Running Sucks

Sometimes I try to get clever with my blog titles, but this one is pretty straightforward—running sucks.

A few days ago I boastfully announced to the world that I would be running a half-marathon, and yesterday was the big day. It was about 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky; absolutely beautiful. By 9:15 a.m., all 4,500 runners—including yours truly—were corralled into the starting area. My goal was to finish around 11:30 a.m.

The bell chimed—the race was on! I began weaving around the masses of runners lining the streets, feeling very proud of myself for putting in the training, for the shape of my legs, my strong, muscular calves. I couldn’t believe how slow everyone else was. It felt like a race full of stationary obstacles.

The water stations were placed every mile or two. I can’t really remember, because I zipped by most of them. I didn’t have water on my training runs, and it seemed silly to mix things up on race day. Besides, the stations were so crowded they would have totally messed up my final time. And I had a race to win.

It was kind of hot though. In retrospect, a little water might not have hurt too much. I was running in the race-issued long-sleeved shirt I received at registration. I probably didn’t need long sleeves on such a beautiful day, but I also didn’t want to get a sunburn. Clever me.

Around what I thought to be the sixth mile, I ran past the four-mile marker. “That’s strange,” I thought to myself. I’d have guessed I was closer to half finished. Guess not. So I slowed my roll a little. I started talking to myself, not in a crazy way, but in a motivating way.

Me: “Focus. Keep your head down. Go to autopilot. Knock out a few miles without thinking about it and you’ll be ok.”

Other me: “How bout we walk a little?”

Me: “How ’bout you stop embarrassing me?”

And on and on (and on) it went. I kept running, albeit it a little slower than I’d started. Around mile eight I was really feeling it, and it didn’t feel good. I think I was blubbering a little bit, even letting the occasional primal shout erupt from my quickly deteriorating body. I’m not sure if it hyped up the other runners or freaked them out, but I quickly found a little extra room to operate as the runners distanced themselves from me like I was protected by a circular force field. “That’s cool,” I blurrily remember thinking to myself. I have super powers.

However, my other super power—the ability to run long distances at blazing speed—was beginning to falter. I would keep a steady pace for a minute, then slow to a shuffle for a little bit, then pick it back up. And I started to get mad—in both senses of the word. I was angry that I was still running in what suddenly felt like Sahara heat, and I started to go a little crazy. Even the people cheering me on started pissing me off.

Fans: “Keep going! You’re looking great!”

Me: “YOU ARE EITHER BLIND OR A LIAR!”

I saw a guy drinking a beer out of a cheesehead coolie give me a thumbs-up. I barely managed to keep my middle finger down.

By now, all of the people I passed over the previous 90 minutes started running past me. I think I heard two ladies say, “Get around this guy—he looks like he might puke.”

At this point I knew my finishing time would be nothing to brag about, so I decided to adjust my goal and just try to make it without walking. I could do that. My body begged for reprieve, but my mental toughness is the stuff legends are made of. And so I denied every screaming request from my legs, my head, my feet—even my chafing nipple—to walk, even for just a minute. I would not, could not.

I’m sure you’re reading this thinking, “Way to go Avocado! Way to triumph over the pain and mental anguish! Even if you are a bit of a crazy person, we’re proud of you.”

Well, this is where the story takes a twist.

I was at 11.5 miles—so very close to the end—and then things began to get fuzzy. I swerved maniacally, barely managing to keep my feet. Another runner, seeing my distress, kindly helped me to one of the medical tents.

At least, that’s why I’m told happened. All I remember is that I was running like a champion … and then I was inside a tent with a woman asking me to sit down.

Me: “Get off me! I’m finishing this race! What the F is going on here? I didn’t run all this way to hang out in this stupid F’ing tent! Who the F are you? This is bullshit! I’m leaving! This is so f’ing stupid!

Woman: “I really think you should just sit down for a second.”

Then another voice chimed in—and it was coming from my legs.

Legs: “Yo dog—chill out. We’re going Jello, like, right now, so sit your ass down.”

And so I sat. And then there were needles in my arms. And I was resting my arm on a young woman’s leg.

