September 9, 2016
Part of being a parent is harboring some feelings of resentment toward your children, right? I remember back when I was about 10 or 11, hearing my father recall one of his first jobs when he was my age. After school he would go to a nearby poultry slaughter house and sweep the floor that was full of decapitated chicken heads. He didn’t talk about it resentfully. In fact he seemed almost wistful as he spoke, transporting himself to a simpler time when he had less responsibility, while implanting a terrifying and lasting image that remains with me to this very day.
(I’m putting the image of this puppy here in an attempt to cleanse the chicken head trauma from anyone’s mind.)
But my father must have had some deep resentment toward me, when he heard me complain about my one day a week paper route for the town local paper, compared to working with the carnage of dead animal body parts. As fall approaches, I’ve finally figured out my resentment toward my kids. They’re FROM Los Angeles. I live in LA, but I’m not from LA. I’m from the Boston area and that means I had to deal with fall and winter. Two seasons I associate with horrible chores that my sons will never be subjected to.
Sure, they’ll never know the joy of jumping into a big pile of colorful leaves.
Roughly 80% of the time this is fun. The other 20% of the time you find there’s a dog poop somewhere in this joyous pile. If it happens when you’re with friends, you need to lay low for a few months until the nickname of “shit stain” dies away at school. I always found the 20% kind of ruined the enjoyment of the 80%.
Of course most parents feel the need to get rid of leaves in their yard and who do they have take care of this thankless job? Their young kids.
I spent countless fall hours raking these things, developing blisters on my hands and wondering what the difference was between me and a group of minor criminal offenders dressed in orange cleaning up debris on the side of the highway. I felt as if I had been sentenced without committing the crime. I often lobbied my parents that leaving the leaves in the yard would give our property a rustic and natural look. This didn’t register with them as they just handed me a box of Hefty Bags and pointed me toward the rake while at the same time killing any hope I had of becoming an exterior designer. That’s a thing, right?
I might add that they often gave me regular kitchen trash bags for the leaves as opposed to the Hefty re-enforced bags, causing sticks and other objects to tear through the bag. And the rakes my parents bought were always substandard.
This rake represents every rake my parents had in my lifetime. Would it have killed my father to have blown the dust off his wallet and pay more than three bucks for a quality rake? (Maybe his resentment for me was passive aggressive.)
With the tools they were giving me they may as well have asked me to hold back the ocean with a broom. My sons will never have to deal with the pain of Autumn chores. If they see a leave on the ground, they look at it in amazement and remark, “Look at that leave in the driveway. You just don’t see that everyday, do you”? Then they’ll proceed to spray tanning lotion on their bodies before heading to the beach or the pool.
The fall season, however, is a cake walk compared to surviving the chores that an East Coast winter mandate.
New England winters not only suck out the soul of the strongest individuals they take a toll on your looks. Here’s what I believe I would look like today if I didn’t have to face harsh winters.
You know why Tom Brady looks so good? Because he grew up in California and never had to scrape the the ice off of his parents’ cars with a kitchen spatula because they never bothered to buy a proper ice scraper.
For every hour spent building a snowman…
Eight hours are spent doing this…
while your parents stay in the warm house drinking coffee and watching the local morning show. My kids will never deal with hands frozen through wet gloves, feet frozen through wet boots and chronic back and knee pain from shoveling twenty pounds of weight repeatedly, hour after hour, so their father can safely get his car out of the driveway to buy a pack of smokes. This is what a a typical ten year old looks like in suburban Boston in February after 10-12 snowstorms.
(This is Timmy. A 5th Grader from Needham, Massachusetts, who has decided to skip today’s scheduled snowball fight.)
Being from the Golden State, Charles and Arthur will be able to avoid winter thus realizing their maximum attractiveness and keeping their extremities and major organs intact for a long life. And they’ll never even bother to thank me. When January rolls around and it dips into the sixties they’ll just be disappointed that they might have to wear long pants for a week or two.
The only downer for them, is that these bleak seasons, build an angry and sarcastic edge to people who deal with them. My angry sarcastic side is the only thing that gives me the limited depth I possess. Then again, we live in LA. What would my sons do with depth?
Least Favorite Child Results
September 3 – Least Favorite is Arthur. When I grow old and incontinent I will insist that Arthur change my diapers. And when he does I will turn over onto my stomach mid-diaper so he knows how frustrating that it.
September 4 – Least Favorite is Charles. My wife and I drove an hour and a half to take the boys to a place called Pretend City. Unfortunately, we cannot pretend that Charles didn’t get sick sticking his hand in the “pretend fishing water” and drinking large amount of it.
September 5 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur moves in a very slow deliberate manner. That is until is comes to taking the glasses off of my face, putting them in his drooly mouth and throwing them behind himself. When it comes to that he moves with magical lightning quickness.
September 6 – Least Favorite is Charles. Still thinking of Pretend City. The one thing Charles threw himself into was the little stage there. I think he’s going to pursue an artistic career. He’s so disgustingly LA.
September 7 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Still thinking of Pretend City. Arthur wants to be a fireman which will give his mother many sleepless nights thinking of the film Backdraft.
September 8 – Least Favorite is Charles. Charles sat on the couch this morning and my wife notices he was chewing on something. She opened his mouth and grabbed my wedding ring out of it. Did Charles bother to say, “Hey! Thanks for saving my life!” Of course not. He just threw shade at my wife.
Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles
Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two
Arthur – 52
Charles – 47
Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 396