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Dad? That's New

Since I met my son at the age of five, he has called me by my first name. I wasn't sure if I had a problem with it. I wasn't sure if I had a right to have a problem with it. About four years ago, he began referring to me as his father, but he still called me by my first name and I still answered to it. The wife and I tied the knot and he and I were still on a first name basis with one another, which caused some relatives some difficulty. Long ago I told him he could call me Dad if he liked, but I didn't press it. My wife has pressed it several times, but she presses me on a lot so like all those other things I just pushed back.

After spending the summer in the much more mannered South, my son returned to New York answering us, "ma'am" and "sir" and now he calls me "Dad." It's heartwarming every time I hear it, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's taking some getting used to. I don't even blink and answer him every time, but that's only because I think quickly on my feet. Interestingly enough my daughter screams, butchers and mangles all forms of the word Dad and Daddy and it sounds completely natural. Either way I'm happy to know I'm completely accepted at this point.


Poop: The Enemy of Men

Farting, bad gas, silent-but-deadlies, being constipated, having the runs, farting in the office and having someone walk in unexpectedly. For whatever reason all of this stuff strikes a chord with men in their early childhood, follows them throughout all their schooling and remains with them through adulthood. When I'm watching the Mighty B with my son or SpongeBob with anyone or even when my kids or I fart, it's just funny.

The laughter stops once doo doo is involved.

Now I know there are people who get off on doo doo (I try not to think about them), but most of the humor evaporates once the notion of poop is on the table. Long before my daughter was born I swore I would never touch another human's poop. Well I've lived to regret that statement and along my daughter's journey I've screamed countless times and come close to vomiting on occasion all because of poop. It's not about changing her, but getting poop on me.

Last week I was changing my daughter and she just happens to be at that stage in her development where she insists on exploring herself. Normally, she's pretty good at keeping her hands above her waist until I'm done. But on this day she managed to scoop a dollop of poop on her index finger, say, "Daddy, stinky!" and bring her finger toward her mouth. Simultaneously, I did some kind of Jet Li move where I grabbed a wipe, held her legs down, caught her little hand, wiped all of her fingers clean and yelled, "What are you doing? No!" all in one fluid motion.

Of course Big Mama heard all this and came stalking down the hallway in her heels.

"You don't have to yell at her like that!" she yells at me.

"I wasn't yelling at her," I explained, damn near out of breath. "I got excited 'cause she was getting ready to put poop in her mouth."

She went on to explain that I still should've spoken differently. I suggested maybe the way she does when she's yelling at my daughter to sit still while she's combing her hair. She shot me a look and went back to the front of the house.

When it comes to poop, I will yell every time.


Birthday Week

So by the end of the week I'll be a year older. I came down with strep throat over the weekend (no one else in the house did, Thank God!) and am now taking antibiotics that look like horse pills. Walking out of the subway yesterday, I accidentally banged my knee so hard on the turnstile I almost fainted (one block later, because while people were looking I had to keep walking calmly like nothing happened). I got my car serviced today and surprisingly I didn't have to empty my bank account to do it, although I have to give it to the service rep at Toyota --- he tried his best. While I waited for my car, I sat in the lounge in complete horror watching the meals Rachael Ray was making on her show before someone put us all out of our misery and turned on CNN so we could see how in the toilet this country is right now. Interestingly it got us all, complete strangers, talking about Bush, McCain, Obama, Palin, Biden and money and no one got into a fight or accused anyone of being un-American or sexist (maybe the Republicans in the room chose not to speak -- there was one man who never looked up from his magazine). My credit rating is almost back to where it was before one of my former mortgage lenders (one of those "groups" that's always in the papers) botched it by claiming I didn't pay because they misplaced my payoff check when I sold my property (it's been a long road). After leaving the Toyota dealership I went to a bike shop claiming to sell refurbished bikes to price some bikes for the kids. They had teeny-tiny Diamondbacks with training wheels for Baby Girl starting at $100 and mountain bikes for the teen were in the $300 range. I laughed and walked out. The original bicycle I wanted for myself is 4 grand, I then dropped my sights down to the $700 range and now I've priced a couple in the $250 - $350 range, but that's me. I'm grown and I'm the one paying for it and unlike my son, who grinds up everything I give him, I keep my stuff nice.

