Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

December 31, 2008

Dr. John Dorian – A Real Man Nicknamed Nancy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:30 pm

 

Nancy Is A Real Man

Nancy Is A Real Man

 

 

Queue the montage music from one of the most underrated comedies of all times: Scrubs. This soundtrack seems fitting for my reflections considering I learn the majority of my life lesson from the final few minutes of Scrubs episodes. It’s scary when 95% of the MP3’s found on your iPod can be traced back to this show.  In my eyes, John Dorian is a Buddha like figure dispensing nuggets of truth in bite size portions all while having amazing hair. I guess with that last statement the cat is now officially out of the bag. I have a bit of a man crush on Zach Braff. Luckily, this month has proven I am manly enough to admit to my affection.

As I look back on these past thirty days of manliness much of what I have learned has been shaped around J.D.’s character. If you know how random my brain works, you would understand the logic behind a guy nicknamed ‘Bambi’ being my point of reference for masculinity.

 

It’s Guy Love – From the moment they met at William & Mary College, J.D. and Turk’s relationship has been closer to codependency than friendship.  They can barely stand to be apart. Their bond is so strong that they are able to call one another out when the other has blown it, dropped the ball or has a wrong perspective on a certain situation. If we are ever to make any headway on what it means to be a man, a ‘Band of Brothers’ is a pre-requisite. I’ve learned I cannot do this whole process alone – not just when it comes to being more of a man, but whatever these next 11 months might hold.  Luckily, I have guys who care more about my character than they do my friendship. This is when a man knows he is in good company.

 

Sleeping Around In The On-Call Room Gets You A Son Named Gilligan – I guess it is true that chicks really love doctors because J.D. was quite the ladies man. It seemed like every episode he was having a different romantic liaison with a female. He never learned those fleeting moments of pleasure were not worth the eventual aggravation they caused. All they got him were headaches and a son named Gilligan. One of man’s greatest downfalls is our tendency to act before thinking. In our eyes, men were not born with a funnel to process their thoughts. We see what we want and we go after it without contemplating the impact of our decision. Unfortunately, our lives do not resemble a sitcom where everything gets neatly solved in 30 minutes or less. Our excuse is we are just being a man by acting on our impulses. It is a pretty sad statement when our standard for manliness is set so low even ‘The Todd’ could reach it. Over these past 30 days I’ve begun to realize that a true man is one who walks with integrity.

 

We All Have Our Elliot –For the first 3 seasons of Scrubs, we watched J.D. wrestle with the emotions he feels for Elliot Reed. They tore him up inside because he had no clue what to do with them. It shouldn’t be a surprise because emotions (not just dealing with the opposite sex) are a tricky thing to work through for us guys. I don’t know if I’ve really figured out what the proper way is to process my emotions. Are you manly when you bottle them up inside until you finally blow your top and punch a hole through a wall? Or what about the other extreme where every time you hear the song Cats in the Cradle that you ball like a baby? I’m guessing it is somewhere in between. Where that line is I am not quite sure.

 

Secretly We Enjoy Being Called Nancy and Newbie – Dr. Cox is J.D.’s hero. He is the type of doctor he wants to be one day. Whether it is divorce, a dad who is always at the office or an absent father, we have lost many of our heroes. One of the reasons for our confusion as men is that more and more of us are growing up without a father figure who exemplifies these qualities. We are left to make up our own target so we can take our shot in the dark. Once again, I count myself as fortunate to have a father who took me under his wing and gave me something to shoot for becoming.

 

There will be more reflections to come on 30 Days To Becoming A Man. Unfortunately; I have to cut this one short for a very important reason.  WGN is playing my favorite Scrubs episodes – “My Porcelain God.” It’s the one where the Janitor installs a john on the roof, which gets dubbed ‘the epiphany toilet’ due to its’ special power of reflection. Perhaps I should see how much this type of toilet costs at Home Depot. After all, most men do their best thinking on the pot.  

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December 27, 2008

Sleep-Deprived Kids Love Bubble Wrap and A Cardboard Box Under The Tree For Christmas…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:11 am

 

Wow..Dad What I Always Wanted A $1.00 Coloring Book...

Wow..Dad What I Always Wanted A $1.00 Coloring Book...

 

 

Any fathers of kids under the age of 5 who are reading this I am suggesting you hop up from your seat and go grab a pen and piece of paper. What I am about to tell you qualifies as a certified golden nugget of truth that is worth writing down. Don’t worry, we’ll all stop and wait for you to get back to this riveting blog (a writer can hope, can’t he?).

