Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Last night my son's school had something called a "Showcase", where the entire class of 23 students, convened to basically show the parents what the hell they've been doing all semester. The kids recited lines about an expedition they went and then (they basically interviewed students and faculty, wrote down their responses, drew pictures of who they interviewed and then drew a school map to indicate where in the school this teacher---it was VERY cool) explained it to the parents via a 30-minute long presentation. The teachers did an excellent job of instilling confidence and a work ethic in these kids and it showed in the final product. Not one kid messed up any of their lines, and when it came time for each kid to show off their drawings, their maps and their interview questions/answers, they did so gleefully. It warmed my heart as a parent and as a member of the school community. My son is in damn good hands.

This concludes the positive portion of my blog entry. Now I have to get dirty.

One of my son's best friends in kindergarten is Jayson, and their behavior patterns are virtually identical. He's mercurial, he's silly and he can be a bit handsy at times. Sadly, Jayson's parents--particularly his mother--are annoying as hell. They ask questions about my son but the motive behind their questions is always to show off what THEIR son is doing, rather than really hear about mine. They also go to church eight times a week, and they turn their noses up at my wife and me, because we don't attend at all.

15-20 minutes before the Showcase began, my son was fixing his bowtie and tucking in his shirt, and out of nowhere Jayson hit Nyles in the back of the neck. It was a total sucker punch. Nyles's first instinct was to hit Jayson back(per my instructions) but I held him back for two reasons:

1 - Jayson's mom jumped in and pulled her son away, and I didn't want Nyles to accidentally hit Jayson AND his mom
2 - The showcase was going to start in 15 minutes and I didn't want Nyles or Jayson to be flustered during their big moment

But what I DID do is pull Nyles aside and ask him to hit Jayson the next morning before class started. My wife immediately swooped in and told me that I should not be instructing my son to do such things. On one hand, I agreed with her because my son has a birthday party this weekend and both Jayson and his parents will be in attendance. No one needs that kind of drama at a kiddie birthday party, but at the same time, I don't want any kid having one up on my son in the punch department. He needs to win or at least break even, but out of respect for my wife, I kept the peace...until this morning.

Since I preside over my son's drop off at school (my wife does the pick up) I knew that I could have the last word when it came to dictating my son's actions. My son walked into class today, removed his hat and gloves and I told him that he should hit a) hit Jayson before class started and b) tell the teacher and Jayson, that his daddy asked him to do that, since Jayson hit him last night.

When I told my wife about it later, she vehemently disagreed with my action, and told me that I should not have done any carryover retaliation from last night, and I think she might be right. I just don't want folks getting comfortable with hitting my son and thinking that repercussions aren't around the corner. But I also don't want my son getting in trouble because of crazy directives from his dad. We'll see what happens.

Also, shoutout to the two black fathers (there are only four of us in my son's kindergarten's class) who showed up to this kid-friendly showcase, smelling like weed. That's always a good look in an elementary school.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

When I woke up this morning and started scrolling through my phone before I got out of bed, I noticed a picture from Questlove's Instagram page. Apparently he went to the Janet Jackson concert in Brooklyn last night, and in addition to meeting and speaking with Janet, he got a chance to speak with Randy Jackson--someone he credits with inspiring him to drum:

Dude. Randy Jackson is the PRIME reason I chose the drums. All of @TheJacksons were superheroes but Randy was one of the first drummers/percussionist I’ve ever SEEN on tv. So watching a kid drum on tv w his magic brothers was like ***mind blowing***—-(actually i got in trouble once for trying to remove the legs from my father’s keyboard player’s #Wurlitzer trying to play it like a keytar just like Randy did during the #Destiny album period) Like I was mid convo w his sister and then **whoooosh** I vanished like *snap* (“jan, uh I love talking to you but your brother is the only Jackson I haven’t met and HE started me being drummer so I’m out!”) he gave my Jacksons 78-80 logo shirt props. This was without a doubt the best day EVER. Janet was pulling the deep cuts out the woodwork (@flytetymejam you didn’t tell a mug bout #TwentyForeplay!) definitely a must for the die hards (well, nothing from 1st two albums #DontMessUpThisGoodThing is too awesome to toss aside, that song STILL is a miracle in the clubs—-but zero complaints here. This is THE MOST hype I’ve seen a crowd at a concert dancing like no one is watching since—-well...Prince) & meeting Randy (@randyjackson8 NOT @randyjackson dog) was just the ultimate. #StateOfTheWorldTour

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Questlove did what Questlove does and told a long story of how Randy Jackson touched his life, and it was a damn good read. But it also made me think of my own personal Randy Jackson story. No I never met him in person or talked to him on the phone, but I do have a funny (at least to me) story to tell.

Back on September 7, 2001, there was big concert at Madison Square Garden, and it was a tribute to Michael Jackson and his 30 years as a solo artist. Usher, N'Sync, Chris Tucker, Beyonce, Muhammad Ali, Bobby Brown, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael's brothers and sisters and countless others were in the audience. Michael himself was there as well..but barely. After he died eight years later, in one of the many documentaries chronicling his struggle with prescription drugs, we learned that MJ was basically in a drug-induced haze the entire show--in fact he had to be awakened out of that haze in his hotel room and reminded that he had to show to do. It is amazing that he was able to summon an above-average show out of that haze, but it is sad that as far back as 2001, prescription drugs were wreaking havoc on his life on and off the stage.

Anyway, towards the end of the show, Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon, Tito and Randy joined MJ on stage so they could breeze (and I do mean breeze) through a medley of their hits. I'd argue that outside of seeing MJ peform "Billie Jean" the crowd had specifically gathered to see MJ and his brothers get down, and get down they did. They did "Love You Save", "I Want You Back", "Dancing Machine", "Shake Your Body Down to the Ground" and others. But my favorite of the night, which happens to involve and incident between Randy and MJ, was "ABC".

About 20 seconds into the song, everyone starts singing the chorus, and right afterwards, Randy starts singing, "You Down with OPP?" which is the Naughty By Nature song that sampled "ABC" (sorry for insulting your collective intelligence). If you know anything about MJ, you know that he is a control freak and perfectionist, and I'm sure he did not appreciate Randy sullying the reputation of the Jacksons and that quality song by bringing up a song in "OPP" which basically about doing the nasty with someone who is not yours. The camera doesn't show MJ's reaction the first time Randy says it, but 26 seconds into the song, the camera shows MJ staring at Randy, just daring him to say it a second time.

Sure enough, Randy does that dumb shit again, and this time MJ--who rarely breaks character or shows anger on or off stage--literally walks directly towards Randy with bad intentions, and Randy has to push MJ away, but not before MJ threw him a few more death stares. Five seconds later they transitioned to another song, so there was no residual anger, but man was it fun to see MJ uncut so to speak.

My story isn't as good as Questlove's but I still like it. Here's the video:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thanksgiving is just about a week away, which means my mother will be coming in town to cook and bless my family with her presence. The wife and I will be buying the groceries so that all we have to do when my mother arrives is kick back and relax--and by we I mean me because I'm sure my wife will assist my mother in making the magic happen. My job will be to entertain and play with young Nyles...or so I thought.