Anyway...I'm not at work which is never a bad thing. I'm sitting at home eating hot dogs and watching the soap operas my grandmother got me addicted to at the age of eight (my dirty little secret) before I take my daughter to the doctor for a checkup.

Gotta love it.


New York - 101

In the fog created by the financial market implosion last week, the fact that I've come down with some sort of funkiness in my throat (looks like Strep to me), experienced a complete system shut down on Friday evening which left me incapacitated for most of the weekend, and am still hating this cat who lives in my house (my son --- a former fan --- asked me to get rid of it this morning), I didn't realize I surpassed my 100th post on MakesMeWannaHoller.

Thus and so on and forth, I'd like to dedicate my 101st post to New York City, the Big Apple, the Rotten Apple, the Big City of Dreams that snatched me from the bosom of the Windy City and never let go. The place of neon kits and boomin' systems in the nineties. The place where I saw people who made records walking down the street, shopping for shoes where I shopped, looking at artwork, or eating in the same restaurants as me (Busta Rhymes, Nas & Jill Scott, to name a few). I didn't know what a woman was until I met a New York City chick, then Latina chicks, then West Indian women, then Brooklyn sistas, then back to the chicks...in da Bronx where the One who shares my life (a West Indian woman who sometimes appears to be a Latina, but is definitely a New York City chick) discovered me wandering around 34th Street on my lunch break.

New York is the city I hate for the crowds, but the city I love because it's so alive. The plays on Broadway are a delight to be treasured, Alvin Ailey is the stuff of wonder, authors, singers, performers --- I've seen quite a few up close and personal (Sitting front and center before a certain former Destiny's Child lead singer made me dispense with my hatred of her and fall in love). The jazz scene, the lounge scene, the Village scene, the club scene just wouldn't have been the same had I experienced them anywhere but here. In the days after 9/11 I journeyed down to Ground Zero and cried when I saw the smoking pile of rubble stand taller than the apartment building I was living in at the time. In New York you see things you won't see anywhere on this planet and the thing people outside of New York understand the least about us is that it seems we take it all for granted.

But we don't. I don't and never have. New York isn't for the weary or the faint of heart. And if your eyes are open you can see that there are two New Yorks, and if you look hard enough you'll prefer blindness. Some have much. Many have nothing. If NYC doesn't make you stronger, or push you out of it's borders, it'll kill you and move on as if you never ever mattered. In order for a love affair to work you have to know all the nuances and I know New York loves and hates me as much as I do it. For now, this is why we work well together. NYC will always be a part of me (especially fashion-wise) and like Chicago I will take it with me wherever I go, should I go, when I go.

New York City took the timid little boy that I was and sculpted me into the man, dad, husband, son-in-law that I am today. It wasn't an easy process, and it definitely wasn't without pain. But I'm better for it.

New York, New York, Big City of Dreams...


The Love Life Poll

Don't forget about the poll to the right. The few responses that are in so far are pretty bleak. There's got to be some people out there who feel marriage has improved their love life. Remember it's completely anonymous. There are only a few days left...


What a Week!!!

Happy Friday!

After a week that included the collapse of Lehman Brothers; the acquisition of Merrill Lynch; the teetering on the brink of Washington Mutual (I've got to close my account fast!), Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs; the yo-yo'ing of the stock market to the tune an 800 point drop; AIG (Good Lord, who knew they insured everything?!); the Fed bailing out AIG; now apparently today the Fed bailing out everyone; Sean Hannity's interview with Sarah Palin; gas dropping below $100/barrel but rising slightly at the pump; and everything else that has amazed and confounded anyone with a shred of sense, may I politely speak for us all by saying:



Basic Math

I discovered a mathematical riddle yesterday that I'd love to share.

What does 1 minus 3 equal? Take your time to think about this.

The answer is:


You might be asking, "What kind of math is he doing?"

Well it's pretty simple:

In July, 1 of my employees who made up my section of 3, departed for the good life: staying home to be a stay at home mom.

1 - 3 = 2

Then my remaining employee added the responsibilities of her colleague on to her own, which prompted her to depart for bigger and better things: 1 job that pays more money and has clearly defined responsibilities.

1 - 3 = 1

This now leaves me, 1 person, to handle the responsibilities of 3 people. I've been at it for about 2 weeks and up to my eyeballs in it. Amazingly, there are no real plans from the top to replace my staff. So, given the mathematical trend it's only a matter of time that:

1 - 3 = 0

The departure of 1 individual and the mystifying decision not to replace her will inevitably lead to the entire clearing out of a section with no one on staff equipped to do its work. If our work wasn't vital I'd think this was intentional, but because I know otherwise, I just don't get it.

