Mowing the lawn used to be my most hated job ever, but then I began to grow up and found that it could be quite pleasurable. I never would have believed it.

Growing Older, But Not Up

I think I might actually have grown up.

I fought against it for years and years (hence the title, based on a fabulous Jimmy Buffett song Growing Older, But Not Up, embedded here for your pleasure.) but I think the years might have eventually worn down my resistance.

This came to mind yesterday when I realized suddenly that I actually enjoyed mowing the lawn.

When I realized this, I’m almost certain I felt a ghostly dopeslap to the back of my head by my mom, reaching out from beyond the grave to try and pay me back for all the grief I gave her while I was a young dude and it was my job to mow the lawn.

I hated it, dudes. Sincerely, loudly and with great passion, hated mowing the lawn. I would do anything to avoid having to get out there behind the mower, sweating in the brutal Dallas sun and trying to cut a lawn that would only grow back as soon as I got done cutting it.

Which, oddly, was my favorite argument as to why I shouldn’t have to mow it. Sort of like why it was dumb to make your bed since you were only going to sleep in it that night and mess it all up again.

I’m completely ignoring the fact that I’m the one who makes my bed every day now, just because it looks nicer than does an unmade bed.

As a young dude, when I was forced to mow the lawn, I’d grumble the entire time and then do as poor a job as possible. I didn’t mow in straight lines. I threw in curves, loops, circles and, on one memorable

occasion, Abe Lincoln faces.*

All of which meant that, as soon as I was done an put the lawn mower away, I could call myself done only until either my mom or dad saw the result and forced me to go back out there and get it done right. Which only led to more grumbling and groaning.

Amber Rose is an American model and performer who is married to some rap star and is the first person who's picture appeared when I typed Amber into Google Images, otherwise I'd have no idea who she was. Sorry, Amber.

Not the kind of amber I was talking about, dudes to the left.

Somehow, over the years, I’ve changed, despite my best efforts to cast my personality in amber and never move on into adulthood. It’s sneaky, adulthood. And it snuck in on me.

When I mow the lawn now, there’s a certain sense of . . . satisfaction, I guess. A feeling that, as the blades of grass fall to my rotating cutter, leaving behind a smoothish, shorter line, I have accomplished something tangible. And, apparently, I’ll take that sense of accomplishment where I can get it.

Growing up, it turns out, isn’t one big step, but a series of tiny, incremental ones that you never even notice.

Who knew?**

 

Footnotes & Errata

* I was very, very bored.
** Yes, everyone. Everyone but me. Yes, thank you for reminding me.

Share on Facebook Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
My son, who I call Sarcasmo, is turning 21 today and that's a pretty big birthday for anyone.

Birthday Wishes For My Son

Today, Sarcasmo is a man.

Well, he was a man yesterday, too, but today is when it becomes official. As hard as it is to believe, my oldest little dude (who in no way can actually be considered little) turns 21 today.

I am, to put it bluntly, shocked. But only when I stop to think about it. And so I spend most of my time trying desperately not to think about said twopointone decades of parenthood that now stretches behind me.

Yikes.

Feeling the breeze blowing from the open burial pit laid out in front of me is a minor concern, though, when I call to mind the face of my oldest son, my namesake, the fifth of his name. . . Sarcasmo.*

When his mom-to-be and my wife, known to me then as She Who Must Be Sexy No Matter How Distended Is Her Belly Right Then, and I decided to bless the world with our progeny, we had no idea he’d not want to come out.

There we were, past 40 weeks and Sarcasmo-to-be seemed to have no intention of leaving where he was. Heck, he was comfortable, warm and fed where he was, so why go through the hassle of getting born?

Which meant we needed to do a little inducing so we packed up and headed to the hospital where the Motile Clone Gestation Unit was hooked up to various drug drips and monitors and we settled in to wait.

Despite a few contractions, it didn’t seem to be progressing. This being the dark ages, we couldn’t pull out a tablet and watch something good, so we had to make do with TV. Nothing good was on, so I got sent by the Motile Clone Gestation Unit to a nearby Blockbuster Video to rent a movie to watch. During labor.