I know some of you dads are completely exhausted and cannot remember the last time your head hit that precious pillow. The past few days have been a whirlwind of family dinners, office parties, shopping and gift-wrapping. If your house was anything similar to mine it means you were up no later than 5 am on Christmas morning. Santa fever swept over my family with my youngest suffering the worst case. Maddie and Paige were jumping off the walls jonesing like crack addicts for some presents. They needed sweet relief and the only thing that would do the trick was something wrapped with a bow.

Both girls came nowhere close to budging when mommy and daddy pleaded, begged and actually bribed them to go back to bed. It did not phase them in the least bit when they found out it was so early that Elmo, Dora, Shrek and the Disney Princesses were still catching some Z’s. Once Maddie spotted some weakness in her good old pops, she instantly turned into Ivan Drago from Rocky and said “I Must Break You!” Break I did as we were opening presents a few minutes later.

Nothing causes Jenn (my wife) more heartache than the annual experience that is Christmas shopping for the girls. She pours her heart out over every gift as she pictures the girls going bonkers as they peel the paper away and unwrap pure happiness in a box. There are some nights when I experience her restlessness. She tosses and turns in bed as her mind races about what the ideal gift looks like. 

In a weird way as a man, husband and father I know what she is going through. If I could buy the entire world and stick it underneath our artificial tree I would. Every man wants to be the provider. It is not that I want to raise spoiled brats, but for one Christmas I would like to not let the quality of my presents be dictated by the balance of my checking account. Funny how easy it is to become ungrateful and bitter on a holiday centered around thankfulness.

Growing up, Christmas was much like attending a firework show in that each gift built its way up to the grand finale. The last gift defined if the holidays were a smashing success or an utter disappointment. For some reason, this tradition is something I’ve carried over now as a parent with kids of my own. This year’s end-all-be-all gift for Maddie was a Ukulele. I know it is random, but if we had to hear one more time that is what she wanted for Christmas we were going to ship her in a box one way to Hawaii so she could experience the music firsthand.

Now care to wager what gift caused the biggest reaction out of my sleep-deprived daughter? Nope, not the computer games, clothes or even the Ukulele. The present that led Maddie to shriek and jump for joy then promptly plow over Jenn with a bear hug was a coloring book that cost 100 pennies at the Dollar Tree.

The morale of the story and golden nugget of truth for dads with kids: stop worrying about what gift to give your young one…. toss some bubble wrap and a cardboard box into their room and they’ll be entertained for hours. The magic my grand finale toy held wore off in a few days or a month if it was truly extraordinary. These items, which my parents wondered how they could afford, were quickly tossed aside as I looked for the latest and greatest thing that would capture my attention. Yet, the things that have stuck in my brain about the holidays were memories like decorating the tree, shoveling the driveway and breakfast on Christmas morning. Or how my dad and I would always chuckle when the donkey in the live nativity scene would take a deuce as Joseph, Mary and the Son of God baby would make their home in a manger. Just being there for your wife and kids is what matters most. The toys will make their way to the back of the closet while the moments you spend together will create memories that last forever. 

December 21, 2008

More Caged Monkey Than Grease Monkey (Testosterone Test #2)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 2:29 pm

 

More Caged Monkey Than Grease Monkey

More Caged Monkey Than Grease Monkey

Some people are neurotic about having a pristine house. Others are terrified of germs to the point they flip out if someone dares touch their beloved Swedish Fish. Many a mom stress over their child’s party being the talk of all the preschool. Who hasn’t tossed and turned at night not being able to sleep thinking they may have forgotten to turn off the kitchen lights? Checking twice to make sure all the doors are locked, being nervous you smell bad after working out, or not being able to wash your ‘lucky’ boxers because every time you wear them your team always wins.

We all have our tics that make us unique. Everyone is neurotic in his or her own way. For me, it is the fact that I have been unable to enjoy driving in my own car for the past 7 years. The reason for my hatred of being behind the wheel: the slightest bit of noise coming from the car sends me over the edge. My mind starts racing over how each clink, clack and ping means my ride is on its’ last leg and is doomed to explode at any moment.