I still won't get it once I make this job a memory.

Aww Shucks...

Yesterday's post seems like it's turning into a dud. Not because people didn't read it. Quite a few people read, but no one responded.

I put up a poll, to the right that asks the same thing (anonymously, this time).



Sex, Love & Marriage

Before leaving for college my mother told me, "Don't let these little girls get in your pants!"

Had I taken my mother's advice or considered I'd be the one getting into the girls' pants, I'd probably be a childless Christian missionary feeding underprivileged children in Africa. I'd probably have clear thoughts and be a candidate for the Nobel Committee. I'd probably have an enormous savings account.

Or maybe not.

Ever since I first tripped and fell out of my pants and on top of a woman, sex has been a thing I don't think of 24/7, but do consider doing anytime, anywhere, any hour. In college that's what sex was for me. Passionate trysts executed under the cover of night (or just while no one --- especially boyfriends of my "friends" was looking).

Think about it, when you were young, you did it anywhere. My freshman year of college, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to hear my roommate rolling around with his girl no more than 10 feet from me (I moved off campus the next year and didn't share so much as a pencil with anyone until I met my wife).

So now that I'm married and it's all legal and official (for those of us who are plagued by morals and religious ethics) why is it such a drag, why does every scenario have to be perfect, where's all the sweat, the rough and tumble, the "let's sneak so no one hears us", where's the all night long all the way into the next day and maybe longer, where's the I haven't showered and stink like you know what?

I'm not saying this is my situation, but everyone has their share of aspects of this. Over the weekend I watched Chris Rock's I Think I Love My Wife and I found myself unbelievably annoyed by his wife's outright refusal to sleep with him and his sex-crazed to the point of stupid mindset. As far as movies go, it felt very contrived from start to finish.

But I know this is real otherwise he wouldn't have made a movie about it. So I ask the question: has marriage (or long term love for those of you who aren't), kids, and etc., etc., made your love life better, or worse? Or is it still the same?


Daft Punk's Perfect Song For Life (& Fatherhood Too)

So, I got out of the house this morning without a hitch. And then on the train, the car I got on had another crazy preacher proselytizing. Only this time, a Puerto Rican Latino man, sitting right next to me, began screaming at him to shut up until he left our car. I felt his pain, but by the time it was over he had made himself just as much of a spectacle as the preacher.

Oh well.

Over the weekend I was looking up songs on iTunes and accidentally discovered Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. It's on their Discovery album and it's also the original Electronica song that Kanye West samples for his song Stronger. Being a native son of Chicago, the home of House Music, I was ecstatic and downloaded the song. The lyrics are beyond simple, repetitive and sung in an industrial, robotic voice.

Work it
Make it
Do it
Makes us


More than

Work is

Work it
Make it
Do it
Makes us


Work it harder, make it better
Do it faster, makes us stronger

More than ever hour after
Our work is NEVER OVER.

Over and over again, these lyrics repeat until the music ends. As I listened to them, I began to think of the grind of life, the grind of being a father, the grind of being a human being. Of course this is boiled down to a very simplistic state, but no matter what your individual walk, place or station in life, isn't this (the repetitive nature of these lyrics) what's it's all about?

This is what I listened to when the Puerto Rican Latino man started screaming at the preacher. To see the Daft Punk video, click here.


Fighting The Good Fight

Today is my wife's birthday. Unfortunately she's not too happy about it. She, like many people, has taken stock over her past year and isn't happy. I don't frown on it. It's human nature.

Surprisingly, my Monday at work turned out to be a whole lot better than Monday at home. For the first time in over a week it didn't take ten years to get home and I picked up the baby on time from the sitter. Even though my wife didn't have her cellphone on her, I correctly guessed which commuter train she'd be on. My son was home from school, all we had to do was warm up dinner. I was set for a perfectly smooth evening.

Baby girl and I were excited to see the woman of the house when she came toward the car. Before I could plant a kiss on her I saw her face --- smeared with tears and bloodshot puffy eyes.

"What happened?" I asked, immediately thinking she got fired.

