In which I think about parenting in like 17 years


Just been thinking, now, about the future. And particularly, like, the kids whose gender-reveal parties set off wildfires. It’s important that kids learn the fallibility of their parents. Like, I learned it when we had a small earthquake, in New Jersey, and my mother blamed it on my brothers running around the house. But that was just a little embarrassment and the discovery that oh, yeah, you do get these adorable harmless little earthquakes in New Jersey now and then.

When that fallibility is tied to a major natural disaster, though? Think how many times the kid will be able to get away with a line like, “Well, yeah, Dad, I screwed up and smashed the car into the telephone pole. What can I say, it’s bad. I mean, it’s not like the time you started a wildfire that destroyed three-quarters of Sonoma County including the Olympic-class ice-skating-rink that Charles Schulz, beloved creator of Peanuts, built for the community, because you wanted twenty people to know whether I had a penis. But yeah, my judgement is the bad one.” My guess is twice.

To help you judge my intelligence


I am 47 years old. I have two post-graduate degrees in mathematics. I have ridden over 250 different roller coasters. And it was only this past Friday that I tumbled on to how Nightmare, the Ghost Horse and friend to Casper the Friendly Ghost, is female. And not by deductive methods such as, like, reading her name. I had to have it explained to me by the Casper the Friendly Ghost wiki. So, you know, I’m a deep thinker. And somehow, even though Harvey Comics were pretty good about having a important female characters, supporting and lead, I thought, “well, this horse doesn’t have a bow in her hair and long eyelashes and a skirt, must be a boy!” and stopped there for four decades.

Maybe Guys Just Grimace Themselves Clean?


I don’t go in for most stereotypically guy behaviors, because they’re nearly all terrible, based on finding a thing and doing so much of it that someone is made to weep. Pretty much the only guy behaviors I’ll hew to are bringing all the bags of groceries in from the car in a single trip, and feeling like I should spend more time in auto parts stores. I can just look up what kind of windshield wiper blades my car takes one more time.

But I did get a pack of Dial For Men, because we kind of needed soap sometime in the none too distant future, and it’s kind of delightful how they went and took a product that in principle anybody might use (“soap”) and tried to target it more towards my immediate gender. The key elements, as best I can tell:

  1. It’s got “For Men” imprinted in the bar of soap, so as to scare off any women-types with fancy ideas of washing their hands.
  2. It’s got little hand-grippy inset bars embedded on the side so as to look more like some kind of silly gadget people stare at in the kinds of action/science-fiction movies where you kind of hope you don’t recognize any of the actors because you’d feel bad for them having to appear in this kind of movie.
  3. It’s grey, so it looks that little bit more like you dropped it in the muddy snow outside.
  4. Instead of vaguely smelling like flowers or strawberries or cream, they’ve made it smell just generally less pleasant, to match the important guy trait of wanting to smell not quite pleasant.

Oh, yes, the other bit thing they did was give upon selling it, because it was on clearance for $1.58 for three bars. Apparently, Dial-type men don’t use soap, and goodness knows if they’re even into water. They just let the auto parts store smear them with some kind of wax and call that clean. And it’s not a very nice-smelling wax either.