Music Forum: Mullets, Sparks, Screaming & the Houston Oilers

Everybody needs a theme song.  This is yet another area where professional athletes really get to enjoy the good life.  Soon to be retired Braves third baseman Larry Wayne Jones has made a career out of hobbling up to the the plate, bat in hand, while Ozzy screams the beginning of Crazy Train.

Just once, I want to know what that’s like.

“And now, home from a hard day at the office, a 5 foot 9 inch 30 something from Clayton County, Jaaaaaaaay Sandersssssssss!”

(Cue up Technotronic.)

This week’s topic is of the utmost importance.  It will probably impact the church and the world for decades to come.

If you were a pro athlete, what would be your theme song?

Kevin Lester

This is one of those cases where first impressions make all the
difference.  You’re walking out of the dugout, approaching home plate
or all greased up approaching the squared circle.  Everybody is like,
“Who is this clown?”.  Then your music hits and they know.  Mine would
be…

Kountry Gentleman by Family Force 5

I come from the land where the mullet attacks
Business up front
Party in the back
You gotta style in the south when you’re steppin’ out
Put a gold tooth in your mouth
Look at you now
Tank top,
your ball cap,
you think you’re all that
But you’re lookin’ like Scott Stapp!
You’re just another redneck from back in the woods
Not a Kountry Gentleman that can bring the goods

Yeah, that’s who I am slack jawed fan.  Deal with it.

Shane Burchfiel

If it’s baseball then it has to be Knock the Cover off the Ball.  That’s the music from the movie The Natural when Roy Hobbs hits the game winning home run. Sometimes when I’m doing something I like to play that music in my head and pretend like I’m moving in slow motion with sparks in the background.  For all other things, I would go with LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out.

Jeff Merrill

Most definitely Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song. Need I say more than this- dun dun dun doodin dun dun dun doodin, “aaahhh- aghh!”  Powerful stuff.

Jay Sanders

If I was a fighter in the UFC.  Wait, let me start over.  When I am a fighter in the UFC I will be very strategic with my theme song selection.  I will demand that I enter the arena last so that my selection will be fresher in my opponent’s head at the time of the fight.

Here’s how it plays out.

1.  Opponent enters to the music of Five Finger Death Punch or something predictable like that.  He’s very amped.

2.  His music stops.

3.  My music begins.

4.  Sailing by Christopher Cross

I’ll probably have Christopher Cross walk out with me while wearing his vintage Houston Oilers jersey.

5.  By this time, everyone is depressed, except for me and Christopher Cross because we’ve become so familiar with the song.

6.  Cross’ career is revived.

7.  The Texans change their name back to the Oilers.

8.  I win the fight in 27 seconds.

Thanks, Chris!

Red Dawn

When I was a kid one of my favorite movies was Red Dawn.  It was terrible.  The story line revolves around a group of high school kids in the midwest that are forced to fight with deer rifles and pick-up trucks when the Russians attack the United Sates.  One of the first scenes in the movie is kids sitting in a classroom when Soviet soldiers parachute in and shoot up the school.

Maybe that’s why the Soviet Union fell.  They went after small town high schools instead of, I don’t know, military bases or maybe even large cities.  The group of young Americans that defended their homeland called themselves the Wolverines, after their high school mascot.  The leaders of the group were played by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen.

I used to sit in class and dream about me and Sheen and Swayze fighting off the Soviets when they came to attack our school.  Thankfully, the attack never came.  It wasn’t necessary.

Ever since I saw Red Dawn for the first time, I’ve given some thought to how my country might come to an end.  I always pictured some cataclysmic event.  Instead, I’m afraid that, much like the Soviet Union, the United States has already fallen.  And no one has really noticed.  Pass the chips and turn the game on!

Sure, we haven’t officially fallen.  We still watch baseball games, have cookouts and talk about reality television but those things never were the substance of our nation, only the surface.  It’s beneath that surface, where the engine of our nation is, the part that not many people pay attention to, where the collapse has happened.