Me: “Thank you for letting me rest my arm here. I’m not flirting with you.”

Primary nurse: “I hope not. Your wife would be upset.”

Me: “Haha. Wait, you talked to my wife?”

Primary nurse: “Yeah, so did you.”

Me: “I did?”

Primary nurse: “Maybe you should sit for a while longer.”

I drank a gallon of water, a half-gallon of Gatorade and got four liters of IV fluid pumped into my veins. At about 1:15 p.m.—almost two hours past my original finishing goal—I was finally able to stand up again. Yay for me.

The final diagnosis: heat exhaustion and massive dehydration. I apologized profusely for my rampant, delirium-induced swearing, and they assured me it was just a side effect of breaking my brain. They’d all seen it before, they said. Much worse, they said. I kind of doubt it, but they were very kind nonetheless.

And I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that “mind over matter” only works when you’re fully conscious, and that otherwise, the more fitting phrase is “dehydration over determination.”

Now, I know I promised you race photos, but unfortunately, trying to survive took precedent yesterday. At any rate, here’s one from today. As you can see, I still look like crap. Imagine what I looked like 24 hours ago.

Shirt says it all.

Shirt says it all.

Huge thanks to the medical volunteers who kept me from going to a hospital/graveyard, and thanks to the runner who delivered me to medical volunteers.

Maybe next year I’ll do better.

Then again, maybe not. Because running fucking sucks.

The Beat-ass Avocado

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Running Man

The Running Man in all his glory.

The Running Man in all his glory.

I’m running in a marathon on Sunday. Well, I’m running the second half of a marathon, to be exact. And the coolest part about running a half-marathon is telling everyone that you’re running in a half-marathon.

Me: “Yeah, I’d love to hang out, but I’ve gotta train for this half-marathon I’m running. No biggie.”

Usual response: “I didn’t ask you to hang out.”

I ran the marathon last year too, but that time I only ran the relay part, meaning I ran the final quarter of the race. I took the last leg because it was the flattest and shortest part. It also meant I crossed the finish line, and I’m a bit of a glory hound. Okay, I’m a lot of a glory hound. I even covered my bib number as I finished—that way I could fool people into thinking I had run the whole race. And, oddly enough, I sort of looked like I had. It was supposed to rain and like a genius I decided to run in a raincoat – a hot, steamy, dehydrating and totally unnecessary on this rain-free morning rain coat. I was haggard as hell come the finish line.

And then I got a medal, which was really cool … for all of five seconds. Then I remembered I had really only accomplished one-fourth of an amazing feat. It kind of deflated my victory. Yay me.

But this year, I’m going for the whole half! That’s 13.1 miles of jogging (okay, shuffling) through the flats of Oakland. Honestly, it’s been a grind. I’m not the svelte athlete of my childhood. I have a new ACL, the occasional bout of gout and a rather permanent case of stomach fat. I have excuses. But I’m not going to need them, because I am going to finish—NAY I am going to dominate the field! It’s a race, and I plan on winning. (I also plan to redefine “winning,” thereby enabling me to “win.”)

I’ve put in my training. I stretched a few times. I ate Ibuprofen and iced my limbs. I don’t want it to be too easy, so beer and pizza consumption has remained consistent. I think my wife wants to have sex tonight. I’m going to turn her down for the first time ever. I hear professional boxers don’t do it before fights—and running is basically the exact same thing—so I’m not gonna do it. I’m that committed.

Now that my body is right, it’s time to finalize my mental approach. I’m visualizing success. I will sprint the final 50 feet, and hopefully pass at least one person during that grueling stretch. In my mind, it will be a lean, rugged, cheetah-like human. I will extend my arms behind my body and lean into the finish, energizing and elating the adoring masses gathered in anticipation of my triumph. Chances are better that I’ll crossing the finish line in a heated battle with a geriatric pushing a stroller as the cleanup crew follows closely behind. Nevertheless, I will talk respectful shit to this elderly person, get my medal and promptly begin my post-race vomiting. It’s going to be pretty amazing one way or another. Be there, or miss something truly remarkable.

Thanks in advance for the support.

