The Last Chapter: Dutiful Nightlight

Like a fly on a horse’s ass, this kid is buggin’ me. “Quit it!”, I shoo him. I’m mid-sentence into resuscitating this blog. Little Richard couldn’t Tutti Fruiti his fingers across these home row keys any faster than I am right now. And that’s the “Wop Bop A Loo Bop A Wop Bam-Truth”. “Will! You! Stop! Geezus!”, I shout. The kid doesn’t understand. I’m trying to make my halfwitted sentences, misplaced commas, and my typos fit together like the pieces of a forever changing puzzle. And his, “Dad! Are you writing about me and Quinn!?” questioning isn’t helping. It’s distracting! “Dad. Dad. Can I read it?”. He’s wrestling around my shoulders trying to catch a peek at the screen. He’s relentless.

Enter The Last Chapter: Dutiful Nightlight

This is it. The infinite ending of this mythical How-To-Parent book. Within these endless chapters, we’ve preached truths from our lips, and shot principles from our hips. All in the name of parental tips and quips. And now, our full grown kids are socially equipped…to Google their asses off. We’ve bought them braces and glasses. Units for classes. Now, they’re blasting off. Into the outer orbits of obnoxiousness; Deep Space Know-it-alls. With their tech addled wherewithals…these kids…are far out, man! Too cool for the HQ. As far as they’re concerned, our parental training has ceased. And all there’s left for us to do, as parents, is give them their unadulterated privacy. But that doesn’t mean we have to blow out the lighthouse lantern. Let’s leave it burning; high and bright. Because as long as we’re alive…this little light of ours…will forever be home.

I know all his sneaks attacks that start from behind my shoulders. From his wet willies to his rear naked choke holds. But it was his chemical warfare that caught me by surprise. He hit me with the In-N-Out double burger burp to my face. “FREAKIN’ PIG! KINGSTON!”, and so the chase began.

The kid is nasty. But I love that at ten years old he thinks his tactics could faze me. “Quinn! Read it! Read it!”, he calls as he youthfully jetts down the stairs. I trail behind carefully, with socks on. Kingston darts left. Around the coffee table like a gazelle in a hurdle race. I go crashing into it. “OW! SHIT!”, my pinky toe!

It was then…bent over on the ground like an old Arby’s curly fry…that I realized I had been duped. I fell right into their trap. “Like a fly on a horse’s ass, this kid is buggin’ me…”, Quinn’s sweet and traitorous voice read out loud. It echoed down the hallway and sent jitters into my skeleton’s closet. No one but a katydid has ever read my rough draft. “Oh my god! Dada!”, Quinn said in shock. “Are you talking about me or Quinn!?”, Kingston asks. I could hear their future embarrassment. Grade school, middle school, high schoolers teasing them for the stories told in this very blog. Eventually, I’d have to be accountable for their ridicule, and teach them about the therapeutic properties of a good martini. But before any of that happens, I’m ending my experiment and closing these blank pages to this mythical How-To-Parent book. Thank you all for following my journey through this puzzling piece of literature regarding good guardianship. Goodbye for now.

Chapter 26 part 4: Dunce Do It

It’s parent/teacher conference week; Zoom style. Our young and fresh-faced teacher is about to look into the eyes of her homeschooling perpetrator. Me! Guilty of all charges; submitting blurry homework, helicoptering in the background, and writing in answers. I know she knows my tricks. I’m about to get ZOOM’d….red-handed.

Enter Chapter 26 part 4: Dunce Do It

“Whatta’ dummy!”, we shouted at the adult contestants in Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? From the seat of our La-Z-Boy recliners, answers would fly out of our wand-waving remote controls quicker than Shaggy’s kids can say, “It wasn’t me!”. We were pure geniuses. But now, with distance learning upon us, the tables have turned and the pressure is on! Because we’ve become contestants ourselves! Not from behind a podium, but from in front of our home computers.

So! Welcome to You A Fool! The game show where homeschooling reveals what level of dummy we parental tutors really are. Our teachers are the host. And our kids play the ruthless audience; ready to expose us as nitwits, just for the simple pleasure of screaming, “You A Fool!”. Fortunately, for the sake of our parental power structure, this online game show provides it’s contestants/tutors with infinite life-lines. Therefore, when the host asks “What is refraction?”, it’s okay to call a fake bathroom break…sit on the john…and use YouTube or Google to answer the question. As a result, we’ll save face from the know-it-all kid audience. As well as have taught them a thing or two. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, and our level of dumbness remains well hidden into their teenage years.