I was reminded of it this week as I heard reports of TSA agents trying to search a four-year-old girl and, get this, detaining her as a terror suspect after she ran away in fear.  It didn’t exactly bring images of the “land of the free and the home of the brave” to mind.  You’ll pardon my skeptical reaction to the TSA’s defense that their efforts, “followed proper current screening procedures.”  It’s hard not to be skeptical when the agency doesn’t follow “proper current screening procedures” when some of its own agents want to smuggle drugs.

I’m sure the founding fathers would wonder what happened to the essence of the nation they built if they saw the potential law from the Department of Labor that would prevent children under the age of 16 from helping out on the family farm.

And of course there are the everyday threats American citizens face, including but not limited to the loss of the freedom to practice religion and the loss of the freedom of speech.  Again, the source of these threats is  not a foreign invader but our own government.

As Christians, this does not give us cause to stick our heads in the sand while we pray for Jesus to come back.  It is the time to continue to carry out the Great Commission while we pray for Jesus to come back.  We must remember that just because things are sideways in our country doesn’t mean that the second coming is just a few short minutes away.  God is no American patriot.  He’s much bigger than that.  Things have been sideways in a lot of countries for a long time.  We’re just now catching up.

We must remember that Romans 13 does not command us to sit back and watch our government run amuck, doing as they wish without a second thought to our constitution.  Francis Schaeffer reminds us, “God has ordained the state as a delegated authority; it is not autonomous.  The state is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in society.  When it does the reverse, it has no proper authority.  It is then a usurped authority and as such it becomes lawless and is tyranny” (emphasis in the original).

This is a time for followers of Christ to stand strong in the gospel.  It turns out that Mormon parents don’t like seeing their kids groped by the TSA either.  While there are certainly opportunities for people of different beliefs to stand together for or against things, the true gospel must never be altered.  What good is a little less grief from the government if you cut yourself off from Christ in the process?  If the substance of your devotion to Christ runs only as deep as the great programs your church offers, expect to be confused and to eventually cave in when confronted with patriotic rhetoric mixed with false doctrine.

To be clear, this is not ultimately a Barak Obama or George Bush problem.  It all runs much deeper.  We as citizens are just as much to blame as any president is.  Consider this for just one example.  The birth of our nation can be traced back to a dispute over high taxes called The Boston Tea Party.  But I wonder how many members of today’s Tea Party would step into a voting booth and vote themselves a tax increase as long as there is the promise of a new road, new stadium or new recreational baseball complex at the other end.  More than I’d like to know, I’m sure.

The church will only stand out as we cling to the whole gospel, even at the expense of our comforts, security and perhaps even our lives.  We misrepresent the gospel when we bad mouth our president.  Rush and Hannity have the market cornered on that.  We need to be different.  We need wisdom and discernment so that we can stand against those policies that are in contradiction to the gospel without standing against the man whose pen signs them into law.  Our battle is not flesh and blood.  Father, lead your family in praying for President Obama to govern in submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ.  Pastor, lead your church in the same direction.  There’s something special about hearing your small children and groups of older veterans in your church praying for the president, especially when they disagree with him.

It’s been a couple of decades since I first saw Red Dawn.  The Soviet Union and Swayze are gone and Sheen seems to be trying his hardest to follow in their footsteps.  I’m afraid that America, the one that my grandfather fought for, may already be gone with them.  But my hope is not found in the good old days of a few decades back.  They never are really as good as we remember.  The real good old days ended in Genesis 3 and it is Jesus, not a politician or a revolution that will bring them back when he returns and all nations, not just the Untied States, all nations will marvel at his glory.

Questioning Children’s Television

Having two young sons makes me an expert.  Not on parenting.  You’ve got to have initials after your name and write books with titles like Learning from Your Toddler: Understanding Your Child’s Repressed Environmental Fears to be considered an expert on parenting.  No, my expertise is in a different field.  Children’s television.

But even the experts have their own questions from time to time.  Here are a few of mine.

Why does the man in the yellow hat always get mad at Curious George?  

