Monday, February 8 2021

meatballs, rat tails, and bad commercials



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Hope you’re feeling warm and rested today. It’s so cold and bleak outside, it almost feels like our house was magically transported to the arctic or the Gobi desert. It’s the kind of cold you can feel in the air even sitting on the couch in the living room. There’s no moisture in the air. The skin on my hands is dry and cracking. It’s so cold I dread even stepping outside just to take the garbage out.

We’re finally at the point where I’m questioning my strategy for just sticking with flip-flops all winter. Heading into the colder months this year, I was too stubborn to put my flip-flops away. During our balmy November, December, and January this strategy was serviceable, but these days flip-flops aren’t looking like a good move. Maybe I’ll experiment with flip-flops and warm socks - always a fashionable combination.

Sip. What a tough stretch of winter. Marissa and I had no choice but to take a few days off running outside. We’re both starting to feel a little cooped up. This cold weather makes you want to nap under a pile of blankets, and then all the extra naps give you extra energy, and it’s hard to go right to bed with extra energy. To address the issue, Marissa ordered a cheap stationary bike for our living room, which should be arriving later today. I think that was a good move. I’m looking forward to finding an excuse to move my legs and burn some energy in the comfort of our living room. I’d love to go for a long imaginary bike ride while binging a YouTube channel.

For now without a stationary bike, we’re making do with boy stuff. Rodney invented a new game this weekend. He has these colorful plastic balls that look like what you’d find in a kids’ ball pit. All yesterday he ran around the house with them in his arms, flinging them at me and Marissa and yelling meatball.

Meatball! A red ball whizzed past my head and skittered across the floor.

Meatball! A green ball bounced off my chest and rolled across the table where Marissa was spoon-feeding Miles. I scooped up the ball before it rolled off the table.

Meatball! I yelled. I flung the ball at Rodney and it bounced off his forehead. He shook his head and laughed.

We don’t actually know why Rodney calls the game meatball, but the game didn’t even end there. Rodney got excited and started to run around the house, hiding his meatballs all over the place. I found three meatballs in the meat drawer of the fridge. Rodney filled our bowl of lemons with meatballs. He left meatballs in cabinets and drawers all over the living room. Even while making coffee this morning, I had to kick three meatballs out of the way.

Rodney and I also got into a few fighting matches in the kitchen. When Rodney is finished eating, he bounces into the kitchen and waits for me to wipe his hands and face with a wet rag. Usually when I’m done I roll up the wet rag, threatening to give Rodney a rat tail. He flees into the living room.

But earlier this weekend, he stood his ground. Rather than fleeing the battle, he grabbed a towel off the oven rack and squared his stance. The fight was on. Rodney lacked the dexterity needed to roll the towel up and make it crack, so he just charged me and swung it like an axe. I countered, catching his towel with mine and swiftly pulling him to the ground. He awkwardly clambered back up to his knees. With his butt held high up in the air, I flicked my wrist and hit him just above the cheek.

Snap! It wasn’t my hardest rat tail, but it was a good one. Rodney froze and then began to cry. I dropped my towel and crumpled to the floor.

“I’m sorry dude,” I said hugging him. “Too hard, that was too hard. My bad, dude, I’m sorry.”

This kind of thing happens in horseplay. Accidents happen. For my crime of rat tailing my four year old son just a little too hard, boy code demanded that I give him a free shot.

“One free shot, dude,” I said. I crouched on the floor and stuck my butt high up in the air, just like he had. Rodney swung the towel as hard as he could. He barely hit me, but I cartoonishly embellished.

“WAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I jumped up to my feet and ran out of the kitchen holding my butt with two hands. Rodney cackled with laughter and my guilt was absolved.

Yesterday was pretty much a sports day. We watched church in the morning, then rolled right into a Blackhawks game over lunch. Rodney proudly wore his Kaner jersey and made snowmen out of playdough in front of the TV. Once the game ended, we had only a half hour before we had to switch to the super bowl. Sports all day.

Speaking of which, what an interesting super bowl, huh? At first I was expecting a classic Chief’s comeback. But as the game went on and it became clear that the Chiefs were falling apart, I just started to feel bad for them. Sacks. Interceptions. They didn’t even score a touch down all game. In fact, if I were watching my game with my eyes blurred, you could have fooled me into thinking that the Bears were playing.

Being a Bears fan, I didn’t really have a serious stake in this game. I’m grateful to the Buccs for eliminating the Packers, but the Chiefs are a pretty talented and likeable team. Admittedly I ignored most of the game. I spent the first half making guac and fajitas in the kitchen, occasionally peeking my head out to check the score or catch the punchline of a promising commercial.

The worst commercial of the game goes to the long-winded Jeep commercial with the chapel in the desert. Jeep, that commercial was so long and pointless that halfway through I started to wonder if Rodney accidentally switched the channel to Lifetime.

Let’s get one thing straight: the only good super bowl ads are the funny ones. No one is going to show up to work on Monday and discuss the super bowl ads they found the most inspirational. Furthermore, if there was anything left unsaid about the pandemic, there’s a fat chance that the chumps at Jeep marketing are going to find it.

That’s right, Jeep. For your silly multi-million dollar commercial that just featured b-roll of a cowboy driving around a chapel in the desert, I present you my own award: chump of the week. Raise it high over your head like the Lombardi trophy. This week, you’re the Tom Brady of bad commercials.

Have a good week, everyone.