a laughable moment …

facepalm

I lived in Florida for five years in the aughts, which coincidentally happened to be my daughters’ formative years, or 3- to 8-years old. They learned to be students, to swim, to ride bikes and so much more.

Of course, it was also my formative years as a parent. I learned how to celebrate these milestones, to detect the earliest signs of triplet dissent, to pick lice from long strands of unshorn hair, and to always be ready to address those teachable moments in their lives. Well, I sometimes struggled with the last one ….

We used to go grocery shopping at the local Publix, which was the most wonderful store for a solo parent with three busy little ladies. Its wide aisles made shopping trips smoother when you needed to push a cart full of kids while you pulled another full of food. And snack ladies were everywhere, filling small but grumbling bellies with their random treats, as well as providing welcome distraction.

And then there was the guy who worked in the fish market. Let’s say he was a gentleman of short stature, and a source of unending fascination for my daughter Megan.

The first time we saw him, she turned to me in a loud whisper and said, “Dad, dad! Look, it’s a midget!” A teachable moment was upon me but the best I could do was kick the can down the road. Not knowing the real answer I replied, wanting to be corrective but not punitive and said, “Yes, honey he is shorter than most people, but I’m not sure if midget is the term that should be used.”

My tone was successful in letting her know I wasn’t mad or anything, but I could tell she thought my reply was insufficient. But like many “good” parents, I put this moment behind me until we arrived at the same spot two weeks later and she turned to me in the same hushed, yet excited whisper, “Dad, dad! Look it’s a dwarf!”

Ugh. Two seconds on the internet and I would have had an answer. All I was left with was, “It is very interesting when you see someone who is different than us but I’m not sure if dwarf is the term he would like to be referred by.”

Strike two for dad.

Of course, within minutes I had already put this moment behind me, again, and (you guessed it) two weeks we were back at the fish market when I heard a familiar refrain begin, “Dad, dad!”

But she stopped this time, facing me, her mouth hung open in awe, but her eyes, fingers and nodding head all directing me to the little person working behind the counter.

Yes. Little person is the appropriate term. I know that now. Thank you for that teachable moment, Megan.

But at the time, I suppressed the laughter building inside of me and redirected their attention to the friendly woman passing out cheese cubes on toothpicks.

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thin, white duke …

The only thing I like more than Halloween is dressing up. So yes, I really like Halloween. Still not sure what I’m going to be this year. I’m considering sexy Donald Trump because, you know, I can be “pretty stupid” sometimes (insert rim shot here).

Cruising the thrift shops is a great way to get inspired. Or Marcs. I still have a pair of tights that look like blinged-out jeans that I need to work in somewhere. Discount bins at regular costume shops are also a great way to go. I’ve had a couple nice finds in those, including a ridiculous muscle man outfit.

And that is usually the other part of the equation. I usually try to pick some that is a perfect fit for me, someone tall and skinny like Ziggy Stardust, or someone who is a complete 180, like muscle dude.

Also, both hands free to ensure I can consume beverages at a copious rate and something that people can interact with, either physically or spiritually. You know, like when the slutty librarian wants to take a picture with you because her mom or grandmother really liked Bowie.

So what to be? Totally open to suggestion, if you have any. Or I’d love to hear what some of your favorite costumes have been. Here’s a few of mine in no particular order.

ziggy
I was actually able to get a picture where these ladies were making appropriate contact with me.

Ziggy Stardust – Well, the make up is actually Aladdin Sane but people LOVE Ziggy!!! I really do know what it feels like to be a rock star. Won $600 at a costume contest last year with this get up, as well as the adoration of many hands-on fans. Squeee!

 

8ball

Magic 8-Ball – Until Ziggy came along, this was the most fun. Homemade and it actually worked. It’s amazing what people will ask you when they get drunk. I may have actually decided someone’s wedding plans. And you better say Yes if you don’t want them to shake the shit out of you again. Fourth place in this one.

 

paper doll

Paper doll – So this made way more sense to people who actually played with these when they were kids. (I did an updated version for a recent group run and nobody knew what I was) Another homemade item. Giant markers and some well-placed velcro will get you far in this life. Women dressed and undressed me all night. It was kind of okay. Third place in this one.

 

muscle

Muscle dude – A $10 bargain bin pick up and a leftover wig from days gone by. I really need to add another leg day.

 

bee

Bee man – If you know anything about me and puns, I wasn’t able to bee-have myself all night. Yes, I know that stung, honey.

 

peewee

Pee Wee Herman – They got cut off in this picture, but I wore white clogs all night and they played “Tequila” wherever I went. And yes, those are wine coolers. It was the 80s after all.

 

mascots

Tres mascots – Then there was the year that my daughters told me they wanted to be mascots. To save money, I made their costumes. Bwahahahaha. Yeah, like that ever works out. Anyway, a little paper mache later and they were pretty happy. They walked around the neighborhood and didn’t say a word all night. I think I was pretty happy too.

who throws a shoe …

shoe

Friends, I have to be honest with you. I may not have been completely honest with you. Honestly, the last time I’m sure I was completely honest with someone was 1983. And believe it or not, that person had it coming.

Now some of you may feel you have seen me upset. I’m certainly not immune to that feeling. But only one people has seen me so blindingly pissed that I told them complete truth, with complete disregard for whether it would make them sad, mad, uncomfortable, or grab for sharp, tossable objects.

Honestly, I’m not completely sure what set me off. If you know me well, or even a bit, you’ve probably found me pretty even keel for the most part, maybe even funny (puns and self-depreciation in particular), but not without my moods.

But you’d also know that I’m typically hesitant to say things that may hurt someone, not that I’m loaded with hurtful things to say. And certainly not for the sake of being completely honest about how I feel about them, even if it’s something that is completely weighing me down.

So there it is. I have been honest with you, but there may have been times I wasn’t completely honest. And honestly, I don’t want to be that mad again, but I could be that honest again. So here’s the deal. I’ll continue to be honest with you. But, if you feel I’m not being completely honest with you, you need to ask. Well, I guess this one wasn’t so wispy.