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Ferris Bueller No More

Drunken parties, packed bars, wet and wild (you fill in the blank). Yep, my weekend had it all. However, it did not include anything noted above. In fact, it was plain and ordinary.

I was 19 (or somewhere in that age range) and on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River. Cloudless sky, brilliant sun, light breeze, low 80’s –a beautiful Spring day. Some friends of mine and I were lounging on the river bank watching the water flow on. It was as if we were ready to film a beer commercial.
And yet…
“Yo man, I’m bored.”
“What do you want to do,” S asked. He was one of my closest friends during the high school and college years.
“I don’t know. Something.”
“Dude, it’s a beautiful day, and we’re all hanging out. What do you want?”
I looked around at the array of friends and acquaintances lounging around and sighed. “This is boring. I want an adventure.”
“An adventure? Who do you think you are Ferris Bueller?”
“I love that movie. Don’t mess with Ferris!”
“I know you do. How many times have you seen that movie?”
“A lot.” Sticking my hand out in greeting, “Abe Froman, sausage king, Chicago.”
“I know you know the movie by heart.”
“I weep for the future.”
“Okay, Abe I got it.”
“Anyway, what would be so wrong with a Ferris Bueller like adventure?”
“We’re not in the movies.”
I don’t remember how that afternoon ended. It was probably via some chemically induced haze.
So, I had it all and was bored. I wanted more.

Here’s a sampling of the events I experienced this past weekend:
Playdates for both of the boys,
Meaningful conversation with my wife,
Praying at the synagogue on Sabbath,
Tasty meals,
Food Shopping,
Playoff Football,
Vacuuming,
Writers group meeting,
Playing golf on the Wii.

There’s more, and it’s equally mundane. I’ll spare you the details. I’ll bet you had some of these and more on your plate this weekend as well. So you can fill in your own details.

You could say I did not have much going on this weekend. Yet, when Sunday night rolled around, I turned to my wife and said, “I wish it was a three day weekend.”

So, while I still know most of the lines and would be happy to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day off, I don’t need the same adventure. However, there are days. Nah, let me stop there. The plain and ordinary suited me quite nicely, thank you.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Saving the Moon

What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) It’s a Wonderful Life

I was driving home from an errand last night, Wednesday. It was around 5:15 when I looked up in the sky. I was struck, nearly dumbfounded with what I saw – the biggest whitest moon I ever saw. For a moment, I convinced myself that I could reach up and touch it or at least drive to the horizon and be enveloped in it.

As I drove home, I had to continually remind myself to look at the road and be aware of the traffic. Driving 101 – right? Well, yesterday, this basic driving necessity was truly a struggle. Instead of giving the road my full concentration, I followed the moon which seemed to be moving as I moved. I imagined G-d was playing volleyball.  I remained mesmerized and marveled over nature the whole ride home, “It’s so huge, isn’t it especially bright, is it following me home?”

I had to share this beautiful moon with my family.

I walked in, and my wife was sitting at the kitchen table working.

“Come outside. I have to show you something.”

“What? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. Just come. You have to see this.”

“It’s cold.”

“Just put on your jacket and come with me. Trust me.”

She got on her jacket and followed me outside. I brought her to a spot where you could the moon was visible. I put my hands on her shoulders and said, “Look at the moon. Isn’t it amazing?’

She was quiet for a moment, taking in the amazing sight. She smiled, “thanks for giving me the moon.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Now, let’s go back in the house. It’s cold.” We walked back together.

Later I brought SJ outside. It was after his shower. He wore his winter coat. He was shoeless so I carried him on my shoulders.  When we got outside, I said, “Look at the moon. Isn’t it awesome?”

“Wow, it’s so big!”

“Doesn’t it look like you could touch it?”

“Hmm. I don’t know. I’m cold. Let’s go inside.”

“Don’t you want to look at the moon some more?”

“No, I just want to go inside.” He wasn’t impressed.

Later on, I took BR out who was dressed similarly to SJ. BR decided to walk. When we got outside, I said “Check out that moon. Look how big it is.”

“That’s it? You brought me out here to see the moon. I’m going back in.”

“Don’t you think it looks huge?”

“I’m going back inside.”

I guess the children aren’t ready for the moon. Well, my version of Mary liked it, and so did I.  Next time, I’ll save the moon for my wife and me.

