Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why Your Childhood Sucked

In a way, this is a rebuttal to the latest blog post everyone is passing around like the shrimp puff and condom plate at a key party: Parenting: Are We Getting A Raw Deal? By Rhonda Stephens. In a way, though, because I like the post. If you haven't read it, please do. It's funny and true and it'll make you hope that Big Jerry and Ginny are enjoying their retirement as you remember fondly your own 70s-style childhood.

And those were truly THE DAYS, weren't they? Freeze tag until the street lights came on. Roller skating everywhere like you were Tootie. Bike riding down to the pond. Accidentally falling in the pond. Picking leeches off your thigh because the pond has leeches. Trick O' Treating in traffic. Getting frostbite from sledding for 8 hours with holes in your hand-me-down boots. Bare knuckle boxing in the street. Giving up on the bare-knuckle thing and picking up some rebar that's just lying around someone's backyard. Playing with rusty power tools at the ol' junkyard. Getting lost in the forest for hours. Getting hit by a car while roller skating. Losing a finger or two in a lawnmower accident.  Walking across the street to avoid the pedophile who stands against his fence all day every day, leering at the children who thumb their noses at him and run away so they don't get caught...by the neighborhood pedophile...who should be in jail, but is just standing there, leering and leaning against the fence until his head leaves a weird greasy stain on the fence like a gross brown halo.

The author in the 70s, wearing Garanimals and playing on a cannon. 


The 70s were great, no doubt, and we are all rightfully proud to have survived the 70s with little more than a few scars, missing digits or limbs, and decades of therapy bills. Seriously. What a RUSH! Ms. Stephens and bloggers like her are right to paint that time with sepia tones, rose tints and Snoopy sno-cone flavors, but it's what they imply that I have I have an issue with. Sometimes they come out and actually say it, but they all imply the same completely wrong sentence fragment: "And we turned out okay." AND WE TURNED OUT OKAY?! Did we? Really? How many of us 70s kids have to start needless wars in Iraq, cause a mortgage crisis that nearly bankrupts the planet earth, greenlight The Swan, found companies like Girls Gone Wild and bands like Nickelback before we admit that maybe we didn't turn out so great? While middle-aged members of men's rights groups troll the Internet looking for rape survivors to harass, a 14 year-old girl has invented an app to wipe out Internet Bullying. While Baldy McPaunch is poisoning the water supply that we need to live, a teen invented a way to clean up all the garbage that our generation dumped in the ocean like tomorrow would never arrive. While millennials are showing up in huge numbers at Bernie Sanders rallies, guess who is voting for Donald Trump? It's not Dakota, Dallas or even Austin. Nope. Trump lost Texas. It's your Candy-Crush addicted, gray-hair covering, Olive-Garden munching Aunt Cindy. Donald muther-humping DRUMPF?! We lost our fingers to lawnmowers and our innocence to greasy-headed pedophiles for DONALD DRUMPF?! Come on, Cind! Get a grip.



So then the blog war began. (Amongst Gen Xers. Millennials don't argue via the four-to-six-paragraph blog post. They take their beefs to Snapchat...where they belong!) We wrote a million blogs about how to raise children who will have enough self-esteem to NOT vote for Donald Trump. We read the blogs written by tenured college professors about the basic skills kids today are missing due to helicopter parenting, and no, the irony of someone entrenched in academia complaining that someone else can't hack it out in the real world is not lost on us, and yes, we concede that helicopter parenting is annoying and that you should make your kid cut the crusts of their own damn sandwich and twelve is too old to still be pushing them on the swings, but maybe these supposedly over-parented kids have some skills that we don't. With the exception of going on a 48 hour, unchaperoned trek through the woods to look at a dead body, a millennial with twelve years of ballet, tap, chess, Hapkido, violin and swimming under their black belts is going to handle any situation better than a twitchy, three-fingered Gen Xer. Let's get real.

At the beginning of her post, Stephens asks: "When did adults start caring whether or not their kids were safe, happy, or popular?" 

I'll tell you when, Rhonda. Right around the time Al Gore told us that we've doomed human civilization for all eternity because we don't like carpooling. We tried it the 70s way. Now let's try Giving A Crap! It can't do any more damage than has already been done. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Things My Kid Doesn't Give a Fuck About.

Guess what? I'm on Pinterest now! I'm mostly pinning pictures of bored cats and ideas for crafty stuff I will never ever get off my ass and do. I just created a board called:  Things my kid does not give a shit about. It's in the early stages, but it's mostly about all that hipstery crap that people act like kids give a crap about but really don't, like flower bologna for your bento box, twee designer kids clothes and retro-themed birthday parties.

Here are a few of my first pins:






Sure. It's cute, and I really want to turn my kid's lunch into a ransom letter, but I know that my kid really doesn't care about shit like that. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Sad Story of Cattown

This morning, Snaps told me about a mythical place I've never heard of: Cattown. It's a place where all cats live before they end up in their mommy's tummies. Sounds like a wonderful place, right?

Wrong! Snaps continued.

 Did you know that Cattown has segregation? There's segregation in the restaurants and stores and even the public buildings.

