July 22

Kill All The Muslims

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This wonderful country, the U.S. Of A., has a pervasive sickness eating away at the values Americans hold true. Maybe I didn’t become so aware of it when I was younger. Maybe I was blinded by my love for lacing up my boots, spiking my mohawk, and idolizing Edward Norton in American History X.

Racism is alive and thriving, America.

I remember stomping around, a drunken, angsty teen with a disdain for other races. Always talking about how I was ready to curb stomp any and everyone of color. And why not? I was young, angry, looking for someone to blame for the things in my life. It was almost too easy to hate others for the color of their skin than accept the fact that I wasn’t doing shit to change my circumstance.

It was the dirty towelhead at the gas station. The nigger in the park. The fucking jew at the bank. It wasn’t me. I was just a victim. A victim to those of color destroying my fuckin’ American Dream. In post 9-11 it is so easy to hate. Any brown-skinned, turban wearing middle eastern is a fucking terrorist.

“FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING SAND NIGGER” 

I shouted, as I threw my empty forty at the gas station. Why? Well, he asked for my ID when I went to buy cigarettes.

Young.

Angry.

Misguided.

Racist.

I didn’t see anything wrong with my actions. It was who I was. I was taking a stand for the true Americans. The ones that didn’t like planes being flown into their buildings.

There was a time when I would have joined the comment sections on Facebook, where American “heroes” sit and post comments like “We should just bomb the hell out of the Middle East” “Kill em all!”.

How brave and noble. Oh look, you got 547 likes on your comment about killing a whole race of people. I wonder if Mohammed in Downtown Baghdad reads that site too and sees you and 547 other individuals think him and his people should be blown out of existence.

I ask you, what genocide in history do we celebrate? 

When in history do we cheer on the person trying to eradicate a whole race of people?

Go ahead, I will wait.

Now imagine Mohammed in Downtown Baghdad. Reading comment after comment about the Arabs. The Muslims. The Goatfuckers.

I wonder if he has a pair of boots.

Watching American History X in my youth gave me a morbid and disturbing love for my country. It filled me with a need to reclaim my country from those of color. 9-11 made Muslims the obvious targets for my hatred and misguided blame.

The real threat to this country is teaching our sons and daughters to hate a whole race of people based on their creed and their skin color. Fuck, even their goddamn name.

Ever notice people that don’t agree with the president always throw out that he is a muslim (he isn’t) and his middle name. Usually in caps.

Barack HUSSEIN Obama! It is his fault. He is one of them.

I hate to break it to you, the real problem in this country isn’t the threat of impending terrorist acts. It is the fact that people use those acts as a jumping point to breed hatred. They use those points as propaganda to look at a race one way. Down the barrel of a gun.

As an angry disenfranchised youth American History X was my bible. My matching tattoos with the main character could probably give away the deep love I had for the movie.

Had.

Have.

The movie is notorious for one scene. Where Derek curb stomps a man. The scene is gruesome, you can hear the man’s teeth grate against the concrete.

In my youth I watched the movie but never truly watched it. I saw what I wanted to see. An excuse to hate people for no reason other than the pigment of their skin.

The movie still holds a special place on my mantle. We also have a VHS version, it recorded on DVR and a spare copy boxed up somewhere. In all my adoration of AMX I missed the point because I was too busy taking what I wanted from the message.

So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it. Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'

-Danny Vineyard, American History X

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July 21

The Diner Song

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Jr’s Shack is an amazing diner down the street from my house. You really can’t beat their pancake stacks, warm environment and good cup of coffee. While it isn’t a four star breakfast or anything, the atmosphere is unbeatable. Whenever I go there usually the dining area is about 3/4 full. Old men sit and drink coffee while exchanging stories. It has its regulars as well as people like myself who occasionally drop in with my family.

We like the go to Jr’s Shack because it is a bit loud, the kids can be a bit loud, and the customer service is ALWAYS top notch. Would I consider it a classy joint? I mean, it is a hometown favorite. Everyone who has grown up in this area has at least been to The Shack, JR’s Shack or The Shack in Groton at least once. Not many places around here have the praise these joints have.

Now, this isn’t just a plug for a great place to eat if you are ever in my area. This obviously is leading toward something. If you haven’t been on Facebook and seen recently, EVERYONE is talking about Marcy’s Diner. For those not in the know, the owner of this diner decided to yell at a child who had been unruly in her establishment. Many have fierce opinions on this and I wouldn’t be a true parent blogger if I didn’t weigh in on it.

It absolutely floors me that this woman stands by what she did and believes it was okay. I am sorry, but if someone yelled at my child I would flip. The. Fuck. Out.

