Respect for the 13

13 is growing up fast. In many ways he is more mature than I was at his age. I lacked self-confidence, due in part to extremely high anxiety in my teens, that to date has never dissipated. He, on the other hand, could probably run for mayor of our town and win. He’s not afraid of engaging a crowd, and more importantly, doesn’t seem to give a shit what people think about him. Sure, he cares about his appearance and doesn’t want to come off as some kind of goof in front of you, but he is also ready to stand up for his beliefs. A week or two ago his school had a “goth-theme”, and they encouraged the students to come dressed in their finest goth gearYou cannot get in this kid’s way when it comes to school spirit; he will mow you down. The students could do whatever they wanted; if they wanted to wear all kinds of crazy make-up and clothes, they were allowed to. At that age, I might have thrown a black shirt on or something, but that was about it. I was very anti-spectacle. 13 went out with his mother to the store and proceeded to buy black nail polish and black lipstick. He went to school the following day dressed all in black, with black lipstick, nails, and eyeliner. He rocked it, quite honestly. The school he attends has their own Facebook page, and they routinely post pictures of the students doing random things. Sure enough, that night there was a picture of the kid getting his lipstick reapplied by some chick. Well played, 13.

This is nowhere near what he looked like but we'll just pretend that it was.
This is nowhere near what he looked like but we’ll just pretend that it was.

He was ribbed by some of the guys at school, of course; he was one of the only boys who actually put make-up on. One of his buddies said to him that only girls wear nail polish, and his response was: “And?” When he came home he didn’t even rush upstairs to scrub the polish off. He waited until the next morning and only succeeded in removing some of the lacquer and not all of it. So he just left it on. He still has some bits of it on his nails now, and he doesn’t give one single fuck about it. Being a 13 year old boy in my past life, I know that takes some serious balls. I will admit that I gained some admiration for him after that.

He is handling his second stint as crazy-girl’s boyfriend much better, too. Here are some examples:

(1) Text conversation:

Him: Are you going to the Halloween Dance?

Her: No. There’s always so much drama!

Him: OK. Well, I am.

I might have paraphrased a bit, but that was pretty much what happened. And guess what? After she realized that he was going no matter what, she relented and accompanied him. This kid loves to shake his ass, and no mere woman is going to stand in his away from becoming the reincarnated Michael Jackson.

(2) Conversation between himself and me:

Me: Better turn your phone on. I bet it’s blowing up since you’ve been gone. (He had stayed at his friend’s house for the weekend, and left his phone at home by choice.)

Him: Nah, she can wait. I told her I was gone for the weekend. I’ll text her tonight. (Opens up computer and turns on League of Legends.)

-End Scene-


I’m liking this updated version of 13.

All losses are not equal

Being estranged from a side of your family means you sometimes don’t hear about events until after they’ve happened. For instance, I woke up Friday morning to read in the paper that my step-grandmother passed away. She was 96. The truth of the matter is that I grieved this loss years ago. When I cut my stepfather out of my life, I knew I was going to have to make some tough choices, and unfortunately I wound up cutting some people out of my life that I didn’t exactly want to be cut. Grammy was a casualty of that, sadly. She was without a doubt the nicest person on any side of my family. In better times, my step-side of the family was more welcoming than my blood-family. But in the end, it became obvious that I was an outsider, and always had been. Frankly, it’s not that shocking to me anymore that nobody approached me to hear me out, even after I did reach out to a family member about the circumstances. 7 years on and I still firmly believe I did the right thing, and so does my wife, who is very pragmatic when it comes to family issues. It’s interesting to me that it appears that nobody else thought so. I’ve never really been close to any family members except my mother, and ironically, my stepfather. Those days are gone and I accept that. I’m ready to move on. It’s hard not to when you’re even erased from the list of survivors.

My Grammy used to have this amazingly soft stuffed cat (not a real one.) Its body was really flat, and it was all white. I keep going back to that cat. It would sit on their bed (my Pappy was still alive at that time) amongst all the pillows. The bedroom was always immaculate, and I wasn’t allowed in it. They would leave the door open, so when we’d visit I would sometimes just stand in the doorway for a few seconds, staring at that cat. Sometimes she would bring it out and let me hold it, but never for very long. I wonder what happened to it.

