Archive for January, 2014

Letting the Rabbit Out of the Hat

When I was in middle school, I had a teacher who liked to do magic tricks for us. (This part is killing me: I can’t remember his name. I think it was Mr. Razzano. Ugh, the mind is the first to go…)  He would perform tricks for us in class (if we behaved), and I was fascinated by them. Because of him, I became very interested in doing magic myself. I remember going to the weird little magic shop in our local flea market where I would spend my allowance buying trick decks, magic milk pitchers, and other such props. I kept doing tricks for years afterward, even into adulthood. To this day I can’t be near a deck of cards without picking it up and doing a few tricks.

I’ve been doing magic tricks for the kids for years. I remember waiting for the Bean to be big enough for me to show her magic tricks. There’s something… magical, I suppose… about the way a child looks at you when you use your “magic” to do a trick for them. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed.

The Bean has really taken an interest in magic lately. She’s constantly asking me to teach her to do tricks. The thing is, I don’t think she understands that I’m not really using magic. She believes.  She believes in magic, and it’s just the most beautiful, innocent thing ever.

Today, the Bean and I picked out a beginner magic set on Amazon.  She’s buying it with money she saved. In fact, she was saving that money to buy one of those new, girly Lego sets, but she decided to use the money for this instead.  (That’s my girl!)

The Bean’s first magic set. :’)

It’s a cute little Melissa & Doug set, and I think she will like it.  While it warms my heart that she’s so excited about something I hold near and dear, I’m actually a little sad.  When it arrives in a few days, the Bean will learn that the tricks are just that: tricks. Not magic. I really hope that knowledge doesn’t somehow cheapen the experience for her. Will she still look at me with that innocent look of wonder when I perform a trick for her, or will she roll her eyes, knowing it’s all just a trick? Will she be mad at me for “lying” to her all this time? I’ll find out soon enough, I suppose. Just in case, I might need to show her a few tricks tonight, before she gets a peek behind the curtain. Before she crosses that point of no return where she can no longer un-know that magic isn’t real.

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Be nice. It matters.

I once read something, and I can’t remember exactly what it was, but it went something like this: “Be kind, because each person you meet is fighting a struggle that you know nothing about.”

I’ve really tried to internalize this. Specifically, when driving… and I’ll tell you why:

One of my dogs, Roxie, died on November 1st. She died in the night, at our home. While I’m glad she was able to go while she was at home with us, this meant I needed to transport her body to another location to have her cremated. I remember vividly that difficult trip: my wife and I drove her body to the local vet’s office that dreary afternoon. The most important thing to me during that drive was to make sure that I didn’t make any sudden driving movements that might send Roxie’s lifeless body rolling around the back of my SUV. All the while, I remember thinking about whether other drivers were getting angry at me for going so slowly.

Since then, whenever I am driving and I encounter someone who’s going too slowly for my taste, I try to remind myself that I don’t know what they are dealing with. I’ve taught myself to act as if every slow-driving “asshole” I come across might have a dead dog in the back of their car. And I remind myself that that person would appreciate me not riding their ass and being a prick just because I want to go a bit faster than they are.

So, to paraphrase: remember that every person you meet — every person that pisses you off — is probably dealing with something difficult that you don’t know about. Do them a favor: don’t make their lives harder if you don’t need to.

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A Slice of Christmas


A number of years ago, I started a tradition.  I cut a slice off of the bottom of our Christmas tree before we get rid of it each year.  After the wood dries out, I then label it with the year.  I also try to label them with anything noteworthy for that Christmas — e.g., a child’s first Christmas.  Finally, I place them in a box to save. I’ve got about ten years’ worth of tree cuttings at this point, and it’s really fun to look through them each year.

(For the record, I stole this tradition from my cousin Clinton – he blew me away when he showed me his collection of tree cuttings years ago, and I knew instantly that I wanted to do the same thing.  Thanks, Clinton!)

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The Daddy Prerogative

The Daddy Prerogative is the right of fathers everywhere to do impractical, immature, or even crude things for the sole purpose of being goofy with their children.

These activities include, but are not limited to

  • wrestling with the kids
  • tossing small children in arguably unsafe ways
  • making fart jokes
  • actually farting / belching (both loudly)
  • pretending to not understand simple concepts (e.g., “I put these socks on my ears, right?”)
  • winding the kids up before bed
  • car goofiness (e.g., going over a hill quickly, doing doughnuts in snow)

These stunts have been the domain of daddies for years beyond counting. They often are met with eye rolling and other disapproving looks from Sensible Mommies.  It’s not really fair to the Sensible Mommies that we, as daddies, get to invoke this privilege…. but hey, I didn’t make the rules.  🙂

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