The Big Prefontaine-Acado

photo (2)

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Man of Leisure

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My father is a sage old man. He has provided my countless lessons to live by:

• Always send a thank-you letter.

• Never start eating till everyone is served.

• If you get a tattoo, it better come with a new house to live in. Same goes for piercings (especially the tongue).

• If you think a girl is about to dump you, you’ve got to dump her first.

• Never, and I mean NEVER, quit a job unless you have a new one lined up.

I’ve followed most of these, but failed to take heed of the last, which is possibly most important. After 10 years of dedication to Sports4Kids/Playworks, I decided to take my talents to the home front, where I work super hard, and get paid super nothing. It’s been two (possibly three) weeks since I left my job, and while I haven’t really jumped into the job search yet, I’ve been thinking about my strengths, my skills and what I can bring to my next position.

The following is the short list.

1. Sense of humor- superb. I can laugh at anything—me, you, my kids, you some more. See? I’m fun!

2. I excel at lunch. I’m absolutely brilliant at eating. My ballooning weight is evidence. As are my daughter’s observations:

Me: Lucy, did you have fun on the slide?

Lucy: Yes, but you can’t go on it, because you’re too fat.

Me: What did you just say to me?

Lucy: Well, Dad, the slide is skinny.

Me: Oh, you mean I’m too wide, or too big to go on the slide?

Lucy: Yes. And fat.

3. Well-rested, full of energy and ready to take on the world! In preparation for new work I’ve tried to recharge by taking a nap every day since leaving my job. I’ve been hugely successful … at napping.

4. I am fluent in English. I even have a degree in it. Unfortunately, I’m unaware of any position that values such a useful and well-rounded degree.

5. I’m very organized. I can organize a happy hour group at, say, 3:30 or
4 p.m. on almost any day of the week. Every office needs one of those guys, right? I can also organize a fantasy football league and/or NCAA pool.

6. I’m a super conversationalist. People are always like, “Is that the Big Avocado at the water cooler? I want to talk to him.” They ask with earnest enthusiasm. I’m that great at conversation.

7. I’m uber creative (which you can tell because I use words like “uber”). I think I’m one of just a few people in the world with their own blog. People even read it, sometimes.

8. I has atention two detale. Nothings get bye this guy.

9. My wife is pretty. I’ll bring her to any work outing. She’s frequently been referred to as “my greatest asset.”

10. Let me think about it. There’s gotta be a 10th asset. No one makes nine-point lists. Oh yeah—that’s it! I’m good at lists.

I don’t want to brag too much on this forum, but keep your eyes peeled and ears to the street. If not for me, do it for my dad. I talked to him today:

Dad: Why is it that one of my kids always has to be unemployed? Billy gets a job and you QUIT yours? Why do you kids do this to me?

Me: I didn’t quit. I retired.

Dad: Good God. Before I die I’d love to know that all my kids are either wonderful homemakers or are gainfully employed.

Me: You’re in luck—I’m currently the former!

Dad: … Shit.

–The Bum-Ass Avocado.

DISCLAIMER: If you are a prospective employer and this is your first look at my actual skill set, please give me a second chance. I’m good at a few other things too. I just have to think of what they are—wink, wink.

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Future CEO

Don't let the smile fool you. this negotiation ended with Pop Pop handing over the last 2 M&M's

Don’t let the smile fool you. This negotiation ended with Pop Pop handing over the last 2 M&M’s

Lucy owns me. And one day she’ll own you. She’s been engineered to take over the world. (Or at least a company near you.) And while her attributes will very likely mean she will completely and utterly dominate the professional realm, well … they can be challenging to parent.

Example 1: She is a mean negotiator.

A few nights ago, I was roughly two hours into a deep and satisfying slumber when Lucy tiptoed into my room, got up in my grill and tapped me on my nose. I woke with a surge of adrenaline and confusion, thinking my home was being invaded or I was witness to some type of paranormal activity. Nope, it was just her first negotiating tactic: Catch your opponent off guard.

Lucy: I’m bored.

Me: It’s the middle of the night. You’re supposed to be bored.