My mother sent me and my wife an email today with a list of the ingredients she will need to make the dinner, and in her message to me she said the following:

Please let me know whether there are items you prefer to cook; otherwise, I don't mind cooking it all. Marion will be helping!

Now, my mother and I have been discussing her Thanksgiving visit for damn near a month, and not one solitary time did she mention the presence of her friend Marion. She mentioned that she wanted to spend time her son, daughter-in-law and grandson, and she also mentioned that she was looking forward to some relaxation time, but there was never mention of a +1 situation.

Before I give off the impression that my mother is now a lesbian--which would be a much better blog entry I might add--let me explain who Marion is. Marion was the caregiver for my grandmother before she died, and during that time her and my mother became good friends and travel/prayesr partners. They drive together, they fly together sometimes, and since they both live in Cleveland, Ohio, they attend church together. In fact, my mother calls Marion her "Prayer Warrior", which is odd because I've seen neither shield nor sword.

Since 2011, my mother has lost her mother, her father, her favorite aunt, and best friend of 40+ years, so she values family and companionship a great deal these days, and I get that 100%. In fact, I've wanted her to have that type of relationship with a friend or husband, since she divorced her last husband (not my father) in 2005. I say all the to say, I respect Marion's presence in my mom's life, and I don't dislike her. Yes she is slightly annoying and devoid of any semblance of a personality, but that's my mom's friend not mine.

What annoys me most about this whole situation is that my mother never asked me if it was ok to bring her friend. She just TOLD me that she was bringing her friend to my home--something my mother taught me to never do. She used to tell me that I should never bring an extra person to someone's house where food was going to be served and that the polite thing to do is to give someone a heads up or better yet, just ask. I know that's my mother and she's getting older, but damn couldn't she have asked me if it was cool or at least tell me that she wanted to bring someone, instead of just casually working it into a sentence about the cooking of food?

As I'm typing this, I'm realize that I sound petty, so maybe I should stop typing. Just to put a bow on this entry, I reached out to my mother and said:

Hello again Mommy. So Marion is coming too? That isn't a problem but I wasn't aware until that email.

Her response, just one word


I love her...but damn

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My wife and I sent our son to his grandfather's house for a couple days which allowed us some time to go to brunch--bottomless mimosa brunch at that. We sat at the bar, so as you can imagine, the bartender talked to us about a variety of subjects: The Pittsburgh Steelers, how many DC bars he'd worked at during his career, and unfortunately, we also talked about Bill Cosby.

The subject of Cosby came up because we were talking about the rash of male public figures, who have either admitted sexual abuse or have been outed by past victims. It is funny because earlier that morning I had seen this tweet from comedian W. Kamau Bell:

I had to check myself when I read that tweet, because I am quite sure that in my 20 or so years of being in the workforce, I have said inappropriate jokes, looked at a woman the wrong way, or encouraged unflattering jokes/behavior. It is important that dudes surround themselves with other dudes who can serve as their own personal check and balances. Surrounding yourself with a bunch of "yes" people will get you hemmed up---ask OJ Simpson. We as dudes can do better and given the current climate, it is imperative that we do that sooner rather than later.

Anyway, while talking about Bill Cosby, the bartender proceeded to tell my wife and I that he had doubts about Cosby's accusers. He kept saying "if" Cosby did it, and then he said he thought all the women were lying just to get his money. Never mind that most of his accusers simply spoke up about his behavior rather than sue him or take him to court. They just wanted to let Cosby's other victims know that they were not alone. Still, this bartender--like many men and women I know who grew up idolizing Cosby--think Cosby and his reputation are pristine clean.

The proper reaction, especially given the tweet I had seen earlier that morning, would have been for me to check the bartender and his sexist bullshit, to let him know that it was possible that one or two of those accusers were lying, but the not all of the 30+ (I forget how many there were) were lying. I should have informed that his b.s. logic is currently being used by Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Matthew Weiner and countless others I'm sure. Creepy folks like Kevin Spacey and Louis CK have owned up to their behavior, which I gave them slight props for, but it doesn't absolve them of guilt.

Anyway, instead of picking a fight with the bartender and calling him on his b.s., I just sat there and continued to drink the mimosas he was so generously pouring. I didn't want my personal views to sabotage the wonderful outing I was having with my wife. But when the bartender walked away, my wife looked at me and acknowledged that the bartender was on some bullshit with that line of thought, but she also said I did the right thing by letting it go. I felt slightly validated, but in the two days since that outing ended, I feel like I dropped the ball.

That bartender was at least 50 years old, so it is possible that any words that my 42-year old ass had to say, wouldn't have done much damage. But still, I should have tried. I could have been disarming by starting my comments with a "hey man" or "come on don't you think that's kind of harsh?", and perhaps that would have been the catalyst to a spirited, but respectful dialogue. Instead, I chose to imbibe copious amounts of alcohol and blog about it 48 hours later.

I'm not being the passive again.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Last Halloween, my wife, my son and I went trick-or-treating shortly after the sun went down. My son was Iron Man and his costume took a little time to get completely fastened on, but my wife and I got him squared away. The wife was a ballerina and I just threw on an Ahmad Rashad jersey, which is about as much as choose to do at the age of 41 (I'm 42 now) on Halloween.

Since it was Halloween and my wife was taking a little bit longer to get ready than I thought (surprise, surprise) I decided to keep the Halloween-vibe going by putting on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. I felt like the wife and I had done a great job of exposing our son to MJ's music, and all that goodwill would be more than enough to offset the fear and scariness the video invariably would cause. Plus I felt like showing him this potentially scary video was ok, but if he really was scared and shook, the candy and trick-or-treating experience would brainwash him 100%.

Now if I had been properly using my brain I would have realized that when I first saw the video I was 8 years old, and I literally was laying down on my dad's back alternating between watching the video and burying my head in his back. I loved the song, and I loved MJ but I didn't understand why he a) kept turning into a zombie and b) insisted on dancing and cavorting with the other zombies he literally had just met when he set foot in cemetery with Ola Ray. The whole operation both scared and confused me, and it was shaking the previously rock-solid trust I had in MJ--it feels weird to say that as a 8-year old I trusted MJ, but humor me.

After I watched that video, I took down my Billie Jean and Human Nature posters for a good month, before I finally got over my fear and watched the video three or four times. Using that logic, I had no business showing my 4-year old son the video last year, but I did it anyway. And you know what? It wasn't half bad.

My son watched the video and he didn't flinch, hide or cry. He did ask a million and one questions about zombies, cemeteries, MJ's transformations and why MJ and the monsters vacillated between being friends and enemies. These were all valid questions, and I did my best to answer each and every one of them. Then we went trick-or-treating and everything seemed to be ok. But while we were trick-or-treating, and once we finished, my son was sure to tell me, "Daddy I don't want to watch that again". I said ok.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, when my son started begging me to see the video again. I've been playing the Thriller album a lot lately, and my son has fallen in love with the song, "Thriller"--especially Vincent Price's diabolical rap/laugh combo. I guess hearing the song repeatedly built up my son's confidence, because all day Sunday he asked me to watch, and I reminded my son that he told me one year earlier that he never wanted to see the video again. Right around the time I almost gave in, I realized it was about 30 minutes before his bed time, and I didn't want MJ to be the catalyst for his bad dreams.