Look man, if you own a monkey and allow him to leave your home on his own to buy doughnuts for you, he’s going to mess things up.  The police will get involved, something will catch on fire and you’re going to pay a lot of money in the process.  But what were you expecting?  Never, ever send a monkey to buy doughnuts for you.

And while I’m talking about Curious George, what’s with the man in the yellow hat?  What job does he have that allows him to own a public hazard for a pet, live in a gigantic New York City apartment as well as a second home in the country all the while dressing up like a crayon?  I’ve been on this planet for 36 years and I’ve seen some crazy things and I’ve even been forced to wear some messed up uniforms but I’ve never seen a grown man whose only job requirement seemed to be dressing up like the color yellow.  Even the girl on the side of the road dressed up like the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that says Crazy Jim’s Tax Service: Located in the Piggly Wiggly Shopping Center thinks the man in the yellow hat looks ridiculous.

What’s with the adults on kid’s shows?

Why are grown men that we would never allow our kids to spend time with in real life allowed to have their own shows?  Would you let the guy from Blue’s Clues, the one that wears the same clothes everyday and spends way too much time with his dog, babysit your kid?  Or how about the dude from Yo Gabba Gabba that looks like he really wanted to be in Outkast but got rejected because he didn’t know how to rap so he decided to start his own show for kids?

“Honey, mommy has to work late this afternoon so a man in orange tights with a furry orange hat will pick you up.  You can’t miss him because he’ll be the one dancing.  Oh, and he’ll have monsters with him.  See you at dinner!”

What’s the difference between Goofy and Pluto?

Both appear to be dogs but one can talk, drive a car and wear clothes.  Is Pluto just sandbagging?  Maybe he just never made the leap to adulthood like Goofy.  Either way, this needs to be addressed.

What’s with the laugh track on cartoons from the 1970s?

Fat Albert had one and so did Scooby Doo.  Were the producers thinking they fooled us, like we actually thought that a couple of hundred people were standing around some drawing table and laughing as a guy drew stuff?  And what exactly is the purpose of the laugh track?

“Man, this show is terrible.”

“Oh wait, people are laughing.  Maybe we should too.  Let’s keep watching.  Hilarious!”

What exactly is a Backyardigan?

Why does Caillou have his own show?

This kid is a punk who deserves a beating, sorry, a stern talking to.  Who thought it would be okay to develop an entire show around a whiny little kid that disobeys his incompetent parents, destroys stuff and gets away with it all?  Who needs a show about this when you can just go to the playground at Burger King and see the same thing?  Caillou’s parents are probably the type that talk to the other cartoon parents, maybe Little Bill’s mom and dad,  and say things like, “I just don’t know what we’re doing wrong” or “He’s really a good kid deep down inside” as their precious boy chews on Little Bill’s ear while standing on the cat.

“Cailou, don’t make him bleed!  Aren’t they so cute at that age?”

There’s got to be some rabid family of Backyardigans that the TV Backyardigans aren’t allowed to play with that Cailou could go spend the summer with.  Now there’s a show that would be worth watching.

Protecting the Office

We’ve all been in one of those situations at work when we really needed an AK-47 but all we had was a stapler and a rubber band.  What to do?  Thankfully, some guy who was apparently raised by Dwight Schrute, MacGyver, Julia Child and Vladimir Putin is here to help.

“Knot it tight.  Like this.”

 

Basketball Lessons

“Dad, can we watch the Hawks and Knicks game when we get home?”

I almost wept when my five-year-old son asked me that question last weekend.

“Sure, buddy.”

“Who are you cheering for, dad?”

“Are you crazy?  The Hawks!”

“I’m cheering for the Knicks.”

Four hours later, when I let my son out of his room, I informed him that Jeremy Lin was hurt and would not be playing today.  Upon hearing this news, my son switched his faithful devotion to the Atlanta Hawks.  Some lessons are learned the hard way.