Lucy: I’m going to sleep in your bed tonight.

Me: You’re getting back in your bed, right now.

Her second negotiating tactic: Let your actions do the talking.

Lucy: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Me: SHHHH!! SHHHHH!!! Lucy, LUCY—please stop. Please stop screaming. You need to sleep in your own bed.

Lucy: Why?

Me: Because if you don’t, I’m taking away your dresses for the next week.

Lucy: Ok. I’m going to wear my long fancy shirt. That’s kind of a like a dress. I love you daddy.

And before I knew it, she was asleep in my bed. I think I even apologized to her. She’s smarter than I am.

Example 2: She knows how to cut through the bullshit.

We were about to leave for school. I suggested a trip to the potty.

Lucy: I don’t have to go.

Me: Lucy, get on the potty.

Lucy (in a tempered voice that sounded like Kermit the Frog speaking through a kazoo under his breath): Stop bossing me.

Me: What was that?

Lucy (in same voice but louder and marginally more audible): You’re bossing me, dad.

Me: That’s because I’m the boss.

I dragged her into the potty and broke into a diatribe.

Me: Lucy, this is for your benefit. You need to listen to your body and make good decisions, and you need to stop fighting me. Why are we even having this conversation?

She looked at me with puppy dog eyes, and raised both palms to the sky with a shoulder shrug and said, “Well Dad, you know. Blah blah blah.”

She “blah blah blahed” me! I fought off the smile and hysterical laughter, determined to maintain a stern upper hand. But in this moment of pause, I was hit with the realization that she was actually right. My logical argument was really just a bunch of blah.

We did not go to the potty.

Example 3: She likes to win.

My wife recently taught her how to play Go Fish. She picked it up quickly—you have to be cunning if you’re going to run a company someday—and by the third game, she legitimately won, though not very gracefully.

Lucy: Mom, did you want to win the game?

Marie: I wanted to have fun.

Lucy: Did you try to match all of your cards?

Marie: Why are you asking me?

Lucy: I matched all of my cards. You should have matched your cards too.

Marie: I’m glad you enjoyed the game.

Lucy: You were supposed to match your cards. I did.

Marie: I’m not sure I want to play with you if you are going to make me feel bad about losing.

Lucy: Do you feel bad because I matched all of my cards? Did you think you were going to win the game?

Marie: Do you want to play again?

Lucy: I bet you want to match your cards this time.

Marie (to me): Your turn, Dad.

So to all future employers – take note. She’s the total package, but hire with caution. Because if she wants your job, she’ll eventually get it. She has her ways.

–The Big Papa Avocado, Executive Assistant.

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Thanks.

It’s been a year since my last Thanksgiving with my mom. Life goes on, and I thought I might reflect. I was in Milwaukee a year ago – setting a table and decorating the house, waiting for my mom to die. Not in a “I can’t stand her” kind of way, but more in an inevitability sense. She was relegated to a wheel chair, steroids fueling her energy and desire for sliders. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find sliders? I made them one night, and my mom had a little critical feedback:

Mom: These burgers are over-cooked, cold, and dry. It is the tri-fecta of crap.

Me: They’re pink, warm and smothered in mayo and ketchup.

Mom: Crap.

Me: Oh mom – I’m so glad cancer spared your sense of humor.

She’d built a life-time of good will and some brain damaged hating wasn’t going to ruin anything. Besides – those sliders were the bomb. Ask anyone. They’ll remember my mom talking shit (but if their taste buds could talk, they’d give me props.)

We all held hands and said something like Grace. And then we all ate our last Thanksgiving meal with my mom, sort of falling asleep, springing to consciousness only to tell me I’d had enough to drink, and no one cared how long I could hold two dictionaries on my extended palms face up.

Me: Mom – feats of strength! Aren’t you rooting for me? Go- Stephen! Go -Stephen!

Mom: Go – to bed. You’re drunk.

Well, the joke was on her. I wheeled her to bed and there wasn’t much more she could say about it.

I always miss her, but holidays are certainly the hardest. Fortunately I have a really fantastic network of support, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few of them.

You the man pops!

Let me start with Dad. A lot of things changed after mom died. My dad had to figure out what type of store sold toothpaste, how the washing machine worked and where to buy a new belt. He lost a lot of weight around that time, and I actually witnessed him try to pierce an extra hole in his now oversized belt…while wearing it…with a cork screw. He’s actually one of the smartest people I know despite that last little story.

We’d avoided the “ball-your-eyes-out” moment for a day or two when my dad asked me if I wanted to talk. I told him that I’d become accustomed to a certain amount of flattery, misguided trust, admiration and an unmeasurable amount of love from my mother over the years. He would need to pick up the slack in her absebnce. And he has. So thank you dad.

The usual suspects

Children (Lucy and Kaya): You are the cycle of life. Your grandma KK lives on in both of you. Thank you for that daily reminder.

The cycle of life is a little confusing. Explaining birth is hard enough. Not sure who actually explained Heaven to her, but all she knows is that’s where KK now lives. In fact – she explained it to me.

Lucy: Dad. KK is in heaven.

Me: Oh yeah? Great. I hear it’s really nice there.

Lucy: Dead things go to heaven.

Me: That is what they say.

Lucy: Dogs die. And they go to heaven.

Me: Well – sure, why not?

Lucy: Car keys that don’t work go to heaven.

Me: Hmmm. I don’t know if I agree.

Lucy: If they don’t work, than they are dead. And then they go to heaven.

3 Year olds are seldom wrong, so I didn’t pick this one up.

Thank you for bringing the distraction and joy of child rearing.

Bro Man – I love you too

My brother. My brother is one of those dudes that dodges a high-5 and goes straight for the hug. He non-discrimantly ends conversations with “I love you.”

Cable Guy: So, you’ve got HBO, Showtime and Cinemax.

Michael: Thanks. I love you.

Cable Guy: It’s gonna cost you an extra $75 a month.

Michael: Alright, fine. That sucks. I love you.

He means it. He is a real loving, and hugging dude. I think the best reason to have 2 kids is because you really need a sibling when a parent dies. He was the “Student Dr.” during the whole ordeal – something we will never be able to adequately thank him enough for. We also share a dark humor – which is remarkably helpful in the most trying of times.

Michael: I think I’m going to take mom’s car when she’s gone.

Me: You sure? It’s got cancer all over it.

Michael – I hadn’t thought about that. <pause> Yeah, I’m going to take it. Thanks for the thought. I love you.

Michael and family (wife and awesome wife’s family) – Thank you.

I wonder where Lucy gets it from.

Wife: You win. You are basically the only thing that held this clan together. I barely raised KK during her first 3 months of life – and she’s turned out amazingly. Lucy – I’m sorry I ever meddled in your development.

For real – my wife is the best. She’s that pretty girl I walk around with and other people think “He must have accidentally got her pregnant,” or, “How is this shrimp with a hot chick? Life is so unfair.” Or, most likely of all, “I’m sure that’s her brother – kind of creepy how they hold hands and steal kisses.” It’s true – I hit the jackpot of caring, supportive and good looking women. Thanks for everything (especially being hot (just kidding (not.)))

Everyone else. I really am grateful for all my friends and family. I’ve got the best of both. Thank you for being a part of my life – past, present and future.

Happy Thanksgiving.

–The Big Avocado

Yeah. That’s me – bad haircut and all.

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The Other Kid

Happiness is…

I’ve got two kids. I usually write about Lucy because she’s good material. The other one, not so much.

Her name is Kaya Kohler Fox (aka “KK”), named in loving memory of my mother’s “grandma name”—odd tribute, I know.

Anyway, Kaya spoke her first word today, and it made me realize I hadn’t written a single embarrassing blog about her since her birth. This is probably because she is sort of perfect—which makes for bad material on a humor blog—so I’m going to write a nice one instead.

Kaya had one hell of a time getting born. We almost lost her a number of times. My wife had what is called a subchorionic hematoma which basically amounted to some scary horror flick stuff (think blood) of which I’ll spare you any further details. We blubbered in bed, lamenting how badly we had wanted this kid to work out, and wept at the realization that we would need to try again.

We went to the doctor and explained what had happened. And with an all-too-knowing face, our doctor said, “Well, let’s see what’s going on.”

Enter giant wand with condom attached, and what would you know—a heartbeat. A normal-sized baby. What the fudge?

Doctor: Well, I don’t know what to say. The baby looks fine. Here’s the  <doctor jargon diagnosis blah blah blah> and it looks like everything is going to be ok.

We went and bought lotto tickets.

We had just settled into the thought that everything just might work out. And then another “what the shit” fright fest occured. “Fuck you world!” I thought to myself. Next day, we went to the doctor again. And again, with the embarrassingly large dick-shaped vagina-wand we saw the heartbeat.

Fast forward 7 months, which amounts to 41 weeks (1 week overdue) and my mom, rest her soul, was in the about-to-die part of the hospital, and our little survivor refused to join the world. We still intended to do the home-birth thing—but that’s hard to do without labor. My wife actually drank castor oil to get it going. Remember the scene in “Stand by Me” when “Lard-Ass” gets his revenge by eating raw eggs, castor oil and a bunch of blueberry pies and barfs all over everyone? Well, that was the same tactic we deployed, except my wife was trying to barf a child out of her vagina. It didn’t work. So we wound up at a hospital a week later, and a doctor with incredibly large fingers and ever-so-soft hands delivered our baby—Kaya.

And here we are 10 months later, in Hawaii with a little kiddo that is so fucking cute I’m in danger of actually seasoning her with some Lawry’s and eating her. She looks exactly like her sister did, which is funny, because everyone said Lucy looked just like me (or at least a beautiful girl version of me), and everyone says Kaya looks exactly like Lucy, but no one says Kaya looks like me. Don’t quite know what to make of that.

I do know she is happy. Really happy. She smiles full-time. She passes my lone litmus test for friendship—in order for me to like you, you have to like me. She rarely cries, and—I swear to God—when she does, all I need to do is ask her to stop, and she stops. She sleeps a lot. She crawls like a toy doll, which is fucking cute, too. She’s got some jack-o’-lantern teeth popping out, and her favorite food is avocado. (I shit you not. And when she’s done eating, she rubs the remaining avocado in her hair for later.) Basically, she’s got the attitude of, “I’m just happy to be here.” which makes sense.

The cycle of life – one goes out, one comes in.

My mom got to meet her, kind of. She had some serious brain damage from the cancer by the time she passed, but she held Kaya—and smiled. She got to show her off a little bit too. We had lots of visitors in those final days, and my mom reserved a little piece of her functioning brain to tell people about what a cute little granddaughter she had, named … “Lucy”

Me: Mom, it’s Kaya.

Mom: Whatever.

I like to think that my mom keeps an eye on us. Not when I’m acting a fool, or masturbating, but lots of other times. My daughter’s smile reminds me of her humor and happiness. My kid’s early wakeup call after a night of drinking assures me that my mom is present in spirit—obnoxious, persistent spirit.

My mom died on New Year’s Eve. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I think it’s probably because of my amazing family—my wife and kids, my dad (who certainly deserves a blog or two), my siblings, cousins, friends and even this dog I got that smells like butthole but makes me happy. All of these people remind me of what makes life so wonderful. This wonder reminds me of my mom, and because of it, she never feels too far away.

Oh yeah—and Kaya spoke her first word. We were looking at this Koi pond, and she pointed at the fish and said “Jork.” It was very intentional—not babble. “Jork” was her first word. (As great as she is, she’s still kind of dumb.)

Feed me.

Give her time. After all, she is half mine.

-BA.

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Pop Quiz

I recently told a friend contemplating fatherhood, “You know what? Having kids is totally amazing. It’s awesome. It’s why the word awesome exists. Also, not having kids is totally awesome too.”

I like to warn inform my friends of what it’s like to be a parent. Every day is like a pop quiz. They test your knowledge, strength, patience, restraint and your capacity to love unconditionally (which, fortunately, you find you do no matter what cause they’re your kids).

You don’t always pass these tests. Even my wife occasionally stumbles. We’re into that new age stuff where you tell the truth to your kids when they ask you questions. I’m inclined to lie when it comes to the tough ones, but apparently lying to your kids is no longer in vogue. So sometimes you’re forced to deal with questions armed only with the truth. Lucy asked my wife with the following yesterday:

“How do babies get in stomachs? And after they get there, how do they get out?”

Wife: Well, Lucy, I, uh, that’s an interesting question. You see, people have genes which are a map of your body. And boys have sperm, and girls have eggs and they get together, and then they become a baby. Get it?

Lucy: So, boys have jeans?

Wife: No. Boys have sperm.

Lucy, nodding her head in understanding, whispers: Sperm.

I’d have gone with “Sex…” and then quickly left the house. I’m 99% sure the word sperm will be spoken at pre-school in the next several days, and I will let my wife field the school’s questions as well. Regardless, I applaud her efforts. It wasn’t the greatest answer but it sufficed, and it was complicated enough that Lucy forgot about there “how does it get out” part which might be a little confusing for a 3.5 year old. I’ve seen it “get out” twice – and it’s kind of confusing for me too.

My wife is a really good and thoughtful parent. I tend to struggle a little bit more. As much as I love that little devil angel, sometimes a girl needs to know that if she gets out of bed again, her dad is going to set all of her dresses on fire.

I know. I’m a psycho. Further proof… The other day she talked me into a bike ride, which I knew would turn into a bike walk, quickly followed by a bike carry-on-my-back. I knew it was coming, so I shouldn’t have been too mad when it happened. But I was.

Five minutes into the bike ride, Lucy tugs on my pants.

Lucy: Dad, will you carry my bike? I’m too tiiiired.

Me: I am zero percent surprised.

Lucy: Me too.

Me: You don’t even know what that means.

Lucy: You are zero!

Me: I don’t want to carry your bike.

Lucy begins to spasm.

“But I nee-ee-ee-eed you to carry it!” (Each “ee” was separated by a convulsing body warning of total meltdown, like aftershocks on an earthquake, except in reverse. Or maybe the tremble of a volcano before an eruption. Yeah, that makes more sense. She was like that.)

And so I said: FINE! I’ll carry it, but this is why I didn’t want to bring it along.

Lucy (meekly): Can you take off my helmet?

Me: HA! And carry that too? Wrong. WRONG!

We start walking up a hill. She’s dragging ass like she hasn’t had water in days and is stuck in the middle of the Sahara.

Lucy: Daaaaaddyyyy! Go slower. Carry my helllmet.

Me: You expect me to carry your sister, your bike, walk the dog AND carry your helmet?

Lucy: Yes.

Me: No.

I mistakenly took her silence for acceptance, so when she snuck her helmet on to the handlebars of the bike I was carrying over my shoulder, I went a little psycho killer, qu’est-que c’est, on her.

Me: Guess what? I’m going to put your bike in the garbage.

<Chernobyl>

Me: Fine-fine-fine-FINE-FINE!! I won’t throw your bike away. Carry your helmet though.

<Pompeii>

“Fuck it” I tried to mumble. It sounded like a muffled sneeze. A profane muffled sneeze.

We got home right when mom did.

Wife: Hey gang! You guys been having fun?

Me: You betcha. Went on a bike ride, then a walk, and then I carried all of her shhhhhtuff home.

Lucy: Yeah, and Daddy said he was going to put my bike in the garbage.

Wife: [Glares at me with “who-did-I-marry?” eyes.]

Like I said—a daily pop quiz. Sometimes you fail.

-The Big Avocado.

<Coming soon: Little Avocado Part Deux: A year in review >

Spoiler: It’s awesome.

PS – Thanks to everyone who actually asked me to write another blog. I know it’s not my best – but I’ll get there. Shout out to: Winky John, Friedo (sp?), Jamal Tang, the artist formerly known as MCKC, Smash, Trotsky, Linder, T-Bear, Tronic and everyone else who thought it even if you never said it. And double props if you’re actually reading this. Big ups!

Also, here’s what we look like:

The Foxes in low-def. Truth be told – we like each other – bike helmets and all.

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