She insisted it was nothing even though it clearly was. After asking a few more times she told me how she blamed herself for everything wrong in our lives short of global warming. And then I broke a cardinal man rule: I attempted to make her feel better. I know this is a pointless venture, but I figure as her husband it's my obligation. And maybe, just maybe, this time it would work.

Of course, I was wrong. I was wrong for the way I hugged her. I was wrong for telling her not to beat herself up. I continued down the road of wrong until she walked out of the house still in tears, now with the additional woe I brought to her. I groaned and pushed my plate of food (it was dinnertime) away from me.

My daughter climbed into the chair next to me at the dinner table, asked where Mommy went and told me she wanted to eat. She put her hands together to pray (something she hasn't done in a while) and said, "Amen." I fed her and eventually ate my own vegetables. It was probably one of the quietest dinners I've had with her even with her leading the conversation.

The way I was raised (at least by my mother), we talked things out and never ever went to bed angry. Because of my mother, I probably emote more than the average guy, and definitely talk more than necessary at times (most times), but I don't regret this.

In fact, I don't have any true regrets except for one. When I first was attempting to settle down in New York and had to sleep in my car for two nights I was scared to death. During a stint of unemployment I went to the counter of McDonald's with barely enough change to buy a Quarter Pounder and a milkshake. I left the restaurant embarrassed, but before I could get to the corner I was laughing at the fact that I actually had the cohones to bring a bag of dimes and nickels (I used the quarters for my laundry) to Mickey D's. No matter what, I've always fought the odds, no matter how ridiculous, regretting none of it.

Over the course of my life I've been beaten many times, sometimes massacred. But I've never lost anything I set out to accomplish. Losing would mean I gave up and I've never given up. But as I sat there feeding my daughter, all I wanted to do was give up. In the quiet (my son was sleeping off football practice) I felt the weight of everything crushing me. For about the fourth time in close to four days I sat alone feeling like a terrible husband. I watched my daughter play with her food, being her usual goofy self and wondered where I dropped my happiness. I must've accidentally left it outside somewhere because it definitely wasn't in my home. How was work less stressful than being at home when I hate my job? WTF?

I joke a lot about the things that are wrong in my life, but the reality is that I'm thankful for everything I have. From my newly sullen son to my dinged-up, always-on-empty Rav4. Instead of curling up into a ball of self-pity, pissing away my night in front of the television I did the only thing I know how to. I did exactly what I didn't want to do --- I began to write. My wife returned from a long walk and by night's end we kissed and made up.

Isn't that the point of bad news, unexpected occurrences and outright mayhem? To keep you off center, unbalanced and out of your game? I have to fight the good fight in order to continue to live a life without regrets. I have to fight the good fight when it seems like everything (and sometimes everyone) is fighting against me. I have to fight the good fight like sprinters do when they're near the end of their races and feel like they're standing still.

When you want to quit, do the exact opposite. No matter what happens, you'll never lose.

What is your fight? Are you fighting it?


Gas Don't Grow On Trees

Being that I originally conceived this post in June (exactly 3 months to the day) when gas prices aren't what they are now what I have to say won't be as personally painful as it originally was.

But it's still relevant given the economy.

If it were up to me, my car --- a relatively fuel efficient 2006 Rav4 with most of the bells and whistles --- would sit on the street in front of my apartment collecting dust. Between the car payment, insurance premium and gas, my car is my biggest bill after the rent and a little less than half my rent.

I needed a new car back when the baby was born. I was driving a '95 Civic that was breaking down on me every other week. The car seat we had barely fit in the back and practically filled the rear window. It didn't have a LATCH system and to round out the safety hazards, my dachshund had chewed through most of the rear seat belts.

By myself I've managed to reduce my driving down to barely three miles a day, which has also kept down my maintenance expenses. For anyone who doesn't know, regularly scheduled maintenance on a new car (that thing that keeps you from worrying about your car breaking down) is not cheap.

Enter my wife. Forget all the dents and dings and chips out of the rims (neither here nor there at this point, there are so many) I discover whenever she's used it. She seems to have perfected the art of putting as many miles as she can in as short amount of time as she can while running gas out of the car as fast as she can. Many a week I've celebrated driving only 50 - 60 miles from Monday to Friday to be horrified by Saturday afternoon when the odometer shows that 200 more miles have been driven and the tank is empty. The thing of it is, I know where she goes and it doesn't take all that distance or gas to get there, so other than her lead foot I don't get it. I just don't get it.