The next day, about two hours before his bedtime, I let Nyles watch Thriller. Just like the first time, he didn't move, cry, scream or hide, he just sat there and watched while asking questions. I got up to dance and he ignored me and remained fixated on Michael Jackson and the zombies around him. Then, about two minutes after the video ended, Nyles lightly hit his head against the couch--something he had done countless times in the past few months without crying--and he just started bawling like a baby. First he tried to say his head hurt, but he quickly pivoted and said that he was crying because Michael Jackson had scared him yet again. But this time his shunning of MJ had a little nuance involved. He no longer wanted to see the video, but he clarified that he definitely still wanted to hear the song--and he did all this while crying, which was quite impressive.

Sadly, the bad reactions did not end there. My son woke up about four times between 8 and 11pm, and each time he was crying and whining about what MJ did to him. He made me promise that I wouldn't show him the video and that I'd keep playing the song for him and I agreed. I also told myself (and the wife) that I was an idiot for allowing a 5-year old to swindle me into showing him a video I knew good and goddamn well he could not handle. This incident--combined with last week's incident when I slipped hummus into my son's sandwich instead of mayo/mustard which caused him to vomit and the teacher had to call me to come get him--means that my Dad-of-the-year award is in peril.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

My son Nyles has reached that phase where he test his limits as a five year old. He's been watching the kids he went to summer camp with, he's been to some parties where he's witnessed other parent-to-kid interactions, and now he's peppered in what he's learned after one week of kindergarten. I was informed that this phase was coming by other parents, so in theory I should have been fully prepared for whatever he attempted to throw my way. But I still managed to let that little mfer get under my skin--especially this past Sunday.

Nyles went to a birthday party on Sunday morning, and that party was at a gym where they allowed the kids to run, jump, tumble, roll and hit heavy bags. It was a two-hour party and he burned an insane amount of energy which always makes parents happy because it leads to an equally as insane nap. At the conclusion of the party, they gave the kids pizza, cake, a cape and an accompanying mask. Parties like this did not exist when I was a youngster.

My son devoured the pizza and the cake, but his favorite parting gifts were the mask and cape. He wore them home, he wore them before and after swim lessons, and he basically kept them on right up until bedtime. If I had allowed him to wear the cape/mask combo in the shower, he would have tried to pull that off as well. Unfortunately, while he had on the cape and mask, he ran, jumped and stomped all over the damn house. A couple of times he even mimicked a superhero by trying to fly--and given that he was wearing a superhero's uniform, he was certainly well within his right. But not really.

After the seventh time of asking him to stop running, jumping and superheroing, I got in his face and raised my voice a bit. I forcefully asked him to keep his butt still and respect the house rules, or I'd take the cape and mask. I felt pretty good about myself and based on the sad, puppy dog look on Nyles's face, I think he got the message. Then I looked over to the wife, and she was laughing at me. Then I looked back at Nyles and I realized I was attempting to discipline this child while he was still wearing the ridiculous cape and mask. The following conversation ensued:

Me: I don't know what the f**k I think I'm doing trying to yell at him with a cape and mask on

The Wife: I was going to say, you look completely ridiculous right now, there's no way he's listening

Me (shooting a stern look at Nyles): He better be listening

The Wife (more laughter): Yeah I don't think so buddy

The lesson here? Before you discipline your kids, remove their superhero costumes. This blog would have been funnier if I recorded video of this bless-ed event, but somehow I doubt that my stern lecture to my son would have carried weight if I had a camera in my hand while my son was running around looking like a midget Batman. Just a hunch.

And my how times have changed in this blog over the years. I used to blog about women, masturbation, exercise and inane observations. Now the blog is kid-dominant, which combined with my extended periods of dormancy, have led to a reduced readership. I thank all five of you for continuing to humor me.

Monday, August 28, 2017

I told myself I was not going to cry today. Yes it was my son's first day of kindergarten, but this was the same school he attended last year, so I felt like my emotions would be in check thanks to the familiarity. Not only that, he had gotten on my nerves so damn bad earlier that morning, that I was looking forward to dropping his ass off. Even when we stepped into the classroom, the teacher asked Nyles if he wanted breakfast and he got a little spicy and said, "Well actually I already ate." My wife and I gave him disapproving looks and the teacher said, "So we say no thank you right?"..smartass kid.

Right before I walked out of the classroom I pulled Nyles to the side, and gave him the be-good-don't-embarrass-yourself-or-your-parents speech, and he kissed me, looked back at me once, and the buried himself among the other students in the classroom. The wife and I walked to the car, and I kept asking her if she was going to cry, and she said she was good. Then I walked to work and she went home, and I didn't take five steps before I started crying. It was not the ugly cry that I did when my son was first born, it was way more classy than that. My eyes filled up, a few tears actually made it down my face, and it didn't help that I was going through a mental montage of Nyles-related thoughts---starting from birth and ending with me dropping him off this morning.

When I got to work and had a chance to fully compose myself, I took a step back to really examine why I cried yet again. Part of it relates to the natural emotional investment we have in our kids--especially as they reach significant milestones. But the bigger part of that emotion is the journey. There was a time when I dropped Nyles off at daycare, and I had to carry him or closely monitor his steps so he wouldn't fall or wander off. And then when he'd get to school/daycare, he wandered around aimlessly not quite understanding how was supposed to function without the safety net of his parents around. He eventually figured it out and thrived like a champ.

Today, my son looked nothing like that shy, unsure kid. He damn near ran to the school without his parents, he knew about 10 kids in his new class, and he was ready to dive in and be a model kindergartner (minus the sassing of the teacher over breakfast). That tiny bit of growth over a 2-3 year span has made me proud and was easily enough to tip over my emotional equilibrium. And I have no regrets...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

My father was in town today, and we did our usual routine of going out to lunch alone, and then we came back to my house so he could see his grandson and my wife. His hair is disappearing and significantly more gray, his glasses are thicker and it takes him like 10 minutes to back out of a parking space, but he's still mentally sharp and he looks spry for a 68 year old.

While we were sitting in my living room watching Bad 25 he noticed the commotion going on across the street where the church is located. I let him know that this was Communion weekend at the church, and all kinds of folks were in town, and more importantly, all types of food would be on sale both in and outside of the church. My dad, who doesn't eat chicken, beef or pork, asked the wife and me if they sold fried fish, and we answered in the affirmative. He looked at me and said, "We're stopping by there before I head back to my hotel."

When we stepped into the cafeteria of the church, my father made a beeline to the fried fish. He inspected it with his eyes and made the decision that it was up to snuff and good enough to eat. All he really wanted was a piece of catfish and a piece of whiting, but the ladies at the church made it crystal clear that there were two types of fish "plans". Either he got a sandwich, or a "meal" with two sides. My dad re-stated that he just wanted two pieces of fish and a bit of potato salad, and the staff nicely, but firmly told him that he had two choices: a sandwich or a meal. Dad ordered a whiting and a catfish sandwich, asked them to hold the bread, and then asked for cabbage and potato salad. Everybody laughed....

After that minor standoff, these old church ladies shifted into flirtation/caretaker mode with my dad. They said he looked too young to have a 42-year old son, they said he looked like he needed to eat more, and they added a piece of cornbread when technically he had already exceeded the side dish limit. They ended every sentence with "baby", they told my dad and I to have a bless-ed evening, and we walked out of the cafeteria.

