Monday, September 22, 2008

How the Republican Party Improves My Parenting Skills

These new Republicans are great at politics and lousy at governing, but they deserve credit. They've given me a lot of good parenting tips.

Spin the Truth

I took Luke and Max to the car show festival on Sunday, and there was a booth set up for building cars out of zucchini and racing them pinewood derby style. The boys picked out their zucchini and stuck in their toothpick decorations, and I tacked on the wheels.

When it was their turn to race, I knew one of the boys was going to have hurt feelings. What I didn't know was how to handle the situation. I thought about going with the old "you win some, you lose some" theme.

The starter lifted the bar, and down flew Luke's car in first place, well ahead of the other vegetables. In contrast, Max's car was still stuck against a wall near the top of his lane. The race official redirected the car, but it kept turning into the same wall. He turned the car backwards. Same pathetic result. Finally, he just took Max's zucchini car off the track and handed it to me.

Luke was joyous. Max was near tears. What now? What would Karl Rove do?

"Luke, your car is the fastest in a straight line. And Max, your car is the fastest in a circle. But this isn't a very good track for fast-circle cars."

"My car is the fastest in a circle!" proclaimed Max.

If You Can't Spin, Lie!

After the Leadville race a few weeks ago, Max and Luke were having a difficult time understanding how I had managed to win a medal and a belt buckle without winning the entire race. I didn't have a good answer for 4-year-olds. While I trained hard, raced well, and pushed myself so much during the race that I ended up in the emergency room, I managed to finish in 504th place. I'm number Five-Oh-Four! That's not what they want to hear.

"Yes! I won the whole race!" I declared. After all, they weren't there.

"No, he didn't win," said Wendy, playing the role of an elitist blogger who wanted to make the situation needlessly complex with icky nuance. "He just won a buckle for finishing in under 12 hours."

"No, I won the whole race!" I said in my best John McCain impersonation.

Use Ironic Labels Unironically

In the spirit of the Clean Air Act, which made industrial pollution restrictions more lax, I came up with a great idea for feeding the boys lunch. I put a bunch of healthy food they don't like in a bowl and called it a Fun Bowl.

"Hey, do you guys want a Fun Bowl for lunch?"


A word of warning. A Fun Bowl needs to have more than carrots, broccoli, and the like. You need to throw in a few marshmallows or gummy fruit. There has to be some truth in the label, or it won't work.


  1. you won leadville? ME TOO!

    don't tell wendy.

  2. I despise politicians so much I never considered turning to them for any advise, especially parenting. But your examples have opened my eyes. I guess I've been narrow-minded in this regard.

    And it was funny!

    BTW, I like Obama's campaign slogan "change you can believe in" as opposed to "change I'm going to deliver". People believe all sorts of things - Santa Claus, Chupacabra, the Earth is flat, etc. But kidding aside, it seems Obama is taking the middle ground between out-right lies (i.e. "I will cut taxes") and the truth (i.e. "I will ask the Congress to cut taxes"). I want to believe, but can Obama deliver once he's in the big chair?

  3. Did you know that John Wayne's real name was Marion?

    Marion. Mary-ann. I'm pretty sure he was a woman-or rather, he was born a woman. Or maybe he had ambiguous genetailia.


  4. Since you're being all truthy here, and since you brought up your Leadville "victory" again, and since this has been weighing on my soul for over a month now, I thought I'd follow in Wendy's fine footsteps and ask a nuanced question about that "victory" belt buckle you used in your blogbrag -- which, if I'm not mistaken, clearly says "Under 25 Hours." I realize, of course, that under 12 hours is "under 25 hours" -- but what I want to know is: If you really finished in under 12 hours, then why does your belt buckle imply otherwise? Or if this is not your belt buckle, then why did you present it as such? Either way, you lied to us, damned Republican.