It's Friday. Any other Friday for most. For me, it's another Friday of taking care of the toddler while her older sister is at school, which basically means an unceasing succession of 'no's.' "No, you can't climb the bookcase." "No, you can't climb the fridge." "No, you can't stand on your head, eat 'Goldfish' crackers and drink milk, all the while singing a strange concoction of The Wiggles, Level 42, and Bing Crosby at the same time." (For the musically uninitiated, that's a hugely popular kids group, a good but largely forgotten 80's band, and one of many dead singers channeled by the kid's father.) It's also another day of wondering whether I will get another job or whether I should get another job. Whether I should stay home and pursue writing or whether I should get "a real job." It's another day of the answer to all of those questions being "hell if I know."
For some reason, some of my dear friends will object to the word 'hell' being used in such a flippant way, or at least being used without the proper Southern two-syllable pronunciation. That would be "hay-uhll" if you didn't have a preacher with the proper accent growing up. Well, hell, sorry if it's offensive. I'm sure you'd rather me say that than some other words that most people use. Words such as $#%&, *@^%, @$$, and the too often ubiquitous %$#^%& &!%@&#. What do think I am, a #^$%&! @(*#?
This pitch fork in the road poked me in the rear almost one year ago, when the head of one of the many failing and flailing large radio groups do what heads of most failing and flailing radio groups do, they fire a bunch of people across the country as part of a huge master saving their own arse plan. There is no need to say anymore about this. What's done is done, and while some may need the therapy of griping about the people who fired them, all that does is keep you from moving on to whatever is next in your life.
But what is next? A lot of people have asked me that, and most have been incredulous at my contention that I am happy staying home and taking care of the kids. I say most meaning everyone in the free world, including my wife. How I would be able to retire, pay all my debts, and fund the governments of three or four small states if I had a dollar for every time I have heard something to the effect of "you'd be happier working", "a real man needs to have a real job to be a real man", "get off your lazy butt you slacker and get a (freaking) job", or something similar.
As if it is not a job to take care of a first-grader, getting her fed and ready for school while a toddler attempts to serve herself milk, orange juice, the aformentioned Goldfish, and broccoli (don't ask) while attempting to hang from the ceiling fan as if auditioning for Cirque du Soleil. No, that isn't a job at all, just a hobby or a pasttime I suppose. The more I think about this, the more it hacks me off. In the year 2010, we still treat how women accomplish this feat every day with the respect of poo-poo, since when a man does it, it apparently isn't considered a "real job." Pardon me a second, as the toddler has climbed atop the dining room table and is attempting to eat a pencil while spotlighting herself with a giant flashlight as I write this.
Thank you for your patience. I have applied for some real jobs, but nothing has panned out so far. I suppose I could have tried harder, but with my wife working full-time and since she has always sacrificed her career in radio for mine, I thought it was time for me to do the same. Yes, really. I am serious, that is not a line of bull pucky as it has been treated by some. Oh, they don't have the courage to say to my face they think I'm full of pucky. It's the looks on their faces when I say it.
Even now, I have applied for a few jobs, since I do have those debts that I stupidly ran up and now have largely put on hold. If one of those jobs come through, swell, it will help. But if those jobs don't pan out, I am not worried, and that's no pucky. I am spending a lot of time with writing, both bad writing (my own) and good writing (just about everyone else). Eventually, my writing will graduate from bad to being only occasionally crappy, then perhaps to mediocre enough to get published every now and then by high brow outlets like "Cracked" magazine, though "Crackpot" is probably more likely. And I still have two little girls who need to be raised. I am not the greatest father in the world, but I get up every day and try. If that isn't a real enough job for some people, as some in my family might say, well hay-uhll I ain't some people. Excuse me, toddler headed for the roof.