As soon as we walked out, dad told me a story about how he used to go to his mom's church on the weekends--not because he wanted to hear the word of God--but to get him a plate of fried fish and sides to devour with his friends. He told me the church ladies managed to be polite, motherly and condescending all at the same time, and he appreciated every bit of it. Then he admitted to me that he missed his mother, but those women in the church today were the closest thing to a mother that he'd felt since she died in 2004. Neither of us shed tears, but it was definitely a tender moment.

What's the lesson here? Sometimes, you need the special TLC power of an old(er) black woman...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I believe I may have alluded to this in another blog post, but the worst part of being a parent (and to be clear, that list is quite short) is attending kiddie birthday parties. I just attended one yesterday, and it felt like I needed a saved bank of small talk to break out among these parents. The topics of discussion ranged from the summer camps our kids attended, church, the upcoming school year, etc. Half these parents were so busy have dick-measuring contests with each other, that they were barely watching their kids---which is something I make it my business to do with an eagle-eye.

Not only does the laser-like focus I have on my child and others allow me to always know what the hell my kid is up to, but it also serves as the perfect misdirection away from chatty ass parents. Yes I know that parents either feel supremely confident or woefully inadequate, and talking that shit out among other parents can be therapeutic. However, if I don't respond or participate in that, you should be able to successfully take the hint and carry your ass to another room or area. This is the social contact we have one another. You have two (three tops) topics to introduce to someone and if they aren't nodding their head, asking following-up questions, or bringing up subjects of their own, you abort the mission and find another victim. But I digress.

The way these kiddie obligations begin is via an evite, which lists all the basics: time, location, length of the party, whether or not a gift is required, and my favorite phrase, "You are welcome to drop off and come back". I never want to attend these parties, but I also am doing my best to win the parent-of-the-year award, which means I have to please my son at all times. So I always RSVP for three(me, the wife and the son) and mentally prepare myself for the torture party

Last week, I received a particularly interesting evite. Allow me to share part of what was written:

Come help us celebrate [name redacted] Birthday as she turns the big 0-5! This party will feature 1.5 hours of structured parkour play, followed by pizza and cake. Parkour (if you don't already know) is basically an obstical course just for kids. It is super fun, and non competitive.

Unfortunatly you must be 4 years old to participate- so while we are happy to have siblings come watch, and eat cake!, they can't join in unlesss they are 4. Parents must sign a waiver upon arrival, but you are welcome to drop off and come back if you'd like!

Now, I am not really the type of person to be mean-spirited for the hell of it, and I definitely don't hold it against folks when they commit an error or two in their writing. I catch errors in my current and past blog posts all the time. It happens and when they are found they must be corrected immediately.

However, if I know I am about to send out an invitation to parents of kindergarten-age kids, I think I am going to pull out all the stops to make sure this message is error free. I know for a fact that the parent who sent this invitation out has a husband and other friends, and there is no reason (aside from no one really caring) that this woman could not have said, "Hey can you read this over for me right quick?".

Instead of taking that extra step, she sent out an invite with misspelled words and misplaced punctuation. I was embarrassed for this woman and I don't even know her that well. I wanted to send an email to her to let her know, but my wife shut that down. So what will end up happening is that all the parents will be giving her the silent, judgmental eye at the party. At that point it won't matter because the parents will care more about their church, the camp their kids attended and putting in their bid for the parent-of-the-year award. But I'll be in the corner somewhere watching my kid trying to keep myself from bringing it up...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

So this past weekend I attended a cookout with my wife, my wife's sister and her sister's husband. They did us a favor by watching our son over the weekend and then Sunday afternoon my wife and I joined them for a little grill action. The weather was perfect, the water was warm, my son was getting himself tired in the hot son, and there were copious amounts of food and spirits.

During the second half of the cookout, my in-laws were nice enough to let me DJ via my Tidal account, but during the first half of the cookout I was subjected to all kinds of trap music. There were all these songs on the radio that I did not recognize and they all had common traits: The beats were fast, the lyrics were mumbled, there were lots of drug references and the shit was wack.

The song I posted to start this blog was one of the ones that everyone at the cookout (including my son) knew except me--and I was mildly embarrassed. I could not figure out if Future was saying Percocet, Mascot, hurt your self or what. The beat was addictive as hell but Future was rapping like someone who was contractually obligated to spit four words at a time, and the last one had to rhyme. There was no attempt to rhyme two words in an eight-word line like Big Daddy Kane or Black Thought would do, and Future seemingly had little to no obligation to flex his rhyming prowess to his peers or fans. He just kept mentioning drugs, his lack of love for ladies (or bitches as he called them), and performing his best minimalist impression over the beat. I felt old and out of touch, but I refused to act like I was a fan of this non-rhyming ass Future character.

Then the second half of the song came on, and rapper-of-the-moment Kendrick Lamar came on and rescued the song. He shunned the four word per line rap style and decided to focus on more cohesive and complex sentences which is one of the things I've always loved about Lamar. After four or five lines, I started to wonder why Future would even let a dude like Kendrick--a dude who could completely upstage him in his sleep--on this remix. It wasn't the best I had ever heard Kendrick rhyme, but compared to Future, who came off like Tito to Kendrick's Michael (Jackson), he was a genius. I didn't love the song, but I decided that it was decent enough to finish listening to while I was in the pool. Then, the inconceivable happened....

When my family and I drove home, I could not get the damn chorus out of my head:

Percocets, molly, Percocets
Percocets, molly, Percocets
Rep the set, gotta rep the set
Chase a check, never chase a bitch
Mask on, fuck it, mask off
Mask on, fuck it, mask off
Percocets, molly, Percocets
Chase a check, never chase a bitch
Don't chase no bitches

I don't even like the damn chorus due to the drug and bitch references, but here I was in the car wishing my son would go to sleep so I could play this song in the car without him hearing the cursing. Then I slowly realized that this is how the kiddies get reeled in to buying and loving the song. In my teens, 20s and very early 30s, rappers reeled me in with rhymes, beats and maybe a good hook (in that order). But these days, the order seems be the beat, the chorus and then the rhymes. I quickly snapped out of the catatonic state I had been suckered into, and I extracted the elements of the song I really liked. First I played the instrumental, then I played the remix again and fast forwarded to Kendrick's rhyme to justify my infatuation with this song.

The second half of the cookout, I made everything right with the world by playing The Jacksons, A Tribe Called Quest, Usher and Michael Jackson. Everyone danced and smiled, and at least for 40 minutes, no one longed for the wack ass musical stylings of Future and anyone who sounded like him. Advantage Rashad

So how old does this blog entry sound? Should I have added a get-off-my-lawn paragraph?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Last night as I watched the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers battle during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, I sat on my couch contemplating whether I wanted to go to work today. As an aside, I am finally able to enjoy the Celtics/Cavs series without thinking what a goddamm shame it is that my beloved Washington Wizards were prematurely (at least to me) eliminated from playoff contention. I haven't written a single solitary word since the playoffs ended, which will change shortly. More on that later. I digress.