Wow! Are the dogs and cats segregated? Because that would make sense.
No. Only white cats and some beige cats and white dogs and some beige dogs as long as they have some white on them.

And there were restaurants just for black cats and brown cats. 
Those sound like fun places.
They are. Lots of fun.


Still, despite the raucous good time of the all black and brown cat bars, Cattown sounds harsh, but it had a hero.
An unlikely one.
 Mum, did you know that Floyd protested one of the restaurants. It was really bad. He protested and the cats threw their milk at him, and water and they even threw their kibble.

It was bad. Even the kittens threw milk at him.
Even the kittens? That is surprising. Did other black cats protest too?
No. Maunalani just looked at the signs and said, "Unfair."
Not a woman of action, huh? We can't all be Rosa Parks.
But then, one day, did you know? All the cats from Cattown get picked up and taken to all the shelters.

That's how we got Pink Floyd!

Yeah! And don't you think he was glad to be out of Cattown?
I do. That place sounds like a crap hole.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Top Six Reasons Parents Today Are Lame Compared to Parents Six Years Ago.

Oh you parents today think you are so cool with your binkies that look like stuffed animals and lead-free toys. Back in my day, about six years ago, if the binky popped out of the kids mouth we had to pick it up ourselves--like a common servant. And sure, there was lead in every single one of our baby's toys (even their binkies), but we didn't care because we were drunk. What's that? You don't spend all afternoon at wine bar playdates with your babies? Too bad. We did, and it was pretty freaking cool. I think. I can't really remember that well. I think I remember enough to pass judgment on the way you youngsters are doing it now, though.

1. First of all: Baby Bjorns! Back in my day, if you didn't carry your baby in a Bjorn, you were an asshole, and people told you so. I once admitted to a strange mom in a Bristol Farms that I stopped using the Bjorn when my baby was six months because she wouldn't stop jumping up and down in it like it was her own personal trampoline...a trampoline designed to break her mother's back. The woman threw a jar of organic tofu and tapenade baby food at me and ran.

Me. Not being an asshole.

If a smug, Bjorn-sporting parent from 2006 were to step into a time-warp and end up at a Park Slope playground in 2013, they would immediately be pelted with lead-free Tupperware bowls filled with seaweed snacks and shouts of "Hip Displacement!" and "baby hater!". The parent would try to explain that the warning on the box specifically told us to take the baby out of the Bjorn every 30 minutes to avoid just such a problem. "Box?" The parents of today would say, and then just just stare blankly at the parent of six years ago because parents today only buy second-hand. ...And then they would throw more seaweed.

2. Oh...and that's another thing. Back in my day, if you didn't feed your baby tofu, you were a jerk! Now, if you feed your baby soy products of any kind you might as well be feeding them a birth control pill because tofu and soy products contain MASSIVE just MASSIVE amounts of estrogen. I guess that's why none of our toddlers got pregnant, though. Just saying.

3. BPA! BPA! BPA! In 2006, we had no idea what those things were, but we used them like crazy in all our baby products. Today, BPAs are completely banned from use in all baby products and no one has any idea what they are. See the difference?

4. In my day you kept the baby in the backseat until they were about twelve. And if the baby was caught facing the wrong way, we'd take a picture of it and splash it across every tabloid cover in the free world. 



Nowadays, they are in the backseat until they are sixteen...or reach the height of 5'7". If the baby is facing the wrong way, you go to jail. Oh...how wrong we were.

5. Oh and look at this, parents of today. This is what passed for a shocking and controversial breastfeeding photo in August of ought six. 

SHAME!

And this is what it takes to shock you new-fangled baby wranglers:

By 2017, the mom will be replaced by an middle-aged man and the kid will be a spider monkey.



6. iPads. Believe it or not, whippersnappers, we did not have iPads. It we wanted our baby to STFU, we just had to ask them nicely...or drug them...or let them play with our phone. And if we got a call? We had to just suck it up because we could not have a quiet baby and make a phone call at the same time.

You guys have it so damned easy.


BONUS! Nowadays, parents are all complaining that they can't buy tickets to Burning Man anymore.

In my day...uh...what the hell is Burning Man again? I forgot.



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Easy Rider: Media Svengali

So a while back, I posted about those ridiculously sexist Swiffer commercials where women are so surprised to find they've finished the housework before collapsing in a dusty heap at their pampered family's feet, they excitedly allow themselves a treat. Something their husbands and children take for granted, but for them is a luxurious indulgence--things like reading, bathing, drinking or going outside.

Do you know where the bathroom is?



I'm pretty sure the next commercial would go something like this:

Mom
(shocked)
I'm done. 

      Picks up roll of toilet paper.

Mom
(elated)
I'm going to use this!

     
      Her family looks at her with detached disdain.


Mom
I mean, I'm going to figure out how to use this...then I'm going to USE THIS!


Or it would have had I not stepped in and saved the day. After I called them out for those commercials (as well as a Facebook post where the big brains down at Swiffer Marketing compared a man who actually cleans to a mermaid sighting) they changed their tone and come out with two new, less sexist, commercials

This might be good for a larf.