BZZZZZZT! Glows my shirt pocket. Ignored. I’m thinking ahead, and nothing can interrupt me. What could I possibly say when our brilliant teacher asks how Quinn spends thirty minutes reading a picture book with less than 10 words in it? BZZZZZZT! Glows my shirt pocket. This is precisely why I love an in-person parent/teacher briefing. Both parents in tiny chairs. Getting talked down to. Watching our teacher’s wise eyes dart back and forth. From Mom to Dad. Dad to Mom. There’s no telling which one of us is in charge of our kid’s wrong answers. As far as our teacher knows…we’re both idiots! BZZZZZZT! Glows my shirt pocket. KIDS DON’T HAVE CONFERENCES, read my phone. “Halle-FREAKIN-lujah!”, I am saved! By the grace of Kingston’s and Quinn’s good behavior and due diligence…my homeschool perpetrating ways remain undercover. We’re passing 1st grade baby.

Chapter 214: Mirror Mirror

“That’s got to be the place.”. A vintage-gold French storefront welcomes women in athleisure wear and well-fitted jeans. Bouncy ponytails with bright Nikes; flowy curls with suede ankle boots. They all shop across a blonde hardwood floor. The scent of essential oils wafts through the h(air). This place is a martyr’s heaven. “Yup. This is it.”, I thought. There was so much to take in that I forgot what I was looking for. And that’s precisely when it found me. “O. M. G! Sir! You make that outfit work!”, sang a high-pitched voice from behind me. At first glance, I couldn’t tell if I was looking at an extremely pretty Ellen DeGeneres or a very handsome Peter Pan. I felt my armpits heat up. “Thanks.”, I replied.

Enter Chapter 214: Mirror Mirror

Wow! What a run we’ve had. With our full set of hair and ripped biceps. Our perky breast and cute giggle. We were lookers. Total babes. Complete hams. Nothing like how our kids draw us now; with pot bellies and long boobs. Kids will lie about anything, yet tell the absolute truth about our love handles. Wretched body-shamers is what they are. They don’t even have the decency to lie to us the way our spouses do. It’s always “Dad looks pregnant.”, and “Mommy has earthquake lines on her tummy.”. And our beloved wives…our dearest husbands…aren’t any better. “You’re not fat, Honey.”, and “It looks good on you.”. Lies slip off their tongues quicker than an edamame bean would a pair of metal chopsticks. The point is, compliments don’t often come our way. Nobody flirts with us anymore. That ship has set sailed way passed our receding hairlines. Don’t believe it? Try batting that mascaraed-covered-crows-feet-eye at the cute bag boy. Or take those grey chest hairs out for a shirtless run around the neighborhood. We’ll be called “ma’am” faster than the neighbors can draw their blinds shut. We’re not saying to go fishing for admiration. Or force a swagger. But we are saying…graciously accepting a well-intended form of flattery helps validate our worth as the aging hot dogs that we are. So go on and glow! As long as someone is turning on the heat lamps, we might as well give it another spin!

In another time and space, I’m sitting on a bench over looking a harbor. A sea of soft silver, pretty pewter, and platinum blonde gals approach like a slow moving fog. The one using a cane smiled big and waved. “Hello.”, said her nasally elbow holding friend. “Hi girls. Ya’ll looking spry today.”, I kidded. They probably haven’t felt spry since the Charleston was a popular dance move. But they laughed, and in between their ‘thank you’s’, the platinum blonde told me “Honey, you look like a model sitting there.”. I grinned so big; with all of my crooked teeth. It was the best compliment I’ve heard in a very long time. And it came from an honest lady in a wheeled-walker. I thanked her plenty. Because I know once I look in the mirror, and come home to another sorry portrait of my balding scalp entitled Dear Old Dad…that I’d be recalling on the power of her words. “I look like a model. I look like a model. I look like a model.”.

Chapter 13: Oath-ey Dokey

“I’m such a murderer.”, Quinn said. She was throwing her paper plane like an Orel Hershiser fastball; bulldog tough. With every pitch the plane went crashing into the TV, into the floor, and into her brother’s face. “I’m going to decorate mine, Quinn.”, I told her. “Me too!”, she followed. I like a good villain so I went for a Red Baron type of color job. Quinn colored hers with stars and stripes. “American flags!?”, I surprisedly asked. “Yup, because I’m an American.”.

