Dear Jack: Hiding in an Ocean of Stuffed Animals, Like E.T. in 1982

5 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Hiding in an Ocean of Stuffed Animals, Like E.T. in 1982

Dear Jack,

Last weekend we were in Alabama, celebrating Aunt Dana’s birthday a month late, since the blizzard happened the same day we were supposed to go there on our actual birthday weekend.

You and your cousin Calla enjoyed playing hide-and-go-seek with Uncle Andrew.

With the two of you both being 5 years-old now, you’ve mutually reached a convenient dynamic: You come up with fun and weird ideas, and your cousin goes along with them.

When it came time for your final hiding place before we left to drive back to Tennessee, you discovered the perfect hiding place.

In your Aunt Dana’s dormer window upstairs, there is a display of 1980s and 1990s stuffed animals; including, but not limited to, a Popple, a giant Domino’s Pizza teddy bear, Shoney Bear, and Alf.

You saw it as the perfect opportunity. Quite seamlessly, the two of you immersed yourself in the ocean of stuffed animals.

Instead of hiding out of sight, the two of you hid in plain sight.

Just your expressionless faces were showing in the collection of stuffed animals. I admit, I wouldn’t have found the two of you- I would have walked right past.

Fortunately, your Uncle Andrew snapped a picture of the event on his phone and ran downstairs to show us all, before officially “finding” you two.

It would have been one thing if an adult had given you this idea. But no- this was the result of two 5 year-olds hiding from an adult.

Even more impressive, you have never seen the movie E.T.; since it is not available on Netflix streaming.

One day, when you finally get to see that movie, you’ll watch the scene where E.T. himself hides in a closet full of stuffed animals.

You didn’t get the idea from adults or from a movie. You thought of this all on your own.

I am definitely impressed.

Love,

Daddy

My Son and I Are Like E.T. and Elliott

January 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm , by 

13 months.

I don’t think it’s just in my head. My son Jack and I really are on the same wavelength.
If I’m not relaxed, neither is he. If I’m too hot or too cold, so is he. We have always enjoyed the same types of music and the same kinds of food. We are amused by the same random things in life.

Today both he and I, but not my wife, fought off a “24 hour stomach bug.” We both started out the day by vomiting, then felt kind of funky for most of the day, but by evening, were pretty much back at 100%.

Our father-son connection actually reminds me most of E.T. and Elliot’s relationship. In case I needed to point it out, Jack is E.T. and I’m Elliott. (This June will mark the 30th anniversary of the classic movie, E.T.)

While I’m the human, Jack is the waddling alien who mimics my everyday behaviors. Recently during playtime with him I was pretending to fall asleep on his blanket on the floor. I acted like I was snoring, making the classic cartoon sound as it is universally recognized: “Hah, shuuu… hah, shuuu…”.

Tonight he was showing off all his cool tricks for my parents who were briefly in town from Alabama. Sure enough, he dragged his blanket into the middle of the living room floor, laid down on top of it, and made his impression of the sound: “Eh, sssssshhh… eh, sssssshhh…”.

Jack wants to be human. It’s largely up to me to show him how. So much for him actually learning to be normal!

 

dad from day one: Funny Faces and Baby Dreams

Week 1.

If you’re not good at winning staring contests, you should try being in one with an infant.  It’s pretty easy to win because there are no “overawareness” issues.  Baby Jack is dedicated to the game; I’ll give him that.  But typically I win because he either smiles or sneezes.  There’s nothing like staring at a baby’s face.  It’s amazing how long you can do it before you realize you’ve been doing it that long.

Of all the funny faces he currently makes, my favorite one is when raises his eyebrows like wants to be part of the 1950’s Rat Pack.  There’s also the “Elvis sneer”, the “surprised Dana Carvey”, the “Paul McCartney”, the “ancient Chinese man”, the “drowsy poet”, and the “Mac the alien” (a reference to a mostly forgotten E.T. copycat movie called Mac and Me.)

He often slips in and out of sleep when I stare at him.  I try to imagine what he is dreaming about, as his face tells the seemingly same story every time.  The dream starts out with Baby Jack petting a friendly puppy (Jack always starts his dreams smiling).  Then a mean dog comes along and scares Jack and the friendly puppy (that’s when Jack has a worried look on his face).  Lastly, the dream ends with him drinking milk or pooping (as he either starts “rooting” or grunting, accordingly).  What else would a baby dream about anyway?

“I wanna wake you from your dream.  I wanna know just who you’re talking to when you’re singing in your sleep.  I wanna find out what it means.  I’ve got marbles in my mouth.  Thousand words I wanna say but it’s impossible to spit ’em out.”

-Guster, “Do You Love Me?”


Do Aliens Really Exist?

Or more importantly, could they even get here?  And could they survive our living conditions?

Being a kid in northern Alabama in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, I was convinced that at any moment aliens could be on the verge of flying over me as I rode my bike, especially as I was heading back to the house as the sun was beginning to set on a crisp, eerie October evening.

There was a hysteria/fascination with UFO sightings where I grew up, as more and more families were able to afford camcorders. In the back of many peoples’ minds was the hope of filming one of these banana-shaped alien spacecrafts made famous on the local news, courtesy of some good ole boys in a town called Fyffe, who kept submitting their shaky footage of either a light pole or a plane at night.

Evidently I seem like the kind of guy that would be knowledgeable on the subject- in the last year especially I have been randomly asked by so many people the dreamy question: “Do you think aliens exist?” Good question. I have a good answer.

I truly want to believe in aliens, but there are two major issues with humans ever making contact with them. The first is how they would get here. Planet Earth is light years away from any other solar system. (A light year is the distance light travels in a year. For an idea of how far that is, light can travel around the Earth 7 times in one second.) If aliens were able to create a device that enabled them to travel to all the way to Earth, it would have to work similar to a teleportation device. Because that’s the only way to feasibly move a living creature that far in so little time.

And even if aliens invented a teleportation device to get to other universes, the chances of them finding our planet are literally astronomical. The universe has no end. So if there really is life outside of our planet (other than spiritual) then we surely can’t assume it’s just us and them. Surely there would be thousands, if not millions, of other planets with intelligent life forms. Chances are, they would discover countless other universes before they ever found us.

The other problem is that they most likely couldn’t breathe our air or survive in our climate. For example, human life can not survive on any of the other planets in our solar system. We would either freeze or burn within the first day of being there. Plus there wouldn’t be enough, if any, oxygen to breathe. The aliens would have to be coming from a planet that was almost identical to Earth in terms of its life sustaining qualities.

Do aliens exist? If they did, they couldn’t get here. And if they could, why would they choose Earth out of all the universes? And if they did choose Earth, they would die within the first day from our natural environment. I have always held this hidden hope that ET really would come back to Earth. I’ve been waiting since 1982.

Sometimes life is disappointing. This is one of those times. The chances of humans ever meeting aliens on Earth are… (unavoidable pun) …out of this world.

“Hey Mr. Spaceman, won’t you please take me along for a ride?” -The Byrds (“Mr. Spaceman”)