This boy with the “Great” shirt is my son, Yuri. He’s enjoying a blueberry milkshake complete with a bright red straw. It was a few years ago when we were going around Hood River’s Fruit Loop, back when I still obeyed the food pyramid and consumed sugar for energy.
Yuri tends to tell the truth, but he just turned nine. No matter how heartfelt, his truth may not be mine.
Given how my understanding of diet has evolved over the past few years and shifted successfully from sugar burning to fat burning, I appreciate how tricky lies accepted in mass can be.
Almost nine years ago another nine year old boy talked to some straw manufacturers to estimate that the US uses 500 million straws a day. Updates declare that the number is much higher, but not specifically how much more so.
For enjoyment: Only eat a Reaper Pepper mixed into a recipe. Tuna sandwiches and chili both work well.
For a challenge:Eat something first and have stomach medicine on hand. A whole pepper or that One Chip is good for laughs, but there is no good reason to feel heartburn afterwords.
Schadenfreude: My son’s shaky cam
Yuri treasures my tears. This doesn’t make him a monster, but he is a hunter. From nerf gun wars to jiu jitsu I’m setting up outlets for this aggression so he doesn’t skin me in my sleep, and gains self control for school.
My wife and I disagree about him taking joy in another’s agony. Whether a pepper, a choke, or a soft dart in the eye, I take the pain with a father’s pride.
He’s eight and half-way through third grade, and I see more of myself in him every day.
Yuri at seven is following my footsteps and frustrating everyone, including a much better version of the bullish vice principle that I faced at eight.
J- “It’s true; now go back to ignoring me.”
My son’s version is a pragmatic woman that is taking puzzling him out as a challenge with his success her goal.
As wonderful and patient as she and his school is, they need help.
When I was his age…
I doubted the authority of the adult world.
I’d recently moved from Hawaii to Pennsylvania and was facing down a huge vice principle with a stubbornness that he couldn’t process except as a power struggle.
As an only child, I’d developed a fundamental belief in equality and fairness that did not blur with age or system appointed power.
The big man didn’t try to reason with me. He started with a false accusation, because I had to be guilty of something. He was right, but he didn’t know details. So he guessed, but I wouldn’t budge. So he stated a punishment, but I wouldn’t accept it. So he upped the ante and doomed his approach by calling in my mother.
She possessed a bear of a personality he couldn’t match with size or wit, and she made him apologize to me.
He wants to know more, and I struggle with how to expand. We haven’t had the religion conversation yet. I decide it can wait until he learns there isn’t an actual Santa Claus that comes down the chimney, an Easter Bunny that hides plastic eggs, or a tooth fairy that buys his teeth while he sleeps. So I distract with another topic.
It is commonly understood that violence is a bad thing. I disagree. I think violence is all around us, and that it in itself isn’t a bad thing.
What’s toxic is when bullying is combined with violence. Mugging someone to steal their purse or wallet is bad. Punching a friend in the face can be good. Context has to matter with something so sweeping.
The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.
It will take more than head games to stop me. You may have invaded my mind and my body, but there is one thing a Saiyan always keeps. HIS PRIDE!
The novel (Destiny’s Hand) I’m working on takes place in a future setting far advanced down a path of non-violence. This does not mean life in it is fair or healthy. For better and worse, a passive aggressive culture won and rules.