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On Saturday We Rocked.

Its 7am on a Saturday and I am not hung over in a hotel bed. And I wonder what that means. For so long, my life was double-stapled to a few sure things, things that defined the road I'd taken. Bleary eyed early mornings in far flung places was my thing. With last night's sweat caked to my skin like a fried trout, I'd bounce out of a bed I'd never sleep in again and prepare to travel hundreds of miles away from that place fast. Playing in a rock'n'roll band meant moving, always. Stopping, pausing was suicide. What love and money had been available to you a few hours ago were completely gone now. To survive, you had to go.

But here I am this morning writing on a laptop by a muted TV. I am not still drunk from last night. I didn't drink at all. There is no mysterious hot woman here looking for her other Chuck Taylor. There is a woman who remains a mystery to me and she's sexy as fuck and all, but she is sleeping like a stone in the bedroom, there's an empty wine bottle by the trashcan in the kitchen, and if she's dreaming at all right now: it ain't about me. And there's my peanut here too; Violet...passed out in her electric swing. Milk drunk. And the whole little vignette has got me positively confused this morning as to whether or not all my youth is dead.

Its the stuff of so many novels and memoirs, I know. The whole searching your heart for the truer meaning of life. Family is everything. Strength and Honor. But its all so exhausting too. At what point did I actually make the decision that seems to have somehow been made here? At what precise moment, at what exact second, did my mind and my heart and my gut all limp over to the same beater convertible, climb in with resignation faces, and head off over the proverbial distant hills dipping below a sunset horizon and pointed at the fairytale cities of FinallyGrownUp and BitterFucker...uncertain which one they'd eventually settle on. And where the heck was I when this was going down? How come I keep missing these somewhat monumental decision-making Pow-Wows that decide, like, everything.

I don't know what I really want and that pisses me off. I am probably supposed to have it somewhat figured out by now. I don't. In my adult life I delivered auto parts and then played guitar. For years. So, I wasn't exactly your Mr Career Path. Don't get me wrong either, I had a blast. A sensational blast. And what's to will be a blast too. Maybe even more of a blast, but different. I know this. It's just...oh forget it.

What I don't know for certain is what I'm supposed to do today. It's going to be a rainy Saturday and I am in a city I never dreamed I'd live in with a wife and a baby I'd never dreamed would know me and actually love me with serious dependent love and we can't just go around killing time walking around the damn mall or whatever now can we?

Dude, dude, dude. Of course you can.



I have many dreams for my daughter. I have four savings bonds so far and way more cutesy outfits than she'll ever be able to wear. On the bookshelf by the tv await copies of Hans Christan Andersen, Brothers Grimm, Aesop's fables, Little House On The Prairie, and The Wind In The Willows.

Ahem, on this other bookshelf over here we have this twelve volume edition of The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark which cost me over a hundred bucks and which Monica still thinks I bought for myself. Why would you think that, baby? You seriously think I'd wait til you announced you were pregnant and then immediately order something like that? And that I'd make the foolish buy pretending that it was a gift for our daughter who was still nine months away from being born, let alone much interested in the discarded crumbs of a long ago journey across America? Honestly? Jeez. You really don't know me at all.

So anyways, as you can see: I got her entire future mapped out just fine. Mapped out. Hmph...that's kinda Lewis and Clark huh? Fuckin brilliant.

One thing I wish I could give her years from now though, I won't be able to. The Howard Stern Show. In all my years of music listening and movie watching and book looking and seeing paintings and watching very intense installations of David Beckham sleeping like an angel fallen to Earth from The Glory Cloud( what a wasted fuckin afternoon that was) all those years of mopping up my corner of culture's dusty floor...nothing has ever made me more giddy, or happier, or so overcome with joy and laughter than the King of All Media and his radio show.

Since I was about 15, its been there on my radio. And if what you think is that I was intoxicated by the sound of strippers moaning into a mic, let me tell you the truth: I already had like eight video tapes with that sort of stuff. From the beginning The Stern Show, even at its perverted peaks, has always been way way more than that to me.. Sex and sexism. Race and racism. Laughing at and laughing with. This thing, this radio show has helped me to understand better than, dare I say, anything else, that life is beautifully messed up. And that you need to sit with people you aren't familiar with and share some simple wasting time with 'em before you can seriously judge them. That may sound like an inflated boast, or some very warped stretch of a plug for this particular show, but I stand by it with everything I got. Plain and simple: the Stern Show helped me to learn what it is to be a liberal-minded person who sometimes wants to run over dumb-ass people in his car, but probably shouldn't.