What is it with all of the athletes that seem to have a legitimate relationship with Christ playing for teams that no Christian in his right mind would ever cheer for?  Tebow played for the Florida Gators, Denver Broncos and now the New York Jets.  That’s pretty close to the Axis of Evil in sports.  But still my son wants to cheer for whatever team he’s on because he knows that Tebow, “knows about Jesus and repented.”

Meanwhile, most of my favorite teams are filled with players that just got out of prison for kicking their pregnant girlfriend(s) or driving mopeds down the interstate with a blood alcohol content somewhere around 0.97.  It kind of makes it hard for me to explain to my kid why he should cheer for the team with the quarterback that has a teardrop tattooed under his eye and not the team with the quarterback that goes on missions trips and preaches Easter services.

In any event, Jeremy Lin was out for this game and that allowed my son and I to cheer for the same team for once.  It was a learning experience for him.

He learned why a player sometimes only shoots one free throw and sometimes shoots two.

He learned what a foul is.  Later in the day he would get an extreme example of a basketball foul from Mr. Meta World Peace.  Thanks for the lesson, Meta!

He learned the difference between the game clock and the shot clock.

And then the tough lesson came.

With about two minutes left in the game, things were close but it just looked like the Knicks were going to win.  Maybe that’s because the lady doing play by play for ESPN was telling us this in so many words.  I don’t know what it is about this lady’s voice but it always makes me feel like I’m in trouble.  Watching a game that she’s calling automatically takes me back to 8th grade P.E. when Ms. Lippum would yell at me for forgetting to dress out.

The Hawks had the ball with eight seconds left when they decided to just throw the ball up towards the goal and hope for the best.  If the best they were hoping for was, “Hey, we only lost by one!” they got it.  Game over.  Hawks loose.

And my son cried.

Loudly.

We’ve been working on this.  I’ve been teaching him not to cry when he or his team loses but to think about what needs to be done better and try harder next time.  But deep down, I sympathized with my sons tears.  I wanted to say, “Yep, let it all out, son.  This is what happens when you cheer for dad’s teams.”

I thought about the time when I was just a little older than him and I cried because Todd Blackledge and Penn State beat Herschel Walker and the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl.

I thought about the time when my mom threatened to never let me watch another Braves game because I was yelling at Tom Glavine through my television set as he was giving up hit after hit in a playoff game against the Pirates.

I thought about sitting in the Georgia Dome watching the same Hawks lose to the same Knicks in a playoff game and feeling like I was the only Hawks fan in the dome because, well, I pretty much was.  Spike Lee still has a restraining order out against me.

Eventually my son got over it and went outside to play.  But even before the game was over, while it was still up for grabs, he said something that let me know that he had already learned his most valuable lesson.

It’s a lesson that I should probably learn but never will.

“Man, I should have cheered for the Knicks.”

Music Forum: The Overrated

The following is part of a weekly discussion between friends about music.

With the exception of Jeff, none of us knows what we’re talking about.

That’s never stopped us before.

This week’s topic: The most overrated musicians of all-time.

