I have regrets. But they’re not the kind you might expect. I mean, I married the right person, I finished college, and I have gone 30 years without once attempting to climb Mount Everest (I intend to continue that streak until I die peacefully in my sleep—not horrifically in a YouTube video called “Amateur Climber Accident – WARNING: DEATH”). The regrets I’m talking about don’t happen over the course of a lifetime, they happen instantaneously. It’s a little phenomenon I like to call InstaRegret. Like, say, when you’re window shopping with Wife, and something catches her eye – e.g. the diamond quilt – and you walk into the boutique and realize the only other person in the store is the owner who seems way, way too happy to see you, and you suddenly feel like a Hobbit in a tunnel who is just beginning to notice that the tunnel has lots of spider webs. Like, more spider webs than a Hobbit-friendly tunnel should typically have. That’s InstaRegret. Or, when you ask the hostess if there’s a table with a view of the water, and, since she’s a hostess working the lunch-rush in a pizza restaurant and you’re a guy asking for a nicer table during the lunch-rush in a pizza restaurant, she hates you and seats you in a shared booth next to a couple of giant man-eating spiders. Big time InstaRegret. The only thing worse than InstaRegret is pre-InstaRegret. Like when you’re standing in line at Subway and you lock eyes with the Sandwich Artist and you both know that what is about to happen will be embarrassing for both of you. Embarrassing for you because no Plimoth Plantation Cornucopia of Spinach, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Green Peppers, and Tomatoes is going to make your steak & cheese sub a responsible decision. And embarrassing for the Sandwich Artist because he only had three more credits to go until graduation, but fell into a bad group of wolf spiders, started dealing and smoking web, and failed out of school. Textbook pre-InstaRegret. So what’s the moral of the story? Stay indoors, avoid all human contact, and you probably won’t be eaten by mutant spiders. Probably.
Hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to snack with you again. These are the lyrics to the yet-to-be-produced Weird Al parody song being played at an eleven in my head as I blow the dust off my kitchen scale. A few weeks have passed since that dark, fateful day when the low battery icon on my proudly-made-in-China Taylor 3835 Kitchen Scale began to flash, I glanced around the kitchen to see if anyone was watching, and slowly and deliberately buried the scale in the mass grave of random household junk that is the left-hand drawer on my kitchen island. I can still hear the scale gasping for joules as I covered it with a ziplock bag of rubber bands, four copies of the same thai food take-out menu, and the owner’s manual to something I no longer own. What could lead me to such a depraved and senseless act of scale-slaughter? Was it the countless meals of chicken, broccoli slaw, mayonnaise, mustard, and Chex Mix, all carefully measured in consistent portions, that had slowly driven me to the brink of insanity? Or perhaps it was the PTSD (Post Traumatic Scale Disorder) I experienced every time I went out to eat with Wife and had no way of knowing how many calories was in that f***ing delicious duck confit panini. Whatever it was, it caused me to hit my breaking point, and, unfortunately, my kitchen scale payed the iron price. Well, actually, it was more like the protein, carbohydrate, and fat price, but I don’t want to be yet another nerdtritionist who lectures internet strangers on the importance of hitting macros. Not to worry—this sordid tale has a happy ending. I gained ten pounds, and the scale, blessed with a fresh battery, rose like a phoenix from the ashes. Now, who wants exactly one serving of Chex Mix?
It’s happening. I’m finally going to be an author! I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to know that all the blood (ketchup), sweat (salt), and tears (sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches) are finally paying off. Well, actually, I can tell you. It feels very amazing. No, let me rephrase: it feels very much amazing, a lot. Plus, I’m going to make very much amazing, a lot of money. But that’s not why I do what I do. The answer to that burning question (which every literary genius must ask themselves twice a day, every day, and have a New York Times Bestselling Author Mentor ask them every six months (and they better be ready to answer because if they haven’t been asking themselves twice a day, every day, they can bet their bottoms they will be thoroughly roasted by their mentor (mine is Clive Cussler (he’s a tyrant)))), “Why do I write?,” has an equally burning answer. But before we gather ‘round The Bonfire of Burning Answers, we must first gather The Kindling of Inspiration, which, of course, are located in The Forest of Subconscious – what’s that? You don’t care about any of this? You want to know what my book is about? Oh. Ok. It’s a children’s book called Can Cat Jump? It’s just pages and pages of drawings of Cat jumping, soaring through the air, and clawing my legs (he can, in fact, jump). Also, I haven’t actually written it yet. Nor do I have a publisher. But I am accepting pre-orders. Five bucks. If enough people give me five dollars I will write, illustrate, print, and ship Can Cat Jump? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat very much amazing, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
“The rubber chicken short sheet surprise is my signature maid prank.”
Our prayers have been answered. The product that billions of parents have been waiting for since the dawn of time is finally here. I’m talking, of course, about The Mommy Mjorn. Ever since I started wearing The Mommy Mjorn, day-to-day life has just been easier, you know? Not only can I fix myself lunch, pay bills, and run a load of laundry, but I can do all of these things WHILE watching Wife, who – let’s face it – is not at a time in her life where she should be left unsupervised. Between the nonstop childcare, housework, and sleepless nights, Wife’s energy levels and motor skills have been reduced to that of a 15-month-old baby, which, coincidentally, is the same age of our daughter, Kid. Sure, I could leave Wife in the living room with a couple of stuffed animals and her favorite show (I think it’s called Mischievous Cleaning Ladies), but what if the WiFi cuts out right as a mischievous cleaning lady is filling the cookie jar with sneezing powder and I’m not there to fix it? I would never forgive myself. Luckily, The Mommy Mjorn has a built-in iPad mount and ice cream cone holder, so Wife can relax even as I’m loading up the shopping cart! The only downside is that we get a lot of glares at restaurants—especially fast food restaurants. Apparently, McDonalds employees don’t see a lot of guys hitting the drive-thru, on foot, wearing their wife like a baby. It has also made jogging difficult, but the vibrations seem to help Wife nap, so wuddya gonna do? Speaking of naps, where is Kid? What’s that? Wife has been wearing Kid the whole time I’ve been wearing Wife? Wow. The Mommy Mjorn really is a miracle product!
“Would you like to hear our specials? Or perhaps I can show you how to eat with a fork.”
Are we human? Or are we parents? According to Brandon Flowers of the Killers fame, we might even be dancer. But before I can even begin to entertain the notion that we may in fact be dancer, there’s the human question. See, Wife and I are out on the town for my birthday, and, for the first time in over 13 months, we have absolutely no responsibilities. That’s because my parents, NailsMom & NailsDad, generously agreed to come for an overnight to watch Kid while we are reintroduced into the wild by a professional endangered parent handler named Joseph. Joseph is a card-carrying member of two noble organizations, PITA (People for the Independence of Tired Adults), and UBER (Uber). Since liberating us from our enclosure, Joseph has gently coaxed us into his endangered parent transport, or, as he calls it, “The Shev-RO-lay Kroos.” He has assured us that there are others just like us at the endangered parent reservation, or, as he says, “Beer-GARD-en.” And he has patiently explained to us that we don’t need to pay him with cash once we have reached our destination, or, as he carefully annunciates, “Your CRED-it CARD will BE CHARG-ed.” Of course, now we are sitting on the outdoor patio of the endangered parent reservation, sans-Joseph and utterly defenseless, struggling to interpret a menu that was clearly designed for a more highly evolved species. They don’t even offer microwaved chicken fingers – everything is freshly prepared! Can we go back to the enclosure now?