This weekend we were rained in on Saturday and I thought we were clear until the evening when she asked: "If the weather's nice tomorrow I'd like to take the kids to Coney Island." I cringed on the inside and gave as unemotional a response as I could muster for my wife's sake. Coney Island, Brooklyn might as well be the end of the Earth based on where I live in Westchester. By the end of night yesterday, my tank was empty and my miles for the beginning of this week have already reached my end week quota. But the place is closing down for good and we had a good time, so I'm not...that upset.

The RNC 2008

As I've stated in the past, I don't really talk politics anymore and I refuse to argue over rhetoric, but what I will say is that now that a few days have passed, I'm no longer nauseous, no longer revolted, and no longer spending my waking moments wondering why the Republic spin doctors have the audacity to believe us everyday, hardworking (and not-so hardworking) Joes are complete idiots.

But who needs to say anything? The following says it all...

Press Play


Back To School

Okay, so since school has started the subway (which I switched back to riding because I'm cheap) has dragged me to work at a snails pace. Additionally, why do I keep getting on the car with the deranged, self-proclaimed minister who's preaching at the top of their lungs unintelligibly, singing and sometimes dancing? And why are all these fools Black? Praise God for my iPod and in-the-ear headphones!

My son started school on Thursday. He was out of the house on time, apparently cruised through all his classes and made it onto the school's football team after having a conversation with the coach (an old baseball coach of his). This past weekend he told me that's what he wanted to do and he did it. I was overjoyed at his seizing of this opportunity. I came home excited to see his excitement and I got...nothing, zilch. He barely said a word last night, nothing about football and maybe three words about his first day. Other than chasing his sister through the house, he barely had a pulse. I asked if everything was alright and he insisted it was. Given his stark change in demeanor from the day before and despite the great day he had, I'm inclined to believe some little girl he had something with at the end of seventh grade no longer has it for him now that they're in eighth. But I could be wrong.

This morning I woke up and began to get my day going, first, by discovering there was no hot water. In the midst of this, my son walked right past me as he was prepping for the day.

"So, you're not going to say, 'goodmorning'"? I asked.

"Oh, sorry. Hello," was all he had to say before he left. He did manage to say goodbye.

The school year has gotten off to a GREAT start! I'm so excited!


Sins of The Father

Not to get biblical on you but...

Several years ago, when a friend of mine was a new husband, he worked very hard to be faithful. It wasn't that he was chasing tail every chance he got, but his father did when he was growing up. My friend was hyper-vigilant to break the cycle/curse that wreaked havoc on his childhood. And he's been fine the entire time I've known him to be married, which should be close to 12 or 13 years and counting.

My issue is of a different nature, but I do believe it to be my father's. Growing up my mother and father argued over a lot as I grew up. The outcome was that my father considered my mother to be wrong most of the time. I learned to hate arguing and confrontations in general as a result of this. And to this day I do my best to avoid conflict. At the end of the day, my father is a great man, a great dad, a great educator and a wonderful provider, but I'm not so sure he is or ever has been the best or even nicest husband he could and can be, when tested. But he definitely needs my mom. Without her he'd probably be siting on a porch somewhere cursing at people walking down the street.

Lately, I've begun to wonder about myself. Today was my son's first day of school. He was up, out and gone, barely giving us the chance to say goodbye and wish him well. The baby's needs are filled, and regardless of what we want, we are in need of nothing. The machine at home has become well-oiled and almost automatic. I've been thinking everything is fine. But, maybe not.

My wife believes that I believe I'm never wrong because when wrong I defend my actions even though I think I'm just explaining them. This annoys her to no end. The truth is that it's not about right or wrong for me because I can honestly say, most times, I go into things almost stupidly unaware that I am wrong, which is why I do so much 'splaining. For me it's not about being right or wrong, but rather just pointing out my point of view ('splaining myself). But sometimes while listening to myself during these moments, I hear my father's words, almost as if I'm channeling him who is channeling my grandfather --- a fearsome post-Civil War African American who ruled harshly over his wife and 9 kids. This realization is very disturbing for me. Maybe I'm good at all the family stuff, but maybe I'm not such a good husband either. And this is where I'll end.

I don't expect anyone to confess in the Holler Backs what generational sins or curses they feel have been heaped at their feet. But at least think about it. Do you have any? Have you done anything to address/them?