Look, this wasn’t some five star restaurant on the upper East Side. This was a fucking diner in Maine. The type of establishment you should be able to take your unruly kids to with the understanding that even though your eggs are greasy your kid can be a little bit of a snot. I get it, this kid was an asshole. I am sure the kid was the biggest little douche this side of New England. It is a fucking diner though. I happen to have two little two year old’s that enjoy going into public and being assholes.

This isn’t to say the parents of this child are not in the wrong. When my kids are being unruly in public I usually take them outside to play while the food gets made. Then, we scarf down our food like its an eating competition before high tailing it out of there after dropping a giant “I am sorry my kids are monsters” tip for the waitress or waiter.

No one should yell at a child that isn’t theirs though. I don’t see how that is right or how any parent could even think that is okay. Without knowing ANYTHING about this kid or the asshole parents that is just wrong to me. And another thing- I don’t know what they had been through before finding that diner. Neither do you. Some days are just bad. The kid wakes up and by lunch time you need to call a priest to perform an exorcism or drop your kid off at the fire department with a note that says “find him a good home”. What if that two year old had special needs? Is it okay to just assume parents don’t know how to parent and scream at their kid?

No. I am sorry, but it is not. No one should ever feel like they have the right to discipline SOMEONE ELSE’S child. Ask them to leave your restaurant, you have that right. You don’t have the right to shout at someone else’s kid.

The diner owner stands by her actions because the kid stopped being unruly. She is lucky that the mom didn’t get unruly and punch her in the fucking head like my wife probably would have, I can see that headline.

“Wife of world renown super famous Punk Rock Papa punches a restaurant owner in the head for yelling at the cutest twins in the world.” 

It isn’t okay to yell at someone else’s kids, whether you own the joint or not. When my friends bring their youngsters to my house I don’t get open season on their asses because I own the place. The same goes for some diner in Maine.

You don’t get to parent other people’s kids, no matter how they are acting.

And to the parents of that little child who got yelled at- I seriously doubt your fucking two year old is traumatized by an angry bitch yelling in their face. Get over yourself and focus more on parenting your child and less on trying to be internet famous.

You both suck, the owner just sucks a little more than you do this time around.

Jr’s Shack is delicious and they get twenty dollar tips because they don’t yell in my kid’s faces.

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July 19

Punk As A Toddler

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When I had the twins I fully embraced fatherhood for what it was. A crash course in growing up. As every friend who had drunkenly declared me to be “like family” fell off I quickly embraced being a dad.

It was a lot of fun. There was now meaning to life. There is a certain fulfillment that comes with raising kids. From milestones to just run of the mill days where you sit and share a bowl of ice cream. You can catch yourself with a little sense of pride and love. The things that were once important, beer pong and forties, have nothing on the feeling of joy that comes with a half hour of giving your kid a piggyback around the house.

And then you get in the toddler years, where your kid decides to break in to the heavily guarded kitchen and smash a carton of eggs while you were using the bathroom. Or, while you are cleaning said eggs up, when your son decides to dip his head in the toilet bowl. Why would he do that? You look on in pure wonder at what would cause a kid to dunk their head in a toilet only to see them spiking up their hair. Because you taught them spiking up their hair was cool.

It is at this time, despite all the love in the world, you start trying to take the old xbox apart in search of a flux capacitor to take you back to before walking and independence.

Seriously, my kid dunked his own head in the toilet. We have to go back. How about when your kid took a pen to his arms and legs then while you asked him why he would do that he just pointed at your tattoos. You can’t even help but smile and fill with pride as you sit there scrubbing pen away.

I thought we partied hard before kids. I have NEVER been to a party where someone dunked their head in a toilet to fix their hair. How about when the dog ran out and two toddlers hustled behind her shouting “Stelwa! No! Oh, noo! STELWA!” before the dog ducked its head in embarrassment and circled back inside.

Life is different now. There is no denying that! I have toddlers who like to jump on the couch while listening to Rage Against the Machine. Toddlers that throw water bottles and go, “Oh SHeeeit!” (burying my head in shame there).

Ever been choked by a toddler while his brother socks you in the nuts? I have, too many times to count.

What am I saying? I don’t know, too sleep deprived from the roller coaster rave toddler party that has been my life for over two years now. We have enjoyed this party hard lifestyle so much we decided to add a third to the mix. That and we don’t really know how to properly use contraceptives apparently.

You want hardcore, punk as fuck living? Kids are way more true to the punk lifestyle than anything I did before them. My kids like to spin in circles before trying to walk and crashing into a heap of laughter. Have you ever spun really fast and then busted your ass? I mean, I am sure you have gotten super drunk and busted your ass. Toddlers do that on the daily, for enjoyment.

My little homegrown anarchists enjoy Mickey Mouse, Dropkick Murphy’s. And CRUSHING sippy cups of milk. When that is done they like to run up on little girls in the grocery store and extend their hands out asking to be picked up.

