The only toothpaste in the house this A.M. is Thomas the Train for tots. I am the uncontested most-disgusting creature in the house, one dog recently in heaven, me in the first Steal-Your-Face T-shirt since Jerry died. On the toilet I miss the dog, who would nest in my dropped pants. There are couples wearing Body Glove, perfect for each other. Yesterday, when I was out with the three-year-old, he pointed at the statue of Billy Graham, and said, “Look at this guy! He's doing a magic trick!”
Occasionally you learn something about someone you can't unknow. Taking the iPad from the three-year-old gets me assaulted. This kid, who is half me—I'm raising a wild animal. Are we at all surprised no one has shown up to take the role of Octo-Dad?
“Dad,” he says. “I'm hungry.”
“I'm using my iPhone,” I say. “I'm Googling myself.”
I have to explain to the three-year-old that melted ice cream is not a beverage. Nor can it be refrozen. And a big thank-you to The Cookie Monster for giving the three-year-old ideas about breakfast. The three-year-old describes Batman punching a shark as Batman hangs from the Batcopter in the old Adam West movie. The three-year-old bursts into the theme song. The three-year-old attends Kindlegarten. We watch Adele covers on YouTube, which is uplifting. Some little girl will be named Pandora.
Bookstores are going out of business, but why are there stationery stores? Autocorrect changes my spelling of “Yippee” and I'm surprised the word has a standardized spelling. The Doomsday Clock was moved to 11:59 when Taco Bell wrapped a soft taco around a hard one with cheese glue. I am not lazy compared to a tree. SPAM is gluten free. Calling UPS “brown” was kind of a mistake. The announcer on a Subway commercial exclaims, unironically, that I can eat there every single day. I read a web article, “How to Teach Facebook to an Eighty-Five-Year-Old.”
The three-year-old has moved on to physical comedy. He wipes his ice cream hands on my clothes and considers this a joke. I realize that his favorite words, “robot,” “skeleton,” and “dinosaur,” can be combined. We are Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker for laser battles enacted in the living room. Mention Star Wars and like a reflex someone will insist the first three were far superior. As if there were an argument. The three year old likes Amy Winehouse. They try to make him go to rehab.
We settle down to watch YouTube and agree that robot dinosaurs may be the ultimate human achievement. After a few seconds of robot dinosaurs we are Rick-rolled but we like the song anyway. The three-year-old kicks butt at Galaga, and he shouts, “I'm crushing the bees!”
Odd days we send the three-year-old to Kindlegarten and I go to work. I stand in front of rows of students and pronounce my subject “litta-ture,” to fuck with them. The three-year-old's mom Google's Star Wars pumpkins and asks, "Does Pandora have Rocktober?" A commercial reminds us to vacation in The Gulf and ends with, “Sponsored by BP.” We live in Nashville and the three-year-old wants snakeskin boots.
My students don't yet know there is a protest movement. I hope to never become that teacher fully decked out in the school colors. The three-year-old's mother tells me I'm too David Cross and she'll never sleep with me again. Time to reassess my sense of self and my place in the world. My heart sinks, but she will, she will.
The three-year-old points to an obscure-looking dinosaur and asks, “What's this?” I say, with a straight face, “Dinosaurus.” I find childhood photos of Johnny Cash in overalls, photos of Elvis as a child with the Elvis smirk. "Please?" I type to an online friend, “We have never seen a picture of you.” The biochemist who killed himself, who was accused of the Anthrax attacks? He was probably innocent. Gas stations warn that swallowing gasoline is harmful or fatal. Seeing my neighbor in a Nickel Back T-shirt renews my suspicion that E.T.s are among us. Me and the three-year-old watch Pooh cartoons, Pooh in the thralls of honey obsession, and the three-year-old's mom says, “You know what honey is in a Blues song?” I dream I watch out our window as a penguin wanders the neighborhood. Our three-year-old wakes us in the morning and asks if we want beer. We don't, but are tempted.
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Title says it all. Selected Tweets from June to November 2011, edited and rearranged.