Thursday, February 21, 2008

Humor Me: Baby, it's a world of wonders

Moving over to this blog, I figured I would post a few of my recent humor columns. (They're still archived at Here is one from Feb. 4.

Humor Me: Baby, it's a world of wonders

The Dallas Morning News

When my first son was born, it was like a magic act. I prepared for the big event, of course, and I knew it was going to happen. But when the moment came, it still felt like some kind of illusion.

Ta-dah! … It’s a baby.

Well, after last week, I’ve been through it three times. But previous experience didn’t change anything. It was still a surreal blend of excitement, joy and awe. And, once again, relief that I didn’t have to use shoelaces to tie off the umbilical cord during an emergency delivery on the Dallas North Tollway.

Fortunately, each of my sons entered the world in a hospital, with the big move directed by someone who knows more about childbirth than what can be learned in The Expectant Father. For that, I’m very thankful. Considering my medical training ended when I dropped AP Biology in high school, I’m guessing little Nathan is more thankful.

Nathan, I hope you like your name. Older brothers Ryan and Cooper suggested “Zuzoofoo,” but that was shelved because they couldn’t spell it the same way twice. Also, I think that’s already been claimed for the child of some goofball celebrity.

Everything went well at the hospital. Now you’re part of a world filled with great beauty, terrible conflict and people who want to be like Paris Hilton. But don’t worry, your mom will help you figure everything out. She’s an expert at nurturing, understanding and educating children. I’m good at reaching high things and giving piggyback rides. We’re a pretty good team.

Anyway, this is probably a good time for some sage fatherly advice. After all, you’re a very captive audience as we share a spot on the couch. If you want to suck on that pacifier while I talk, go for it. If you want to just kind of look around the living room or nod off, that’s no problem.

The problem, unfortunately, is that your dad is still trying to figure out this world, too. I’ve made mistakes, including purchasing two M.C. Hammer CDs in the ’80s. I never solved more than one side of the Rubik’s Cube, either, and the stock market is pretty much a jumble of letters to me. If I was still single, I would probably have cereal for dinner tonight.

But I am your dad. So I’ll try to sound fatherly as I offer a little advice for your new adventure:

Listen to your brothers. They will be sources of conflict, especially when the video game only has two controllers, but they can teach you a lot. For example, 5-year-old Ryan told me the other day that God is even more powerful than Santa and leprechauns. Very wise.

Give people the benefit of the doubt. The world is sometimes a harsh, cruel place, but people generally are not. Smile and you will see smiles. Help people, and others will help you. If you take yourself too seriously, people will not take you seriously.

When getting soda from a fountain, don’t fill the cup all the way to the top. If you do, when you place the lid on and put the straw in, the cup will overflow.

If you never know the meaning of life, that’s no big deal. It’s just as important to know what gives meaning to life. It’s eating a perfectly greasy slice of pizza. It’s seeing a dog wag its tail as it greets you. It’s feeling your child melt into you as he falls asleep on your shoulder.

Nathan, that’s about as deep as your dad gets. But I promise you this:

Nothing in this world will be deeper than my love for you. Nothing more powerful, either. Not even Santa or leprechauns.

So sleep easy, little guy. And, if possible, try to sleep a little more. Preferably when it’s dark outside and for stretches of more than one hour.

But if you want to close your eyes right now, go ahead. We’ll have plenty of time to talk later.