Dad, You suck at this game…

OK boys. You and your little friends just crushed me in Super Smash Bros version 432. That’s right, I suck at this. Nope, I can’t get a handle on the 42 different buttons on this monster control pad. Yup. Keep laughing. Let me tell you this. You need to respect your elders because I am Original Gamer. That’s right. OG. Let me break this down for you.

You were not even a thought when I was smashing a green turtle shell for 100 extra lives. I was legend. That’s right, little man. I was dropping ducks, parking frogs, and running Dirk the Daring through Dragon’s lairs long before any Black Ops. I put King Hippo to sleep in under two rounds you little brats. Two rounds, yo! I was rescuing the Princess Zelda BEFORE SHE GOT HOT!

Keep snickering you checkpoint saving little cupcakes. In my day, if you did not have 2 hours to commit to getting that coked-up little hedgehog to last level, you just didn’t play. There was no, “I’ll just save it at the next checkpoint and start tomorrow.” We got the game, snacks, and everything we needed and then we went to war from the start. We made choices. When the old man said it was time to turn it off, we could not save it no matter how close Kid Icarus was to his final destination. We had to decide if one more level was worth the inevitable punishment for continuing to play. And it was.

Pause it? Please. If you needed the bathroom you had limited options. If you were lucky you gamed on an Intelivision and could press the “1” and “9” keys to black out your TV. If not you had two choices. You could tuck Mario away in some little corner, make your run and hope you got back before the giant monkey busted a barrel into your butt. The only other option was to hand the controller to your brother, threaten to destroy him if you came back to see Q-Bert swearing, and then make your play. You ran. You used it. Maybe you flushed, but you sure did not waste time washing your hands before getting back into the game.

That’s right. Give me a direction pad, an A button, and a B button and I will mess up your headset wearing, online playing, Red-Bull guzzling world.   Respect. I blazed trails. I fought the battles.




Dad. Will you get me a beer?

Those words will wreck your casual Sunday afternoon hockey viewing.  Especially when your 11-year-old is looking at you and waiting for answer.

First off, I am not getting off this couch.  This house has been wrecked by the norovirus. I’ve spent the last four days dealing with your puking/crapping brother, your complaints about your stomach and watching my wife continually dash to the bathroom while resigning myself to the fact that I will never have sex again. Honestly, if everyone didn’t need me so badly, I probably would have spent the last two days in bed myself but I manned up and did my job. Now I’m going to sit here and try to deal with this giant spike that someone apparently drove through my skull.  Get up and get your own beer.

Second, WAIT!!.. James just asked me for a beer!  James, my naïve, innocent pure little man.  Quite frankly, I expected this from his younger brother. Seriously, having Ben sick has been a bit of a blessing as I was not constantly trying to foil one of his schemes.  I should have micro-chipped that one. But James, he is sooo innocent.  If I had waited, I probably could have just had his bride break the news about Santa on his wedding night.  Darn it, I still have not had that “talk” with him either. I have to do that.  I do not want him to have hear about it like I did.  A nice fatherly talk after watching some disgusting baboon toss-off in a zoo.  Wait, there’s a Rafiki character in Disney World.  Maybe if I slip him a $20 this summer that stupid baboon will explain things to James for me. Problem solved. Let the Magic begin.

Wait. Beer.  He’s looking at me and he wants an answer.  I can not handle this conversation today. But he’s staring at me with those big brown eyes. Those big, brown, glazed-over, TV-watching eyes. Seriously, that kid goes into a zone when he’s watching TV.  It’s creepy. Yoda could ride a unicorn in here and rob this house blind and he would not so much as blink as long as the TV is…. wait a minute!

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the end of Coors commercial promising me super models if I choke down their snake-urine.  I’m glad I don’t need looks, personality, intelligence or hair for that.  There’s still hope.

“Dad, seriously, will you get me a Coke? I like the fizz”

“James, you know you asked me for a beer.”

“I did? That was on TV, right? ”  ADHD is awesome!!!

” That’s silly dad.  I’m just a boy!”

And with that, I am more than happy to get off the couch and get my boy a Coke.  More importantly, I am more than happy to let James continue to be my little boy for just a little longer.  I’ve got time.

Deodorant…. really?

Yup. It took me 10 minutes to pick a deodorant today.

My wife and two boys have been sick all week. A simple comment of “We are out bread” was the perfect opening to create the illusion of a competent and caring husband/father while at the same time escaping from the weeklong banter about Minecraft and hourly updates on gastrointestinal conditions.

After “accidentally” getting lost in Meijer I find myself by the deodorant aisle.

Minute 1
“Hey, I think I’m almost out of deodorant with no backup. I should grab my usual why I’m here. Wait a second, I’ve got some time. Let’s give this a little thought. After all, I’ve been using the same thing for a while now.”

Minutes 2-4
“There’s a lot of stuff here. I’m a bit overwhelmed, but I’ve been in a bit of a rut and this will be a nice little change. Now, that’s just a plain sad thought. I better take a break and put that on Facebook.”

Minutes 5-6
“OK, I need a system here. Obviously, I’m going to eliminate anything blue. I’m not smearing blue slime on myself. That’s a no-brainer. What says, ‘Bald, scrawny, 41-year-old guy?’ I can’t believe I’ve spent this much time looking at deodorant. Do I really have this little going on in my life that deodorant is causing some sort of existential crisis? I should actually get that bread and go home. Naw, they’re fine, I need to figure this out.”

Minute 7
“I wonder if anyone replied to my Facebook post yet?

Minute 8-9
“Buckle down, Erik. Do you want to smell like an Alaskan National Park, musk, an ocean breeze, or continue to “exude confidence?” I’ve got no hair for an ocean breeze to blow through. Gone. Musk? Muskrat…Muskdeer…Muskox… Those animals suck. I don’t wanna smell like some bottom-of-the-food chain herbivore. Gone. Now we are getting somewhere.

Minute 10
“OK, the big moment. Do I change up or do I somehow continue to “exude confidence” through my armpits as the label promises?” Then my answer comes to me in the form of a flashback.

It’s eight months ago. My wife is leaving for a scrapbooking weekend, girls-weekend, work-weekend, whatever-I’m-solo-with-the-boys-weekend. As she leaves she gives me a quick hug and says, “Good luck with the boys! Your new deodorant smells kinda nice” before peeling out in the minivan.

After nearly 15 years of marriage, that statement is straight-up filthy, erotic pillow-talk. I’m talking 50-Shades-of-Erik. There is no way that I’m risking extinguishing that kind of bi-annual, marital fire by changing brands.

I drop the same deodorant as always into my cart

It took me ten minutes to buy deodorant. It took me twenty minutes to go back to Meijer for bread.