Can’t say for sure how many more days our little lad will stay snuggly-safe within the womb of the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. You don’t have to be a paranoid freakazoid to wonder and worry what kind of world, life, and situations your current kids, newborns, or future spawn will endure, take-on, or even conquer. I half-jokingly said to Ariele the other day that I thought our boy would be the kind of genius who’d ultimately do some padded-white wall time. It didn’t go over well, even though I’d meant it as the highest compliment possible. “How so,” you say? I guess I’m a firm believer that (at times) if you are really in-tune with everything going on around us, the good and the bad, that you would go nuts, you’d have to go nuts, I’ve gone nuts and I am most assuredly no genius. “Oh sure, Rosch, you would think your kid was going to be gifted,” some Frenemy might be condemning. Yeah, I’ve got a big ego. Which is odd, because I’m also acutely aware of my simultaneous esteem issues. I’ve also put into the works the possibility that he could just end up being another constructive cog in the machine. A kind cog, hard worker, responsible, respectful, etc. but no more special than shoes. Though recently I heard the phrase, “You’re as cool as shoes.” Think about it, they actually are pretty f’in cool when you remember what they do. Either way, I can’t shut off the brain on this anymore than I can shut it off on any of it. I can meditate it out, run it off, carb-load it out of my system momentarily, but ultimately the endless spirals of what-ifs will always come crawling back. And so then, I got to thinking: maybe The Bean will lead the resistance against the robots or machines. Maybe he’ll be part of a larger group of people his age who actually change politics as usual. Maybe there’ll be no politics. Maybe he and his generation won’t even have to read an article about an NYC development with Rich/Poor entrances. One can hope. Will he write ads for a living? I doubt it. I’ve got a feeling computers are damn close to having the IQs and algorithms necessary to deliver marketing that isn’t too far removed from the shlock and drivel that inhabits a good deal of whatever space me and my cohorts can stick it in, on, and around. I’m not damning the fine-advertising, the kinds that inform and entertain (hopefully both), but if Amazon is working on programs that write books based off of collective-human narrative preferences, you can be sure shorter communications about the latest x, y, and z aren’t far behind. Like so many before me, I’m jumping the gun by twenty years of course. Who can say if he’ll be a rockstar, a writer, a fighter or a lover, or something not yet a thing? But, until he decides in some future unrealized reality on what to “be?” Well, I’m kind of vibe-ing on the notion that he might just become the guy whose decision or insight almost singlehandedly ends wars forever. I mean human wars obviously. After all, by then we’ve got to be taking on locust-like aliens hellbent on devouring what natural resources The Bean and his cohorts have managed to restore and protect, right?
Well, well, well. Last night, the Mrs. carefully scrutinized our schedules, activities, and whereabouts for twenty-thirteen’s October. This might be a bit of TMI, but yes ladies and gentleman, with a near one-hundred percent certainty, we are finally comfortable with proclaiming: Twas my alter ego Joey Jo Jo who finally managed to sneak his evil seed past the proverbial goalie. On the eve of Halloween no less! If you’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of meeting that maniac, you are likely shaking your head like I did saying, “Of course it was him, that makes perfect sense.” Voodoo, black magic, warlockery and witchcraft—I’m a big fan of it all when it works out in my favor. Prior to unleashing Joey Jo Jo back into the world, I think we’d been trying to get pregnant for five months (not the longest of times, sure, but roll with this farce, friends). After nearly a year and a half of imprisonment in my gray matter—one night, that’s all he needed. Like all padres to be, I’ve put a lot of time against the speculation of who exactly, what exactly, this soon-to-be-born child of ours will be like. Now we have a more Windexed window into the possibilities, so watch out world, in two to three to six (who can say when the little demon will choose to exit) the first born of the maddest man to ever shred an axe in lower Manhattan is gonna drop on this rock like a tiny megaton boom. I’m excited. Maybe I’ll let Joey Jo Jo out at the birthing center too, I mean after all… Oh, by the by, his name ain’t gonna be Luke.
