It’s not easy being a disjointed imperfect anti-hero in the absurd bizarro universe of raising children. That alternate reality of never-ending happiness where children utter sentences like, “Daddy, in gym class today we played Oscar the Grouch and I got to be Oscar the Grouch with Maddie and everyone was throwing their balls in our can and we had to grab the balls and throw them out because Oscar doesn’t want balls in his can.” and tender simple requests like, “Daddy can you play Beaver with me?” before running into the living room chanting, “Beaver…Beaver…Beaver…”
Where toddlers regularly fire hose the contents of their recently consumed bottle plus 1.5 oz. of antibiotics on the angora sweaters of their mothers and the finely sculpted trapezius muscles of their fathers. Where I have implored more than once to “Just give me a second, I’m trying to figure out the best way to get this vomit off the draft dodger.” Where 14 month-olds have the hand strength of hydraulic presses and the vocal decibel capacity of a death metal concert. Where to those same 14 month-olds I am not Daddy, Dad, Dada, Da, Papa, Pa or Father; I am Maba.
Where if I don’t laugh at the ludicrousness of how it is we’ve been imparted with the responsibility of raising two boys I would simply give in and curl up into an ass ball among the Thomas the Tank Engine Trains with a liter of Irish whiskey. Hey you want to be a really useful engine Thomas? Quit jabbing me in the kidney with your smokestack and go get me another bottle of Jameson.
Sometimes though in the pursuit of the joke I will dwell too much on the ridiculous and not enough on the relevant and because Jack is the elder statesmen of my brood he inevitably absorbs the brunt of my humor and suffers the slings and arrows of my sarcasm; As an androgynous wedding DJ, as a phallic artist, a musician and most recently as an Abecedarian (not to be confused with Abra-abra-cadabrarians which are a students of the Steve Miller Band or Abbacadaverians which are students of the dead members of Swedish Pop Groups) So in the interest of fairness and equal time I thought that I would talk a little about the recent acumen Jack has shown for numbers and math.
Just because he’s showing some early talent in mathematics however I’m not getting my hopes up that he’ll be a Varsity Mathlete in high school. It’s not like he’s solving proofs in the hallways of MIT between emptying wastebaskets or even counting toothpicks on the floor of roadside diners, but still, he displays an affinity for arithmetic that baffles me considering if someone told me that Pi was 3.14 I’d tell them I’d like a slice a la mode with a cup of coffee, please.
In high school I cheated my way through geometry and nearly failed algebra because I never showed my work. Even today Kathleen handles all the finances from paying the bills to balancing the checkbook. Hell, I still laugh at the word Theorem every time I hear it because to me it sounds like a waiter at IHOP with a lisp and a nasal infection saying Syrup. “Heddo and welgome da IHOB. My dame id Theven and ob gudda be your therver tonide. On da dabuh you hab aw your theorems. You hab Mabble Theorem, Rathberry Theorem, and Bathagreum Theorem. Ahll be ride bag do dayg yer orther.”
Thanks to the academics at the Marvel Comics Institute for Higher Learning and costumes that leave nothing to the imagination though, Jack is content to sit at the dining room table for hours with his Amazing Spiderman Addition and Subtraction Book in a form fitting unitard using all his available digits and appendages to calculate problems such as how many Pumpkin Bombs Green Goblin would have left if he started with eleven then threw five at crowd of innocent bystanders. Or if Sandman stole thirteen bags of money from the bank and dropped four during his getaway how many money bags did he have left? Who would have guessed that Gourds of Mass Destruction and Grand Larceny would be the basis on which Jack’s future mathematical genius would be built.
The Marveledictorians were also ingenious enough to create Addition and Subtraction Flashcards with various images of a heroically postured Spiderman swinging from a thread on the subtraction side and any number of villains in intimidating poses from the embarrassingly paunchy Doc Oc to the curvy and salacious black cat on the addition side. To make it interesting I’ll ask a subtraction problem to Jack from one card to determine which Spiderman stance we’ll use and an addition problem from another card to determine the bad guy (or bad girl…Damn Flash Card Black Cat I wish I were a derivative so I could lie tangent to your curves.) Once the match-up is set the winner is determined via slap fight to the death; death being the first card I decide to let go of as I’m waving them in front of me like Polaroid pictures allowing the corners of the cards to smack against each other.
I suppose with his inclination for numbers, felonies, revealing costumery, playing Beaver, and knowing that Oscar doesn’t like balls in his can there is nothing that Jack can’t accomplish.
As long as what he wants to accomplish is keeping his pimp hand strong.