Anyway, as I sat on my couch I tried to convince myself that I should go to work. I don't have a hell of a whole lot of leave, there is definitely plenty of work to be done, and given that a three day weekend is upon us, taking off on a Wednesday is just plain greedy. On the other hand, there's nothing more enjoyable to me then taking the day off, grabbing my laptop, and heading to my local coffee shop to catch up on sports articles and my writing. If I could get paid to do just that, I'd be a happy young man.

So that was the choice, go to work and be responsible or stay home and be spontaneous. Needless to say, I am blogging to you live and direct from a coffee shop. I"m a slacker.

The primary reason I am taking today off is so I can watch some WNBA games--specifically the Washington Mystics. Starting with Friday's game against the Chicago Sky, I will be covering home games and I am equally excited and nervous.

The last time I attended a WNBA game was back in 2010 when Marion Jones and President Obama were there. That was a fantastic experience but I was a man on a Marion Jones-interview mission that night. By and large, once the Washington Wizards season is over I have no desire to write anything, let alone cover yet another team. But this season, I felt like I was in a decent groove writing-wise on the Wizards finished their season, and I thought that covering the team would be a great way to maintain that momentum.

So in preparation, I am watching the last two Washington Mystics games, reading some background info on the other team (the Chicago Sky), and trying impersonate a journalist on my day off. I'm nervous but I am also excited about stepping out of my comfort zone to try something that will broaden my horizons and strengthen my writing chops...I hope

Thank you for humoring me as I typed that out..

I dedicate this next song to Nyles, who is learning the days of the week:

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Last October I was playing basketball at a playground my son frequents and I jacked up my ring finger. If I'm being honest, I shouldn't have even been playing basketball, because the wife and I were supposed to be watching my son run wild a little bit before bed time. But once I saw that my son was knee deep in his playing duties and my wife had firm control over her monitoring duties, I allowed my mind and body to veer over to the basketball court.

I wanted to play a game, but these dudes preferred to play "21" so I obliged. I shot the ball, saw that it was going to be short and I immediately followed my shot (the way a coach would instruct me to do) and as soon as the ball hit my left ring finger, I felt it bend all the back. I immediately started to pull it out (pause) and although that wasn't helping, the adrenaline kept me going and I ended up winning that particular game of "21". But when I got home, took a shower, ate dinner and drank my red wine, I felt like anything but a winner.

My finger began to swell like nobody's business and I was SO glad I was smart enough to take my ring off before I even began playing ball. I used tape to bond my ring and middle fingers together which I thought would reduce the pain and stabilize the finger while I slept, but it did nothing. I went to the doctor the next day, and x-rays were negative--I just had really bad sprain, which prevented me from wearing my ring.

Fast forward a couple months later, the swelling in my finger had subsided, but the area around the middle of my ring finger was still swollen which mean I could get my wedding halfway on, but not at all the way down. As you can imagine, this caused my Mobley-household approval rating to plummet a great deal. The wife could see my finger was still swollen and intellectually she knew I couldn't get on my ring, but emotionally she felt like I was running around town like a single man...she was joking though...I think. I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to see if something was wrong, and then my mother just suggested I buy a bigger ring, which made sense too.

When my wife first bought me a ring before marriage, I asked her to not buy me anything expensive because I don't tend to do well with jewelry. I've lost about 7 watches in my adult life, and I didn't want the pressure of losing an expensive ass ring--so it was nothing for me to purchase a new, larger version of the ring I could no longer wear due to my mutant finger. It fit, I shunned the surgeon, and life was good. As time went by and my finger went down even more, the ring was a little loose, but that only meant I couldn't swim or play ball with it on..which brings me to last week.

Last week I removed my ring before my morning swim and of course I walked out of the gym without it, leaving it on a shelf in a locker. I called later that day and no one found it. I went back to the gym the next morning and no one found it and when I told my wife I had lost the ring that had replaced the one my mutant finger prevented me from wearing, she gave me the evil eye--as you can imagine, my approval rating again plummeted to the sunken place. I was dragging my feet in purchasing yet another ring hoping it would be found, and this morning when I went to the pool, the lifeguard located it. But the way he told me he found it was weird:

Lifeguard: Hey Rashad, how much did you pay for the ring?

Me: Around $100, why?

Lifeguard: One of the cleaning people found it and I saw it in her area, and I asked for it because I knew whose it was, and she told me she'd give it back if I took her to lunch

Me: **blank stare**

Lifeguard: So I gave her $20 for it, so how much are you going to give me?

Me: What?

Lifeguard: You should give me some money..ok just kidding I'll go get it

Me: I'm going to swim first, then I'll come get my ring

I was so damn mad that this mother f**ker was trying to bribe me for my own damn ring, but I didn't want to get sidetracked and go without a workout. I swam for 30 minutes, got out of the pool and asked him for my ring back. He again repeated how much he paid to get it back from the person who found it, and again he asked me how much I wanted to give him. I repeated that I didn't and I asked to give me my ring, and then he asked me was I sure, and at this point I stepped slightly closer to him and asked him to give me my fucking ring. He obliged but acted like it was a chore to hand it over. And as my wife observed, how do the cleaning people have "an area"? What does that even mean?

I wanted to report his ass but I changed my mind because I'm selfish I don't want anything messing with my morning swim. I have known this dude for almost 8 years now. I made him a damn R&B mixtape (an experience I spoke about at length in this here blog), I've helped him with computer issues, and I even helped him with paperwork to get his wife in this country from Morocco. I did all those things free of charge, and so for this dude to have the balls to ask me for money for my ring, because the woman who found it didn't have the smarts to give it to her boss (the head of security) who could have called me, is enough to still piss me off. But again, I"m not going to report him, because chances are if a dude is working as a lifeguard and he's over 40, he needs this job. But I will be talking to his ass tomorrow.

The bottom line to this long ass story? The ring is back on my finger and all is well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I just heard that Charlie Murphy died. I know the Chappelle show is where his reputation blew up beyond belief, but I appreciated his understated, but funny role as a bouncer in Spike Lee's, "Mo Better Blues":

Friday, April 07, 2017

I was in my room getting dressed for work this morning, when I made the necessary decision to turn from MSNBC — where they were chattering incessantly about the United States bombing Syria — to ESPN where they were talking about something decidedly more sanguine: A tradition unlike any other…the Masters.

Initially, the Masters coverage was just white noise as I continued to put on my casual Friday gear for work, but I stopped in my tracks when I realized ESPN was looking back at the 1997 Masters — also known as “The Tiger Woods Coming out Party”. Via interviews and old footage, ESPN covered the 1997 Masters round by round letting the viewing public know what Tiger was thinking and more importantly what his impact was on current and older golfers. Of particular interest to me were the words from Lee Elder — the first African American golfer to play in the Masters.

Right before Tiger’s final round in the ’97 Masters, Elder talked to Tiger and told him that this round would be the most difficult round he ever had to play. Not because he had 18 more holes to endure and not because this was his first major tournament, but because this victory wouldn’t just be about a green jacket, it would be about representing older African-American golfers who had been had been denied access to August National where the Masters Tournament was played. Elder also remarked that the much of the Augusta staff (cooks, maids and groundskeepers) were also African-American, and stopped what they were doing to fully take in Tiger’s triumph.