Jeff Merrill

This question is harder to answer than I thought it would be, but I’m going with Van Halen. They aren’t very relevant now (further proof of their overrated-ness) and I guess I just never felt it with these guys. Either singer just isn’t happening.  I just don’t get Van Halen.
By the way, someone is more than likely going to answer this question with U2 as their answer. That person should look deep into their soul and re-evaluate. Alright, that may be a little harsh, but you get my point.
Shane Burchfiel
I predict Jay will say here either Nickleback, The Beatles, or Pink Floyd.  Of those 3, he will have the strongest argument for Nickleback.  With so many one or two hit wonder bands, it’s hard to say who’s the most overrated.  And, even semi-older bands that I liked a lot when their stuff was current, once I saw them in concert, they were downgraded and I didn’t like them as much — think bands like The Smashing Pumpkins or The Wallflowers.  If I’m to pick one band, I’ll go with The Doors.  Nothing really lights my fire like never ending stoned out of your mind organ playing.
Jay Sanders
My choice for the most overrated artist in the history of pop music goes to a man that stole most of his music but is not named Millie or Vanilli.  This man started out as a teen idol, put on weight and had it all end pretty bad but is not named Leif Garrett.  People that like to sell their junk on the side of the road have made ten times as much money off of commemorative plates and rugs sporting this man’s likeness than they have from Tupac and Dale Sr. combined.
The most overrated artist in the history of music is Elvis Presley.
Don’t get me wrong.  The man had a few good songs but was his music really good enough to turn his home into a national park and spread rumors to make his poor fans believe that he’s still alive?
I know that I’m on dangerous grounds for saying such degrading things about the king.  By the time you read this, I’ll already be dead.
Oh, and while I’m at it, I can’t stand apple pie and I think John Wayne movies are terrible.
God bless the USA!  Nice knowing you.
Kevin Lester
Congratulations lucky readers.  Today you get to see the conclusion of
a battle that has raged on for centuries in my mind, or at least since
the 90’s.  Who is the most overrated?  After years of flip flopping I
have decided that this blog will reveal my opinion for years to come.
At least until the fans of Rascal Flatts are old enough for their
opinion to be taken seriously and rebuked for such opinion.  Them
aside, there are two contenders and I will list my reasonings for
both.For most of my life there was a clear victor.  Those mop tops from
Liverpool, the Beatles, were far and away the most overrated band of
all time.  Everyone for generations has claimed this band changed
everything.  Well as Obama has proven, change is not always a good
thing. The people who sing their praises go on and on about what
musical and lyrical geniuses they were.  Most of these Americans have
no clue about what cryptic English things John is ranting on about in
his drug induced state.   And really when you decode these life
changing messages the feeling is akin to Ralphie scribbling that last
letter on his paper in the bathroom and then blurting obscenities
after reading “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”.For me, the Beatles, to their discredit, only made two lasting
contributions to music.  One, they introduced the method of creating
clever euphemisms for drug use in their songs and trying to pass them
off as meaning something else.  Two, with the “Paul is dead” scandal, they
introduced the idea of hiding messages in songs that could only be
understood when played backwards.  This would be reused in the
80’s by metal bands to brainwash youth into devil worship.  Sorry I’m
not seeing why these guys deserve to be on collector plates in your
china cabinet next to Dale Earnhardt and John Wayne.  For years, these
guys were far and away the most overrated.

That was until the 90’s and Nirvana came on the scene.  These so
called inventors of grunge rock and teen angst have baffled me with
their following of bards trumpeting their praises.  These fans come
from the same vein as the clueless gent in the “Holy Grail” singing
the praises of Brave Sir Robin.  “Brave Sir Robin ran away, ran away
away. When danger reared its ugly head he bravely turned his tail and
fled, yes Brave Sir Robin turned about and gallantly he chickened
out”.  I’ve never heard any reason why these guys are relevant other
than Kurt Cobain offing himself because his music had been sold out to
the man and merchandised.  If that’s what makes a band great then why
are the Beatles on everything from mugs to toilet paper.  And what
about these amazing words of enlightenment that Kurt killed himself to
protect?  For all I know Kurt could be elegantly explaining expiation
but I can’t understand what he’s saying.  He’s like the Seattle
version of Boomhower but not nearly as cool.

So there you have these two “great” bands and I have to figure out
which one is more worthy of a “whatever” as some die hard fan rants on
and on about how “great” they were.  This is nothing to be taken
lightly.  After much thought it has come down to this.  Without the
Beatles there would be no “Turning Japanese” or “Dancing with Myself”.
With them, and admittedly with the help of preachers and youth
pastors, MegaDeth became a household name.  In fact I believe 58.3% of
all MegaDeth records were bought by youth pastors and written off on
church budgets as “reference materials”.  As sad as that is, it is
somewhat relevant.  But if there was no Nirvana we would still have
Pearl Jam.  And there you have a band with staying power that more
effectively conveyed the same message, whatever message teen angst is
suppose to convey, and did it in a way you could easily understand.
Even though I don’t understand why Pearl Jam could not find the butter
man.  I figured he would be stocking the dairy department of a local
grocery store.  Anyway, Nirvana’s only real contribution was that it’s
death meant the birth of the Foo Fighters.  They are not only a great
band but affirmed what the Monkees and Genesis have already taught us;
that a drummer can be a decent front man. But even that contribution
can not condone the hype of Nirvana. Think about it.  We don’t say The
Tracey Ullman Show was great just because it spun off The Simpsons.