My kids are WAY cooler than any friend I ever lost. I live my life now with three little wildcards. Sure, there are diaper blowouts and tantrums but honestly? Honestly this is the best fucking time I have had, ever.

The crazy shit my kids do. Like climbing the bar style chairs we have, totally tops all the things I did to be wild and crazy. Seriously, they have been climbing these chairs since they could raise themselves up. No fear, nothing. I once climbed on a roof and then sat up there for an hour questioning what made me think climbing on to a roof was a good fucking idea.

My kids have me beat in the crazy cool category. Even how they dress. Shirt, inside out head through an arm hole. Wow, that is fucking style, mate. Not to mention the two legs in one leg hole of shorts that are pulled up to their stomach.

These kids do something I always thought I did. They go to the beat of their own drum. You can’t help but love that about kids. They are too young to realize there are things like social etiquette. And seriously, that is punk. Kids have the joy of living life to the fullest. When pesky parents aren’t always interfering in the fun they smash eggs, dunk their heads in toilets and jump around screaming to Social Distortion.

It is something to be envious of. Living young and free. Honestly, a part of me never wants to break that craziness. Fuck social norms. And fuck my old friends. This toddler crew is way more bad ass than anyone I ever rolled with.

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I am just kidding old friends, please come babysit these punks.

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July 13

Times They Are A Changin

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How can a twenty-four year old struggle keeping up with the world? Well, when you factor in the forty plus hours I spend at work and couple it with my desire to be present for my kids- I am falling behind on all things hip. When I get free time I spend it writing about my kids or trying to keep the spark alive in my marriage. I don’t have time to keep up with a world that just keeps goddamn spinning. 

Trying to understand the latest in the greatest going on with the world has left much to be desired. According to the news every black person is a thug and all cops have a tendency to use lethal forces when not necessary. If you flip from the depressing state of affairs you can weigh in on what is appropriate or inappropriate for a female to wear and how men should not have any sexual drive towards revealing clothes. Flags, don’t even want to go down that path as there are those on both sides who fiercely oppose the opposite. Same-sex marriage is on its way to falling under the plain old marriage category while people busy themselves mud slinging in the name of beliefs. We live in 2015 and currently everything is a fiercely debated topic. The news is trending if only so people can sit and spew opinions as fact. There is no regard for their fellow man.

Sitting my kids down, I tell them all I have learned:

  • Blacks aren’t people, they are thugs.
  • Avoid cops, as your skin is a shade too different to not leave the encounter in a body bag.
  • Don’t be attracted to a woman in a revealing outfit.
  • Avoid women all together, because even a compliment can be construed as sexual harassment.
  • Hide the things that bring you pride under your bed.
  • The sanctity of marriage is NOW ruined, insanely high divorce rates hadn’t nailed that coffin shut long ago.
  • Expect the world to be unfair and people to embrace ignorance over human rights.
  • Keep your head down and your mouth shut, it will just be easier this way.

Look at how easily out of hand things can get and how, thanks to the internet, things are permanent. I find myself more ill prepared to raise children than ever. What do we teach our kids? Teach them beliefs and a system of rights and wrongs that will eventually get them flogged in the court of public opinion?

It is far too easy to just say, “teach them to be accepting and not judgmental”. This world is nothing if not full of one party of people not accepting and judging another party of people.

Growing up, I bought into the belief that the American Dream was real. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those words, they resonated with me. I truly believed this world, and what was done in it, was up to me. Fantasies of “making it” flew through my head.

I look back at the trust I held in that message. That life is what you make of it. I needed to believe in it as a truth. It needs to be real.

When looking at my kids, I have to have conviction when I tell them, “You can be anything you want to be.”

All children deserve to grow up with that mentality.

It is why I write.

Write free, Motherfucker. I write with passion and throw myself behind my words. Someday I hope to have something to show my kids. My own little published slice of the American Dream.

We have to believe that this world is a place that can be changed for the good. For our kids’ sake, the world needs to be a place where any and every person can carve out their own piece of happy.

And so, I sit her, unprepared to raise kids in a world that is just dead set on beating them down.

I write, in hopes to prove the American Dream is alive and well for my children’s sake.

I tell my kids, with conviction, that they can grow up to be happy and make it on their own terms. They just need to stand tall in the face of adversity. The world is theirs to shape and mold. Getting knocked down is just a chance to get back up.

I say every cliché I know as self-evident truths. Even when the world doesn’t make sense, it is their world to change as they see fit. Nothing can bar them. No obstacle stands in the way that can’t be overcome.

I teach my kids to believe in themselves just as much as I believe in them. Then I hope it is enough for them to tackle the world.

Times they are a changin’, and they don’t have to always be for the worse.

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July 9

The Least Punk Admission, Ever.

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When the toilet breaks I fix it. Laundry is done by my wife. I fire up the grill and my wife washes dishes. This was how it was before kids and how it will be throughout my kid’s lives.

