably looked ridiculous from afar. Things only got worse as you got bigger, and moved to the bigger playgrounds. They seemed three, four stories tall, with no abundance of guard rails.

Watch Dad circle the structure like a clown firefighter waiting for you to fall. A shade or three beyond silly, I realize.

3. Peanuts.

photo credit: Nuts via photopin (license)

Marie is highly allergic. We check labels, ask restaurant owners about peanut oil, and survey any picnic spot for empty peanut shells or open containers of peanut butter.

When Marie was first diagnosed, I had nightmares. The common thread: She couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t help her.

Her own peace with the condition and her sisters’ hyper-vigilance about all things peanut have eased those fears and stopped the nightmares. But I’ll never rest easy.

4. Being late for games.

photo credit: Kent Denver girls varsity v. Frontier Academy via photopin (license)

This annoys the kids. I feel the need to be on the playing grounds (they hate also when I use this term and not ‘soccer field’) an hour prior to game time, although I admit this happens about as often as I eat a salad before I eat pizza (the land of good intentions).

A coach should check the field for dangerous spots and be on hand to greet his mighty warriors, have cones lined up and balls pumped and goalkeeper shirt pressed and ready for battle.

Or, in my case, to have a snack, get the bench I want and wait for Jesus or Allah to give me a sign whether we’re going to win that day. But mostly to have a snack.

5. My pants falling down.

 It’s quite a well-founded fear. I always tie my soccer-pants drawstrings extra tight on game day, after Grace, um, exposed her daddy between the third and fourth quarters on a fateful Saturday morning.

And just in case, I try to always wear my most appropriate/visually appealing drawers.

6. Disney Channel/Nickelodeon.

disney channel
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I fear shows that depict kids who smart off to dim-witted parents, choose to do whatever they want to get whatever they want, and usually with little to no consequence.

Of course, we had this too, in the day, with Silver Spoons and Diff’rent Strokes, but we came out all right, right?

I praise Opie for every “yes, pa!” on the Andy Griffith Show or Beaver Cleaver’s “yes sir!” on Leave It To Beaver. The damage of I-carly and the bratty wizards from Waverly Place has been done.

I have the eye rolls to prove it.

7. Traffic/Rottweilers.

photo credit: Like a bat out of hell via photopin (license)

I’d categorize rhinos on the charge, women on the go in really tiny heels, and any form of space matter that crashes to earth in this department, too: Any threat to their bodies that I could at least cushion the blow with my own body.

A natural airbag/safety barrier/chew toy for any oncoming threat.

Kids their age are tender to meteorites and tasty to angry dogs and pachyderms.

8. My girls, dating.


9. My girls, blogging. Someday.

OK, so I just acquired this one, while I wrote this post. I thought about their stories about me being mad or mischievous out there in the blogosphere without an opportunity to edit or correct or cover my assets.

To hear, “wow, did you see what you kid blogged about today??” Getting a forward with a note of sympathy, or a look from a co-worker that tells me she knows more than she should, and isn’t glad about it.

Hopefully it isn’t about the time they walked across the Charleston bridge alone while I sat in the hotel and wrote on my blog …

I fear quote