So there you have flawless logic that I don’t think anyone can argue
against.  Nirvana is the most overrated band of all times, with the
Beatles and Rascal Flatts nipping at their heels.

Tool Box

This week I was pulling my son in a wagon.  This isn’t the kind of wagon with the little plastic black wheels.  This thing has huge mud tires and wooden rails coming up on all four sides.  I still don’t know why a wagon needs mud tires and wooden rails but it looks cool and this particular wagon happened to be free.  I think one of the early church fathers said something about not turning down a free wagon with mud tires on it.  Was it Augustine?  I’ll check.

As I was pulling my son in his wagon, one of the wooden rails fell off.  When one of my kid’s toys breaks like this, some variation of the following conversation usually happens.

“Dad, can you fix it?”

“Son, maybe it’s not God’s will for you to have a nice wagon with wooden rails and mud tires.”

But not this time.  This time, there was just one bolt that came loose.  The nut that was holding it in place was nowhere to be found but at least I had the bolt.  You can always find an extra nut somewhere.  Don’t they put a few extra under your car for occasions just like this?

I quickly went inside and grabbed my two tool boxes.  Yes, I have two tool boxes.  One tool box is made out of plastic and was given to me as a gag gift at our wedding shower.  All the ladies laughed at me when I couldn’t figure out how to open it up.  It still looks like it did when it came out of the box.

The other tool box is made out of metal and weighs just a little less than a Toyota Corolla.  It’s all beat up and it smells funny.  This tool box once belonged to my grandfather, Leman Sanders.  This was likely the tool box he used when he built his own house and it’s certainly the one he used to maintain that house.  It’s still filled with spare parts and old tools.

I went searching through my plastic, new looking tool box first.  There was no nut to be found.  There was an extension cord and a rope, just in case I ever need that.  When I opened up my metal tool box, I had to pull out a wide variety of strange tools.

“Dad, what’s that thing do?”

“Son, go read your Bible.  Run along now.  Off you go.”

Sure enough, there was a nut that was the perfect match for our loose bolt.  There was also a complete set of sockets that I used to do the very difficult task of tightening a nut and bolt on my kid’s wagon.  Remember this men, even if a job involving tools is mind-numbingly easy, make it look hard.  You do this by constantly wiping your forehead with your arm and saying, “Shew, it’s hot.”  This gives you instant street cred with any toddlers that happen to be looking on.

Now the wagon is fixed and both tool boxes are put away until sometime next year when something breaks that I actually know how to fix.

There are a lot of people my age that presume to have faith in Christ but it’s really nothing more than an old faith that belonged to their grandparents that they only pull out a few times every year when a crisis happens.  Or on Easter.  The complete message of scripture is that these people have as much business calling themselves Christ-followers (James 2:14-26) as I do calling myself a handyman.

For many, being a Christian means going to church as a kid, getting entertained at church as a teenager, bailing out on the church as a young adult and, if circumstances permit, coming back to church once you have a few kids of your own.  We wouldn’t want our little one’s growing up any different than we did, right?

Not only is this unbiblical, it has also proven to be a colossal failure.  The call to follow Christ is more than a call to talk a good game and suddenly turn into a prayer warrior when you get laid off or you get sick.  A faith that is put back up on the shelf until next year’s tragedy or holiday is really no faith at all.

This is an important message for parents.  We talk about raising good kids and saving for college and carrying the kids to football practice so maybe we wont have to pay for college as if that is our objective.  But what’s the good in raising a kid that grows up to earn a scholarship if he goes to hell when he dies?