The art of conversation is dying. It just is. Technology reigns and if we don't dig that, then we too fade away. I really really hope to be able to have family dinners with Violet as she gets older, talk about our days out in the world. But chances are we'll be lucky to have that every now and then rather than each night. With Stern and his greatest pageant ever given, me and Monica have had weird connections even when we're not together. Something happens on the show and we both nearly piss our pants with laughter... together but in different places. And often, its the first thing we can't wait to talk about when we hook up again. So, you might think I am a shitty dad for actually wishing that The Howard Stern Show would last forever, so that my daughter could one day listen in. But you'd be wrong. By laughing for so long at the things we aren't supposed to laugh at, I have learned to love what is so drastically different than me, that others want to stomp it dead with Biblical Doc Martens. Fuck them. I want Violet to know that laughter and all the wisdom hiding out inside it.


Ladies and Gentlemen, My Face Is Melting.

On Monday, around lunchtime, El Diablo backed his black'n'flame three-story dump truck right up to my house, released a lever, and unloaded a good three or four tons of hellfire onto the roof. It came crashing down into the living room where I was standing and landed on Violet, who was in my arms semi-asleep. There I was one second just whiffing her milky burps, my nose to hers, a little lullabye to see her off. And then out of the blue my baby gets dipped in Inferno.

Her eyes bulged and I gently asked her what was up. You burping? She didn't really respond but rather began throttling her stubby arms as if she was trying to take off for a little flight around the room. Then, the dreaded sounds: slow rolling fogs of moan that pile into and on top of one another like a terrible highway scene, until its just a single blood-curdling scream on high.

Oh my.

I panicked, I guess. I tried the binky but but no dice. We whirled around the room singing fucking Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer again ; these days in times of despair it is my go-to tune even though I don't want it to be; it just is. Purple baby face. Tears. Crying so hard you can see the dogs look up at you with eyes begging for me to shower mercy upon them, to spare us all this harsh midday torture session. But it was useless. Everything was useless.

Six hours later it was still pretty much going on. I'd put her down for a sec in her swing, the fires would burn hotter. I'd pick her up, move toward...I dunno...the yard?...and she'd squeal the squeal of an unsettled soul. I fed. I diaper changed. I stood by the shower, hoping the tranquility of running water might enchant her. Nada. Twice giant poos offered the possible promise of relief...but no. Finally, I felt the Devil's fingers grappling in my torched hair.He was flirting with me and it was fucking working. Seduced by evil: I looked down at my daughter and screamed out 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!'

I set poor bawling Violet down in her crib and walked into the bathroom and slapped myself in the face. Except what was supposed to be a slap became a fist punch in the spirit of the moment, and so I actually punched myself on the high cheek. Pain shot through my adrenaline and tickled a nerve. But I liked it, needed it. Iate the pain like a hot wing. It was delicious, spicy. And no, I hadn't been close to belting Violet right then either. It was more that I needed to chill myself out by setting the babe down for a moment and bashing myself in the noodle. So, I stood there looking in the mirror at my mug. Maybe I took a couple deep breaths,I don't know. There was still big crying in the other room, but it had faded to background music.

An hour later, around 8, she finally passed out. I stared at her exquisite smallness as she breathed out and in over and over in my arms. We were both exhausted, our spirits water-logged. How could such a tender innocent three-month old ever pull off such an unholy display of terror? And oh the commitment. The hours of dedicated discomfort. Never giving in. Rarely giving up. What had it been, I wondered. Was it gas? An early tooth beginning to poke out? A full moon?

No.No. And no. It was: the devil, plain and simple. And we beat him at his own game, Violet. All that legendary badness and you and me, we licked him. And we'll do it again when we need to, huh? Just give Daddy a couple of days, sweetheart. Please.


The Ballad Of Two Couch Potatoes.

