Tag Archives: Bane

Zippy The Changing Man

I’ve seen him laughing, crying and howling. I’ve even seen him dead.

Fortunately, he was only playing dead as part of a film project while away at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Today is the day we celebrate every single aspect of the young man known to one and probably that’s all (known to me, of course) as Zippy the Travelin’ Boy.

Yep. It’s another birthday. This time, my middle not-so-little dude is leaving the teens behind and venturing into his 20s. It’s a bit of a shock to see the literal little handful, who had the most amazing head of thick, black hair when he was born, now grown into a young man who towers over his dad.

Zippy the Monkey BoyZippy the Travelin’ Boy has always been the most mutable of our sons. He’s gone through fashion statements (I’ll never forget the violent 180˚ turn he made from surfer punk to cowboy), loves, hates, political perspectives and just about everything else in his life as if he were in a fire sale at a department store and he needed to try on the clothing before it disappeared.

He’s been a bit of a chameleon, is what I’m trying to say. Oddly, considering he took so long to actually speak both understandably and out loud as a child, he’s probably the most verbally accomplished of the three dudes.

By which I mean that he’s always been the type to try out different accents and verbal tics and patterns, sort of like me. I started out early as well. As a young kid, I lived in England and got teased for being an American. So I developed a deep Southern accent, which came in handy when we moved back to Texas. However, as I grew older and started playing football, my teachers assumed I was an idiot because of the accent and the football so they expected nothing from me.

I didn’t like that. So I decided to drop the Southern accent and did, beginning to speak in a bland, newscaster-ish accent. To me, it was easy, but I learned that other people have a hard time doing that. I thought I was unique.

Until Zippy the Travelin’ Boy came into his own. He began copying the various accents I used when I read aloud to the boys and then doing better at them. He started mimicking the unusual voices he heard on television and in the movies, doing a stunningly accurate Bane voice that always cracks me up.

His latest chameleon turn came when he hit college. Since he was 2 and able to mispronounce it relatively consistently, Zippy the Travelin’ Boy (then known as Zippy the Monkey Boy both for his climbing skill and love of animals) wanted to become a marine biologist. Until he hit campus and discovered he would actually have to work and learn to earn that degree.

At which point, he discovered acting and fell in love. Since he wanted to make a living once he graduated, he decided to major in psychology while minoring in both Spanish and theater performance. It’s been fascinating to watch his ambition and skill flower in this new environment.

Whenever we talk about it, his mother and I are smiling like fools.

Which hasn’t always been the case. As he was growing up, I would only have given Zippy the Travelin’ Boy break-even odds that I would let him live to adulthood. He was the most stubborn kid I’d ever met and almost never used those powers for good.

Fortunately for us all, I was able to restrain those homicidal urges and even filled in the suspiciously shallow grave I dug on the sly in the back yard. He’s still stubborn and more than a little of a know-it-all, but he’s learning to actually listen to people with different opinions and has actually been known to listen to the advice from others without disdain.

All of which makes for a great opponent when I want to have an argument or refine my own opinion by seeing how it holds up in combat. His quick wit and merciless attack posture are the ultimate test of survivability.

As much as I enjoyed snuggling with the little dude when he was, in fact, little, I’m finding that I’m enjoying even more being around the young man he’s becoming.

Happy birthday, Zippy the Travelin’ Boy. We love you!

Share on Facebook

The Bane Of The 21st Century

by Richard

After about a decade of service, most of the lives of our little dudes, we decided to get a new car back in 2007. My wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Out Of Her Mind, was insisting on an SUV.

Something about how, being a dude I’d be more comfortable driving one of those. However, being the person primarily responsible for driving our now-not-so-little dudes around, I knew a minivan would provide more room for them so stretch out and not be in each other’s face during long trips. I also had a lot invested in trying to live up to the minivans are cool philosophy I’d been trying to convince other people about.

It’s true. Minivans are cool. (Rinse. Repeat.)

Anyway, while I liked the idea of automatic sliding doors and better gas mileage, the little dudes were most excited about the idea that the new Jonesmobile would have a DVD player installed inside the car. They loved the thought that they could watch TV while riding in the car. For them, that was really the arrival of the future in their lives.

We all remember our own childhood car experiences. Long trips with the family. Sitting in the back seat, no seat belts of course, trying to keep down the greasy hamburger while jerking back and forth on the busted shocks and rusting springs. Trying to move your head in rhythm to the car while keeping track of the words dancing on the page in your lap. Playing car games, counting license plates from Arizona or somewhere else exotic. Good times. Good times.

I also remember getting yelled at a lot by my parents because my sister was such a jerk. What? Well, it’s the way I remember it.

Now, though, we can take long, long drives, trips to anywhere, and have almost absolute quiet as the little dudes sit, strapped into their seats, staring slack jawed at the DVD screen and listening to their headphones. An actual quiet vacation drive. It was kind of creepy for the first couple of times not to have to break up fights every seven minutes. Now we only had to worry every hour and a half or so when they had to decide on the next movie.

It’s all good, yeah? No. Not really.

Because now the little dudes expect to be watching something every time they get in the car. If I let them, they’ll have a movie or Mythbusters DVD running at all times. Take a five-minute trip to the grocery store? They’re watching a movie. Drive to the movie theater? They’re watching a DVD movie in the back seat on the way there.

This constant need to be entertained in the car is getting on my nerve a bit. I barely get to hear a word from them during any car ride. I never thought I’d start to miss the sound of them yelling during a car ride.

So, what about you? Is the advent of the in-car DVD a good thing for you?

Share on Facebook