 

 
51 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Superpower

One question that rattles around my brain on occasion – particularly after watching Superhero movies – is what superpower I would like to have. Now, I am sure we all have our (it’s not just a boy thing – is it?) superheroes. I am a Batman person myself (LOVED The Dark Night).  Anyway, it would be nice to have his powers – capabilities would be more accurate. However, the ability I would choose is brilliance!

This question always makes for a good conversation with my classes – particularly the freshmen. They come up with all kinds of answers and always seemed surprise when I reveal what superpower I would like. They very well may be thinking that is such a teacher answer. Yet for my wish, I can’t imagine wanting anything else.

I would like to think that this wish says that I respect intelligence and knowledge. As a matter of fact, I respect and admire knowledge and those who are very intelligent. I enjoy being in their company and hearing what they have to say.

On occasion, my mom will say it is not good to be so smart. And no, she is not saying that when I am being sarcastic. She believes many brilliant people are not as happy.  They lack people skills or are perpetually caught up in deep thought. While this is not an uncommon perception, there does not seem to be any clear proof that brilliant people are, on the whole, less happy than ‘normal’ people. At least, that is what my brief Google search has told me. See, I wouldn’t know. I am not brilliant.

I am an intensely curious person and read a lot. What would it be like to remember all I read and be able to satiate that curiosity? How would my like be different? Truthfully, I don’t know

I don’t know if my life would be better if I were brilliant. However, I am willing to take that chance. As they say, knowledge is power. So, maybe I am simply power hungry.

Imagine if you could learn things easily and remember things readily. Am I the only one who saw the move Limitless and thought that I would take that pill? Look at the way the protagonist, Eddie, was able to use his gift of awesome intelligence to accomplish great things.  By the way, I once read that we only use a small percentage of our brains whereas Einstein used just a bit more and look what he was able to accomplish.

You have thought about this question before, right? So, what superpower would you choose to have?  I am going to ask my wife and children. I wonder what they will say.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Vacation Enthusiasm

Vacation is all I ever wanted. Vacation — have to get away.

The Go-Gos

We like to wait till the last week of summer for our vacation. It gives us something to enjoy before the return of the routine. Anyway, my family and I are on vacation at the Jersey Shore (no television cameras in sight).  Family vacations with young children are judged by different standards. Relaxation is out.  Get real. Go, go, go is in. That going has been lots of fun.

I have a confession. Please don’t go to the authorities. My children are destroying our environment. Not very The Lorax of them.

My children are responsible for beach erosion. BR, in particular, is a mobile sandstorm. He, along with his cousin, built a mountain by the ocean. By the time he left the beach he was covered in sand – so much in his ears I don’t know how he heard – and erosion was occurring.

The oceans are receding. And I know why. SJ loves the ocean. He dives into the waves. He ends up swallowing mouthfuls of water (despite my repeated objections).  It leads to him burping like a frat brother and the recession of the seas.

BR wallowed in the sand. He did not care that it got in every crevice of his body. He did not pay any mind to the itchy annoying feeling created when sand sticks to one’s body. When the water came up and knocked down his mountain of sand, BR neither complained nor yelled. He surveyed the situation and moved back further on to the beach. Shovel in hand, he got to work with a smile on his face.

SJ got knocked down and pushed around by the waves. Each time he got back up, turned around, and headed right back in to the water. The salt water swished into his eyes. He squinted his eyes and rubbed them against my shirt (which was also wet). He prepared for the next wave and smiled.

Isn’t youthful enthusiasm great? The children don’t accept no. Whether it’s their creations getting destroyed or their bodies knocked down, they get back up. They don’t allow anything to stop their fun.

Determination, resilience, and joy. Great, isn’t it! I could certainly learn a lesson from my boys’ youthful enthusiasm.

Couldn’t you?

 
22 Comments

Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Not Even the Godfather

“Look how they massacred my boy,” The Godfather, Don Corleone cries. In this famous scene from one of the great movies (and book, of course) of all time, The Godfather is distraught because he could not save Sonny, his oldest son. This powerful man, who controlled politicians and policemen, weeps with the knowledge that his son’s fate was beyond his control.

It’s summer and therefore, school’s out. There is no homework, teacher conferences, behavioral charts, and bagged lunches. It’s camp time which means trips, games, and swimming. Summer camp is stress free – well, it’s supposed to be.

Deciding where to send SJ to camp was a pretty simple decision for my wife and I. Last year, he attended the town camp and LOVED it. He was smiling and talking about it all the time and was wishing for camp on Sunday. He wore the camp tee-shirt throughout the year, and in February, SJ began asking how much longer till camp? On top of his sheer delight, the camp was very reasonable. Kid loved the camp, and it was reasonable – we were set. Or so we thought.