13 and dating; parents around the world have heart attacks

13 is back in the saddle, so to speak. He took exactly one day to grieve the loss of his relationship with that trollop, and he has moved on towards greater things. He is already chatting up another girl, much to the dismay of his ex. I believe that this jerk-off never intended to break up with him; she expected him to be down on his knees, begging her to come back, that he could change, that he would love to go to the mall! Luckily, he did not, mostly due to my radical and frothing-at-the-mouth coaching over the extended weekend. My wife helped a bit, too, of course, if only to prevent me from ripping the phone out of his hands to type a vitriolic manifesto-like response to her juvenile attempts at goading him. The first day back at school she was playing the sympathy card to people; kids were asking him why he broke up with her. She totally twisted it around. Then, in an about-face yesterday she attempted to repair the relationship and rekindle the friendship. 13 agreed, because in his world there is no reason why you can’t be friends with someone again after you’ve dated (poor thing.) That brings us up to last night, when she texted him out of the blue to ask him to “stop telling everyone we made out.” He claims that he didn’t tell anyone, but you know how it was in high school. For each person you tell a secret to, you can count on at least twenty other people finding out. Oh, how I would love to shake this girl about until her senses were rearranged.

I tend to be a sensitive soul. If you are in pain, I feel it with you. I suppose we call that empathy. High school was a grind; I would never want to go back to that again. We forget how hard it was growing up. It’s exhausting! You are constantly learning new things, how to act, your body and mind are constantly changing, etc; it’s a wonder we ever make it to our twenties!

The next time you lose your temper at your teenager for slagging you off, take a step back for a moment and remember how much shit was going on inside your brain at that age. I am not advocating here that we let our kids get away with murder; I am just advocating for more slack on the rope.

Horror movies (and maybe some cleavage)

I enjoy horror movies. I would say that they make up at least 75% of the movies I watch. I saw “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th V” in the theaters before I turned 11. I was born in 1976, and I came of age at the dawning of a new era in film; the abundance of direct to VHS horror movies was at an all-time high during my early teens. I had parents who didn’t really see a problem with me watching horror, in fact, my stepfather was a key contributor in pointing out some gory classics to check out. Otherwise, I might never have known the glory of this, or this. Of course, once I started to get a bit older, my tastes started to veer toward stuff like this, instead:

Not quite horror, but you see where I am going with this, right? Shannon, if you are reading me!
Not quite horror, but you see where I am going with this, right? Shannon, if you are reading this…call me!

I had to be careful, of course. Back in the day, video stores would sometimes keep the videos behind the counter and you would have to take the box up to rent the movie. That could get embarrassing. Luckily, most of the time you would just take the tape up, but you knew the clerk was on to you. You knew that he knew you were a sick fuck. In reality, I was 15 and full of raging hormones, and the guy behind the counter probably couldn’t give 2 shits that I was renting “Hello, Mary Lou: Prom Night II”

Mary Lou could be trusted to do two things, and one was to kill you.
Mary Lou could be trusted to do two things, and one was to kill you.

Horror is fun, to me, anyway. It took me awhile until I was ready to explore the worlds of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, and George Romero, to name a few, but watching mostly garbage for ten years really helped me appreciate greater works as I got older. Nowadays, I really don’t care for nudity and sex in my horror, and I accept them begrudgingly when it comes to the likes of Friday the 13th and company (Incidentally, just put Jason back at Camp Crystal Lake again and let him kill all the stoners and randy campers again. No need for reboots and remakes. It was a pretty simple formula and it worked.)

It’s a bit of a cliche anymore to talk about horror in October, but for me, horror is 365 days a year. With each passing year we are seeing less and less works of good, quality horror and the genre is becoming so stagnant that I’m not sure if it is going to recover this time. 13 year old me would be very bummed.

Next year will see the final installment with the original cast of my beloved Phantasm series. You can watch the trailer for Phantasm V: Ravager here, and if you’ve never seen any of this series, you are really missing out. Phantasm is one of those series where the sequels make sense because they are a continuation of the story, and not just a money-grab (except for Part 2.) You care about the characters, and while you might not root for the bad guy, you walk away in awe. With this movie, I feel as if the final chapter is coming to a close on the horror I truly enjoy. Fulci has been dead for awhile, Argento makes terrible movies anymore, as does Romero. There are some directors out there right now who I enjoy (Wan, Wingard) but their movies do not have nearly as much of an impact as their predecessors. Is this just me showing my age? What do you say? What are your favorite moments, or favorite era?

The man who chose coffee over eggs…

Remember that time where I said I was going to give up coffee? No? Me, either! Let’s pretend that I never said it. There is a nice coffeehouse a few miles from my home which myself and my wife have just started frequenting. My first visit there I played it safe and ordered a flavored decaf coffee, nothing fancy. It was really good, much better than the normal chain store coffee I was used to. Previously we were purchasing ground coffee beans from a stand at our local farmer’s market but we weren’t very happy with the quality. It always tasted a bit stale. This place, however, uses a higher quality bean which I didn’t even really know was a thing until I tasted it.

This is how I usually enjoy my coffee at home, don't you?
This is how I usually enjoy my coffee at home, don’t you?

