Tag Archives: Whip

Boo Berries

by Richard

My niece, Boo, is one smart cookie. Now, I’ve known this since she was a year old and managed to whip my butt in checkers. Of course, she did it by drooling all over my half of the board and then gumming most of the checkers into plastic paste, but still. . .

Anyway, she really is a smart cookie. But to talk about that, I first have to tell you this: My mom, Boo’s grandmother, has multiple sclerosis, MS. This is a degenerative nerve disease which results in a gradual (sometimes) weakening of the extremities and loss of feeling. All of which means it’s very hard for my mom to walk or do much that’s active.

The other day, she was complaining that she wished she didn’t have MS so she could be skiing, water skiing, hiking and all that stuff. Boo looked at her and asked, “If you didn’t have MS, would you really be doing any of those things?”

Good question, especially considering she’ll be 69 this year.

Mom just laughed and said no, she probably wouldn’t.

That’s cutting through to the core of the matter, yeah? Sure, Mom would have rather have not had MS and still not have done any of those things, but I thought Boo raised a really good point.

We often want things, even though we’d never actually use them. How many times, especially during the gift-giving season just past, did we ask for something we really wanted? Yeah, a lot. Now, think back. How many times have you used it in the last month or so. Yeah, not a lot.

I’m not suggesting we try to cut down on consumption or anything. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the economy tanking. Again. I’m actually thinking more about setting a good example for the little dudes. Before we mouth off about how much we want something, think for a second about whether or not this is something you’d actually use, something that we could even find a month or two down the road.

My worry, you see, is if we don’t start setting the example, we’re going to be raising a hoard of greedy, selfish little dudes. About which I’ll talk more tomorrow.

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Birthday Party

As my little dudes get older, I’m finding that birthday parties are becoming a lot less hassle, but a lot more worrying. I mean, when the little dudes were, well, little, they mostly had birthday parties at home. They were productions over which I and my wife, known to some as She Who Loves A Good Party, labored for weeks and, sometimes, months to make sure it was just right.

And, of course, by just right I mean that it was something the adults could enjoy while the little dudes completely ignored everything we’d set up and played off in the corner of the yard.

We probably should have expected this sort of thing considering how we managed the first birthday of all our little dudes. See, we figured that babies that young really couldn’t enjoy the party. Adults, however, could. So we decided to throw a keg party with actual keg.

What? Don’t you judge me. It was fun. I think.

No, I’m pretty sure it was fun. A couple of months after each party pictures started arriving in the mail in plain brown envelopes. I’m pretty sure it looked like we were having fun. Although the inclusion of a whip sort of cast that into doubt.


As the little dudes aged, we started planning the elaborate parties. At one point, I know we even rented a bouncy house and hired a clown who also made drawings of the kids. And, yes, in retrospect, I do understand that was going a little overboard. I think we’ve sort of calmed down.

The little dudes became not-so-little dudes and, when the two oldest hit their teens, they started rejecting the idea of parties completely. That was for little kids. They were grown up. At, say, 13 or so. They wanted to get a couple of their best friends together and head out for a night at the mall, play some games and hit a late movie (all paid for by Mom and Dad) and then head back to the house for a late-night sleepover and more movies. Now that was a party I could get behind.

The youngest little dude, rapidly approaching double digits, still likes to have parties, but not at home. That’s for little dudes and he’s a big dude. Now he wants to go places like laser tag, or bowling, or someplace like that where he and his buds can run around, yell and scream, and generally act like crazed monkeys without getting yelled at. Which is, you know, just about perfect.

I plan on enjoying the heck out of this birthday party, because I have the feeling that we won’t be getting many more.

— Richard

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Run, Forest, Run

Dad, if you’re reading this, you can go ahead and click on something else for now. Look! It’s a squirrel. It’s a fish. It’s naked women. (sorry about that last one.) Seriously, Dad, go somewhere else for a few minutes.

See, here’s the deal. My dad is an orthopedic surgeon, one of the best in the country, and he hates the idea that I’m running on such bad knees. I’ve had bad knees since I was a senior in high school. Really bad knees. You don’t want to know how bad knees I have. Seriously, they’re bad knees. Not something you want to talk about. Which is why I want him to start looking away for a few minutes.

Because, seriously, I’ve been doing a lot of running lately. Mostly with my oldest little dude, but running is running and running is bad, bad, bad for my knees and my doctor (my dad) is not happy about it. The deal here is that my oldest little dude got in trouble a while back because he was going places he shouldn’t be going (let’s just say the letters p, o, r and n were involved and leave it at that) and so he was given a choice by my wife, known to me as She Who Lays Down The Law And Love Using The Whip To Do It. He could either write up a 10-page paper about, oh, any number of things, or he could start in training and run a 5 K. And, guess what? He decided to go with the running, not the writing. I’m pretty sure he’s not my son. I mean, really, who wouldn’t rather write for a few hours as opposed to running for hours and hours and hours? Turns out, it’s my oldest little dude.

Let’s get one thing straight. I hate running. I mean, I really, really hate it. And it’s not just because my dad thinks running is so very, very bad for my knees. (Not just that, Dad. I promise. Look, a squirrel.) I mean, seriously, I’d much rather bang my head against a wall for an hour or so, rather than actually have to run. And, yet, once my darling bride decided my oldest little dude was going to run a 5 K, the second thing she told me was that she wouldn’t have time to train with him and it would be up to me to run with him to get him in shape.

Yeah, you an imagine my joy at hearing that.

But here’s the funny thing. I actually started to enjoy running with my oldest little dude. Sure we both had on iPods and suchlike, but still we were running together and being with each other. He was a bit grumpy, but I was able to compliment him and tell him what a good job he was doing. I think it actually got us to be closer, even if only to grumble about his mother (under our breath).

Last weekend was the day of our 5 K and, of course, it was also the first day of four days of rain. My oldest little dude and I drove out to a the local park, stopped the car and tried to wait out the rain. With five minutes to go, we decided to get to the start line. We were about 300 yards from the start when the official fired off the gun and most everybody else started running. My oldest little dude and I started running, just trying to catch up with the people who were walking.

It was an odd sensation. I was actually passing people and they weren’t passing me by again. Very new. We did pretty well, running in the rain and getting wet and slogging through the mud and the water and the goose poop. That last was a load of fun.

With about 150 yards to go, I patted him on the shoulder and then started my kick. I moved ahead of him for about 15 seconds. At that point, the little dude passed me like I was standing still. He sprinted past the finish line and didn’t look back. Of course, he almost puked as soon as he stopped, but, still, he looked good going across the line. At least better than his old man, who staggered across while trying to pretend he wasn’t totally dead.

Even though I whined and moaned whenever I had to go out and run with the little dude, I think his mom had the right idea. I found that I really enjoyed running around with him. Sorry, Dad. I think I might keep it up. If only I can keep the little dude running and not trying to kill me for it.

— Richard

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