At this point, I was no longer getting dressed, I just stood half-clothed in front of the television completely transfixed. They showed Tiger’s signature fist pump after he made his last putt to win the Masters, then they showed him take that methodical walk to his father Earl, who had been teaching Tiger to play since the age of 3 (he was 21 when he won the Masters). Tiger got to his dad, hugged him tightly, and then they both started crying.

And then I did the same in my half-clothed state.

The wife saw me crying and gave me a hug, which was both needed and appreciated. As I explained to her later, I wasn’t crying because Tiger and his dad were crying, and I wasn’t crying because Earl Woods has now gone on to glory. I was crying because I’ve been there before.

I’m no professional golfer and I am certainly not an elite athlete, but at numerous points in my life, I’ve accomplished things that made me feel like a champion. And since I credit my father with arming me with so many of the tools I use in life on a daily basis, he is usually the person I want to interact with first when I achieve those personal milestones.

That’s not a slap in the face to my mother, my wife, my brother or my friends, it is just the ultimate compliment to my father, who is still very much alive and teaching me lessons. So when Tiger won the Masters, and made that beeline to his dad so they could share that cathartic moment, I felt that emotion too. I cried 20 years ago when I first saw it, and I’ve cried every time I’ve seen it since then — including this morning.

But this morning those tears were more plentiful than usual because my mind went to another dark place, which isn’t easy to discuss. I allowed my mind to jump to the future and what I would do if I achieved a moment of great personal triumph and my dad was no longer around to share it with me.

I thought back to the 2006 British Open which was Tiger’s first major tournament after his father’s death. Tiger was stoic and surgical during the tournament, but the minute he won, he went to his caddie and broke down crying.

Afterwards Tiger admitted that not only was he emotional because his father had passed away earlier that year, but he was also sad because winning without his father around was a personal milestone, and he wished his dad was around to share in that accomplishment as well.

I’m not an overly morbid person, but I know that type of moment is coming my way sometime in the future, and although I don’t have to handle it publicly the way Tiger did (and still does), I hope I conquer those moments the right way. The way my father has prepared me for my whole life.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Last Sunday after a glorious afternoon filled with whimsy, brunch and mimosas, I made my way to the record store to do a little digging in the crates. The wife had left me momentarily to go thrift store shopping and my initial intent was to hit up a sports bar to watch some NBA basketball while I waited. But lo and behold the record store caught my eye, and I simply could not pass up the opportunity to build on my collection.

Usually when I walk into a record store, I like to block off 30-45 minutes of time to look at each and every record to make sure I'm not missing on any hidden gems. But this particular record store had copious amounts of heavy metal and alternative records, which isn't bad music at all, but I'd prefer my vinyl to be old soul music. I know that sounds weird, but I equate vinyl with my father's collection, and he had jazz, smooth jazz and lots of R&B. Now I certainly have made some exceptions (Sting and the Police come to mind) but for the most part I stay in my narrow lane. I digress...

All of the R&B-ish records were in the first three rows of records, and I was able to whip through them in about 15 minutes and I made three choice:

1) Around the World in a Day - Prince

2) The Manhattans - Greatest Hits

3) Migration - Creative Source

I almost bought an Isley Brothers album too, but I couldn't remember whether I already had it in my collection, so I didn't want to chance it. (**sidebar** I really need my whole collection on some type of organized list so I can reference it whenever I go to the record store. Perhaps I'll make my son do that on a rainy/snowy day ***sidebar off***). I took my three records and walked up the cashier so I could meet back up with the wife.

When I got to the counter, the guy behind the desk said it was unofficial store policy that all the patrons tell a story behind each of the albums they wanted to purchase. I'm sure some folks resent having to take an extra step before spending their money, but this request was right up my alley. In fact, there was a time in this here blog, when all I did his pick records out of my newly-acquired-from-my-dad collection and tell back stories behind them from my point of view. Not only that, when I picked out the three aforementioned records, I had specific memories and thoughts in my mind. Allow to share:

Prince - Around the World in a Day

First and foremost, this was Prince's first album after the giant Purple Rain, so similar to Michael Jackson's Bad album, expectations and stakes were sky high. Michael chose to make an album with the intent of topping Thriller, and he fell woefully short--even though Bad is a great album (except for Just Good Friends). Prince decided to take a sharp left turn and make an album that was nothing like Purple Rain and he succeeded. My favorite song on the album is "Condition of the Heart and my favorite lyric in that song--a lyric which used to drive my main man Sabin crazy with in college--was, "I'm blinded by the daisies in your yard"

Besides it being a great album, my dad used to play "Around The World In A Day" every time he took my brother and me to soccer practice/games. He played it front to back over and over again, and I thank him for that.

The Manhattans - Greatest Hits

Whenever my parents were feeling amorous, which meant my brother and I had to go bed insanely early so we wouldn't hear them being disgusting--the evening would begin with my father playing The Manhattans. He would cue them up and playfully sing to me and my brother, and then turn his attention to my mother. He'd sing, they'd dance and my little 8-10 year old eyes wanted no parts of the sight. But clearly it made an impact because I am still a big fan of the group to this day. Years later I dated a cousin of Gerald Alston (the lead singer), but that was nearly as beneficial as it should have been.

My favorite songs on that album are "I'll Never Find", which reminds me of sitting on a beach with clear skies and an adult beverage and "Don't Take Your Love", which in the last 18 seconds, features some of the most fantastic levels of begging you've ever heard:

Migration - Creative Source

I'm sure this is a fantastic album, but I bought it for one song which contains a five second passage, which was sampled in one of my favorite rap songs ever. The Creative Source song is called "I Just Can't See Myself Without You", the section that was sampled comes around the 2:10 mark:

Just in case you were unable to figure it out, the song is by Freeway, Jay-Z and Beanie, and it is called "What We Do". I challenge you to listen to this song without nodding your head in violent fashion:

Anyway, the dudes at the record store we impressed by the detail in my stories and they "let" me buy the records sans incident. I appreciated their level of snobbery and it reminded me of a scene out of my favorite movie High Fidelity:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Allow me to tell you a story about the selective generosity of men.

Today, as I was driving back from my morning swim around 6:45 am, I was stuck behind a Deer Park delivery truck for 4 stop lights. If you know anything about Deer Park trucks and delivery trucks in general, you know that they have little time to waste. Their trucks are full of water, there are deliveries to be made, and the last thing they want to do is dilly dally on the road en route to their next stop. Failure to make a timely delivery potentially could lead to an angry call to their boss, and no one--delivery truck guy or not--wants that type of heart to rain down on them at work. It simply is not a good look.

So the Deer Park delivery guy made it through two stop lights sans incident, and when he got to the third light there was a bit of trouble. The light was green, but there were three cyclists taking their sweet time to get across the street. These cyclists clearly had a red light, but as we all know, cyclists operate under the anarchy creed, and they proceeded to make it across the street at a leisurely pace. The Deer Park drive lost his shit and started both yelling and cursing at the cyclists, who strolled across the street with the looks and movements of individuals who had an abundance of indifference. The Deer Park driver and I ended up scurrying across the street, and we barely made it through the yellow light, but we stopped when we got to the fourth and final red light.

