An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Sentimental Man

"I am a sentimental man,
Who always longed to be a father.

That's why I do the best I can,
To treat each citizen of son of Oz
As son or daughter.

So, Elphaba, I'd like to raise you high,
'Cuz I think everyone deserves the fly.

And helping you with your ascent,
Allows me to feel so... parental.

For I am a sentimental man."

That's how my favorite song from "Wicked" goes. Yes. I'm a 31-year-old straight guy, and I have a favorite song from "Wicked". Wanna fight about it?

My favorite song from that show is not in the "Wicked" Easy Piano songbooks that pony-tailed tweens used at creative arts summer camps for a few years so that they could sing "Popular" and "For Good" at low-budget showcases and talent shows the world over.

"A Sentimental Man" didn't turn into a smash hit, and it isn't very memorable, or complicated, or vocally or musically interesting either, I suppose. It isn't particularly long, so it's easy to forget. One minute and seventeen seconds, the way Broadway legend Joel Grey does it anyway. Back when I worked in the creative arts, I tried to find the sheet music to the song so I could sing it at an outdoor cabaret, but I couldn't locate the music. So I sang Eric Idle's "The Galaxy Song" from "The Meaning of Life" instead.

That's life sometimes.

It's funny, because "The Galaxy Song" is a funny song, about the dimensions of the universe and the insignificance of our mortal toils and foibles, and it's sort of a modern interpretation of a patter song, the type I love to sing in G&S operettas, and, to many folks who know me, that's the sort of song they might use to identify me. But I think, to those who really know me best, "A Sentimental Man" says more about who I am, what I feel inside, how I operate, what I value and what I long for most.

Tomorrow night, at 7:00pm, my wife and I are to arrive at the hospital so that she can be induced. If all goes as it should, the twins should be making their appearance on Thursday the 15th. And my life will change forever. Because, of course, it will no longer be my life.

Well, that changed some time ago, I suppose. On October 22nd, 2006, under a chuppah covered in radiant sunflowers, I married my best buddy. A girl whom I turn towards in the car or on the couch or in the bed and sometimes just look at, because I like the way it feels. I like to look in her eyes, or at her cheeks, or her lips, or her chin. She's shorter than me, by a decent margin, and, when we hug, I like to hold her head against my chest. I love the shape of her head-- I know that sounds goofy, but sometimes I'm like that. Her head feels great against my chest and in my hand.

From that day forward, it was no longer my life. It was ours. And now ours is getting a wee bit bigger.

I had a terrifying moment of insecurity last night. As my wife and I dined in the restaurant where we had our first date, as we ate our meal alongside her father, an intelligent though disheveled psychiatrist, I suddenly felt very small in his shadow. The shadow of his expectations and his value system, and his romance with formal educational success, of which I had not very much to speak of. I'm a reasonably talented writer, but I couldn't tell you what a gerund is. To me, it sounds like a weapon used against Jews in the Holocaust.

Speaking of Jews, I felt excluded-- muted-- as my father-in-law and my wife discussed Torah portions as if they'd both just read them yesterday. I can tell you what a Torah looks like, and I know how heavy one is to carry, but that's about it. And I shared my feelings of intellectual insecurity with my wife as we lay on the couch together after the meal was over and her father meandered his way back to his hotel.

"What am I going to be able to teach them?" I asked her, "What am I going to be able to help them with?"

"You're going to teach them about how to be good people," my wife said, which, I have to say, didn't make me feel much better.

There's an insidious air of intellectual superiority about my wife's side of the family. Conversations always seem to revolve around mocking or critiquing "simpler" people in their neighborhoods or schools or workplaces when they lived in upstate New York. My father-in-law is keen to present himself as the one who's always correcting other psychiatrists medical errors, or mis-diagnoses, or over-prescribing tendencies where he works, and my mother-in-law is always one to express judgement over how other people live, but she'll be the first one to correct you if you try to do it. And maybe they do it to cover up their own flaws, or maybe they don't know they're doing it. Or maybe it's just my perception but, as many a psych patient has told me at work, "My perception is my reality".

I wish I could tell you that my terrifying moment of insecurity passed after a good night's sleep, but it hasn't. And I can't lie to you. When I first married my wife, I was petrified that I wouldn't be good enough-- not for her, for she had affirmed, by slipping that orange blossom-engraved ring onto my finger, that I was her beloved, and she was mine-- but that I wouldn't be good enough for her parents. Now I'm scared that I won't be good enough for my children.

"I guess what I am is going to have to be enough for them," was the shaky conclusion I came to last night, as my wife rubbed Hydrocortisone cream over her impossibly huge belly and its accompanying itchy stretch marks, "because I'm all they've got."

And, in the end, maybe being a sentimental man will prove to be of infinite and inestimable value to the life and heart and values and experience of a child.



  1. "Because I'm all they've got," is so much more than so many children have. The fact is you care enough about the little children to be, to be concerned with what you can give them. When all that they will ever need is you and your wife.

    And there is no shame in having a favorite song from Wicked. One of my dad's favorite movies... Beauty and the Beast, the Disney version.

    Glad to see you back. I hope that all goes well tomorrow, I will be sending prayers your way. Congrats on the expansion of your family!

  2. Congratulations on your expanding family! No one else can give your children you.

  3. despite all of your worries, you'll be great! congratulations!

  4. I cannot tell you how my heart soared to see this post in my super neglected as of late blog list thingy.
    Congrats on the I'm-assuming-already-born little Aprons. Or Nathans. As everyone has already said - the fact that you even worry if you'll be enough speaks volumes. And yay! Babies!

  5. Congratulations. You'll be fine!

    And, fine, you ended this blog and all, but a little blurb telling us all is fine with the new parents and the babies would be well-appreciated.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!