The Day The Sky Fell

Over the weekend, I discovered something I wrote the day after I found out I was going to be a dad. At the time, I viewed daddy-dom as daddy-doom. It seems like forever, but it's only been three years since I wrote this --- not too long ago, but long enough to change my stripes. At the time, I was in a good place, and I didn't want anything, especially some kid, coming along and rocking my boat.

Here is what I wrote in all its unadulterated, deranged and unabridged glory:

Last night my girlfriend told me she was pregnant. Of all the ways to do it she told me over the phone. Our conversation began casually enough and we bantered on about nothing much as we usually do before bedtime. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been teasing her that she’s been acting funny since her return from a weekend trip with the girls to Atlanta. She’s not the clingy type and she’s been nothing but clingy, so I told her she must be pregnant. She’s dismissed me as the kidder she’s come to know and love, but she continued to be clingy and I continued to joke that she must be pregnant. The joke stopped being funny to her so she decided to take a home pregnancy test --- exactly three of them to be sure. They all came back positive.

Last night I guess she was done with my jokes and done holding her tongue. It turns out she’s known for a week. Her original plan was to tell me on Father’s Day, two weeks from now. If she had told me then I think I would’ve had a stroke on the spot and ruined the dinner we have planned for her father and stepfather.

She asked me how I felt. How was I supposed to feel? Thoughts of being run over by a freight train and then hit by a Mack truck raced through my mind. A better question would have been, how was I supposed to answer such a ridiculous question after being told over the phone?

I breathlessly blubbered something about being fine. My throat went dry and I felt a sudden case of eye strain even though I was sitting in the dark. I got off the phone quickly. I wanted to run, but run where? I wanted to hide, but again, where and honestly, from what? I went to one of my bedroom windows and and began to push against it with all my strength. If I was superhuman I would’ve torn the window right out of the wall. But I’m not and the windowframe ignored my effort. Outside, the full moon was shining down on me as it hung in a dark, velvety purple sky.

“Why now?” I asked myself out loud into my bedroom that was quiet except for a midnight breeze. “This can’t be.”

But it was. It is. And I just got myself into a place where I was comfortable. My savings accounts are getting fat and the only real bills I have are my mortgage and my student loans. I want to get a personal trainer, travel to Europe and Bermuda (in addition to the ski trip I took to the Berkshires and the ones already booked later this year for Chicago, Orlando, and the Bahamas).

“This can’t happen to me,” I pleaded to the night in front of me. Bad thoughts flooded my mind and gave me hope that this was somehow a huge mistake. Maybe my girlfriend, after being marriage-crazy for months, was delusional. Maybe she bought a bad home pregnancy test --- three times.

How am I going to have a baby with a woman, a striking make-up free goddess of war, who I’m currently fighting with more than loving? How am I going to explain this to my parents, traditional, old school, God-fearin’ black folk? Why would I want to raise a child in this world when I’m struggling to raise myself? It’s only been a couple of years that I’ve accepted the reality that I’m an adult.

She and I have been tenuously reunited for the past year after a six-month breakup. As far as I see it things aren’t going well. My plan has been to spend the summer trying to figure out a way to stop fighting with her. Long walks, camping, working out together, romantic dinners, weekend trips, the whole nine while her nine year-old son from a previous relationship is away at sleep-away camp. If things work out then I’ll buy an engagement ring. If they don’t, I’m leaving for good.

What about the used 2003 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor I’ve been eyeing to replace my 1995 Civic? I’ve been promising myself a nice car for my birthday since I hit thirty. I've been driving hoopties since college. How am I going to consider something so frivolous when I have a kid on the way?

If I hadn’t been joking that she was pregnant, maybe she wouldn’t have taken those tests and somehow none of this would’ve ever happened.

Yeah, right.

The moon was laughing at me. I began to pray to God Almighty, begging and praying that I be spared. I had done my best to be celibate since reconciling with her and I’m pretty good at it when I’m not trying to have sex. And given I don't carry condoms in my money clip, I should’ve known this was going to happen. But as someone who's survived broken bones, car accidents, a fire and being homeless for one week, how in the world could I let myself get screwed by a baby?

By screwing, obviously.

After a few minutes of begging God for a false positive, I stopped, knowing God was somewhere laughing at me while He helped folks who had real problems. I stood and looked out my window again.

