Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tales from the Parenting Crypt

As I recover from my sugar hangover this morning after Halloween, let me share with you a couple of somewhat spooky stories. Don’t worry, they are more sweet than scary…

Spooky Story #1: “The Spirit of the Beloved Author” One of the things that my wife and I enjoy about being a parents is watching our daughters connect with some of the same books, movies and music that we love. Why a person gravitates towards a particular work of art is a real mystery to me and I don’t think it can be explained by any single factor in a person’s life. Is it nature, nurture, neither, or all of the above? Two years ago, my youngest daughter was reading Kurt Vonnegut
books like mad and I realized that I was the exact same age as her when I plowed through Mr. Vonnegut’s entire body of work. There is something intoxicating about the mix of insight, idealism and cynicism in his writing that fit perfectly with the mindset of a teenager. Monica and I had some great conversations about Vonnegut that year as she read a number of his classics. This topic of conversation subsided after a while, but it resurfaced out of the blue the following year on April 11, 2007 when we were driving home from school. Monica was urging me to read his latest collection of essays, “A Man Without a Country”. I distinctly remember that this conversation between us was quite spirited. Later that night, as Monica was listening to the radio at bedtime, she heard for the first time the news that our favorite author had died earlier that day. And so it goes.

Spooky Story #2: “The Curse of the Music Junkie” My oldest daughter, Robin is afflicted with a genetic curse that must have come from me. She is a total music
geek. At the age of four, she was pondering the lyrics to XTC songs, and marveling at the delicate intricacies of side two of “Abbey Road”. This affliction is one of her true passions in life. At the age of nineteen she is a writer and editor for her college newspaper, as well as a contributor of reviews and articles for the “A/V Club” section of The Onion. She also writes for a host of websites and small local publications. She really knows how to follow her muse! Last night she did her midnight radio show on KGNU in Boulder and it was a real treat: an hour and a half of Halloween themed-music that span an amazingly eclectic range of genres. Her shows are archived on the web for just a few weeks after each broadcast, so if you want to listen to this one and you are reading this during the first weeks of November 2008, go to and find her show for midnight of November 1st. It’s a real sweet treat that won’t give you sugar hangover.
Robin in the fourth grade: Her punk rock phase.

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