Tag Archives: Zippy The Monkey


by Richard

With the school year coming crashing in like a tidal wave, I find I’m almost drowning in stuff to do.

Right now, I’m swamped with a book I’ve got to put together for my middle little dude, Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s graduating from high school on June 1.

I should be back in a short little bit. See you then.

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Findin’ My Religion*

by Richard

One of the benefits of having to shell out the semolians to send Zippy the Monkey Boy to a private school is that he gets to do projects that would not only never occur to a public-school teacher, but, if it did, would certainly be squashed by a nervous administration.

To wit: Zippy the Monkey Boy’s final exam/end-of-year project in world religions was to create his own religion.

No, they weren’t studying the life and times of L. Ron Hubbard, but were trying to synthesize all they had learned over the year by studying many of the world’s major religions, as well as a few of the more well-populated cults like Scientology or Mormonism. (Kidding. Kidding [sort of])

What I loved was the sheer audacity of the teacher. She actually thought there was a point to breaking down a religion’s beliefs in a logical and somewhat coherent manner, applying those logical steps toward the religion’s actual actions and then seeing if any conclusions could be drawn. This is, of course, impossible. Religions, by their very nature, insist on faith, which is the belief in something that can’t be proved. If there is no possibility of proof, there can be no logical outcomes derived from systematic study of the religion.

Still, it did provide the students with a handy way to break down religions and then take a look at the different innards, and the similar skeletons.

All of which lead them to create their own religion. Zippy the Monkey Boy, being the child of technology that he is, decided he would create a religion based on how technology is good. I’m thinking this is his subtle way of saying, “Dude, you should definitely buy me the high-end computer. It’ll be good for my Gods.”

His religion of Cosmocism postulates that our reality is a simulation, being run by two Cosmic Gods out in the Greater Reality. The Gods are running various simulations because, while they calculated themselves into being, they realize there still are unanswered questions and, before they start messing with the Greater Reality, they want to run the numbers in a simulation first.

Yeah, you could say he’s been reading some of the latest science (fiction) dealing with computer science. I thought it was a pretty cool aggregation of various bits of fantasy and reality. I can actually see something like this coming into being in the not too distant future. Of course, that’s assuming we continue to be a culture that actually lifted a sentient bowl of pasta up to goodhood.

Still, a dude’s gotta dream. I just never expected his dream to be the founding prophet of a religion.

*With apologies to R.E.M.

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Driving While Distracted Still Is Nothing New

by Richard

Before we were so rudely interrupted by taxes, we were talking about distracted driving, the dangers it presents and the fact that it’s something some dudes can’t do anything about.

To make matters worse, the drivers who are most likely to become distracted are those who are new behind the wheel. Like, for instance, young dudes and dudettes who have just turned 16 and now want to get their drive on.

The Jones compound has three dudes with ADD (we’re going with diagnosed here. If we were to look at symptoms, we’d probably see four dudes and one dudette, but that’s another story.), two of whom are old enough to drive. There’s been a marked difference between the driving I’ve seen by Sarcasmo, the elder, and Zippy the Monkey Boy, the middle.

Sarcasmo has been a clear and present danger since he first got his hands on the steering wheel. Not to you, of course. Well, maybe to you. If you’re parked. Seriously. He’s had three accidents in the three years he’s been driving. Each time he’s hit something that was not moving: a tree, a parked car and a mail box. Each time, he was distracted and not paying attention to the road.

Zippy the Monkey Boy had a more serious accident involving another moving car. He was pulling out of a parking lot, looked left, looked right and then pulled out instead of looking left again. Too bad. He turned into a car that had just turned onto his street. More damage, but thankfully no one was hurt.

 In a recent New York Times story, reporter John O’Neil tells readers that Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy were not alone in their concerns with driving.

Inexperienced drivers usually are distractible drivers. Dr. Simons-Morton cited a study on a closed course in which teenagers proved much more adept than adults at using cellphones while driving — and missed more stop signs.

The situation isn’t helped by how “noisy” cars have become, with cellphones, iPods and Bluetooth devices, said Lissa Robins Kapust, a social worker and coordinator of a driving program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Driving is so busy on the inside and the outside of the car — it’s the most complex thing we do.”

But A.D.H.D. involves more than distractibility. Its other major trait is impulsiveness, which is often linked to high levels of risk-taking, said Dr. Barkley.

“It’s a bad combination” for young drivers, he said. “They’re more prone to crashes because of inattention, but the reason their crashes are so much worse is because they’re so often speeding.” Many drivers with A.D.H.D. overestimate their skills behind the wheel, Dr. Barkley noted.

Hah! That’s hard to believe, huh? That a young teen dude would think he’s better at driving than he really is. Wow, I’ve never heard of anyone doing something like that.

As a parent, I looked forward to my dudes getting their driver licenses so they could help with the ferrying around town. This, however, along with the accidents, definitely made me second guess that impulse. I think I’m going to have to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last little bit.

I instituted a ride-along policy in which I ride with the young dudes while they drive. I try to keep it calm and respectful. When I’m not screaming for my mommy in a high voice while scratching futilely at the window to get out to safety. I think having a parent along for the ride helps them stay a bit more focused on following the rules of the road, which is always a good thing.

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