Last month Zen from Zen Scribbles reminded us never to lose sight of the child in ourselves, to enjoy things that makes us happy—no matter what they are, no matter hold old we are. In my monthly series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, magnificent human beings from all over talk about what makes them excited to be alive.
Today I’m stoked to bring you guys a New Jersey native, Mike Allegra from heylookawriterfellow. Hands down, Mike’s blog is one of the funniest and most entertaining blogs I read on a regular basis. He puts a humorous spin on day-to-day experiences that will make you laugh your ass off. Seriously, I’ve spit out my coffee in the mornings on numerous occasions.
Beyond that, Mike is just a great family guy with a great talent for writing (and doodling). I’m so glad that he took me up on the Life Enthusiast offer. Enjoy.
My wife, Ellen, and I discovered the TV show Breaking Bad later than most people. And, like most people, we soon became fanatics, chatting around the dinner table about the show’s shocking reveals and perfectly crafted plot points.
We kept these discussions PG-rated, as my eight-year-old son, Alex, is always within eavesdropping distance. Despite our cautiousness, however, he managed to pick up a few conversational tidbits here and there.
“Ugh!” I heard him groan from the bathroom one evening. Alex was staring at himself in the medicine cabinet mirror, wiggling a loose baby tooth with his tongue. “I’m losing teeth like a meth addict.”
At moments like these, two equally weighted emotions ripple though my mind. The first is “Oh, boy, I hope he doesn’t repeat that in school.” The second is “Oh, boy! That’s hilarious!”
Alex’s teachers are familiar with my son’s unique turns of phrase. And I am familiar with the teachers’ concerned phone calls. When Alex was a first grader, I fielded the first of many:
“Mr. Allegra? I’m a little concerned,” Alex’s prim and proper teacher began. “I gave out a math packet today and your son announced, ‘All this homework is gonna drive me to drink!’”
I wanted to reply, “Well! If my son becomes an alcoholic, I’ll know who to blame!”
But instead, I spoke in serious, solemn tones. My voice lowered an octave, as if the gravity of the situation were yanking my vocal chords downward. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ll have a talk with him. And I’ll watch what I say.”
I hung up. Then I giggled.
How can a parent not be enthusiastic about life?
Children offer up such a unique brand of unmotivated, unintentional weirdness that you can’t help but be curious about what’s going to happen next. Even when I’m annoyed beyond words (and I never knew just how annoyed I was capable of being until I became a parent) I’m never bored.
A large chunk of my Dad day consists of trying to come up with ways to make my boy giggle. Alex reciprocates.
For example, he dances a lot. Part of the reason he dances is because, like most kids, he loves dancing. But another, more significant reason is because he knows that Ellen and I find his dancing hilarious.
The steps are funny, yes, but the musical context is funnier. Who on earth can dance to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? To the theme to Dragnet? To the single chord uttered by my iMac when it boots up? That would be my son.
And who is doing a spit take? That would be me.
Alex and I do improvisational shtick to amuse Ellen (the second person who makes me enthusiastic about life). She is the perfect foil for our shenanigans. That is, unless Ellen and I are performing improvisational shtick to make my boy’s eyes roll. Ellen and Alex are also more than happy to join forces to gang up on me when I’m in a crabby mood.
I write stories for children, so being exposed to and taking part in such silliness, helps me to do my job. But even if it didn’t – even if this tomfoolery hindered my ability to get the work done – I wouldn’t change a thing.
Some things in life are far more important than scribbling words on a page.