In these ads, the women are not quite as shocked to have free time, and they choose something a bit more frivolous to fill it with--like taking a Cosmo quiz, or having a squirt gun fight. Most amazingly, one of the ads actually shows a man cleaning (either that, or he is placing objectionable reading material out of reach from his impressionable wife, but let's go with cleaning.) 

Who has two thumbs and is afraid of Virginia Woolf? This guy!


Women of America, you are welcome. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

From the Way-Back WTF File: Lane Hope Chests

That horse must smell awesome to get a girl like that.


When I was fourteen, I (like every other fourteen year old, but no other seventeen year old) read 17 Magazine. Well, not the magazine itself, but the ads! Those wonderful, pink and frilly ads that made me wish I could transport my life into that of a upper-middle class girl who wore Love's Baby Soft and Gunne Sax  dresses, rode perfumed horses to prom, and dreamed of her upcoming nuptials (to either Morris Day or Kevin Cronin...whoever asked her first) at the edge of her canopy bed while seated atop a Lane's Hope Chest. Those Hope Chests were confusing. I knew I wanted one...like really wanted one...but I had no idea why because I didn't know what the holy heck a hope chest was. I asked my mother, and she said, "They're for teenage girls to put linens and towels and stuff like that in for their wedding." Got it. I would need towels for my wedding, and if I didn't start putting them in an expensive box now, at fourteen, I was horribly behind the game.  

This towel is already making my friends bitterly jealous. Thanks Lane!


Of course I didn't actually ask for one. That would be stupid. My mother would sooner buy me a perfumed horse than an expensive box for my wedding towels. But I decided that I would one day buy my daughter a Lane Hope Chest, and a perfumed horse. The problem with that plan soon revealed itself twenty years later when, fully knocked-up with the daughter in question, I finally got married. If I had gotten a Lane Hope Chest at the age of fourteen what good would it have done me and my blushing groom? On the odd chance that my mother hadn't sold the thing a decade earlier at a yard sale, it still would've been filled with a bunch of Tiger Beats, a magazine-clipping-on-poster-board collage (heavy on the Reo Speedwagon and Purple Rain, of course), and one Laura Ashley sheet (not set, but sheet), reeking of mold and a Love's Baby Soft knockoff called Burt's Baby Smell. Totally useless! (Except for that collage. I really want it for the bare spot in my entry way.) 

I did a little research and found that, in older-gal magazines like Redbook and Vogue, the ads suggested a girl wait until she got engaged before getting a Lane...and then it should be gifted to her by her betrothed. Despite the overwhelming evidence that Lane is still in business, I'm sure those ads failed miserably. What man wants to buy romantic furniture? And even if he did, if I, a fourteen year old girl, didn't really get the whole idea behind a hope chest, what hope did a thirty-year-old man have? None. No. It makes no sense. Lane must be some sort of front for a smuggling-heroin-in-cedar-hope-chests ring...or possibly an illegal alien border crossing operation. And they nearly got away with it, too...if it weren't for the intrepid musings of one formerly fourteen-year-old girl. 

Oh! Lane sells other furniture too? Also packed with heroin? Or just the hope chests?

Now that I have a daughter who, at six, is already starting to plan her own wedding (to the cat or her imaginary alien friend...whoever asks her first), my stance on hope chests has changed. If, in seven years, she comes to me and asks me what hope chests are for, I will say, "They are for mob guys who want to smuggle heroin into countries with strict anti-drug laws, Sweetie." The problem is that if 17 Magazine still runs ads for those things, she will want one...and she'll want one bad! Great. I'll have to be the big meanie to tell her no because, whether they are filled with drugs, towels or illegal immigrants, expensive boxes are a waste of time, space and money. If she wants a perfumed horse, though.... I might consider it. Those things could be useful as hell...especially during prom season.


Well baby, I've got you, a bunch of towels, some heroin, a new gardener and a super-sweet collage all wrapped up in cellophane. Now if only we didn't need oxygen to live. Choke...gasp..... 



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Things That Suck: Swiffer Ads.

Seriously. Who is writing these Swiffer ads? Don Draper? Darren from Bewitched? They need to stop. Seriously. Look Darren and Don, I grew up back in the 70s when Calgon taught us that we were allowed to ignore traffic jams, screaming children and fat, grouchy bosses to take a warm scented bath at ANY TIME! We could bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan. And now you want to come at us with this shit that tells us we have to mop the floor before we can use the front door with the regular folks?



Oh...and that other one where the mom has to scrub the bathroom like she works for Joan Crawford before she can even THINK about getting into the tub? Fuck you, Swiffer. We're women, not medieval fucking serfs. You know what? I never thought I'd say this, but could you bring back those commercials where we are being stalked by our old cleaning supplies? Because I like that Player song. 


Ah! Yes. That's the stuff. It's funny because it's a mop...and not a real dude. Hilarious. But don't go thinking all is forgiven, Don! You either, Darren. I saw this shit on your Facebook page this morning. So...yeah. ...Fuck you.

"Is that a mirage or a guy doing housework?" ...Oh right. Because men don't clean. Ever.