A quick-ish lesson in the train of thought that leads one man to decide that, yes, he is capable of serving hard time for his unborn son. The Mrs. and I went to see Transcendence this past weekend. If you haven’t seen it, I’m recommending you wait until it’s on one of modern day’s home viewing options. Save your thirty to forty bucks for the umpteenth remake of Godzilla. Not sure why that trailer has me hooked, but it does. Now then, the Johnny Depp flick has nothing to do with child rearing specifically, but even if you haven’t seen it, you can deduce that it does construct a story that dances around notions of what the future might hold for our civilization.
And so, if you are me, you are watching and thinking in the voice of a ninety year old man, “Hurumph, lots of changes comin’, yes sir, yes sir!”
You continue this conversation with yourself, recalling a brief back and forth with a parenting friend about the impossibilities of knowing exactly what technologies you’ll be disallowing your children to use in the near to not-so-far futures of their lives. And if you’d been reading about haptic suits and a life lived almost exclusively as an avatar online in a book like Ready Player One, you start wondering if your future son will even go outside at all. You start thinking about what you’ll ban, remembering that all pre-parents had similar conversations about video games, cellphones, and the lot, only to ultimately be confronted with newer things you couldn’t have fathomed that come along with the pleas of, “But so-and-so-friend’s parents let he or she have a blankity-blank already, come on, I’m eight or nine or ten or five!”
You move forward, remembering that because you only intend on having the one that it’s important to put him into social situations with other babies, children, and grow-ups. You don’t want him to be a shut-in. Suddenly, all thought deviates to an entirely different possibility, “No way my kid is going to be living in a haptic suit, he’ll be a chip off the ol’ block. Very charming, a real go getter. Devilishly handsome too.” You condemn yourself momentarily for letting your ego turn your child into the inwardly projected image of yourself. Somehow, age fourteen comes into play. You wonder how you’ll convince him to have protected sex if he has sex at all. You didn’t have sex at fourteen, but your mind tends to bolster the prediction with its vague recollection of scattered news mentions of promiscuity occurring at younger and younger ages.
“I hope he’ll be smart enough to not take the risk so young,” you say, but before you can even finish the thought you’ve already scripted a scenario in which this young-man-about-town of yours has dazzled the pants off of some young lady at age fourteen. You change the age to fifteen to feel better about yourself. Next thing you know she’s pregnant. He didn’t listen. You think about how you’d handle that situation, and then with no invitation to the thought party whatsoever, the thought, “What if he feels trapped? Kills her and hides the body?” pops into your head. You know almost certainly that this won’t happen, but even as you watch Johnny Depp “die” (oops, Spoiler Alert) on a table in front of you, you can’t help but shake the possible reality that you’ll be faced with that difficult decision of either turning your pride-and-joy in to the authorities, helping him live a life on the lam, or figuring out a way to take the fall for the atrocity he has committed.
“I’d turn that lil’ shit-head in,” you reassure yourself, even as you begin to accept what your remaining years look like in the slammer. “It’d have been an act committed under intense duress. My son is a good boy. He’s a good boy. It won’t happen again,” you repeat to yourself. “It was my fault. I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining the consequences of the birds and the bees. This is how it has to be.” And so there, under the darkness that accompanies the screening of a so-so film that isn’t holding your attention, you silently proclaim, “It’s all good. I can do the time.”
I wish I could say yesterday was the first time an object fell from the heavens only to crash land within feet of my person. A quick mental countdown of all the items that have either accidentally made that trip, or were intentionally thrust from the city’s rooftops and windows, has the total tally at about eight or nine. Once on the Lower East Side it was a butcher knife. That is probably tops on the list if ranked in order of most deadly, beating out the plastic cups, glass, pennies, toys, water bottles, small building bits, water (possibly pee), and food items, which brings me to yesterday’s chicken wing–full sized chicken wing too, not some baby Buffalo Wing.
