Breaking News: “Manliest Vegan on the Internet” Rides Skateboard to Target for Carrot Juice; Refuses to See Himself as a Hero

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in Spring Hill, Tennessee when Nick Shell, 36, drove his family in a 2017 Toyota 4Runner to the local “weigh and pay” frozen yogurt shop, Sweet Cece’s; after his wife suggested it would be fun.

Joined by his parents who were visiting for the weekend, he carried in his 1 year-old daughter as his 6 and a half year-old son ran ahead. As the Shell family walked to the back of the shop, deciding which flavor they each were in the mood for, Nick noticed that unlike any other time he had ever been to Sweet Cece’s, the dairy-free option was temporarily unavailable.

He kept this information to himself, though his wife soon took notice, asking him, “Oh no, are they out of the watermelon sorbet for you?”

Allowing his entire family to get their own frozen treats, he waited until after everyone was settled in at the table before he whispered to his wife, “I’ll be right back. I’ll just go pick up something at Super Target across the street.”

He pulled open the hatch door of the 4Runner, where he had been keeping his skateboard for just an event such as this. Within minutes, he found himself at the Super Target entrance.

His family, back at Sweet Cece’s, were not even halfway through their treats, when he returned with a bottle of Bolthouse Farms 100% carrot juice in hand.

“My name in Greek means victorious. I find a way to be victorious in everything I do. I will not allow myself to be a victim. So when I saw that Sweet Cece’s was temporarily out of my vegan option, it did not affect me emotionally. Instead, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to use my skateboard and catch up on some Vitamin A from carrot juice. Some might even refer to me as a hero, but I refuse to see myself that way. I’m just a regular guy who did what any decent manly vegan would do in that instance,” Shell strangely explained.

After clarifying to him that no one was referring to him as a hero, Nick Shell then continued to speak about the incident, but I had to sort of tune him out. He kept referring to himself as “the manliest vegan on the Internet,” even though in the same breath, he admitted no one has ever questioned him on that title.

If you see him in public, it’s best you just smile and nod, while slowly walking away, backwards.

Otherwise, he may offer to let you take a selfie with him for your Instagram account, as he pressures you into tagging it:

#themanliestveganontheinternet

Dear Jack: Our “Skateboard and Stroller Vs. Sprinters” Race!

6 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

This weekend I was supposed to take you to go watch the new Power Rangers movie, but you were satisfied with watching Trolls from Redbox. So instead, our family made the most of the wonderful spring weather in our cul-de-sac.

It all started when Mommy decided to push you and your sister in the double stroller, while I skateboarded alongside you all. But that didn’t last long…

Because you soon realized you didn’t want me to be able to move faster than you. There’s too much competition running through your veins to be okay with me going faster than you, in any capacity.

This quickly evolved into a series of official races.

You sprinting versus me pushing your sister in the stroller while I skateboarded.

There were some close ones, but you beat us every time. You are truly a fast runner.

And I was legitimately trying to win! I’m not the kind of dad who lets his son win. I suppose that only adds to your competitive spirit. You have to earn a win with me.

Then Mommy wanted to see if she could run faster than you. She’s fast, but not fast enough for you. So it stands, you are the official champion of the “skateboard and stroller vs. sprinters” race in our cul-de-sac.

For anyone happening to drive through our neighborhood this weekend, just casually looking for houses on the market, I’m sure they were in for a surprise when they saw a family conducting a series of wacky races! It had to be such a strange, yet fun-looking event.

But hey, it’s our cul-de-sac. Our neighbors are used to our antics by now.

Though we’re often on the go, when we are home, we’re bound to be doing something that’s not quite so normal.

By the way, let our “skateboard and stroller vs. sprinters” race serves as proof that you undeniably having really cool parents!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our “Skate-and-Shoot” Game in the Cul-de-Sac/Leaving for Spring Break

6 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

This past weekend while Nonna and Papa were staying with us, they were able to catch a glimpse of a game we recently invented, where I ride my skateboard down the cul-de-sac and you shoot me from our driveway, using your Nerf dart gun. I call our game “shoot-and-skate”.

The chamber of your Nerf gun holds 3 darts at a time. You’re such a good shot that normally, I feel about 2 stings every time I skate past you. I am very impressed with your shooting skills.

I love the challenge of having to not only skate downhill, but also avoid very fast travelling Nerf darts… without crashing.

Afterwards, you and Papa went hunting for arrowheads in the woods, as Nonna carried your sister. She loved the hike as much as you did. However, no American Indian artifacts were found this time around.

When we got back inside, you decided to demonstrate your creative artistic skills by creating a mask of a Siberian Tiger. Your sister amazingly wasn’t afraid of you when you wore it.

Nonna and Papa took you back to Alabama with them when they left on Sunday, as this week is your Spring Break.

I know you’re having so much fun right now, but Mommy and I definitely miss you. It is noticeably much quieter without you in the house. And of course, your sister misses you too.

Yesterday I watched her crawl up to the bottom of the refrigerator where your picture is hanging, and she tried to grab you out of it.

Yeah, she misses you.

Nonna is doing a great job of sending me pictures from her phone, showing all the fun you’re having on Spring Break in Alabama.

I want you to keep having fun, enjoying your time off from school.

But we will be really happy to have you back at our house, even if the noise level increases greatly.