My son’s are young but show the traits of liking “boy” things. Our house is a clutter of cars, trains, and fake tools. Most of the toys were bought for them by family and friends. When we go to the store and they see a toy they like, which is usually a toy car or tool set, we buy it for them.

They have never shown the slightest interest in the color pink. Killian is a fan of green while his brother shows an affinity for blue.

They like to play in the dirt, eat it even, and you can’t stop them from wrestling with each other.

They are boys, who do boy things.

Is there something wrong with that?

I don’t think so. My wife doesn’t do the things she does around the house in some sort of gender defined role. For some families, it isn’t about something being a man’s or woman’s job; it’s about what works. My wife does the dishes, because she doesn’t like to eat off streaky plates. I grill because it is something I enjoy doing. My kids like what they like, because, well, cars are awesome.

I don’t let the thought that something might be a “boy thing or girl thing” factor into their lives. If they wanted a Barbie, then cool! But, they don’t. That stuff doesn’t interest them. There is nothing wrong with boys being boys.

In this day and age I feel almost pressured to get my kids dolls, just to show how much my family “gets it”. The truth though? My boys do boy things, My wife does things like prepare us lunch and bring me drinks and I do things like fix appliances. We are a mostly traditional household, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that. There is nothing wrong with having a household set up a way that works for your family.

This isn’t an attack on those trying to break down gender roles. Quite the contrary. This is respect. I respect parents who love their kids and want their kids to be happy no matter what. I respect families that do things in the way that benefits their family most. It really should only be about making it work in your family, not other’s issues with your family model.

I want my little boys to do little boy things and it isn’t because they are boy things. It is that these are the things they enjoy. I enjoy having these common interests with them, I won’t lie. If they wanted to play in pink tutus though you know where I would be? I would be at the store looking for a tutu my size just so I could share in the joy with them.

Nothing my family does is under the guidelines of whether this is a male or female thing to do. Before taking a look at our life for this piece I didn’t even think “I am fixing this because I am man and man good with tools.”. My wife doesn’t busy herself at the sink thinking Mrs. Cleaver would be proud and my boys don’t race their cars under the premise of doing guy stuff. This is just how our life lines up. This is us. This is my family. We are happy this way.

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July 5

Wake For Young Souls

As a father of three boys I usually go the route of fake it til’ you make it. This means for a good part of the day I pretend to know what I am doing while my fingers are crossed hoping that something I have done hasn’t irrevocably fucked my kids up. Most days end with a pat on the back and a small fist pump. Others, well, they end with me staring down the bottle trying to drown out the recurring ringing in my head that is a result of listening to screaming kids all day. It is amazing how they can layer their tantrums so well some days.

Honestly though, every day is tough. There is no perfect parenting formula and even if there was I missed out on getting my blueprint on how to raise a responsible adult. Even the most well equipped parents find themselves screwing up along the way. I guess that is relative to perception though, no? I see someone with a lot of money and a son who just got thrown in jail for snorting blow out of a hooker’s ass crack and wonder, “What went wrong, they have everything!” without truly knowing what goes on in their life.

I do know that in my life I live with genuine bonafide fear.  I am scared to fuck up. Not just in the, “Oh, I snapped at my kid once on a bad day” or “I forgot to bake cookies for my kid’s class today”. I mean genuinely fuck these boys up, for life. Snort blow out of a hooker’s ass crack mess up their lives.

At any moment I am at risk of teaching my children the wrong thing. Something that might not be applicable to the future. Teaching them some bad habit. Unknowingly promoting poor behaviors. Every second I spend with my kids is another gamble. Double or nothing I manage not to permanently scar my kids. Parenthood has given me anxiety I never had before. I have THREE boys looking to me to learn how to behave and get along in this world. I have to provide them with the proper tools to succeed and when I look at it I feel absolutely ill-equipped for that job. Prepping three for the future. A future I have no idea of.

What are they learning from me? I hope it’s this or this. I don’t know though, no one does really, right?

All I can do is day in and day out go about parenting to the best of my abilities. My inability to predict the future drives me insane. How can I fix what I don’t know is broken?

When I fuck up, I fear it fucks up my children. Most days I think I have it right and even if I don’t I hope I have it right enough to raise well balanced boys. If I don’t? We will find out twenty years down the road when they are taking turns snorting from hooker’s ass cracks.

I can’t quit my kids, regardless of the fear and anxiety they instill. It is all rooted in love for them and a want for them to be the best individuals they can be. I attack parenting with a tenacity. From cuddling to disciplining, I do it all out of love and hope. I love my children so much that it keeps me up at night whether or not I am doing right by them. I hope I am. I hope, at the very least, I am raising three children who grow up to worry about the lessons they are teaching as much as I do.

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