When Stuff Breaks

Dear Diary …

As anyone who owns a house knows … there’s always one guarantee of ownership … stuff is gonna break. All the time. It just is. No matter what you do or don’t do … no matter how old or new your house is … things are still gonna break and need to be fixed.

But today … A-HA! … I think I might have the solution and things will NEVER break again in your house. I know … this is unbelievable, but I think I’ve unlocked the secret. And here it is …

If you are the man of the house … never leave the house. It’s that simple.

Cuz what I’ve learned is that things only break in the house when I’m not home. I know this because I … like every other man on Earth … find out about things being broken when our wives call us to let us know that things are broken.

Diary … I’m telling you right now … nothing’s ever broken in my home when I’ve been there. Roof’s never leaked, pilot light’s never gone out, pipes never “make that funny noise” … I only hear about those things in phone calls from my wife.

Just last week … “Um … the television picture is broken. There’s sound … just no picture. I don’t know WHAT happened … I didn’t touch ANYTHING!”

Yep … I know what happened … I left. And furthermore … ladies … I’m not blaming you. (OK I’m blaming you.) But I’m just trying to understand … how does this stuff always happen when the dude isn’t home and it’s just poor, innocent you, victim of the evil collapsing house? You see how this looks from the outside, right? I mean, it can’t just be the most amazing coincidence in the history of mankind that things only break when you’re there. Can it?

I’m not mad … I’m just confused. Does the house hate you? Or are you just breaking stuff on purpose to get new stuff? Just give us the truth!

OK … moving on Diary …

Here’s something I’d like to put an end to on Facebook. OK … really I’d like to put an end to Facebook, but I know that ain’t happening. (At least not yet)

Anyway … what I’d like to put an end to today are the people who take insignificant events and try to celebrate them as actual events. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an example … saw this one in my feed the other day … and I’ll keep you anonymous, but you know who you are … you’re the one who said …

“Today is officially three months away from the one year anniversary of me and my amazing girlfriend. I love her SO much!!”

Awww … that’s so cute. THAT’S NOT AN EVENT!

That’s a countdown to an event … in three months. That’s the event!

“Big day today … this proud Mommy is celebrating one month until little Mellman’s second birthday.”

Again … not an event. Also, I know Mellman isn’t an actual name … but if I say “Logan” then Logan’s Mommy gets mad at me, so we’ll stick with Mellman.

Hey … you wanna celebrate Mellman’s second birthday? Great! But that’s for the actual birthday. The countdown to the birthday? Not an event!

I hate to break it to you, but we do not care that it’s 17 days till you leave for the beach … Or 11 more weeks until it’s 6 days after the first date you had with your husband of 4 years, but not the anniversary which is 14 days from that October we went to Myrtle Beach together but still a month and a half before he decided to finally pop the question. Don’t care!!!

The event is the event … the countdown is for you to quietly do in your own head. Shhhhh!

Till next time Diary … which is 7 days away from the one week anniversary of the last time I wrote in you … I say … Goodbye.

The Virus That’s Spreading

Dear Diary …

Pray for me … because an infection has taken over my home. And no … I don’t mean an infection like ones you see in the news like Ebola. This one is FAR more widespread in this country … affecting tens of thousands of children every year. The infection of the doll known as the “American Girl.”

My daughter has officially been stricken with the virus. Every day she rushes to the mailbox to see if a new catalog has come in. She talks about the American Girl dolls. Which one she wants. What she will do with the doll once she has one. Blah blah blah.

So what I’ve learned as a Dad who’s been shopping around for an American Girl doll. They are made out of gold. At least … that’s the assumption I’m making since they’re so freakin’ expensive, they’re better be a gold bar jammed in their little doll overalls somewhere!

And the dolls bad enough at a hundred and twenty bucks … but the accessories … now that’s where the real criminal activity starts to set in. Hey Diary … would you like to buy Samantha’s bicycle? Well it’s only $115. That’s right … a toy bicycle … for a doll … $115. Let me just point out that the bicycle I bought for my human child for her birthday … 60 bucks. Half the price of doll bicycle!

Hey Diary … How about the Pretty City Carriage? $275!!! Oh and I should mention that this is a horse drawn carriage, and for $275 you know what it doesn’t have? HORSE! Cuz the horse is $100. Somebody call Crime Stoppers, cuz we be gettin’ robbed around here!

And yes … I know there are American Girl knockoffs. Target’s got some Flamerican Girl. Wal-Mart’s got some Laymerican Girl. I am aware of the lower cost alternatives, but that doesn’t detract from the bigger question “What moron is dropping $500 on a doll bike and a doll carriage with a horse?” Cuz somebody is, or they’d be out of business!

THAT is the bigger issue … we are du-UMB for allowing this to happen.

Are we ever gonna draw a line in the sand with the cost of kid toys and presents? Cuz I don’t think we are.

I liked it better than the olden days when kids still got an orange in their Christmas stocking and they thought that was cool. Today, the only fruit they want in the Apple logo in the corner of their $700 iPad. Honestly, for the first 12 years of a kid’s life, all of their presents, combined over those 12 years shouldn’t total $700.

You want more toys? There’s a tree out back … and every stick you break off a branch is a new toy. Ta-DA!

But here’s the hard part … we ALL have to band together and say no. Because what happens is SOME of us fight back, but other parents say, “My baby is the most important thing in the world and I’m gonna buy her whatever she wants, so here’s your hundred dollar horse for your hundred dollar doll. Don’t you tell me how to raise my kids!”

YOU. You’re the one that’s ruining this for everybody. And I don’t know how to get you to stop, because you don’t listen to a darn thing.

Look … I’ll confess … I’m already caught in the web here. She’s gonna get the doll. But she’s also gonna get the cheap knock-off accessories. I’m gonna call that “small gains for bigger goals.” It’s all I can do to start until the rest of you prove that you’re coming along for the fight.

Till next time Diary, I say … Goodbye.

Fast Talking and TV Watching

Dear Diary …

Times change. We evolve. Stuff we used to need at one point in our lives … we don’t need any more. Take the land line for example. You got a cell phone? You don’t need it any more. Sure … there’s exceptions if you live in a bad cell signal area, or you’re just a weirdo that likes being called by telemarketers, but the point is … most of us have evolved beyond it. Typewriter. Gone! No need.

So here’s one I’d like to suggest … It is high time we get rid of these ridiculous disclaimers we force people to put in commercials. Especially car commercials, where I’m of course referring to the part where they start talkingreallyfastandlayingdownabunchofrandomfactsanddetailsthatyoucan’tevenhearorunderstandbecausetheyarebeingsaidsoquickly.

Alright … c’mon … let’s be honest … We have no idea what they’re saying in those things, so why even bother making them say it in the first place? We all know there’s stuff and rules and add-ons for everything in this world. Making them spew it all out as fast as they can isn’t accomplishing anything. We have no idea what they’re saying anyway. So who’s this protecting?

Or even just simpler things. Like can’t we all agree … that we ALL know that “price and participation may vary?” I’m well aware that a cheeseburger at the airport McDonald’s is gonna cost more than the McDonald’s down the street from my house.

I mean, have you ever met someone in your life who’s dense enough to think … “For a limited time only? But I thought this deal would last FOREVER!”

Ugh … what a waste. Get rid of it.

OK … moving on Diary …

First of all … I love television. It’s got everything you want … drama, comedy, reality … pornography. Point is … it’s fun entertainment for whatever you’re into. So what I don’t need, is some sort of holier than thou guilt trip from people who don’t watch TV. Man … they think they’re the smartest people in the room, don’t they?

Oh .. we don’t watch television in our house. Our children have never seen an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Well aren’t you special? Funny … I don’t see any trophies on your mantle for winning the “Not Watching Television” Award.

You don’t wanna watch? Fine. But don’t act like it makes you any smarter because you read a book. Cuz you know what’s a book? 50 Shades of Grey. You and I both know you’re reading that, and you’re not reading Kafka over there smarty pants. And yes … I Googled that guy’s name to sound smart! Kafka! Sounds like a fancy Greek yogurt.

Point is … I should not feel guilty that I like TV. And parents .. we’re all terrible at this.

We totally lie to other parents all the time. “Oh we don’t watch THAT much TV in our house. Maybe just an hour.”

Oh whatever … we are all LYING!

You know what? It was a rainy on Sunday … and you know what my kids did? Watched TV. ALL. DAY. LONG. Didn’t even bother to get ‘em dressed either. How ya like me now, you Super Parents?

Furthermore … let me let you in on a little secret when it comes to kids. You know what they want more than anything? The stuff you deprive them of.

Think about THAT next time you try to run your little perfect household of no sins and vices. Your kids are the ones that go buck wild, and then end up in viral videos when they break their arm trying to jump off a roof and into a pool at a Frat party. Great parenting, Mom and Dad!

Just let ’em watch TV. And even if you don’t, just be quiet while I let mine do it.

Till next time Diary … I say .. Goodbye

Don’t Touch Me, Sickie

Dear Diary ….

Now I’ve said this before, but I think it’s important to mention again … because you’re not gettin’ it. It’s something that seems simple to me that you would listen to, but people are not listening. So now is the time to say it again … we are entering cold and flu season (not mention the bonus prize of Ebola). So if you happen to get sick … STAY AWAY!

You have germs. And you can spread those germs. You know how they always say … “Oh it’s goin’ around.” Yeah … it’s cuz YOU are going around … sneezing on things, and touchin’ stuff, and other people.

The people in particular … that’s the one I never understand. You see somebody … they greet you … they give you a hug .. and then say “Oh I’ve been SO sick the last few days!”

What is wrong with you? What made you think it’s a good idea you’re sick, and then you go touching me?

Here’s a simple rule of thumb … When you are sick … you … don’t touch ANYBODY! Play a game called “Wild Animal” … you know … cuz they go and they crawl in the corner and leave everybody else alone. Do that.

At the very least, you state your germs to me up front, and I’ll decide from there what kind of contact we will have.

I mean … take Ebola … they say … “Don’t worry … you can only get it if you come in direct contact with somebody who’s infected.” Obviously that’s not MY plan, but it says nothing for the infected person giving me a hug in the lobby and then saying “Oh man … I’ve been SO sick since my recent vacation to Liberia.”

I’ll tell you what, it’s pretty well known that I haven’t really agreed with much of anything our current President has done, but I will give him props for one thing … the fist bump. No need for germ-ridden touchy touchy … quick tap and you’re outta here, sickie! You hear me? Hopefully this time it sinks in.

OK … moving on Diary …

I’m a good human. OK … occasionally I make people cry when I tell them the truth, but the truth hurts, and it’s for their own good. But I recycle. I try to conserve energy. Stuff like that. Heck … I’ll wear socks two days in a row if they still smell good. There, I’m saving the laundry. Don’t judge! You’re welcome environment.

But what I don’t like, is when you try to force me to do these things. Like at work. Where I will confess I’ve had a little bit of a hissy fit with a little thing called “two-sided printing.” You see Diary, that’s where you decide to print two pages, and your printer goes ahead and prints page one on one side, and then page two on the back side of the same paper.

Well sorry trees, but I require multiple pages for things I print … but my printer … it wants to force me to be green … and defaults to two-sided printing every single day. I change the setting, which next morning is back to the default. Which naturally I forget about at 4 o’clock every morning because I can barely remember my middle name at that time of the day.

So guess what happens? I print. It comes out double-sided … which I then have to throw in the garbage and re-print single-sided. So now I’m using 50 percent MORE paper than if you had just let me print normal in the first place!

Hmph … Hope you’re happy with your forcing of the green two-sided printing. You just murdered a forest. Good luck thrying to sleep tonight on THAT bed of guilt!

Till next time Diary … I say, goodbye.

The Scam That Is Box Tops

Dear Diary …

I fight the good fight. I’m a watchdog against The Man. My eyes are always in focus … seeking out the ignorance and injustices of the world. And the scams. And I have unearthed a new one of those … Box Tops.

Before I had children … I had never heard of box tops. If you asked me what they were, I would’ve assumed they were … well … the tops of boxes where you open the box to get stuff out. That’s a box top, right?

Oh how wrong I was about that. Because box tops is actually a nationally organized crime syndicate meant to scam all of us.

Granted, they don’t ACT like a nationally organized crime syndicate. You go to their website, and they say things like “we help children!” Just clip your box tops, give them to your kid, who brings them to school, and your school gets money. Hooray box tops! This, my friends, is where the scam starts.

You see Diary … I am a food snob.

I used to try to deny it in the past …

“I’m not a food snob … I just like good food!”

But then I realized, that’s what exactly made me a food snob. And I’m OK with it. And I’m OK with the fact that a lot of people like to eat pre-processed beef stew in a can. I think it’s gross. You think it’s yummy. To each his own, but this food snob sticks his nose in the air at the thought of things like that.

Problem is … lots of those foods have box tops. Which wouldn’t be a problem for me if not for the fact that my school wants as many box tops as they can get … so they can get as much money as possible. So they tell kids … like my daughter … If you bring us five box tops a week, you get popcorn on Fridays! And if you don’t … well all your friends get popcorn … but not you … because you didn’t bring in an box tops.

Now you see how I’m affected by this because I have to get box tops for my daughter, or she’s the loser in the corner without any popcorn. But the problem, of course, is that’s in direct conflict with food snob me.

Cuz you know what has box tops? Hamburger helper. You know what doesn’t? The locally-sourced grass-fed goat leg that I bought at the Farmer’s Market and made for Sunday dinner. You can flip that thing over as many times as you want, there’s not a single box top on it.

Big scam these box tops. They’re all in cahoots! Trying to make me buy $10 in products that I don’t want, just so my kid can have 3 cents of popcorn. Oh heck no!

So you know what I do? I scam the system back.

Cuz you know what else has box tops? Lots and lots of box tops? EBay!

Here’s a riddle … What’s got two thumbs and a giant bag of box tops now for $10?

This guy!

Popcorn party ALL … YEAR … LONG!

Take that box tops!

I believe the score is now …

Zack Jackson: One
You: Zero

Till next time Diary, I say goodbye.