passaic-valley

Dad in the Box

October 12, 2012

Clyde is a dog. He could easily be a cat or a rabbit or a fish or a bird or a snake or a pig or hamster or any other animal someone might claim as a family pet.   But Clyde is a dog. Clyde belongs to the subspecies Canis Lupus Familiaris, which is basically Latin for man’s best friend.

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“You hit a . . . WHAT?” I like to insert a little TV sitcom drama into conversations with my son.   Like Jerry Seinfeld setting up a cue for a laugh track.  Even when I don’t feel like laughing. A car.   I backed into it. “You hit a car . . . HOW?” I was pulling out of a parking ...

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My car drove off and left me standing alone in the driveway. On one hand, I was delighted that I didn’t have to drive.  On the other hand, my son was behind the wheel.   He just got his license. This will no doubt introduce a whole new group of useful expressions to my parental ...

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Picture this:  A quiet, romantic beach lining a sheltered cove.  A fiery red sun suspended low in a vibrant blue sky mottled rich by watercolor wisps of milk clouds.  Warm, radiant skin soothed by sensuous gusts of sea air.  Gentle, lapping waves caressing soft sand and the bare feet of ...

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After enduring two weeks of television advertising that accompanied Olympic coverage, I am ready for a lobotomy.   Fortunately my desire is being fulfilled in the form of presidential campaign advertisements, which now that the Olympics have concluded are running faster than Usaine ...

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I want to be an Olympian.  Oh, not just any run-of-the mill, best-in-the-world athlete, mind you.  I want to be an NBC Olympian. I want to embody the Olympic spirit on a flat screen TV in high definition. I want to be a finely chiseled twenty-two year-old without hair on my shoulders. I ...

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I can’t sleep.  There are just too many lumpy objects under my mattress: painful dilemmas, problems without solutions, worries on worries.  The future of the world.  Silly things.    But what really turns my hyperactive cerebellum into a throbbing pincushion is the obsessive mantra: I can’t ...

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I am seated nervously in the examination room waiting for a consultation with a physician.   I have never had cosmetic surgery before, and I am a little embarrassed.  There is a courtesy knock on the door before the doctor bursts in.  He is studying my chart intently. He looks up to greet me ...

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In my failure to be recognized as Time Magazine’s Father of the Year, I forgot two very important considerations.  One, Time Magazine doesn’t confer such an award, and two, I was never nominated by my children.  As a conscientious father, I believe it is my responsibility to shelter my kids ...

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My kids have been asking me about money lately.  How to get it.  How to invest it.  How to avoid losing billions.  The usual stuff. I believe it is important to teach children the concept of money.  Like a lot of parents I started my kids with allowances earned through daily chores.  I ...

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The second Sunday in May is upon us.  Mother’s Day.  The day we honor everything mom.   The day my kids and I recognize their mother, my wife, with flowers and homemade cards to reaffirm how much we love and appreciate her. This is in sharp contrast to Father’s Day, a day in which my family ...

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In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.  - Ben Franklin One hundred years ago, on April 15, 1912 the unsinkable cruise liner RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and plunged to the ocean floor enabling many of the world’s wealthiest individuals to avoid paying ...

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A lot has been written lately about the Collyer brothers who became notorious in New York City during the 1940s for their reclusive hoarding.  The aged siblings eventually died in their large Harlem home under 100 tons of optimistic junk.  Even if keeping a broken down Model T in their house was ...

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Let’s face it.  There are times in life when we have to make a change.  When stagnation leaves us no choice but to reinvent ourselves for the better.  When in order to feel whole again, we are forced to take complacency and shake it by its very core.  If I had any hair, I would cut ...

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SCENE I.  From a television set in New Jersey an image of a golden statue rotates slowly on a pedestal while a honey-throated announcer begins a much-anticipated telecast. Announcer: Welcome to the Academy Awards show, brought to you live from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California!  It ...

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Super Bowl XLVI is upon us!  Depending on your understanding of Roman Numerals, this contest could be Super Bowl forty-six, Super Bowl sixty-six, or Super Bowl excelty-something.   It will be held in Indianapolis, which also depending on your understanding of Roman Numerals is either the capital ...

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As an award winning journalist and father who has yet to win an award in either category, I am often asked my opinion on a variety of important and pressing topics that are in the daily headlines.  “So where do you stand on the Lego controversy?” my wife asked me one night at dinner. Not ...

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This is the time of year when I like to sleep.  In fact, I would hibernate for the winter if it weren’t for all the little things in life that require my attention.  Things like work and kids and NFL playoff games. But for six or seven hours each night I get to curl up under a toasty ...

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A couple of weeks ago, as I was slogging about New York City fighting holiday crowds, I came across a large, happy gathering of inebriated mall Santas singing racy versions of time-honored Christmas carols.  Needless to say I was shocked and appalled:  Why wasn’t I invited to this ...

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When the starting gun finally fired and the anxious young swimmers hurled themselves from the starting blocks into the water, Lane 6 was empty and my son was nowhere to be found.   “I had to go to the bathroom,” he explained to me later.  I tried to be understanding.  After all, he was only ...

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It is Thanksgiving.  I feel somewhat imperious because I am sitting at the head of the table occupied by an assortment of relatives and friends who have joined us for the holiday. After I say a few words, I look up at my kids who are fidgeting impatiently at the far end of the dinner ...

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This drama takes place following the freak Halloween snowstorm of 2011, in which large sections of New Jersey lost electricity.  The production is conducted entirely in the dark. Act I The curtain opens revealing three children and their parents congregated in an open family room.  The ...

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This is the time of year when we suspend rational belief, embrace the unknown, and relish with amused fascination all the time-honored characters that scare the bejesus out of us.  I am, of course, referring to the season of political debates.  But Halloween is special too.  At this time of ...

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This is the time of year when I forget the names of my children.  Like Porky Pig I stutter through every name in the family until I land on the right one.  And even then, sometimes I don’t get it right.   Abee Ceebie Deebie Eeebie Rider, stop throwing the football in the house before you ...

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I celebrated a routine, insignificant birthday a while ago.  Which means those close to me cheerfully acknowledged what I already knew: I had turned another year older.   Still, I was happy that my family thought once again to recognize the anniversary of my entry into the world, even though it was ...

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Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let fifty cents. No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no Internet . . . I can’t get the Roger Miller song, King of the Road, out of my head.  Since hurricane Irene blew through town I have been without an electronic lifeline.  A tree fell across the ...

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I can’t sleep.  There are just too many lumpy objects under my mattress: painful dilemmas, problems without solutions, worries on worries.  The future of the world.  Silly things.    But what really turns my hyperactive cerebellum into a throbbing pincushion is the obsessive mantra: I can’t ...

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I bought a new car recently.  I haven’t purchased a new vehicle since I was humiliated into securing a utilitarian minivan when my younger kids were born.  This was after I learned I was not legally allowed to tie a car seat to the roof of my Jeep with twine. Buying a car is not what it used ...

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This weekend theater lines will stretch down the block as movie goers wait excitedly to see Harry Potter battle evil incarnate, the dark lord, the villain of all villains, the slithering snake of the underworld: he-who-must-not-be-named! I am of course referring to Rupert Murdoch. For ...

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We have a Global Positioning System in our car.  I punch in an address and a nice woman who is not my wife tells me when to turn.  This is one of those really great technological inventions that put humans on par with highly evolved creatures like salmon.  Or, as it turns out, ...

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