This all stems back from the glory that was the “Holy Roller” – the name for my car in college, a Toyota Tercel. On a cold February night, the engine blew as I was coming home from bowling with friends. The dilemma facing me was what to do with the car? Should I send the Roller to the Parking Lot in the Sky or resurrect it with a rebuilt engine. Knowing of my tendency to be neurotic about pretty much everything, Jenn encouraged me to read the car its’ last rights. But, since I am also a sentimental sap, I bought a new ‘used’ engine and paid some of my dad’s friend in beer to do the labor.

Alas, Jenn was right. The Holy Roller was never the same even with the new ‘old’ engine. It burned oil constantly, shock uncontrollably at random times and would always putter up hills. The noises slowly made me crazy. They would go off constantly, or at least in my head, as Jenn said I was just hearing things. As soon as we’d stop, I’d pop the hood of the car and stare inside trying to figure out the source of my frustration. It was a pointless ritual because I knew nothing about cars. Up until the Roller got sick, my vast array of car knowledge meant I could fill up my windshield wiper fluid and that was it.

If you add my cluelessness about cars to my level of neuroticism meant I was a car mechanics best friend. Whenever a car issue arose I would take it to the shop where the grease monkeys would tinker with it and make the noise stop for a day or two. Anytime friends would begin talking cars I’d have to go tinkle or the kids would begin to act up. I brought nothing to the discussion and did not want my buddies to find out my horrible secret of not being a hot rod. So, when I embarked on this task of becoming manlier, I thought one of the most fitting testosterone tests would be taking a step to becoming a gear head. Okay, maybe not a gear head, but at least a schlep that can change his own oil.

Waking up early I head over to my friend Chad’s house who will teach me the ways of the oil change. The funny thing about this is that Chad is the epitome of the metrosexual man. After rolling the car up on blocks we get to down to work. The first surprise comes when we open the hood and find some parting gifts a certain superstore’s automotive place left the last time I brought our car in to get serviced: a screwdriver and old windshield wiper blades. Note to self: never again sell your soul to the devil just to save a few extra bucks on auto repairs. Here are a few nuggets of insight I gleamed from this experience:

1. No wonder the Big3 are in trouble. It boggles my mind that car manufactures don’t realize the oil filter should be easily assessable in every economy (okay cheap) car like my ‘in town’ car, the Ford Focus. People rolling in Hummers and Beamers have the cash flow to pay a mechanic. I, on the other hand, shake out my couch cushions hoping loose change will fly out so I can order a cheeseburger off the Dollar Menu at McD’s.

2. A different breed of folk frequent Auto Zone. Walking around and glancing at the accessories, I noticed their affinity for Betty Bop, airbrushed art and Hello Kitty.

3. When it comes to my muscles I am more Olive Oil than Popeye. Reinforcements were called in when my chicken arms couldn’t muster the strength to get the nut off the oil drain plug. Ditto on the oil filter as well.

4. Looks like I passed this test as the Focus made it back to the house all in one piece. Wait a second…what was that noise?

December 18, 2008

The Shame Of Receiving A Slow Clap From A 2 Year Old…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:12 pm

 

May You Never Experience The Slow Clap

May You Never Experience The Slow Clap

Every man hates the slow clap of pity. Before today, I had been on the bad end of the clap only one other time in my life. Back in 9th grade I joined the high school swim team, not for the chance to wear Speedos or the horrible experience of participating in shaving parties, but rather to pick up girls. Being a little preoccupied with the ‘scenery’ I never paid much attention to the actual technique involved in becoming a decent swimmer. I was much closer to frantic Chihuahua than fish in the water.

Naturally, my gracious swim coach picked the 500-meter freestyle for my first race. Stamina and focus were not my strong suits which became problem since these two qualities are necessary in long distance swimming.  As you probably have guessed by now, I finished last. Dead last. Actually, not physically dead, even though there were a few blurry stretches I attribute to my goggles uselessly hanging around my neck. It was either that or the lack of oxygen from sucking in half of the water in the entire pool as I gasped for my last breath. From what I’ve been told, they were very close to calling 9-1-1 thinking that I had gone into an epileptic seizure. As I hit the wall, I hear the faint CLAP – – – – CLAP – – – – It is about time Free Willy finished – – –CLAP.

Having to do the walk of shame in a Speedo does not even compare in terms of what took place yesterday morning. My not yet two-year-old daughter, Paige, dished out the slow clap. You know you’ve hit an all-time low when the person who shows you pity still poops in her pants and can be entertained for hours with a cardboard box. After numerous failed attempts to put in a hair pretty, I finally managed to do a little squirt top. Granted, it looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but that is beside the point. Sensing my frustration, Paige rubs my back, says ‘it otay dada’ and finishes with a slow clap.