Of course it was while I was at the video store that the doctors broke her water and the really painful contractions set in. I got a page (I told you it was in the dark ages) that consisted of the digitally written equivalent of “GET BACK HERE NOW! I WILL KILL YOU FOR LEAVING! GET BACK NOW! I WILL KILL YOU! I love you.”

Labor, amirite, dudes?

Even though we had a few exciting hours of contractions, eventually it leveled off and stalled. Sarcasmo-to-be really didn’t want to come out. So we were going to have to cut him out.

Dudes, let me tell you something important here. If you ever are in the operating room with your partner and child-to-be and the doctor offers for you to look over the curtain at the incision site. . . Don’t do it. Just. . . don’t.

And then the doctors told us that we had a baby boy. Our son. And placed the tiny human in our arms and I realized just exactly what real love felt like. I understood why my parents put up with my guff for all those years.

I looked into his face and understood the purpose of the universe had been to bring us all there. To that hospital. In that room. At that time. To bring into existence the reason for it all.

I met my son and all other concerns fell away.

With Sarcasmo, I learned how to be a parent. He taught me how to be a dad. How to be friendly, but still retain the authority to speak and be listened to. Even more important, he also taught me how to listen.

He was my first little dude to smile, to talk, to crawl and walk. To eat on his own. He was the first to be embarrassed by the sniffling dad in the back of the kindergarten classroom who just did not want to leave and might have had to be escorted from the room by the teacher’s helper.**

But even better than all the tiny-human firsts is the current first. He’s the first of my little dudes that I can watch become a man. He’s out on his own now, making decisions (for good and for ill) and beginning his own life, one only tangentially related to mine.

It’s hard — darn hard — to let go of the wheel that directs his life. But it’s something I’m learning from him even now.

He’s got the tools he needs to succeed and is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. And I say that as a person, not necessarily as a dad. And one of the thickest and fastest-growing beards it’s ever been my frightened privilege to watch grow.

The years between the dawn of his first night as a tiny human on the outside (when I held him up to the rising sun, proclaimed him my heir and listened to the roar of the animals***) and now have not always been easy ones. There have been times when I haven’t wanted to hear his voice and many more when, I’m sure, he thought the one thing in which I would look best would be a shallow grave.

And, yet, through all that. . . Through the screaming and the yelling. . . Through the tears and the smiles. . . I have always loved the big dude and always will.

Sarcasmo is an amazing young dude with so much promise to fulfill as he walks out into the world as a man. I’m so glad I get to be there as it happens.

Footnotes & Errata

* NO! That’s not his real name, d’uh! He’s Richard Edward Jones V, where the V stands for Roman Numeral Five, not Violet. At least as far as he knows.
** Might have. The important word in that sentence is might.
*** Although I’m not sure why there was a big orangutan there. Or animals, really. It was an. . . odd dawn. I might have been a bit punchy.

Share on Facebook Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Yoga dad makes yoga mats.

Yoga Dad Turns Cancer To A Positive

Yoga dad Dennis Ingui has a story to tell that all you dudes need to hear.

Now, I don’t normally turn over the precious white space here at A Dude’s Guide very often, much less three times in less than a week, but this is a special case. See, a friend of mine told me about Dennis and, once she did, I knew I’d have to have him share his story here with all of you. It’s a long story, so I’m going to have a jump that I want you to follow and I think you will.

This yoga dad is more than a health nut, more than a cancer survivor, more than a business man. Although he’d probably fight against anyone telling him this, he’s a bit of an inspiration. But let’s hear the story from Dennis’ mouth instead of mine.

Despite completely changing my life starting with a yoga practice at the age of 48, I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis.  

My mid-life turnaround was brought about after a stunning diagnosis of prostate cancer and surgery. What began as a journey of recovery and self-discovery has grown into a new business venture, mentorship for other budding entrepreneurs and a path toward philanthropy, touching the lives of children and adults across the globe.

Born and raised in the Bronx, I’ve always been athletic and physically fit. Which meant I was thrown completely off guard after a cautionary check up with my urologist showed a slightly rising PSA test. I will never forget the moment I received a call from the doctor on my way to the airport for a business trip. Immediately, I turned the car around and my wife and I went straight to the doctor. Within a few weeks, I was scheduled for surgery.

Continue reading

Share on Facebook Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Home of A Dude's Guide To Babies: fatherhood funnies and advice for new dads

%d bloggers like this: