Trying to Explain Baseball

The bell goes off. It’s time for recess. The majority of the boys run like wild and play whatever sport is in season. Then, there are the rest of the boys who for whatever reason don’t join in. This is BR, my eight-year-old.  Despite his tall, slim, and muscular build, BR shys away from playing organized sports. His o.t. issues and poor coordination hold him back.

BR’s best friend is in the same category and this softens the blow. They enjoy each other’s company.

However, we (my wife and I) don’t want sports to act as a social barrier for BR.

So, we got him books (a biography of Derek Jeter and Everything Kids Baseball Book) about sports. It makes perfect sense. He loves to read and has an amazing memory.  He has a keen interest in numbers and soon enough he will memorize the stats. So he may not play organized sports, but at least, he can be conversant when the other boys talk about sports.

Of course, it’s not so simple. He’s a bit awkward and not always socially appropriate (many adults are not always socially appropriate either, but I think you know what I mean). Anyway, gaining the sports knowledge in addition to our Wii sportsathons and practice sessions in the backyard will hopefully help his ability to socialize with the other boys.

However talking about sports is not simple.

BR was reading down the list of all time home run leaders. It is a virtual who’s who of steroid abusers. I mentioned to him that a number of the players on the list including Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa were cheaters.

“How did they cheat?”

“They used drugs.”

“Where did they get the drugs?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did they know they were using drugs?”

“They knew.”

“What did the drugs do?”

“It made them stronger.”

“Why can’t you use them?”

“They are illegal.”

“So, how did they get them?”

“I don’t know. I guess someone gave it to them.”

“Who gave it to that person?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did they go to jail?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“You’re right.”

The conversation went from there. BR remained confused while I emphasized that cheaters and drugs are wrong.

Sports can instill and teach many worthwhile lessons. They helped me, a shy guy, feel good about himself and part of something. I believe sports can help BR find a way to fit in with his peers. However, drugs and cheating have to be part of a conversation about professional sports. And that is a disappointing reality.

Amazed N’ Curious Splash N’ Dash

“Look how long this bridge is. Have you guys ever seen such a long bridge?”
“Wow, this is so long.” SJ
“No. Are we still over the water?” BR
“Yup. We are crossing over the Henry Hudson River.”
“Who’s Henry Hudson?” BR
“He was an explorer. You should look him up.”
“This the longest bridge ever.” SJ
“How long is it daddy?” BR
“I don’t know. Look it up. Guys, look to your right. You see New York City? You see the tall buildings?”
“Wow, I can see it. That’s amazing.” SJ
“How far is it to Manhattan from here?”BR
“I don’t know. Look it up.”
Amazed and curious – these are my children.

On Sunday afternoon, we strolled into the Discovery Museum in Connecticut. Well, it looked good on the website. My wife paid the entrance fee – $36 – as I distracted the boys. I hoped it would the rest of the museum was more impressive than the entrance.
Ninety minutes later we left the museum. Amazed, or SJ as I refer to him here, for some reason loved the color house. Curious, or BR as I refer to him here, was fully engaged with the simulated outer space mobility feature.
While my wife and I thought the museum was mediocre at best, the boys were content. And that’s all that matters.
Later, we arrived at the hotel. My children love staying in hotels. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about hotels they love, but I think amazed and curious are happy to be in a new place. Unfortunately, amazed and curious’ love for hotels does not translate into their care for hotel rooms. In fact, their decibel level and trashing of the room would have made you think that amazed and curious were some pompous rock band or star duo had been the hotel guest and not two young children.
I thought the hotel and room were standard, not memorable.
On Monday morning, we went to a water park. Amazed and curious splashed away for two hours enjoying each of the water attractions.
I thought the water park was a bit small and was disappointed when the children were done after two hours.
Next up was the arcade. Off amazed and curious ran. They spent a good half hour playing games, collecting tickets, and picking out prizes.
As they went along, I questioned, “Don’t you want to try this game, no, do it like this, why don’t you get one big prize? I think you would have more fun if you did.”
Advice not needed.
By 1:30, we were on the road home. Amazed and curious were occupied in a game of seek and find with my wife before eventually employing various electronic devices.
While they were involved with their gadgets, my wife turned to me and asked, “Did you have a good time?”
“The museum was kind of lame, the hotel was okay, the boys were done so quickly at the water park and what is up with those prizes BR picked out. What about you?”
“I really enjoyed getting away.”
“I’m glad. It is nice to get away.”
“Yup. Besides the boys enjoyed it – you know BR actually wanted to go back to the museum, and SJ thought the hotel was awesome.”
“Really? Okay then.”
I’ll take SJ and BR any time. It’s good to be amazed and curious. It’s good to have a great trip.

Moving On Up

A conversation between a man and blog:
MeMyselfandKids: So, how you doing?
Blog: Where you been?
MMK: Huh?
Blog: Huh? What do you mean huh? Last time you spoke to me was July.
MMK: Well, actually, every time I post I am talking to you.
Blog: Don’t give me that.
MMK: You don’t have to be so cranky
Blog: Oh, so now I’m cranky?
MMK: Can we move on?
Blog: Fine, what is it?
MMK: I wanted to let you know we’re moving.
Blog: Moving? Is it somewhere warm? I like warm.
MMK: Huh? Anyway, I don’t think you’ll notice much of a difference.
Blog: So, what you are saying?
MMK: Remember, I told you about a website?
Blog: Wait! Are you dumping me? I can change. I’m sorry I was cranky before. I was just feeling lonely. You didn’t show up on Thursday.
MMK: I’ve been really busy.
Blog: Don’t try and let me down easy. I can take it. I know it’s me.
MMK: No, really it’s true. It’s the end of the term, and I have a ton of marking to do.
Blog: Really?
MMK: Yes, really.
Blog: Oh, what a relief! Tell me more about the website. By the way, didn’t you talk about this months ago?
MMK: Yeah, well things don’t always go the way you plan.
Blog: Sheesh! You screwed up didnja?
MMK: No. Wow, you are cranky. My friend was…
Blog: Now, you are going to throw your friend under the bus?
MMK: Shut up and listen. My friend worked on it for me. Issues came up. Anyway, now it is ready to be unveiled.
Blog: So, is it all finished? When are we moving?
MMK: Well, I want to edit some sections. Plus any website needs to be attended to on a regular basis. Despite that, this is my last post from this address.
Blog: Wow. So how does that affect the followers?
MMK: For those who do get it delivered directly to their e-mail, there will be no change. Those who don’t get it delivered directly to their e-mail will have to re-subscribe.
Blog: You expect everyone to follow you there?
MMK: I certainly hope so. I very much appreciate my readers and try to put out quality posts. Besides, I am going to be joined by some special guests.
Blog: Who, who? Tell me who.
MMK: Well, I want people to be surprised.
Blog: Spit it out.
MMK: Well, I am going to have some of my blogging friends, members of my writing group (I think), the Website designer, and Ms. MMK.
Blog: Cool. When are the guests coming?
MMK: Over the next few weeks.
Blog: Anything else I should know.
MMK: Yes, our new address is http://larrydbernstein.com/me-myself-and-kids
Blog: Well, that sounds great. Any worries about the site?
MMK: Well, I don’t photograph well.
Blog: Nah – you’re just ugly.
MMK: Shuuuuut up. Seriously I can’t smile on demand. Anyway, my picture is on the website, and I am a bit sensitive about it.
Blog: It’ll be fine.
MMK: I guess you’re right. Want to hear a quick story?
Blog: Sure.
MMK: Today, Sunday the 20th, is my 11 year wedding anniversary.
Blog: Happy anniversary.
MMK: Thanks. Anyway, people kept asking me before my wedding, “Are you nervous?” I said no, and I really meant it. Now, of course, I was on some level. But there was one thing I was really nervous about.
Blog: What’s that?
MMK: The pictures. I was worrying about smiling for the pictures. I was afraid my lip would start quivering during picture time.
Blog: Did it?
MMK: Not so much. That’s what happens when you’re happy.
Blog: Ain’t that sweet.
MMK: I think so. Anyway, take it easy and see you on the on the website.
Blog: Sounds good.

Thanks to all of my followers. I hope to see you on my website. I appreciate the community that we have created, and I am so grateful for your loyalty, for your comments, and for your acquaintance. I hope you (and all your friends) will join me on my website. Take care and thanks again.
Larry (MMK)

Ferris Bueller No More

Drunken parties, packed bars, wet and wild (you fill in the blank). Yep, my weekend had it all. However, it did not include anything noted above. In fact, it was plain and ordinary.

I was 19 (or somewhere in that age range) and on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River. Cloudless sky, brilliant sun, light breeze, low 80’s –a beautiful Spring day. Some friends of mine and I were lounging on the river bank watching the water flow on. It was as if we were ready to film a beer commercial.
And yet…
“Yo man, I’m bored.”
“What do you want to do,” S asked. He was one of my closest friends during the high school and college years.
“I don’t know. Something.”
“Dude, it’s a beautiful day, and we’re all hanging out. What do you want?”
I looked around at the array of friends and acquaintances lounging around and sighed. “This is boring. I want an adventure.”
“An adventure? Who do you think you are Ferris Bueller?”
“I love that movie. Don’t mess with Ferris!”
“I know you do. How many times have you seen that movie?”
“A lot.” Sticking my hand out in greeting, “Abe Froman, sausage king, Chicago.”
“I know you know the movie by heart.”
“I weep for the future.”
“Okay, Abe I got it.”
“Anyway, what would be so wrong with a Ferris Bueller like adventure?”
“We’re not in the movies.”
I don’t remember how that afternoon ended. It was probably via some chemically induced haze.
So, I had it all and was bored. I wanted more.

Here’s a sampling of the events I experienced this past weekend:
Playdates for both of the boys,
Meaningful conversation with my wife,
Praying at the synagogue on Sabbath,
Tasty meals,
Food Shopping,
Playoff Football,
Vacuuming,
Writers group meeting,
Playing golf on the Wii.

There’s more, and it’s equally mundane. I’ll spare you the details. I’ll bet you had some of these and more on your plate this weekend as well. So you can fill in your own details.

You could say I did not have much going on this weekend. Yet, when Sunday night rolled around, I turned to my wife and said, “I wish it was a three day weekend.”

So, while I still know most of the lines and would be happy to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day off, I don’t need the same adventure. However, there are days. Nah, let me stop there. The plain and ordinary suited me quite nicely, thank you.