For good measure, let’s call it ten incidents total, not including the water (possibly pee)–because that happens too frequently to include, over the span of sixteen years of urban living. That’s less than one a year, and so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my daily list of possible life-ending outcomes doesn’t include a stunted stay in this world due to some drunken ex-frat-daddy’s decision to hurl bar-b-que’d pork ribs off the deck of his cookie-cutter condo. It is all too possible that yesterday’s chicken wing wasn’t discarded by anyone of the sort. This is Williamsburg, Brooklyn after all, and I suppose hipsters can and will be just as ignorant. In my experience, all types of people can be ignorant–I’m not sure why my brain constructed an image of a backwards ball cap wearing beefy-sloth as the culprit. Obviously, I have issues.
The difference between yesterday’s incident and all those prior, was I finally had a relatively decent idea of the item’s origin. There is basically only one large building on that particular block, and its vast rooftop decking is primetime party-time during the warmer months of New York City living. With this certain knowledge, I finally was able to do something about it, something that had not been possible, and maybe even less wise, when that butcher knife nearly took me out back in ’07. I decided to tattle.
I told my wife to wait just a moment, and then I beelined to the doorman’s desk in the lobby of the behemoth and said sternly, “I just thought you should know that someone is tossing chicken wings off the rooftop.”
He took a long look at me, scanned the little security camera TV screens in front of him, and remarked. “People are idiots.”
I was pleased he agreed. His remark validated a line of thinking I’d carried silently for far too long. Inside I was beaming–I finally had an ally in my cause to rid the world of degenerate revelers. But, that’s where the conversation ended. For one, I wasn’t really sure what I was demanding be done at that point, and two, I don’t think he really had any intention of getting up to go investigate unless he witnessed it first hand. The triumph ended awkwardly, and I shuffled back out onto the sidewalk to rejoin my wife and head home.
In the remaining hours of that day, I hadn’t given much thought to falling items being capable of hurting or killing me, but I spent quite a few minutes going over all the probable outcomes of me being a sneaky little snitch. For all I know, the doorman was a good buddy of the chicken-chucker and I started to think it was possible that he’d have me on the lobby camera’s feed now. With that he’d not have to work very hard to describe me to his friend from that roof-top, who most likely lives in that building just one short half-block east of our own. The individual who tossed it was probably already enraged with the near-miss, and upon hearing the news of my squealing would make it his mission to see me done in. Or at the very least, bloodied, bruised, and humiliated. All in the name of stopping people like me from attempts at curbing his favorite pastime of launching half-eaten meats off of rooftops.
Will I take an alternate route to the train on my way to work this week? Not likely. Will I dye my hair and sport a different pair of large shades? Perhaps, but only because my band is doing a radio show tomorrow morning. Will I spend too much time scanning faces on that block, in an attempt to see him coming before he sees me, and then get mugged from behind for my iPod by another unrelated idiot because I’m too focused on trying to stay one step ahead of my newest enemy? In my mind, that seems most likely.
The general lack of civility and courtesy in the world was apparent in the huge, surprised toothy grin of the woman that I held the door open for, before my own entry into Starbucks this morning. It got my mind, even in its only moderately caffeinated state, churning with speculation about what the future might hold for a southern gentleman like myself. I imagined a world where once common acts of selflessness, say something as simple as holding a door open, were so foreign to the populace that performing one was a strong first step in some twisted courtship ritual – a world in which my innate gallantry would be more curse than positive character attribute, and would lead to many a misunderstanding and the occasional escape-from-a-shotgun-wedding caper or two. If this morning’s recipient of my amiable nature was already living with one foot heavily planted in this new world, then perhaps her next move would be to follow me from Starbucks – just long enough to get a sense of where I spend my days. Only later would she return, with her father and cultish preacher character in tow, for a public ceremony few of us have yet to witness. That she currently still mostly resides in the world as we know it was evidenced by her decision to remain behind and wait for her own morning Joe. There will be no unintended impromptu unions before the barrel of a 12-gauge this afternoon my friends, at least not in Tribeca.
