August 5, 2016
Every Saturday and Sunday I take the boys for a walk in the neighborhood. My neighborhood is comprised mostly of Hispanic families, hipsters and sketchy people. And there’s one sketchy person in particular that I pass EVERY time. He looks like this.
The random lunatic I pass on all my walks looks just like this guy except my guy wears a ship captain’s hat. That’s how you know he’s crazy from a distance. There are only a few reasons you wear a ship captain’s hat. One is that you’re an actual ship captain. The other reasons boil down to going to a Love Boat themed party or throwing on your favorite Captain and Tennille record in the privacy of your own home.
(If you don’t understand the nuances and complexity of the song Muskrat Love then we can never have more than a surface relationship)
My crazy person is a nice guy. He always has a friendly smile and means absolutely no harm. He gets plenty of points for attitude. Where he loses points is originality. Every single time I pass him with my twin boys in the stroller he happily shouts the same thing. “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!!” This is followed by him doubling over in laughter. Listen, it wasn’t that great a line the first time, but at least he was putting in some effort and a fair bit of crazy charm. But he’s passed the 100 mark of “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!!” a while ago and I can’t help but wish he’d introduce something new into the exchange, even it it’s wetting himself while he sings “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
That’s right, I try to hold the same high standard for all people regardless of whether they’re loones or not. Some people don’t see color. I don’t see sanity.
I finally hit my limit last Sunday. As I approached the intersection of Sunset and Alvarado where he perches himself between the Burrito King and the liquor store, I saw him. He was weaving back and forth like an unhinged drunken sentry guarding his post.
(There’s no shortage of breathtaking views in Echo Park, California)
I knew what was coming and I was prepared to throw him a curve ball. Sure enough, just as I got to within a couple of feet of him, he saw me and came up with the perfect hysterical line to capture the image of me strolling with two 13 month old boys. “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!!” This time however I waited for his laughter to die down and smiled warmly at him responding. “OK, which one do you want”? I could tell he was thrown because he looked confused and just repeated the same line but in a more questioning tone. “One for you and one for me”? For a moment I felt bad and thought it might be possible that “One for you and one for me,” were the only words he ever to learned, like Groot in Guardian of The Galaxy. I told him that one of them was a little more independent but kind of a fussy eater, so any choice he made would be a crap shoot, but if he was game, then so was I. Of course I don’t think making choices was a wheelhouse of strength for this guy based on his station in life. He just laughed and snorted uncomfortably, looking next to him for help from the drug addled teen runaway sitting on the stool of the Taco Stand.
The situation resolved itself when I explain I was joking and he wandered toward the liquor store. I won’t know if I succeeded in making my point until this weekend’s walks.
For the rest of my stroll with the boys I wondered how things would have turned out had I followed through with my ruse. Ultimately, to be fair, I would have had to decide which one to give to the guy. Only I am armed with the sufficient information to determine which child I should give to an erratic street person who only knows one sentence.
I’m not a cold or heartless person. I would never give up one of my children to anyone for the rest of their lives. I’d let him take one for a few months or a year at most. New experiences build character a lot of times, and some time on the mean streets of Echo Park might be just what one of my boys needs. But which one?
How would Charles do?
He’s loud, he’s fast, he takes what he wants and he can say the words, “key,” “eat,” and “uh oh.” This kid has what it takes to make it. The problem with handing over Charles isn’t my concern with his surviving. I’m sure he’d have no problem. My real worry is that he’d become a complete thug. The last thing I want is to be strolling with Arthur one evening and get mugged by the 13 month old child I gave to an insane person, who now goes by the street name, Bloody Batman.
That leaves Arthur.
He still isn’t walking without holding onto to something. He barely utters a word. He lets his brother take anything he’s holding, away from him. I doesn’t seem like Arthur could cut it on the streets. But that’s EXACTLY what he needs. My wife and I working with him and encouraging him with support and love isn’t getting the job done. This demented guy by the Burrito King might be able to scare him straight. It would be the classic tale of the runt of the litter overcoming the odds to become a tower of strength and the greatest example of tough love in parenting history.
Don’t I owe it to my son to hand him over to this maniac for 6-12 months to give him a shot at reaching his potential?
Arthur could become the Artful Dodger of Echo Park, leading other urchins in festive songs like “Consider Yourself,” and “I’d Do Anything For You.”
(Welcome to Echo Park!!)
So my Sophie’s Choice is really easy. I give Arthur away to this delirious psycho, he become a better kid from his hard knock life experience and the neighborhood becomes a beautiful tapestry of music and splendor!!
If I get “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!” this weekend I owe to everyone to follow through. Luckily for Arthur, following through is something I seldom do.
Least Favorite Child Results
July 30 – Least Favorite is Arthur. I spend my evening trying to get him to walk on his own without holding onto something. This requires bending over and straining my back. If you’re going to be lazy about this walking thing Arthur can you at least be a little taller?
July 31 – Least Favorite is Charles. Charles has moved into a climbing phase and I’ve moved into a phase that makes me look like a hostage negotiator when I try to talk him down from bookshelves and counters.
August 1 – Least Favorite is Charles. When he points at his mouth and says “eat,” it’s so cute you just have to give him something to eat. Of course when he’s weeping on TV as a Biggest Loser contestant I’m sure he’ll blame me.
August 2 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur likes to put his finger in things. The dogs ear, down his pants and in my mouth. Usually he does it in that exact order.
August 3 – Least Favorite is Charles. His dickhead moves have extended to the dog. He now likes to take his food, offer it to Winston and then pull it away from him when he goes for it. If he only knew what taking a bit of a Hebrew National Frank away does to Winston’s soul.
August 4 – Least Favorite is Arthur. My wife bought a training potty. When I got home and saw it I looked into the future and anticipated how reluctant Arthur is going to be when it comes to potty time.
Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles
Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two
Arthur – 37
Charles – 32
Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 361