Only fathers of little girls will understand how this act cuts me deep. After all, for the past four years, I’ve been engrossed with everything female. Baby dolls, dress up, Fancy Nancy, Purplicious and all things Disney Princess. I make the most delicious tea for our afternoon tea parties and have been known to have quite the eye for picking out ‘oh so pretty’ outfits.

I realize the estrogen levels clearly outweigh and outnumber the testosterone in my household. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world. This might be due to the fact that I was always terrified of raising boys. Can you really blame me? After all, girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. Boys come from bits of snails and puppy dog tails or at least that is how the nursery rhyme goes.

My fear has nothing to do with the stereotype that boys are wild, crazy, hard to handle and love to do daredevil tricks constantly. If I still struggle with self-confidence, how would I even come close to raising up a head strong, secure boy?  How do I paint this picture of being a real man when all I have in my arsenal are crayons? Do I just make up the rules to masculinity as I go since I never received the handbook?

I feel like I don’t have the right skills and interests needed to be a father of boys: I’ve never built anything with my bare hands, have never gone hunting and I am clueless when it comes to cars and home repair. I picture a very Andy Griffith moment when my son asks me, “Dad, what does it mean to be a man?’ and me just stumbling over my words before finally blurting out “I’m still trying to figure that one out on my own after 30 years…. good luck.” 

December 16, 2008

A Glutton-y For Punishment…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:30 pm

 

 

The Left Overs From My Challenge....No Doggy Bag Needed...

The Left Overs From My Challenge....No Doggy Bag Needed...

 

 

 

As I sit in bed tonight dazed from my testosterone test failure while trying to get through a bad stretch of the ‘meat sweats,’ I realize my wife seems to have a popular 90’s song stuck in her head. Jenn keeps repeating, “Do you have…do you have…do you have to let them linger?” She hasn’t suddenly become a Cranberries fan, but rather is reacting to the results of my stomach gurgling and doing the Macarena.

…. Well, as I write these words my location has changed to the couch. I did not think it was fair to interrupt Jenn’s sleep by my attempts to smoke her out of the bedroom. Hopefully, my toots won’t peel the paint off our freshly painted living room walls. You shouldn’t feel any pity for me. After all, I was the mastermind behind this idea of taking on the Big A Challenge. The task before me was to completely devour in less than 30 minutes almost 50 oz. of meat on a burger bun, with at least four trimmings, a side of fries and a 24 oz. soft drink. I guess you can call me a glutton-y for punishment.

From the moment the platter hit the table, I knew almost instantly I was in trouble. I look across the table to my friend and partner in crime, Rich, and I see fear in his eyes as well. It is a very bad sign when you can hear the ground chuck chuckling through the bun calling you a pathetic excuse for a man. I try to shake off its’ taunting and harness my inner Takeru Kobayashi, the grand master of competitive eating.

A few minutes into the ordeal, I begin to find a solid rhythm of eating half a patty, then a handful of fries and finishing it off with a few sips of soda. This method keeps me from realizing that I have to eat the entire backside of a cow all in one sitting.  I am shocked when half way through I am confident that I have this challenge in the bag. 

Then it happens. With Rich dry heaving across from me, I eat my last French fry and am faced with the task of finishing off the last 2-½ cheeseburger patties all by themselves. This is a problem because the burger ceased to be tasty shortly after the first one. The fries served as a meat wedge of sorts. Time begins to fly by and before I know it the crowd that has gathered around us is screaming that we only have 3 minutes left. In a last ditch effort, I use the classic competitive eating maneuver, the tummy shake, in attempt to shift the food around in my stomach to make extra room for more beef. It’s like by playing the game Tetris only that the blocks are your small and large intestine.

Time is up. Looking down at less than ¾ of a patty, I am faced with the reality that my first testosterone test is a gassy failure. My opportunity for admiration has come and gone. The depths men will stretch themselves and their bodies (or bellies in my case) for their shot at glory is astounding. Whether it is out on the sports field, in the boardroom or through the amount of toys they purchase, men will sacrifice everything for fame and recognition. At the end of the day, they want to be the one sitting on the throne with everyone else astounded by their accomplishments.

Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll be sitting on a different type of throne throughout the rest of the night. As I walk out of Andy’s, I glance over at the Wall of Fame and look at men way more manly then myself. Wait, there is a girl in that picture. Ouch, that hurts…now someone please pass me some Tums. 

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