Enter Chapter 13: Oath-ey Dokey

We can pop wheelies over fireworks. We can bbq in turbans. We can ride in a naked rodeo. And hold traditional weddings. We can take a swing at political pinatas. We can burn crosses. And hang rainbow flags. We can “WOO!”, “YEEHAW!”, and “HELL MUTHAF*CKIN’ YEAH!”. We can slam dunk a touchdown. And do donuts for a win. We can roll up, drive-thru, rally ’round and low ride. Because personal freedom is the name of the game; the lay of the land. And with it, should come a sense of loyalty. A loyalty that stems from raising our children to mutually trust in our communities; under an allegiance. The same allegiance that is deep rooted in upholding the governing bodies that protect and grant us our liberties. So no matter how we pray, how we eat, or how we love…we as parents must take on the responsibility of passing on a sense of loyalty toward a system (emblem) that grants and protects our personal freedoms.

I don’t know what’s got into her, but she’s coloring with the same patriotism I had rooting for Carl Lewis during the 1988 Olympics. Watching her scribble red stripes down the wings, and blue cat-scratch stars down the sides of her printer paper white plane…I could feel her anticipation for an amazing glide. “Yours looks cool, Quinny.”, I encouraged. I knew full well her plane had the same chances of flight as an origami elephant. Yet, her face lit up with the same pride that I had watching Carl Lewis ready himself at the starting block. “Okay Dad, I’m done. Are you ready!?”, she asked. “3, 2, 1!”. It was another bulldog tough pitch. Her eyes looked toward the ceiling and then quickly down to the hardwood. Her beautiful American plane laid pathetically still. Her face returned to disappointment. It was the same disbelief and heartbreak I felt when Carl lost to Ben Johnson. I cheered so hard, and I believed so deeply in the USA jersey that not only Carl Lewis but anyone wearing it would surely win. “What happened!?”, Quinn asked. “You win some and you lose some. Just pick it up, and make a better one. Because that’s what we do. Red, White and Blue, baby!”. My little patriot went back to the folding board.

Chapter 273 part 5: Quieten the Fightin’


I’m writing this on the lam.  From the back seat of my car at a secret location only a freckled fox would know.  The kids are safe, and my windows are rolled up tight.  I got the engine and the A/C running because I can get three weeks per gallon on this hog.  I was suppose to go for a quick walk.  Instead I darted for the car.

Enter Chapter 273 part 5: Quieten the Fightin’

We know who’s annoyingly clomping up the stairs.  And we know who’s irritatingly hopping down them.  We know who’s agitatedly sprinting down the hall.  And we know who’s aggravatingly fighting in them.  We know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE under our roof.  From the way they lick their CornNut-looking tooth, to the way they burp when they watch scary movies.  During a quarantine lockdown, our loved one’s idiosyncrasies may drive us mad; domestic abuse madSo before we turn our relationships into a series of Tom & Jerry fights…put the arsenic away, unplug the blow dryer, and drain the bath.  And while we’re at it, let’s give the serial killing, forensic file, and episodes of How (Not) To Kill Your Husband documentaries a binge-eating-break.  Don’t let their intolerable mannerisms lead us from locked down to locked up.  Leave, breathe and change your focus.

It was “Daad!”, “Daaddy!”, “Caarl!” this.  And “Daad!”, “Daaddy!”, “Caarl!” that.  Hearing it was making me cringe.  It was the fourth calling in mere minutes.  A fly couldn’t land on a piece of doo-doo with this much interruption.  I was trying to finish the highly intriguing case of “Furious over Furniture” on The People’s Court. But with all the distractions, all I did was curse our mixed socks (family).  My grimace grew into a permanent scowl.  “Imtiredofthisfrickenstayinthehouseshit”, became my mumbling mantra.  The tension of the outstretched kitchen towel between my fist told me it was time to go before I become known as “The Kitchenside Strangler”.  “I’m leaving!!  Be back in five minutes!”, I announced.  I grabbed my phone, charger, iPad, keys and a thermos full of cider.  Those five minutes turned to thirty which then turned to an hour which eventually took more than two.  It was a peaceful escape.  I’m on my way home.  Back to the lockdown, a calmer and more patient man.