Watching Violet this past week has been just badass. She'll be sitting in her electric swing, eyes completely fixated upon the little pink and brown mobile that's attached, and all of the sudden, BAM! She starts to coo and sigh and she moves her eyes toward me or her momma and let's out a shrill exclamation of recognition, or love, or "I have crapped myself...a little help here, folks!" The messages are sort of lost in translation. But the gist is clear enough. She is beginning to connect the dots that shape our world. Watching her eyes widen just before she lets out a sound, its almost as if I can see the soldering going on inside her baby brain, teeny wisps of smoke leaking from her ears. Sweet connections are being made over here and then over there as lines of current are opened for the very first time. I had never given it a moment of thought before, that life begins so beautifully: with swinging in the living room and mobile flowers and the sounds of a three-month old recognizing something or feeling excitement. Now its crammed into every nook of me.

Maybe the best part of all this is seeing that my daughter is captivated by the TV. Yeah yeah, I know, studies show that too much television dulls a child's intellect and limits learning capacity and ultimately leads to unemployment, bongs, and dreams that die on the wings of an eagle that lives in the basement. But, I don't know. I ain't parking Violet in front of the tube for hours on end or anything. Its more like when she is chillin for a bit, no crying/no fussing, and I am able to hit the pause button on the day for a sec and grab a Diet Coke and some pretzels; I set her up, softly lodged, in the crack between the cushions on the sofa. Then, we watch a little pro bass fishing or baseball or Friends and she glares at the damn thing as if she can see something far beyond the screen: some hidden world of secrets being revealed to chosen babies. It's an impressive attention she pays.

Sitting there on the couch and relaxing for a little while as a long day winds down,...that can't be all bad, right? I mean, leaning up on somebody else's story can be a good thing sometimes, no? Everybody can say what they want about how to raise the perfect baby and how TV can hurt their intellectual chances down the road, maybe even make them dumb. But I don't know. We each have to trust our guts when it comes to all this. And here and there, television allows me and Violet a bit of a break each evening. A respite from all that seriously hard work going on during the live-long day. Something to watch together between all this getting used to each other.


Modern Love.

Me and my wife will be married forever, and probably, the way things are going, in the goddamn After-Life too. I know this despite recent events because I smell love coming from our room. It is early in the morning here and I woke up at Violet's first chirps of the day. Mainly that happened because when I heard her and rolled over and looked at my phone it said it was 4:30am and that's when TMZ comes on the tv. So: I lifted her gently out of the crib and we moved on in the darkness, toward the gossipy light. A few steps on, I felt my daughter's tiny bottom let out a tiny fart and it wafted up kind of milky and not unsweet and so I just knew then and there that anybody who could team up with me to create such a tiny bit of pure tiny awesomeness, well, that woman was gonna have staying power. Long long love. Like it or not.

Then, I got Violet to sleep in the swing for a bit and was feeling sorta romantic for Monica...well, during the commercials. She's a really complicated treasure with a tender motherly heart. And she loves me with the gangsta fierceness that sometimes means she has to bitch-slap me in the face, but that once we settle down, maybe gorge on some burritos, we all good. Often, we end up even better than before. Now lately, she's been acting kind of sexy like, showing me her pre-baby jeans on her ass and stuff. This is never bad.

The thing is though, I never even really noticed any weight gain on her. I mean, yeah she did get pregnant with a baby and all but I guess maybe that didn't register with me as a physical weight thing. It almost seemed more like spiritual. Or like she was just wearing an easily un-zipable fat suit. Maybe it's because there wasn't exactly a lot of doin' it on the kitchen counter while she was busy throwing up every twenty my sexual radar wasn't powered to full. Whatever it was, I always felt she looked glowing (sweaty?) and natural (pissed?).

Now though, we are back landed on Earth. Back to real life with baby. And if my lady says she wants to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight, well then who the hell am I to say anything? Look at Tori Spelling, right hon? That girl had her second baby and then was back to HER OWN BIRTH WEIGHT of 8 lbs 4 oz within a day. Nice. Plus, the way I see it, I weigh way less now than I did in high school when I'd smoke three bowls after my mom went to bed and then eat mozzarella sticks or Twinkies dipped in pudding cup.

It's hard being the hot one, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. That's all I'm saying.