Love,

Daddy

35 Year-Old Husband and Father Learns to Skateboard, Embraces Metallica

I know it sounds like a concept for an article for a satirical website like The Babylon Bee or The Onion, but no, this is my real life story.

Yes, there’s something instantly ironic about a conservative 35 year-old husband and father of 2 who lives in a cul-de-sac who decides to teach himself to skateboard and finally fully embraces his hidden fascination with the legendary metal band Metallica.

One might even suppose I could be going through some sort of mid-life crisis, though I’m not sure if I’m quite old enough to qualify for that yet.

Maybe it’s my way of subconsciously proving to myself that I am not content with being a predictable suburban dad.

I wouldn’t deny that theory. I am aware that it’s fundamentally important to me to remain young in spirit, even as I mature as an adult. So that theory totally makes sense.

What officially started it all was back in November for my son’s 6 year-old birthday, when my wife and I decided to buy him a skateboard, on account of several of the other kids in our neighborhood having them. But how could I teach him to skate if I didn’t know how to myself?

So my wife ordered a skateboard online for me as well. After watching just 2 or 3 YouTube videos, and dedicating many of lunch breaks at work to practicing over the past several months, I have been effectively skateboarding.

It has served as a liberating yet legitimate work-out. It has not only exercised my body, but also my mind, as I have constantly had to balance in order to keep from awkwardly falling off.

Fate would have it that back in January, just 2 months after his birthday, my son had to be rushed to Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital after a random case of strep throat turned into a parapharyngeal abscess on his neck. As I stayed overnight with him a couple of nights, I spent some time watching videos on YouTube on my phone after he fell asleep.

It was then that I stumbled upon some Metallica music videos, and for the first time, I really connected with their music.

I realized that their complicated sound, vulnerably honest lyrics, and dark themes which are focused on human nature as well as injustice in the world, are in accordance with the emotional maturity I have gained over the past few years as I’ve evolved from Luke Skywalker into Han Solo.

In particular, I most relate to songs like “Sad But True” which explores the selfish side of human nature that we tend to forget or deny is there:

“I’m your hate when you want love… I’m your life, I’m the one who took who there…

I’m your truth, telling lies

I’m your reason, alibis

I’m inside, open your eyes

I’m you

Sad but true”

And from Metallica’s latest album is a song called “Am I Savage?” in which the video portrays a man around my age (who happens to look a bit like me) as he journeys through his average day with his loving wife and two lovely children; as well as time in the office.

The dichotomy of his actual presentation to the world is contrasted to the inner impulses he successfully manages on a daily basis, as the idea is expressed, “beauty and the beast are colliding.”

I also appreciate the Libertarian concepts found in songs like “Nothing Else Matters”.

So what may appear as a random phase in my life is actually a crucial chapter to the character arc of Nick Shell, the 35 year-old daddy blogger.

For now, my son is taking a slower pace on the skateboard, as he is starting out by just sitting on it and he scoots down the sidewalk. Plus, he enjoys chasing me around with a Nerf gun while I skate past him.

He and I are both growing up; despite the 29 and a half year difference and despite being in much different stages in life.

There’s a paradox in there somewhere… how we need to remain forever young inside yet we also have to embrace the responsibilities of adulthood in an imperfect world.

I’m right there in the midst of sorting that out.

As for my son, he’s perfectly happy with Power Rangers and Pokemon. Lucky place to be.

Dear Jack: Your Special Friend, Jenna/Sk8ter Boi/Glue Vs. Ice: The Movie

5 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: Your Special Friend, Jenna/Sk8ter Boi/Glue Vs. Ice: The Movie

Dear Jack,

You love being grown up. Kindergarten is cool. You were so ready for it.

Every morning, I drop you off at Holly’s daycare; from there, you ride the bus to your school. After just a few days of our new routine, you started telling Mommy and me about a new friend named Jenna.

Apparently, from Day #1 she has taken the initiative to be a special friend to you. It sounds like it all started when the two of you starting walking onto the bus together and sharing a seat.

We’ve yet to meet Jenna; as she apparently shows up after I drop you off each day. But we do know that she’s older; she’s in 1st grade.

Sure, you like hanging out with the boys and girls in your actual Kindergarten class, but undoubtedly, there’s something special about that 1st grader, Jenna.

As for now though, she remains a mystery to your parents.

Meanwhile, I love watching you develop your style and interests. As I took a picture of you last week, I thought to myself, “He looks like a little skateboarder.”

Then over the weekend, Mommy was telling me how you’ve been talking about wanting a skateboard.

In our cul-de-sac, it appears that boys ride skateboards while girls ride bikes.

Here you are, going on 6 years-old, and you don’t know how to ride a bike. But thing is, you don’t seem to care. Instead, you want to ride a skateboard.

As your parents, we’re here to support your interests and talents.

Therefore, our kitchen table is currently covered with different colored pieces of construction paper, in which you’ve drawn the names of each person in our family… in glue.

Wednesday evening after you finished dinner, you looked up from the paper plate with an ice cube on it, onto which you were squirting glue.

You suggested, “Hey Daddy, they should make a movie called Glue Vs. Ice.”

I’m confident you were inspired after this past weekend when you and I watched the straight-to-Netflix movie, Airplane Vs. Volcano.

When I asked you who you thought would win the fight, you confidently replied, “I think it would be the glue that wins, because it would just stick to the ice; but the ice couldn’t stick to the glue- it would just explode.”

Sounds like a great movie to me!

Love,

Daddy