While I was sitting at this light, I noticed there were scantily-clad prostitutes walking around the area (hardly unusual this time of morning). Some were getting out of cars after their "shift" was over, others were longingly peering into cars and trucks hoping to get a new shift started. It is still surreal to me that these ladies opt for this risky behavior, as opposed to selling that thang on craigslist, backpage, or in someone's DM where these things typically go down. But I digress.

Just before the light turned green, this Cadillac pulled up on the other just across the intersection where the truck and I need to be, and he started soliciting the services of the prostitute. They were about 30 seconds into their back and forth when the light turned green. The Deer Park truck was in front of me, and there was no one behind me, so we were the only two people waiting for this transaction to go down. I fully expected this driver to lose his mind and start honking, yelling and cursing at this dude, who was preventing us from progressing on our respective journeys by trying to negotiate and sweet talk his way into some early morning ass from a lady of the night.

But the Deer Park driver did no such thing, and I followed his lead and stayed quiet too. It wasn't like Mr. Deer Park and I were trying initiate our own prostitute conversations because we weren't. And it wasn't like I was in no hurry to get home so that my son and I could get ready for school and work because I was. But I also was amazed at the patience of this Deer Park dude not even a minute after he screamed on some cyclists. After a minute, the prostitute (and her friend I might add which meant this dude was about to really come up before work) got into the Cadillac and drove to some clandestine location I'm sure. My Deer Park friend and I missed the light and had to wait another minute for the next one.

So what did we learn here? Men, no matter how much of an inconvenience it may be for them, will never block another man's attempt to get laid--no matter how illegal it may be.

Lesson over.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My son has been taking swim lessons on and off the last several months, and most of those lessons have come from someone we'll call Kris (his real name). Kris is a graduate student at George Washington University, and he has a fantastic rapport with me and Nyles. He was late to one lesson and he had to cancel another lesson due to train issues but for the most part things went smoothly with Kris as our instructor.

Since Kris is a college student he is a flight risk on some weekends and especially during spring and winter breaks, so when those times came I had to improvise. I reached out to LaJuan, who had been Nyles's first swim instructor before scheduling conflicts forced us to switch. She suggested her daughter Brittany, and I was a little leery of switching swim instructors for a third time, given how kids--especially Nyles--are so married to the idea of structure and uniformity. Brittany quickly assuaged any doubt I may have had.

Kris is a good instructor but he let Nyles dictate the terms of the lesson. If Nyles cried and said he didn't want to do something, Kris would simply move on to another part of the lesson until Nyles stopped crying without revisiting it later. He also allowed Nyles to talk out of turn about subject matters that didn't have a damn thing to do with the swimming lesson. Brittany started the lesson by taking Nyles out of his comfort zone, which pissed Nyles off at first, but it also built his confidence for any additional challenging maneuvers later in the lesson. If Nyles attempted to talk about any of the fascinating things five year olds love to discuss, Brittany would humor him momentarily, and then force him right back on topic. And when it came to the actual swimming, Nyles was more confident and making larger strides with Brittany than he was with Kris.

So last Saturday when Kris returned from his latest trip and sent me a text to confirm our lesson time, I sent him a return text and basically told him that I appreciated his services, but I decided to go with one of his colleagues on a full time basis. It wasn't mean or snarky, just very matter-of-fact.

I got no response.

He sent his initial text at 10:05am, I responded when I saw it at 11:44am, and he hasn't said a word to me since then and it is now Monday morning. At first I tried to be cool and act like his response wasn't necessary, but I am pissed and I plan on calling/emailing his boss. I pay for swim lessons, and Kris isn't an independent contractor, he works for the Jewish Community Center where Nyles has his lessons. He may not have liked what I had to say, but at the very least he could have said "Thank you" or "I understand" or even the tried and tried passive aggressive response "no worries". Instead he's been hitting me with a two-day silent treatment which is what I would expect out of a jilted lover. Now I know I have a temper and sometimes that causes me to have unrealistic expectations about situation, but I do believe I'm in the right here in wanting a retort from Kris.

Am I right?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I have been watching sports intently for approximately 37 of the 42 years I've been on this precious Earth. The players I grew up watching are retired, dead, coaching or in someone's studio waxing poetic about what they think they know regarding the sport they've been around their entire lives. At some point towards the end of each player's playing career, the athletic prowess they had been able to summon with relative ease gradually started failing them.

The great players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were able to diagnose the onset of the old man's disease and make adjustments not visible to the naked eye in an effort to extend their dominance. The more marginal players were helpless against the strong gravitational pull of aging---like a piece of food trying desperately to avoid the garbage disposal before succumbing to their inevitable fate and falling down the sink. Perhaps I'm being a bit morbid here, but for any athlete on any level, the loss of athleticism does indeed represent a form of death. The part of their lives which has provided joy, financial relief and mental stability is fading away, forcing them to think about phase two of their lives at an age where people in the "regular" world are just hitting their stride. That isn't an easy reality to get used to at all. Speaking of regular people...

In the past month or so, I have noticed that I am aging. The same watchful eyes that used to notice the signs of aging in my favorite athletes have turned against me, and I'm noticing things going south with me. To be fair, I'm not 50 or 60 years old which when more demonstrative declines in physical appearance start to really kick in, but that is of no consolation to me because I am starting to notice subtle things.

My hairline is starting to erode in the corners, which directly affects how low I can wear my hair. It used to be I could rock my hair at a relatively medium length with a strong shape-up. Now, either my barber has to push my hairline back to achieve that look that I'm used to (which has me looking like a crazy man) or he has to cut it extremely low, which is fine, but it means I can't wait as long in between haircuts. As a result, I have decided to re-grow my beard as a diversion. If I'm Rick Ross-ing it with the facial hair, surely no one will notice that I'm LeBron-ing it up top right?

I've also noticed that I cannot workout once or twice a week in an effort to maintain the figure that I'd like to have. I have to eat right, exercise, sleep, be positive, and even with all that I still may not lose as much weight as I did when I was younger. And if I step up the intensity of the workouts, I may lose weight at a rapid clip, but there will be hell to pay in the soreness department.

Last month at the request of one of the people I write with, I joined a 3-on-3 basketball league. Now to you the reader, 3-on-3 sounds like a relatively low impact brand of basketball, and if I'm keeping it real (is there any other way to keep it?) I too thought this would be the case---but I was dead wrong. Full court 3-on-3 basketball is a grueling affair, especially when the two other team members who are supposed to be the reserves, do not show up and I have to run for 40 minutes (there are two 20-minute halves). Last week that happened and the next morning every part of my body was sore. But it wasn't just the soreness which kicked my ass, it was the length of time it took that soreness to disappear. As I am typing this damn blog entry, my ribs, my back, my patella tendon (I googled to figure out that part of my body) and even my neck are still hella sore, and the next game is on Sunday. When I was younger, I'd be sore two days, then I was ready to roll.

Again, I'm not old, I'm not suffering any serious illnesses and to the naked eye, my appearance is the same. But I look at myself naked in the morning every day, and I'm noticing little things that make me depressed some days, I won't lie. Everyone deals with this, so I shouldn't take it personally but it is indeed an adjustment, and I thought that writing about it would make me feel better and I was wrong.

Happy Biggie Day folks.