Chapter PeePee7-5309: Clean Pee

There’s a line. At the sink. In the Men’s Room. A sight so rare that it causes men to stutter-step out of their urinals. “Wash my hands!? Naaah! It’s filthy in here.”, I’m thinking. I just kick-flushed a john that could be an installation at LACMA; A Toilet Called Shithole it’d be called. There’d be long lines to catch a glimpse. Had we spent any more time in this Men’s room…not only could we have heightened our chances of catching Corona, but also Dos Equis, Tecate, and Caguama fever. Basically, we’d exit with more bacteria on us than when we first entered.

Enter Chapter PeePee7-5309: Clean Pee

The No Look Splash.  The Split.  The Fake Shake.  The Dry Dash.  These aren’t names of slam dunks.  Nor are they kama sutra maneuvers.  These are ancient ways to exit a men’s restroom without washing our hands.  Because dirt meant tough.  And The Tough…didn’t play with bubbles and blow dryers.  Because “What does not kill us, makes us stronger.”.  Until we actually start to die.  Perish by the thousands.  Putting us in a life-and-death situation; another game we don’t like to play.  So let’s adapt to thrive…and carry your hand sprays, gels and all kinds of Purells to survive.

I weaved around a couple guys and made for the glowing exit sign.  Quinn on my right, and in my clutches.  Tightly.  Because the idea of her slipping in here would mean amputation.  Kingston trailed behind.  His eyes and instincts fixated on the sensor automated faucets.  “Daddy!  Wash your hands!”, her piercing voice told me.  Almost immediately, the scent of urine hit the back of my throat.  I made an embarrassed and hesitant V-cut back toward the end of the line. We washed our hands.  I had extra extra soap.  We finally exited.  I finally exhaled.  No Corona. No lime (grime).

Chapter 26 pt. 2: NincomNoob


lounging.jpgSpoiled.  Spoiled.  Spoiled.  Bouncing off the walls spoiled.  Stop the ice cream truck spoiled; saladitos con chile and gumball-eyed-PacMan-popsicles spoiled.  The day continues on like this.  Before that it was In-N-Out double doubles for him, and a Penga lychee boba drink for her.  Without a single “Thank you” spoiled.  I know how to reel it all back into good manners.  But for now, Quinn’s sassy eye rolls and Kingston’s sharp back talk are getting met with my purest form of communication, “Uh huh” and “Nah huh”.  That’s it.  No more.  No less.  I’m a caveman dad.  Also…I’m tired of being Mean Dad; the strict one.  I want to be cool.  Like I used to be.  A long time ago.  Before anyone can remember.

Next stop…GameStop!  Every kid loves a store filled with video games.  I could get one for them, and continue my day of grunts and a “Hip! Hip! Hurray!” for Dad feeling.

“Dad. Can we get this game!?”.  I wanted to knock him over the head with it.  How dare he say ‘we’ as if my sweet Quinn was in on the deal.  The title read, “Call of Duty: Black Ops”.  It’s front cover was a gun-toting-tenacious soldier screaming and charging toward deadly bullets that whizzed past.  I know this game is heavy duty, but how cool would I be if I okayed it!?  So of course, “Uh huh”, I approved.  We drove home.  Sunroof open.  High on cool.

Enter Chapter 26 pt. 2: NincomNoob

It’s been a long day at school.  At tutoring.  At karate class.  A Shut The Heck Up Anti-Bully group.  And a stage diving tournament.  Once they get home, they finish their homework and chores towards freedom.  Freedom to take a load off.  Freedom to kick back and escape reality.  Watch them plop down into their gaming chairs and grab a controller.  Unlimited Gatorade and Doritos; we’re at their service.  Because on our watch, there’s no cigarettes.  No liquor.  No marijuana.  No cocaine.  No fentanyl.  Just pure unadulterated video game intoxications.  By the boatload.  “Just Say No” all we want, but out here on these parental streets we’re constantly making digital deals with our kids.  “Mom/Dad, if I do this and that…can I play FortNite?” and “Mom/Dad, I’ll do tomorrow’s chores today for 30 minutes (hit) of Nintendo.”.  We’re nothing but our babies’s Pusher.  No needles.  No pipes.  No scent.  The addiction is real, and we parental kingpins gain all the profit…time.  TIME to cook in a nice and quiet kitchen, TIME to fold a gigantic mound of clothes and listen to an obscene podcast.  Video games can earn us time.  As well as waste our time.  So, for our gaming children’s sake…let’s mind our ESRB(s) and our dosages.