There was a time I really fancied getting to the movie theater early, well before the actual film started. Getting a good seat was part of it, sure, but mostly I liked indulging in a good batch of trailers, coming attractions, previews, or whatever word your social circle uses to refer to the now five to seven glimpses into the future of cinema that precede the flick you’ve paid nearly double minimum wage to see.
Like many, I am growing annoyed with the increasingly rowdy theater goers, the high price of admission and snacks, and the near feature length gluttony of commercials that must be endured. Most of the experience sucks, and if I let myself think about it hard enough, I might lose nights to dwelling on why we all continue to fork over our big bucks for the likes of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
But my real bone to pick with Hollywood has existed since viewing the first trailer for Godzilla in 1997. That trailer came out an entire year before what turned out to be an abysmal film. And over the years, the movie moguls have tortured me unmercifully by giving me these sixty to ninety second glimpses of films with release dates sometimes a full two years away.
What’s the problem with that you ask? Simple. Each and every time I witness one of these teases for a film twelve months or more away, my first thought is: “Man, I’m not even sure I’ll make it to that year.” And when a trailer for something along the lines of a remake of Dirty Dancing serves as a reminder of my own mortality – I take issue with that. Adding insult to injury, almost each and every year that I’ve kept myself alive just to see a film advertised to me over a dozen months prior, it has been a major disappointment. Super 8 was the last trailer-a-year-before-release ruse that I succumbed to. Yes, some time ago, I saw the trailer, questioned whether I’d even be alive to see the film, convinced myself that particular title was worth cleaning up my act a bit, crossing only at crosswalks and eating less meat, to ensure my survival on this planet lasted long enough for me to witness what the trailer had made me believe was on par with the second coming of Christ.
For too long, I’ve let the purveyors of live action drivel dictate how and why I am going to keep living. NO MORE! As of today, I will no longer live for the cinema! I don’t need them to remind me how short life is or point out the limitations of my own mortality with their distant future spectacles. From now on, my evil little friends – the ones I light on fire, pop in my mouth, and inhale – shall be ample reminders of those very themes.
I’m sure I’m not alone in fearing that important mail, if such a thing still exists, might never make it to its intended recipient if I just conveniently toss it in one of the seemingly forgotten NYC street mail boxes. And so, when I have something I’ve deemed problematic-if-lost in the letters/packages category I tend to take it to the nearest full service post office.
But after a few surly encounters with the US postal services best and brightest, I got to thinking: What if my important documents stand a better chance of making it to their destination if they aren’t hand delivered by me? Bare with me for a second, my line of thought is less complicated than my ability to scribe it. What I am saying is: When someone picks it up from the box I presume there is less, if any, emotion assigned to that letter or package by the dutiful mailman. But, if I happen to hand it off to a human being who exists in an atmosphere of misery already, and they don’t take kindly to my polite small talk, or think someone as handsome as me deserves a little inconvenience – maybe the very act of dropping it face-to-face is statistically more prone to error.
Isn’t it possible that the woman who took my last important package, who was furious that I’d not bothered to fill out a few lines on some paperwork prior to seeing her, decided to just drop my carefully enveloped documents in the trash? She has that power, and had I just put them in the blue box closest to work she’d not have had the chance to judge me, hate me, and sentence me to undelivered mail.
I am thinking this is why my band The Future isn’t famous in Bosnia yet. Maybe the packaged CD I entrusted her to send to some random blogger in a country notorious for its prompt rock blogger response times never made it because she was feeling especially fat that day. And a skinny, irresponsible, and unluckily dashing fella like me was just enough to push her sense of right and wrong over the line, deep enough into wrong, to give her the gumption to take it to the bathroom later and crap on it.
Anything is possible, maybe the blogger just didn’t like us, but honestly that hardly seems probable.