Monday, February 27, 2017

When I was younger and an event of consequence came on the television (a Michael Jackson video, the PBS series Eyes on the Prize, or Monday Night Football) my mother and father allowed me to stay up late and watch. At the time I felt 100% entitled to watch these things on television, and I didn't even think about how much I was throwing off the rigid schedule my parents had spent time carefully crafting during my formative years. All I knew was that my program(s) was on ,and goddammit I wanted to see it.

Now that I'm an adult with a five year old child, I have much more an appreciation for what my parents did in terms of setting bedtime guidelines and deciding when to take their feet off the gas a bit. My son starts reading at 7:30, is ready for a night time shower/bath around 7:45, and he is usually in bed by 8pm. He used to attempt to put up a bit of a fight during every step of the night process, but he's resigned to his fate, and realizes he cannot change it.

Monday night was a bit different. My son was in bed by 8pm, and afterwards the wife and I prepared to eat dinner so we could watch the Oscars. Two minutes before the Oscars officially began, Robin Roberts--via the ABC broadcast--showed a tweet of Justin Timberlake and she mentioned that he was going to open up the Oscar show. Now at that point I realized that he was going to open the show with his song, "Can't Stop The Feeling" from the movie Trolls, which are Nyles's current favorite song and movie respectively. Since I knew he loved the song, I hit record and I felt good about myself, since I knew he'd watch it the next day with a smile on his face.

Then I felt bad for being such a slave to my bedtime routine, and I decided to travel back to my youth, when my parents took the foot off the gas. I ran into my son's room, I picked him up (something I don't do too much of lately because he's heavy as hell) and I sat his happy ass in front of the television just a Justin Timberlake starting singing. Nyles danced the whole time with a huge Kool-Aid smile on his face, and he was in his own world. After the performance, I carried him back to bed, he said, "Thank you Daddy", then he went to sleep.

Mission Accomplished.

Can't Stop the Feeling is Nyles' jam! AKA the Trolls song. Dad let him stay up to see #oscars opening number.

A post shared by renitapmobley (@renitareally) on

Friday, February 24, 2017

I've been working in offices of various kinds since I was 21 years old, and during that time you meet different people who fit the same roles. There's the complainer, the hard worker, the unreasonable boss, the couples who thinks they are discreet about having sex but they aren't, the snitcher, the person who over "cc's", and of course the old(er) person who needs to retire but doesn't. I'm sure I'm missing someone but that's a good start.

Today I would like to officially induct another person into that work pantheon, and that's the condescending black woman.

Now at first glance you may ask why I felt the need to single out the black woman in this particular instance and I will be more than happy to explain. In my experience, 95 percent of the white women I work with either snub me completely or are very friendly. In fairness, about 80 percent of black women do the same. If I'm snubbed by either race of women, I mind my business and keep it moving. The condescending black woman represents about 10 percent of the black women I've worked with, and they are very calculated in their movements.

This woman will be friendly with everyone else, except me, because I'm guessing that she assumes at some point I am going to try and holler at her. I don't know that for sure, but for the life of me I can't figure out why someone who I've said nothing but "good morning" to, would consistently not the say same to me. There's a woman like that at my job right now. She speaks to everyone in the hallway, she laughs it up with white men and women, black women, old black men, and everything in between. She says good morning, she makes small talk, etc..but when we pass each other and I say good morning, I get nothing but fleeting eye contact and silence. We have mutual work friends and occasionally everyone will be joking and smiling but when she sees me, her face changes or she just disappears from the area altogether. I asked one of our mutual work friends what her f**king problem is and if she had a problem with me, and he said he had no clue, because she never said anything about me. Fair enough.

Recently, I had to go to her office for a work-related issue, and she kept cutting my sentences off, using a real condescending tone, made little to no eye contact and then she violated one of my pet peeves by asking me questions and saying thanks before I ever answered yay or nay. I started to say something, but ultimately it is about the work, not how that work is dictated to me, and I'm pretty sure if I had said something it would have been blown way out of proportion. On a side note, I probably shouldn't be blogging about this either, but f**k it, I'm like four paragraphs deep at this point, and I need to get this out.

So yesterday, I was in the work kitchen cleaning out my bowl, the condescending lady was sitting down eating her lunch, and our mutual white male friend was standing next to me discussing the trade the Washington Wizards had just made. The dude asked me about the next time I would be covering a game at the Verizon Center, and before I could answer the question, the usually condescending black woman swooped in with barrage of questions:

Oh my god, you cover the Wizards?
Who do you write for?
Have you met John Wall?
Can you get discounted tickets?

At this point I really wanted to offer her a big bowl of these, but instead I took the high road and answered all of her questions, and I emphatically told her no when the subject of tickets came up. I'm a member of the media, I'm not ticketmaster. Anyway, I saw her twice more yesterday and again this morning, and now I'm getting the red carpet treatment. I get smiles, b.s. conversations, arm touching and all of that, which is fine, because my treatment of her remains professional. But I'm still annoyed that line between her treating me like Stanley and her respecting me enough to speak, was her discovery that I did something outside of work which she could possibly benefit from.

Perhaps I should just get over myself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Back in November my mother published a book called, "The Strawberry Room", which was a memoir of sorts which discussed her divorce from my father as well as the spiritual awakening she experienced afterwards. She had been writing it on and off for for 17 years, and she finally finished in 2016. Shortly after it was published, she told my father about it, and needless to say, he was less than pleased. He didn't like that my mother felt the need to go public about a subject he considered to be very private, and he also was worried how their mutual friends would look at him now as a result of these series of revelations.

I must admit that when I read my mother's book, it forced me to revisit moments and situations that I either a) never thought about from a women's perspective or b) did a bang-up job of blocking out completely. Reading the book made me uncomfortable, it made me sad, it made me angry and that was from the vantage point of a child having a front row seat to the demise of his parents' relationship. I can only imagine how my dad must feel knowing that his version of these events was extremely different than what was published. I love both my parents, but I have no problems admitting I love my dad just a bit more, and I felt for him once he realized this book had been written.

But I also have to admit my mother's book and my father's subsequent bad reaction had me extremely gun shy about doing any additional blogging on this here site. Since 2006 I have discussed some deeply personal details about my life, my family, my friends and others and I really don't know how it affected those close to me. I've shown my parents selected entries, my brother has read it, and my close friends have definitely seen it, but I've never taken the time to ask them how they truly feel about some of the more personal things I've written about. So I just stopped writing for a little over four months, and I fully expected to shut this blog shit down completely.

But tonight I watched an episode of the hit show "This Is Us"--a show which makes me cry every time I watch it I might add--and I decided that I was ready to resume my writings. The episode involved a son fulfilling the wishes of his dying father, and they spent a strong 48 hours together before the father died. Now my thoughts aren't quite as morbid as that episode, but I did think about my sons (who are 19 and 5 respectively) reading this blog after I'm gone, and I'd want this blog to fill in all the details that our conversations and experiences could not. Yes this blog only represents certain periods of my life, but I still think they could glean plenty of useful information from it.

Again, I don't plan on exiting this Earth any time soon, but my plan isn't up to me, it is up to the "Hugh Hefner on High". In the interim, I promise to keep writing as I've been doing on and off for 11 years. That's ok right?