Respawn.  Shotgun to the face.  I’m dead.  Respawn.  Knifed.  I’m dead.  Respawn.  Sniped.  I died again.  “This freakin’ kid!  Maaan!  Somebody log him off for a couple hours.  He’s too young to be this good.”, I tell the tv.  The kid’s screen name is impossible to read; he moves through the jungle at a menacing speed.  He’s a blur.  Firing loads of ammunition; a killing spree king is what he is.  And not only that, but he has a mouth no fouler than some of Mike Tyson’s old press conferences.

“If I could just kill him once…”, I thought.  Then I saw him!  Hiding behind a shed-like building and he had yet to see me.  It was an easy kill.  But before I could pull the trigger.  The kid was bum rushing towards me.  Hopping from side to side like a kangaroo killer firing off shots in mid-air, and getting closer with every reload.  My aiming skills were Grey Goose’d.  BOOM!  BOOM!  I was dead.  The murderous kid had struck again.  Only this time, before I could respawn…I watched him squat over my head.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Up and down.  The kid ‘teabagged’ my digitally dead face.  To which he said, “WHOADAD! You suck!”.

The following morning Kingston woke up.  “Dad, Can we play Call of Duty?”. “NO!! Never!”, I answered.

Chapter 80: Dukes Up


ROUND ONE: Kingston goes barrelling through Quinn’s pillow castle.  “It’s the KOOL-AID MAN CRASH folks! Unbelievable! What a punk move!”, I commentate.  ROUND TWO: a sneaky vengeful Quinn steals big brother’s bouncing ball and chucks it into the street.  “Oooh! LORENA BOBBITT! WHATTA SICKO!”, I announce.  Things are tensing up around here at MGM SKINNER and these two young-battling-savages are gambling with my patience.  ROUND THREE: Just when I thought she didn’t have anymore fight in her…Quinn delivers a flurry of vicious toothbrush whackings to Kingston’s blocking arms.  “OMG! The L.A.P.D! ” I call.  ROUND FOUR: A desperate Kingston, hungry for a win…clinches a fist full of her stuffed animals, and fires back with an overzealous face mooching.  “AYE!”, goes the break up.

Enter Chapter 80: Dukes Up

All we do is stand in between them, pull them apart, or talk them into a part-time peace treaty.  As parental referee’s we’ve got to let our siblings hash it out from time to time.  Sit back, drink our java, and watch them figure it out on their own.  Fighting alongside them every step of the way is the reason our crow’s feet need lotion.  Just keep in mind that no one has time for the Emergency Room.  So keep the Jerry Springer-chair-throwing to a minimum. Hush foul language. Hide the butter knives, and break up Eric Garner choke holds. Let the lessons of sibling conflict begin.

I’ve watched enough.  I ate leftovers standing over the trash can for ROUND ONE.  I unsuccessfully tried jumping rope as meditation for ROUND TWO.  ROUND THREE, I was doing laundry.  Annnnnd…during ROUND FOUR…I ran out of orange bitters! They (kids) got on my last nerve. My last straw. My last mixed drink with all the fancy stuff. It was time to stop the madness. “Kingston! Go to your room.  NOW! Quinn!  Downstairs. MOVE!”, I officiated.  They parted ways; sister pouting and brother stomping.  The house turned stiff, tense and smelled like it was “experiment dinner night”.  Homemade French fries, cheese, mashed potatoes, ground turkey with a side of bak choy and kale douced in a raspberry dressing.  “Kingston and Quinn! Come over and eat!”.  He poured her a drink, and she grabbed an extra fork for him.

Chapter Venti New Way Vay

The more I think about the phrase, “Speak english. This is America.“ the louder my spanish music plays. The louder the sound of accordions, synthesizers, trombones, trumpets, and percussions harmonizing together blare past our car windows. The three of us are headed to Kumon for some after school tutoring. It’s perfect out; a cool breeze blows through my balding afro, and a toasty sunshine beams down from the sunroof. We are alive and cruising the speed limit. Loving life because it’s cumbia time!

“NUNCA ES SUFICIENTE PARA ME/ PORQUE QUIERO MAS DE TI..” Natalia Lafourcade’s sweet voice sings. The band Los Angeles Azules backs her up. I’m in a mood almost mimicking the dysfunctional dualism of “America…Love it or Leave it” except its more of a “Join us or roll up your windows” vibe.