“Fuck!” I spat loudly, considering the hour. Nobody heard or noticed. Why would they? Most normal folks were asleep, but I never go to bed early. I’m up most nights torturing myself with the idea that I can be better than I am.

I looked at the adjoining brick walls of my building and suddenly wished I could climb out my window, stick to the walls and swing off like Spider-Man or just fly the hell away like some other superhero. But all a leap from my fifth floor window would’ve gotten me was a visit to the ICU or the morgue. It wasn’t that bad of an idea except that my mother would probably kill me if I didn't succeed.

I wandered around my apartment in the dark for most of the night. Somehow I woke up tangled in my sheets a few minutes before my alarm went off even though I don't remember ever going to sleep. I thought for a moment hoping it had been a dream.

My racing heartbeat told me I wasn't.

At work I sat at my desk staring into space, my mind replaying the conversation over and over in my ears. No one noticed or cared as they passed by my door. I can't tell anyone. Call it shame; call it embarrasment; call it whatever. It’s probably a combination of both. I did tell one person as soon as I got to my desk. My best friend was ecstatic when I told him I was going to be a father. He's a six-figure-income type who told me I might need to take a second job to soften the blow of the new addition and in a matter of minutes casually planned out the next six months of my life. I didn’t remember asking his advice and I definitely didn’t want him to be happy for me. He was supposed to understand my pain and feel as f____d up as I did.

This summer was supposed to be about me and what I wanted --- the exact opposite of what I think is getting ready to happen. Now it can’t be about me unless I plan on being the biggest dick on Earth.

Yeah...I was scared in the beginning. When I read this yesterday for the first time in over a year, I busted out laughing. It's amazing what a couple of years of too many stinky-ass diapers, having no personal space, catering to everyone but me, being bossed around by a 35-pound screaming dictator and her Cabinet comprised of Dora, Diego and SpongeBob Square Pants, getting queasy from the pubescent, zoo exhibit smells coming off a boy less than half my age, catching more colds in 2 years that I have my whole life, shopping constantly for groceries and just generally wanting to scream by the end of each week can do. Now, I can't even imagine life without these kids who insist they're mine.


Some Questions That Refuse to Answer Me

  • Based on my subway rides to work, why am I the only person in Black America that knows in-the-ear headphones that go behind the neck go behind the neck?! I've seen more of my people with that extra length of cord (that goes behind your neck) hanging like an extra chin in front of them or those under the chin headphones they wear at the UN. I even saw one man with the cord tied up into a large knot by his ear.
  • Why, no matter whether I leave work at 5 on the dot, or whatever time after that, why am I never settling down in my home until eight o'clock?
  • Why, no matter how prepared I am the night before to go to work, does all hell break loose in the morning to leave me with just enough seconds to sprint to either: the train station or bus stop in my neighborhood? Example: yesterday with nothing to do but walk out the door, the slats beneath my son's bed decided to collapse right out from under him. Last week, after ironing my clothes for the day, the latch on the ironing board broke and I fought with this ancient, stupid contraption for at least 20 minutes before it gave up and folded with a loud metal screech.
  • Why, in less than 2 months, did my staff as well as some very key colleagues of mine quit their jobs where I work? Better question: Why did I encourage them, help them with their resumes and agree to be to be a reference for them?
  • Why, when I asked my boss what plans were in place for me to run my half of her department without a staff did she tell me: "nothing at the moment"?
  • How am I supposed to run an entire half of a department with no employees? And why am I the only person in what's left of my department, concerned about this?
  • Why do women with unquestionably ugly feet wear sandals?
  • Why did I ever agree with my wife to live on the fringes of the city in quasi suburbia so I would hate nearly every second of my commute into Manhattan?
  • Why doesn't my computer at my job have a sound card?! It's 2008?!

Site Updates

A few administrative updates for you:

  • In the far right hand column there is a link for you to join the Facebook Group associated with this blog. Also, Facebook users, please join my Blog Network and rank Makes Me Wanna Holler. There's nothing exciting there yet, but you could be the first to make it happen. It's a place where you can leave messages, start a discussion, and do all the other random stuff that people on Facebook (myself included) do.
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  • I also have video section in the far right hand column of the page. I intend to update this pretty regularly and welcome any suggestions on video clips that are funny, entertaining, or family/father-oriented, or all of the above.