When camp began this year, SJ was out of his head with excitement, and his joy was our joy. On the way to his third day of camp, SJ and I were taking.

“Who do you play with at camp?”

“I play by myself.”

“Really, how come?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sad about that? Don’t you want to play with the other kids? Wouldn’t that be more fun?”

“Silly Daddy. It’s okay to play yourself. You can still have fun.”

While I found the situation upsetting, SJ was clearly okay with it.

As the first week came to an end, SJ was no longer okay with his new situation. His excitement for camp was clearly lessened. As I dropped him off, his counselor remarked, “Why aren’t you smiling today?

He is one of the youngest kids at the camp. Last year, that did not matter because he happily played with two kids who were in his age range. This year was different. One of his friends from last year returned, but he is playing with a kid who is two years older than SJ. The older boy is not interested in playing with SJ. In fact, he is ignoring him.

SJ is the most gregarious (once he gets over his initial shyness) person in our family and very much enjoys playing with other kids. He thrives in the company of others – always smiling and trying to make others smile. However, he is on the immature side and tends to do better with kids that are younger. SJ sometimes misreads social situations. In addition, his low muscle tone causes him to shy away when horseplay gets intense.

My wife has spoken to SJ about the social challenges he is facing at camp. She has encouraged him to play with those who want to play with him. We have both spoken to the counselor. My wife has knocked her head against the wall trying to think of how to make the situation better. In other words, she has been a mom.

Maybe, this situation can’t be made better. Maybe SJ will have to deal with it and find other kids to play with.

Regardless of what my wife and I do, SJ (and BR) will go through situations in life where friendships change and no longer work. They will face rejection. Their situations will upset us, their parents, but we will just have to do our best to support our children and give them the strength to deal with whatever comes along. Even the powerful Don Corleone couldn’t make it all good for his children.

 

 
32 Comments

Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Oscar Says No

Tree of Life – eitz chaim as my people call it. In this case, however, I am talking about the movie. It is nominated for an Oscar for best picture.  As a movie lover who does not find time to get to the movies very often, I rely on Netflix. Anyway, I try to watch those movies up for awards.  It makes the show more interesting, and I figure if it is up for an award, the movie must be half decent.

Now, back to the Tree of Life – uggh. I don’t get it. My wife actually clapped when it was finally over. Now normally when people clap, it is to show enjoyment, appreciation, and approval. Well, let’s just say that was not the case here. Actually, the clapping was to show enjoyment – that the movie was over!  Maybe, it was too deep, maybe I did not pay attention enough, maybe I was not prepared to think as much as the movie demanded. Now, the story itself – what I got out of it at least – was somewhat interesting. However, the interludes or the artsy stuff to put it formally were odd, annoying, and unnecessary. Even more so, these interludes added nothing to the movie.

Well, you cross Tree of Life off my to see list. Next up is The Help. My vote for best picture is still available.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Movie Time

I love movies. Comedies, drama, and action movies – I like all kinds of movies. Must have entertainment. I like the whole movie experience – unga bunga, give me popcorn. So, it is no surprise that as I mentioned previously, I LOVE NETFLIX! I want to shout it loud. I want everyone to know. I think it is an awesome system. I get a movie, watch it, put it in my mailbox, and two days later I have another movie. I do not have to leave my house – all my entertainment arrives in my mailbox. They even use the word queue, a nice, dignified, and reasonable term, to note the list of movies I have waiting for me. Beau-ti-ful.  I just wish I had bought stock in the company a couple of years ago.

Summers are the time when I make my way through my queue sometimes seeing as many as 20 movies in the months of July and August. I catch up on movies that I was not able to get to the previous winter. So, seeing all those movies is a type of organizing. Well, I tell myself this as it makes me feel that it really is a good use of time. Also, I get to eat popcorn. Why does it taste better with a movie? I’ve watched movies just so I could eat popcorn.

What’s the point? This summer has been mediocre. Mediocre! Sing it with me. That’s all I seem to see this summer.  Nothing has been that kind of movie that makes you put down the computer so you don’t miss one line of dialogue. They are all reviewed by wife and me as “it was okay. Some good parts. No, Sara, you did not miss much when you fell asleep.”  I need more. So, can you help me? Do you have a recommendation? Please. The summer is almost over, and I need a good movie.  Darn Hollywood!

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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