The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Mike

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.

Connect with Mike on Facebook.


Breaking Bad boy No. 1

Breaking Bad boy No. 2

Breaking Bad boy No. 3

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.

66 thoughts on “The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Mike

  1. Another great choice Britt! Mike. I bet it would be a blast hanging with you and your family. I used to push the limits with my teachers but my dad never laughed about it. Children do fill a parent’s life with hopes and dreams. There’s nothing like the feeling of your child preparing for life!

    1. When I was in school, I didn’t partake in schoolroom shenanigans — but that was because both of my parents were teachers. Mom and Dad had no patience for me making my teachers’ lives more difficult than they already were.

  2. Reblogged this on heylookawriterfellow and commented:
    Breaking Bad boy No. 2The lovely and talented Britt Skrabanek recently accused me of being enthusiastic about life. I wasn’t sure if she was correct in this assessment. (My morning coffee hadn’t quite kicked in.)

    Then she invited me to write a post for her popular monthly blog feature, “The Life Enthusiast.” Suddenly I discovered that I was enthusiastic! By golly, Britt was right!

    So that’s where I’m hanging out this week. Come on over and leave a comment or three. I’ll bring scones.

  3. That’s so great that you and your son compete with crazy dancing and making each other laugh. I love what he said to his teacher too. It’s too bad that we end up developing filters for those kinds of things. Hopefully, he won’t develop one and will keep making you laugh. My brother and I used to dance around to The Batman theme while my dad played it on the piano. I’ll always remember times like that and I’m sure your son will remember the crazy dancing.

  4. I agree–kids definitely make us life enthusiasts. It’s so fun to watch them become their own people, and we realize they’re not merely an extension of us, but rather they are a unique individual who will say and do things that make us wonder, “Where did that come from?” I bet your son gives your teachers lots of fun stories to tell at their own dinner tables!

  5. Wonderful post, Mike.
    I’d love to be a fly on the wall at your house. Better yet, just tell me where you live. I promise I’ll be invisible.
    I do believe our children bring out the child in us. Anyway, adults are much too serious when they have to work for a living. That’s why we have kids. Right? 😀 😀 😛

    1. Canadians are always welcome to visit me; you folks are always so pleasant. (That said, Bieber and Rob Ford will be shot on sight.)

      All you gotta bring is your sense of humor and a casserole.

  6. I love that you all try to make each other laugh. And I can tell that you son is one smart cookie. It takes brains to come up with those lines. I know where he got it! Your post made me smile.

  7. Haha, your son is a hoot. I love it when kids says things that are way beyond their years, and good on you for managing to get a laugh out of it – even if you have to act like a responsible parent in front of people who lack that sense of humour. 🙂

  8. I totally agree with Britt. Mike, I always look forward to your posts. As I described them to a friend of mine, they are mixture of Mike Rowe meets Erma Bombeck. Throw a smidgen of Jean Shepherd in there too. You have never failed to make me laugh and I can only imagine laughter is the rule rather than the exception. Thank you.

  9. I can’t believe your school called about him saying homework ws going to drive him to drink…someone forgot to take their happy pill that day. 😀

    1. That teacher was humor-impaired, that’s for sure.

      His second and third grade teachers, on the other hand, have been able to appreciate his eccentricities. They still tell me about Alex’s unique turns of phrase, but in a “your son cracked me up” kind of way.

  10. I love having the opportunity to not acting my age due to having a grandkiddo who thinks its perfectly funderful to have an adult who likes to swing, skip, and play tag. We also discuss elephants riding elevators and alligators hangjng out in the pool’s deep end. Is enthusiasm for life a euphemism for not growing up?

    1. I am impressed, Cricket! When I am a grandparent, I plan to move directly into curmudgeon mode.

      I am already practicing my vitriolic “Get offa my lawn!” and “See this Frisbee? It’s mine now!”

  11. Love this post, Mike. I have two kids (10 and 12), but I remember them both at the age of 8. Hands down, that is one of my favorite ages. They’re old enough to joke around and have great conversations with, but still young enough where their innocence, curiosity, and unlimited wonder reminds us how amazing it is to be a parent. How lucky we are to be a parent.

  12. Ah, Parenting 101. Enjoy the ride. Your son IS hilarious—as are you.

    We’re building tetrehedral kites at my son’s farm school this week. It’s sooo much fun to watch all these kids play and learn outside for an entire week. Adults get thru it with a bit of coffee, yes, but it’s quite difficult not to have fun with so much 4/5 grader energy bouncing through the meadows.

      1. You’d love the camping part, I’m sure. Spiders, snakes, raccoons, dirt, dirt, more dirt. Wet swimsuits in the tent. Dirt. More dirt. The kids prepare meals and wash dishes, too. We’d put you in charge of keeping the kitchen clean. For some reason, I think you’d decide that you were homesick, or maybe that you heard your name called from afar, perhaps from a local B&B. I’m not sure the coffee would be enough to convince you to stay. 😀

        Oh, and those are tetrAhedral kites. Gotta spell my geometrical shapes correctly.

      2. Your earlier comment would never hold up in a court of law. There is NOTHING about camping in that comment.

        Show me where it says anything about camping. Anywhere? Nowhere!

        Your Honor? I MOVE FOR A DISMISSAL!

        “Case dismissed.”

        BOOYAH! Take THAT Hoffmann!

  13. Your kid is hilarious. All day I’ve been walking around saying, “I’m losing teeth like a meth addict.” I’m glad my first-grade teacher isn’t in hearing distance.

  14. Mike, you’re one of the most enthusiastic writers I’ve connected with, read, and enjoyed. You enthusiastically dislike cats. You enthusiastically doodle, chuckling with glee as you do so. You enthusiastically support other bloggers and you enthusiastically write and promote your wonderful children’s (and adult) picture book SARAH GIVES THANKS. You parent and husband enthusiastically, and you write with wonderful sarcastic sincere joy. Kudos. Enthusiastically, your blogger friend and fellow rough writer.

  15. This is awesome! I am so glad you introduced us to Mike. I’m a new fan now.
    My daughter often says stuff like his son does and I either bite my tongue, burst out laughing, or immediately gasp and ask her who she said these things to. 🙂 I’m constantly waiting for a call from a teacher or parent someday…

  16. Great to read that you still have your inner child there to keep you young and connected to your family. Silly stuff can be the glue to keeping a family happy and healthy.

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