To make a long story (and pointless entry) short, I am now addicted to their coffee. Not just regular coffee, though: I am addicted to their lattes. They have a rotating menu of different flavored lattes and I am on a mission to sample them all (yes, even Pumpkin Spice.) Although today I skipped the sugar and sampled their regular latte. Delicioso! We went to a diner for breakfast this morning, and I only ordered slices of bacon so I could fit the latte into my budget for the day. Truthfully, it was out of laziness. I had $25 in my pocket and my wallet was at home. So, it was either eat a big breakfast and drive home to get the wallet and go back out for coffee (probably not going to happen, once I am in, I usually stay put) or budget my expenditures. So, really, it was like a Buddhist exercise on restraint or something. Right? Right.

I started seeing a therapist again. I’ve only had one visit so far, but I am going to continue the sessions. She is very nice, and calm, and doesn’t make me do homework, which is a plus. One thing we talked about (well, me) was cutting back on my caffeine and my sugar intake to see if that would help with my mood. We also talked a bit about brain conditioning, and making a conscious effort to steer my mind away from my usual trappings of gloom. It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen her, and I won’t be back until next week (the first appointments are always the hardest to schedule) but I am already seeing an improvement. My mood has improved; I am not nearly as depressed as I was before I saw her. Therapy alone (without meds) can be beneficial if you are willing to put the work into it. It takes a lot of time and effort to work on self-improvement, and when you have hit rock bottom like I have, what other choice do you have? Live or die, really. I feel like I still have something to give.

I really do need to improve my diet, but this does give me hope. If I am already seeing an improvement, then perhaps I don’t need to be as draconian as I thought. Perhaps just some minor modifications is all I need!

Teenage Love

Well…it’s over.


13 has been dumped because he had the audacity to not want to go to the mall. I wish I were kidding. I will break it down very simply for you, and then you will remember why being 13 sucked. He asked her on Saturday night if she wanted to go to the movies today (Monday.) She said maybe, that she would have to check and get back to him. Sunday afternoon she texted him to let him know that she couldn’t make the 1:30 showing because she was going to be shopping at a mall with her mother. OK, he said, how about 4:30? Suddenly, she realized that she was going to be at the mall all day and if he wanted to see her he would have to come with. Incidentally, this mall is over 90 minutes away and in another state. Um, no. His exact words at this moment, and I also believe were the death knell, was “Shopping is not my forte.” Within 10 minutes of that statement, the relationship was over. According to her, he should have spent his entire day at the mall with her, because you should do things you don’t like in order to spend time with your partner. Now, she’s not entirely wrong here; yes, some times in a relationship you make sacrifices for the other partner in order to spend some time together, but this goes beyond that. You are asking a 13 year-old boy to spend an entire day in a mall with you and your mother while you both go shopping. Are you insane? Don’t answer that.

Everyone knows how I feel about this harlot. I am secretly glad that she broke it off. I am relieved to not have to answer questions like “She’s asking me if I had a boner. What’s that?” I am happy to no longer read texts where she is asking him to take a shower with her (that last text was from Saturday night, and when I read it, my wife had to talk me out of banning him from seeing her again, as well as possibly contacting her parents.) I also think that, deep down, 13 is a bit relieved to be free of the shackles of having a girlfriend. The dude just wants to play League of Legends and watch Netflix. In fact, he is going to make that a requirement for the next girl that wants to date him. If you want to play video games, watch movies, and eat junk food, I am your man. We can kiss if you want to, I guess.

Birds and the bees

The kid is going over to a friends house today after school, where they’ll both be joined by their respective partners. This leaves me with some trepidation because there has been some talk of playing “7 Minutes in Heaven.” So, naturally, we had to have the talk with him last night. Wow, that was really not awesome at all. We met some friends for drinks afterwards and drowned our anxieties with pints of Yards Pynk, which if you haven’t tried, I highly recommend. It’s a bit tart, so it’s not for everyone; it goes down so smooth that you almost forget how much it sucks to be a parent sometimes. I know how I was at 13, and my wife knows how she was at 13, so you can imagine how terrified I am at this very moment. When I was his age, I wanted to be picked up on the road by an older woman and seduced.


That’s no joke, either. I literally wanted to be sexually molested by a lonely housewife. I am sure I wasn’t the only one, either. I discovered the pleasure of the orgasm in 5th grade by accident, so I was pretty determined to find someone to practice on. By accident, I mean that I just decided that I was going to keep going to see if anything happened. It did. It was awesome.

I don’t really think much of anything is going to happen at the gathering tonight. We made sure there was going to be adult supervision; my wife talked to the friend’s father last night. It’s just frightening because, we were 13 once, too, you know? God help us. I was all about tits and ass at his age; I had already had my dick handled by hands other than my own. It was awesome. Is it any wonder I am so unnerved?