The Ultimate Birthday Present

October 22, 2009

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This is my oldest son. He’s five today. He arrived on my 30th birthday, thus freeing me from having to celebrate my own for the near future.

I handed out a lot of advice during my last birthday post, and it all holds as true for him as for his brother.

Some things I have neglected to mention:

Stay in school
I don’t just mean put in an appearance. Make sure your education is important to you as you are to us. Keep going, push yourself and rise above the mediocrity that will surround you.

Go to college
Get a degree in something you want to do for the rest of your life. I blew off college until I felt it was too late to go back. I regret this mainly because it limits my earning power, which means it punishes you as much as it does me. The only difference is you had no choice. Don’t make my mistake.

Speaking of school… You’ll be headed there in a year. I’m anticipating/dreading that day. I want you to go and I know you’ll make me proud. I just have the somewhat justifiable fear that kids these days have turned into cruel, worthless bastards. It makes me feel that you’ll spend a large part of your day surrounded by the living, breathing equivalent of Youtube commenters.

Don’t let their stupidity and cruelty grind you down. I would hate to see your youthful innocence shattered but I know that time is coming. I dread this like nothing else in my life.

It may never come. You might be fortunate enough to just deal with a few jackasses. Either way, I know that the more I want to protect you from, the less you’ll be able to handle on your own. I think my knee-jerk reactions could be damaging, as I tend to favor the “hit them back” method of dealing with problem classmates. I’ll work on that because that goes against my better judgement but satisfies me more quickly.

But we won’t dwell on this. Those days will come and I’m sure we’ll all weather it just fine. Enjoy your birthday and lack of responsibility. Those days are numbered as well.



  1. Happy Birthday little guy!

    Great advice CLT. He’s a lucky kid to you have a dad like you.

    How does he feel about Imperial Teen?

    • He can sing along with “Shim Sham.” He also knows most of the words to songs featured in the Simpsons and Futurama. Oh, and a few from Home Movies. I once saw him throw a one-kid mosh pit while I was blasting a SebastiAn remix of “Killing in the Name.”

      He makes me very proud.

  2. Your boys are too gorgeous, CLT.

    I promised myself I wouldn’t cry either, but I’d be lying if I said my that eyes didn’t mist up (just a little) after reading that. And I don’t even have kids.

    Happy Birthday, little guy!

    Happy Birthday, CLT:)

    • Thanks, bschooled.

      I’m sure he’s going to be fine and in a few years I’ll wonder why I was so worried about it.

      After all, I went thru the same thing and turned out fine. Right?

      Anyway. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

  3. Whoops. And Happy Birthday to you as well, CLT!

    • Thanks, Alan. I’ve heard it phrased that way for the last five years.


  4. Wonderful advice CLT.

    I remember sending my boy off to his first day of school and feeling the same anticipation/dread. I feel it at every milestone…

    All the best and happy birthday to your boy.

    • Thank you, Don.

      It’s that whole “ending while beginning” that makes it tough. He goes from being “my boy” to belonging to the world, at least partially.

      Great to see you, Don.

  5. Great advice all around CLT!

    I can’t understand why I read these posts and look upon you as a father figure? I’m apparently a full year older. Since you claim that you’re immature, I must be really immature. The only advice that I can offer back is to spend as little time as possible worrying about anything in the future. Spend every second enjoying the moment with your kids, because they grow far too fast as it is. I’ve learned that from my own daughter, who’s now 10.

    Both of your kids are adorable; you are a lucky man!
    Happy birthday to both of you!!

    • Thanks for the advice on the advice, Scott.

      I “play” older as they say. And heavier. And always with outstretched arms.

  6. I would wish you a happy birthday but that is against my Jehovah’s Witness belief system. I’m sure you understand. It’s not that I am wishing you an unhappy birthday…I just can’t wish you a happy one.

    The answer to your angst is to equip the boy with a Taser. This can be used on both children and adults. I encourage indiscriminate use so it doesn’t seem like he is choosing sides. They say you should not aim at the chest but to not teach your child to shoot at “center mass” is just poor parenting. The only downside is you will be forced to change his schools frequently but this is not much of an issue in most metro areas.

    • This is perhaps the best advice I’ve had yet. I will be sure to keep them focused on the stopping power of aiming for center mass.

      The Taser is an incredibly powerful weapon when used by someone with the proper enthusiasm.

  7. Gaming the system cannot be stressed enough. The system is skewed against free thinkers, so play the close-minded chumps for the suckers they are.

    Thanks for the input, RF.

  8. Happy birthday all around…sweet looking kid. Great advice too.

  9. Awww I missed a cub’s birthday!! And the Tamer’s as well! I will punish myself severely unless someone else volunteers to do it. All I can do is hope to appease my favorite Tamers with a video:

    • Thanks for the kind words and the video appeasement. They loved it (meaning both of us).

  10. And my darling little cub, here’s my advice. Always listen to your parents. Dad’s a genius and Mom’s wonderful for putting up with him.

    • So far the cub is not “on point” with the whole listening thing. But thanks for the compliments.

  11. Do you ever buy him something that’s really for you?

    • That’s what PS2 games are for. When it says “Fun for the Whole Family” we’re usually just talking me.

  12. PS2? Say what?

    • The PS3 is for me. The PS2 still has a healthy library of games, etc.

      Hi, I’m the underachieving salesboy at Gamestop.

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