Our real goal as parents is what Voddie Baucham calls, “multi-generational faithfulness.”  The Bible speaks of this in passages like Deuteronomy 6 where parents are told to follow God’s commands, “that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son” (Deuteronomy 6:2) and in Ephesians 6 where fathers are told to bring their children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

The old tools in my closet that once built things are now collecting cobwebs and only pulled out when something easy breaks.  I almost feel like I’m wasting that tool box and that maybe it would be better in the hands of someone who will put it to use daily.

But I’ll keep it forever and say that it’s my tool box even though it will never really be mine.

It will always belong to Leman Sanders.

 

Worse than Stage III Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
(Matthew 18:8-9 ESV)

Is it possible that what Jesus teaches about hell in Matthew 18 could actually be a source of comfort for believers who are suffering?  In his new book The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler says yes.

“With these words of Jesus in mind, I can now know that it is better never to hold my children, it is better never to run my fingers through my wife’s hair, it is better not to be able to brush my own teeth, it is better never to be able to drive a car, it is better to be paralyzed and never feel anything from the neck down, and it is better to have stage III anaplastic oligodendroglioma than to find myself outside the kingdom of God.  It is better never to see the sunset or the sunrise, never see the stars in the sky, never to see my daughter in her little dress-up clothes, never to see my son throw a ball – it is better never to have seen those things than to have seen those things and yet end up outside the kingdom of God.  How horrible hell must be.”

Real Job

I was pretty sure I was having a stroke.  My knees felt very week and I had a twitch.  I didn’t get a chance to look in a mirror but I think blood was coming out of my eyes.

That’s how I felt a while back about ten minutes into Man Time with my two young sons.  Man Time still had a few hours left and things weren’t looking good.  Man Time happens when mom isn’t around and for this particular session my plans included the music of Waylon Jennings, hot dogs and wrestling.  Instead, those things were replaced with whining, fighting and me just hanging on for survival.

Every day when I come home from work, I see my wife at the end of her daily battle for survival and most of the time her eyes aren’t bleeding.  She spends all day, not just a few hours, with our two little men and she hears it all.

“Mommy, he kicked me!”

“Mommy, I didn’t put poop on the wall!”

“Mommy, Batman is in the toilet again!”

Did I mention that my kids are 19 and 21?

Last week, Hilary Rosen made a big splash when she said that Ann Romney, a stay at home mom, “had never worked a day in her life.”

I do not care about the obvious political jousting that’s going on with a statement like that and the predictable responses that come along with it.

All I know is that while I’m at work, my wife is trying to teach our two toddlers the importance of listening and learning.

While I’m at work, my wife is buying and preparing food for her husband and kids that’s not loaded down with sugar and that does not come out of a greasy paper sack.

While I’m at work, my wife is playing referee between two dueling sinners.

As a family, there’s a lot that we miss out on because my wife stays at home.  Her education and experience could easily double our family income and provide us with our own home and more stuff to put in it.  To say it another way, we aren’t missing out on anything.  What good is a sprawling home, if the only time we ever see each other is as we are coming and going through its doors?

It doesn’t get much better than to come home and hear my boys tell me what they learned from the book of James, what Bill Cosby said on Fat Albert and what bugs they found in the yard.  These are all wonderful experiences that they share with their mom everyday.

I guess I don’t know what a real job is.  Maybe being a campaign strategist is a real job.  Maybe having a big salary with plenty of benefits means that you have a real job.  If that’s the case, I’m glad that my wife doesn’t have a real job.  Her husband and her kids are better for it.

Not all mom’s are able to stay at home.  Some, like my mother was, are the family’s only source of income.  Others would love to stay at home but are forced to work for other reasons.  Second homes don’t pay for themselves, you know.

When I go home this afternoon, I’ll give my wife a break and spend time playing with my sons in the yard.  Right before it’s time to put them down for bed I’ll feel like I’m about to have a stroke.

But don’t worry, I’ll make it.

My wife’s the one you should probably be concerned about.

She’s the one with the real job.

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Editor’s Note: My kids are much younger than 19 and 21.