While I was doing my bi weekly workshop with the students from Special Olympics and the Sarasota Therapeutic Recreation Center preparing for their upcoming 7th Annual Special O’Laughics Show one of the students did a couple of jokes that inspired my blog this week. “Knock Knock, Who’s there? Raisin, Raisin Who? Raisin kids is hard work. And, by the way I always like to give gifts that are homemade. Here’s one of my kids!”
Everyone who has ever done it knows that raisin’ kids, although at times rewarding, also demanding, unpredictable, and the primary cause of accelerating the aging process. I think the parenting process is much like creating a life long paint by numbers picture. Except you do not know what any of the colors are until they hit the paper. They all appear transparent until each of the elements involved are combined and brush strokes canvas. Before that moment, looking at the outline on the canvas you seem to know what the picture will become and you are almost positive that #2 is Blue or some shade of Blue because #2 is the sky. But, when your brush dips into #2 and strokes the canvas another color you never expected appears and in some cases it might even be a color you didn’t even know existed. So you stay the course, do the best you can to keep to what you think is the proper paint number in the proper area of the canvas and simply watch the magic unfold. During my parenting process I can still clearly remember the first time the Serenity prayer kicked me square in the kester. My darling daughter has come home on a lovely spring day from Kindergarten. Let me repeat that again because it is of the utmost importance, Kindergarten. My sweet little impetuous five year old comes running up to me, “Hey Daddy!” “Well hello sweetie how was school?” “Great” she replies in earnest. “Did you learn anything new?” “Yes I did! I know what gay means”. “Well yes honey, gay is extremely happy isn’t it”? She kind of rolled her eyes and said, “No Dhuuu”. “Well Pumpkin what does gay mean”? Now hoping to God that the paint number I think is going to appear does not. She says quickly and confidently, “Well that’s when a boy likes a boy or a girl likes a girl.” And then gave me a look like what ya think about that big boy. Then she took it a step further into the land of bizarre saying, “And you know what Daddy I love Brittany Spears”. Then to further confuse and heighten my anxiety over this particular moment of fatherhood my little innocent apple cheeked darling begins to skip dance around the room singing, “I’m gay I’m gay I’m gay gay gay gay GAY! Yea!” Now realize at this point of my daughters life the sexual part of being gay is not in her mind at all. She is thinking friends, lunch buddies, playground companions, but when my adult mind is bombarded with this unforeseen information gay and sex are uncontrollable linked. And even though I consider myself a very liberal thinking, totally tolerant, compassionately understanding person, my old school down home heterosexual response takes over. I start skip dance chasing her around the room as she is singing her improvised I’m Gay song saying, “No you’re not, No you’re not.” It must have looked and sounded like a moment from a bad off Broadway musical about the life and times of Rosie O’Donnell. As soon as I get directly behind my tiny sugarplum she spins around looks me right in the eyes and says with sincere poignant clarity, “How do you know? Huuuu, How do you know I’m not gay, how, Huuuu”? Does anyone have an answer for that? No, there is know answer for that because you do not know. And, if you think you know you are now officially in the fantasyland of denial trying desperately to rearrange the paint numbers to suit your own expectations. So the best thing I could come up with was to say, “Honey would you like some ice cream?”
During the next week I painted a picture to put up in her room. It was a picture of a rainbow with a pickup truck beneath it and in front of the pickup truck was Larry the Cable Guy giving Ellen Degeneres a piggyback ride. I think that covered all bases as I continue to watch the magical portrait unfold.
Comedy Tip: Whenever you are writing about something take the time to look at as many different perspectives as possible. This will help you develop stories and bits that are more original than the first most obvious perspectives that are common to society. How many perspectives are possible to any event or subject? Of coarse perspectives are limitless and when you find the perspectives most artists don’t notice about a subject or event, then you find the unexpected creations that are gifts.