Enter Chapter Venti New Way Vay

Travel the world and we’ll hear Americans massacring the local language with the same ease of retelling a comedian’s joke. It’s starts off enthusiastically, then comes “No no that’s not it.”, then we’ll continue to tell the rest of the joke as if we’re walking on hot coals, and as soon as we realize our version of the joke is on a plane flying passed the punchline and kamakazi-ing into a field of crickets…we eject, “Ahhh forget it! Find it on YouTube! It’s so funny.”. Essentially, retelling a joke badly is the same as how Americans hacksaw through a foreign language. There’s no real respect for telling it or pronouncing it corrrectly. We’re linguistically lazy. It’s why guacamole is “gwak”, and Hawaiian street names are mocked as “Kamehalahulahoopa” back on the mainland.

Does our careless attitude with pronunciation of other languages while maintaining our obsession to perfect english hinder our children from respecting other cultures? Subconsciously our kids will remember how we chuckled at “Maria” or “Mohammad” mispronouncing “linoleum”. We’ll ask them to say it again, and again just for the cheap laugh. Meanwhile, without any attempt to speak Portuguese in Brazil or Italian in Italy, we’ll ask “Does anyone speak english?”. Perhaps it stems from our own fears of mispronouncing their language incorrectly because we know how we laugh at foreigner’s attempts to speak english. The key here is to champion linguistic mistakes. Foreigners are more likely to help us and respect us for attempting to take interest in their culture, and our children’s world view will broaden and hopefully inspire them to become multilingual American rarities.

Kingston and Quinn try to sing along. They’re a bit off key and their rolled R’s sound like a car whose engine wont start. At a red light, two separate drivers glance over at us in our fancy car and roll up their windows. I wondered if they’re the “Speak english. This is America.”, “Love it or Leave it”, or the “It’s too loud for my old ass” ilk. It didn’t matter now, the light has turned green. And listening to my kids attempt to sing in spanish is making me smile. This is the only time I turn the volume down. “Guys repeat after me.”, I tell them. “Mi corazon…(mi coh-rah-son, they repeat)…Estella por…(ess-ta-ya poor, they mimic)…Tu amor (two amour, they say)”. They didn’t know what they just said. “It means, my heart explodes for your love.”, I tell them. They laughed out loud and with that…it was back to cumbia time!

Chapter K9: Woof Meow Hiss

I like two pets. A mild mannered ol’ school black dog named Sherman and a quick-footed-curious tortoise named Olive. Neither are mine, which is how I like my pets. Sherman lives in Florida. Olive in Instagram land. My main dog, Kingston’s and Quinn’s most admired dog, Sherman is the coolest and smoothest canine I’ve known. I’m almost certain he walks on his hind legs, plays dominoes with gators, and has an awesome bartending game when no one is looking. As for my main pet-chick…Olive, she’s my personal favorite. The way she crawls around her chic apartment cage in her shiny-fashionable shell, the way she eats her veggies, and her hermit capabilities alone make me want to leave my life for a Manhattan loft above Whole Foods where I can “veg out” in futuristic furniture.

“Dad! I want a cat.”, Quinn says. “Noo! Red-bellied piranhas!”, Kingston counters. A cat. A fish. They’re nothing like Sherman and Olive. Firstly, they’d be in the house. In close proximity of me. They wouldn’t be pets at all. They’d be a responsibility. And secondly, I’m not trying to clean cat bones out from a fish tank.

Chapter K9: Woof Meow Hiss

Dogs are toddlers that eventually grow up to be responsible babysitting teenagers whom ultimately raid our liquor cabinet when we’re out on dinner dates. And let’s not get started on cats…those “teenagers” have sex on our beds, leave the condom wrapper, and look us dead into our eye and say “It wasn’t meeeeeow!”. Bottom line is pets are a lot of work. They’re very much like children. And for some of us, a family isn’t complete until their poop is in our hands. If having a pet is about teaching our children about life and death, by all means…own one. And if they’re not, but life and death is still a thing we want to teach our tikes…squash a snail, smash a spider, or pull over and examine road kill. However we decide, pets or not, animals can teach our kids a lot about life. So learn why our kids want them and do as you seem fit.

The three of us are walking to our community pool. We live in a pet friendly neighborhood and as always, despite the many plastic bag dispensers, there’s a pile of fresh-hot-squishy-poop on the sidewalk. “Hey guys, (pulling out a plastic bag from a dispenser)…pick this doo-doo-brown up!”, I test their aspiration for pets. “Eeeeewwwww!, Noooo!”, they scream, laugh and run away in disgust. “Ha!”, I win. No pets in my house. Long live Sherman and Olive.