My name is Christopher Garlington and I write these stories because my kids are TRYING TO KILL ME. One day in the not too distant future, some-trench coated Chicago detective will find himself loading my straight-jacketed and babbling carcass onto the paddy wagon for the insane asylum and ask himself, What happened to this guy? This blog is the answer.
How I Got This Way:
My own childhood was fraught with ridiculous and harrowing acts of stupidity and I am lucky to be alive. In my youth were countless moments when, unknowingly, I stared into death’s jaws; countless times when the probability of gaining the nickname “stumpy” was improbably high. There were concussions, live burials, forest fires, demolitions, and public nudity. I was morbidly obsessed with fire, electricity, poisonous snakes, fire, BB guns, power tools, fire, wind-powered home-made go karts, fire, flames, incendiary devices, matches, and fire.
Yet I managed to make it into adulthood intact, trick a brilliant, hot scientist/attorney/scrabble-addict to marry me, then impregnated her.
When my daughter was born I sighed with relief: surely a girl won’t get into the tortuous predicaments I embraced as a boy.
What an idiot.
Shortly after that, my son showed up and I set out to mold him into a better, smarter, more awesome version of myself.
What an idiot.
Parenting is Hard!
There are two mistakes I’ve made with my children. First, I’ve always told them the truth. No matter how uncomfortable, I vowed to always answer any question as honestly and fully as possible. In hindsight, I can see where I went wrong there.
a) Kids do not care what you think. If the words coming out of your mouth don’t add up to food or television, their eyes will glaze over and they’ll start daydreaming about setting the curtains on fire.
b) Children are malicious, mean-spirited, cocky, impatient, and more often than not, smarter than you; they will see through your insipid hippy manifesto as soon as you answer some dingbat question in detail; they will then confer with friends, abuse Google, and watch R rated movies when you aren’t looking; they will lie in wait until the preacher comes over for a cup of coffee whereupon they will march into the kitchen and announce, “My dad told me how to masturbate,” grab a cookie and leave.
Secondly, I told my children true stories about my childhood instead of making stuff up. I should have lied. I should have told them stories exemplifying courage, character, and leadership. Instead, I told them the truth. I told them stories about catching snakes, building swamp boats, chasing wild boars, setting things on fire, complex and nearly fatal pranks involving farm machinery, learning to drive, electric urine disasters, sneaking into government facilities, and smoking. And drinking. There might have been a few brief tales about carousing—I can’t remember them all.
I Offer Painfully Earned Advice for Parents New and Old
Apparently—and someone should have told me this beforehand—kids take a lot of cues in their moral and critical thought development from—this will blow your mind–their parents stories!
Consequently, Malcolm, down at poison control, knows me by name; there are paramedics who can point my son out in a crowd; and the guys at the bowling alley cheerfully (in unison) greet the boy as “Cheesefry!”
I’ve tried to fix it. The kids will say “tell me a story about your childhood, Dad!” and I’ll launch into a hilarious tale about school safety preparation or emergency exits whereupon they will stab me with scissors then beat me with implements until I break down.
Then I tell them.
I tell them everything.
So welcome. Welcome to my parenting disaster. As my son is still pretty young, I imagine I’ll have plenty to write about and, as I lived a totally immature life well into my 30s 40s, there’s plenty of back-story to fill in on boring weeks when the kids make it through without breaking anything, getting arrested, or blowing themselves up.
In regards to the apparent vested interest I have in my children engaging in highly dangerous and potentially lethal activities:
a) My wife’s a lawyer;
b) Please see “Disclaimers.”