As a father I’ve had to get over a few of my hang-ups. Poop being the first and most hang-up-iest. That’s still a toughie, but poop and I have come to a mutual “well-we-have-to-live-with-each-other” understanding and the war has become a stalemate with both sides staring at each other across enemy lines, weapons at ease BUT fully loaded awaiting orders of annihilation. Dropping the child on its head would be hang-up #2 but now since I’ve DONE that and my kid still knows what sound a cow makes, I feel that I can move forward without that constant worry at the front of every waking thought. But #3 still lingers on: my inability to want to have to talk to other people.
I am a personable guy. I like meeting people. But I like meeting people when it’s a surprise. Like when you’re on the bus and a crazy man starts giving everyone we pass on the street the finger, and you turn to the person next to you, so relieved that they are so much LESS crazy than the finger guy, and you say, “You getting a load of this?,” and that person says, “Man, I HATE the bus.” To which you reply, “I know right!?” Instant friends! I love that. But I don’t like it when I know that I’ll HAVE to meet people. Like anywhere that I take my kid where there will be other kids. Always and anytime forever and ever amen.
As a parent, and I can only speak for myself, cause I’m the only one that I have an inside scoop on, I want my kid to NOT stay inside and watch Peppa Pig all day. I don’t want him playing Call of Duty with his friends while the sun is shining outside and there’s a great big fun world to run around in. In other words, I don’t want him to be me. So, every morning that I wake up, I know that I have to confront hang-up #3 head on because I want him to play at the park everyday for at least a couple hours. The park. Where there are other kids. And other parents. Other parents who will want to talk. Ugh.
I’m a comedian. OK, fine, I’m a sketch comedian, which is kind of a blacker sheep within the black sheep flock that comedians comprise, but a comedian none-the-less. So as a defense mechanism I fall back into “funny stance.” I end up treating these other parents as an “audience” at an open mic. I constantly test out “jokes” on them. I have to make it clear to you though that this is an absolute knee jerk reaction. I am not planning anything out ahead of time. It just starts coming out of my mouth.
Me: “So, my kid wants his choo choo train one minute and then freaks out that he’s not holding his dino-ball the next. What is he bi-polar?
Other Parent: “Oh yeah that’s no fun. But I don’t think he’s bi-polar. Try saying “we’re playing with the cho choo train right now. We’ll play with your dino-ball later.”
Me: “Yeah, well, that’s a good idea.”
I KNOW my kid isn’t bi-polar (or at least I know that this indecision is not a SIGN of bi-polar disorder), I’m just making a joke. I do actually know how to distract my kid long enough to get him to play with one toy for a bit. It’s not the point! Comedians try to find connections through humor. That’s what all the nudging is about. “Hey, why does the doctor make you wait? Hunh? Hunh? [nudge!]” So when I’m trying to make a meaningful, albeit awkward connection with you, don’t try to give me advice! Just fake laugh and then tell me that your kid has to take a nap and leave the park, like I do every time things get a little too talky.
Me: “Man Jack will not nap! It’s like he’s on a cocaine bender!”
Other Parent: “You should try some mellow music time. Maybe just sit in his room and read a book while you both listen to classical music.”
He does nap! He just hadn’t napped much the day before which is why I brought it up. I thought throwing cocaine into the mix would clue them in to the jokey quality of the statement.
Me: “I think Dino Dan’s Mom is pretty hot. I never tell Jack that though cause I don’t want him to think I’m having an affair.”
Other Parent: “Maybe you shouldn’t tell your son when you have crushes on other women. It’s not healthy.”
Me: (nudging son slightly so he falls sideways) “Oh man he is soo tired! Or his vertigo is acting up again. Gotta go. BYE!”
I mean come on! Where’s the sense of humor people? I know as parents our memory gets tossed out with the placenta (unless you froze yours), but we have to fight to keep our sense of humor! If we lose that, we lose ourselves. And then the terrorists win.
About The Author: Jason Dugre is “an actor, writer, Bostonian in Los Angeles. A dabbler in everything, a master at nothing.” You can follow him on twitter: @thejfog. Maybe you would like to watch Jason acting in actory things. Well have a look at his reel! Or maybe you want to explore a little further into his world. Great! He’s a member of the hilarious sketch comedy troop – The Riot Act.