A Supposedly Fun Thing I Should Never Do Again


The other night our lights went out at about 9pm. We scurried around the house lighting candles while the boys complained about not being able to play Modern Warfare. Really it was Conor complaining. We got him X-Box Live after nearly two years of begging and he hasn’t been off the damn thing since. I’m fully confident that if the right-wing militia finally does decide to attack, we are safe as long as Conor has a knife and one in the chamber.

So after Mary El and I agreed that YES the bill HAD been paid, she went back to sleep and I settled in with the boys in the livingroom. Our roommate Jimmy went to scout the surrounding area to see if we were the only ones out and would need to somehow contact the electric company without a phone. Gladly, our misery was shared with our neighbors—everyone around us was out too.

So there we were. Conor, Mychal, a book-light, some candles and my Kindle. I brought up my book list, hoping there would be something age-appropriate. Conor requested “something funny”. Now I suppose I could have taken a candle into the boys’ room and rooted around their bookcase for something that would fit the bill. But the Kindle was right there in my hand. So I decided to read from Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”.

See where I went wrong right there?

Some background: I love Tina Fey. I love her sense of humor, I think she’s hot and she’s on the (very) short list of women my wife has OK’d my sleeping with if the situation arose. A friend of Mary El’s is actually a cameraman on “30 Rock”, so the idea is not that farfetched. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. (By the way, Mary El’s list used to include Christopher Meloni until she found out he was a dick, and currently is inhabited by Jeff Goldblum—yes, that Jeff Goldblum.)

I love that when Tina was named one of Maxim’s least attractive celebrities her reaction was, “If Maxim had enough to drink, Maxim would do me.” I love that in her book she describes a party where the host’s crazy mother is throwing coats down the stairs to get people to leave as “an Irish Goodnight.” I love Liz Lemon’s addiction to food. I just have a thing for cute, funny, wisecracking brunettes—which is what my wife is, come to think.

So “Bossypants” it was. The first part of the book is about Tina’s young-adulthood as a hairy, unattractive perpetual virgin. She describes theater camp, where the gays buzzed around her like moths and she managed to keep her old boyfriend’s new girl from getting cast. She talks about fainting from the nurse hitting her cervix during her first pap smear. The aforementioned party ends when two girls start making out, leaving Tina, who is late for her curfew, yelling “Get the dykes in the car!” at the top of her lungs.

I knew it was funny because Jimmy kept laughing from the other room.

Now my boys are no saints. Their favorite movie is “The Hangover”. At 10 and 12 they curse freely, within the confines of their own home. This is due to bad parenting, I’m sure, but hey, to each his own. We’d rather they not be so repressed that they spend their early 20s trying to figure out what they were being kept from. In ten years, we’ll find out if we were right.

But even I found myself saying out loud, “Why am I reading you this book?” Am I really that irresponsible? I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of our roommate Jimmy. If he weren’t laughing so much, I’d have been less inclined to continue. But when an actor has an audience…

The funny thing is that they liked it. I don’t think I should ever do it again, but they thought it was funny. There’s at least two ways to look at that, of which I’ll give you two. On the one hand, my kids are open minded little creatures who, even though they’re young boys, can empathize with the travails of a hairy Tina Fey. On the other, they were exposed to information they could not possibly process until they’re older and/or get a sex-change operation. At least we’ll be spared that dreaded “Daddy, what’s a pap smear?” discussion. Done and done.

I choose to trust my kids, and not ONLY because that’s the choice that doesn’t make me a God-awful parent. I think they’re smarter than they’re given credit for, though I’ll have to remind myself of that fact the next time one of them forgets to flush the bowl. They know what’s funny.

But I think the book is closed on “Bossypants”.

    • Joseph Gayton
    • June 11th, 2012

    You’re a sick man, and that’s why I love you!

    • theresa petti butler galimi
    • June 11th, 2012

    Thanks Brian. I enjoyed that. I was quite the same bringing Joey up, and he turned out just fine in my opinion.

  1. Right back at you, Joe. Thanks Aunt Terry.

  2. Our kids are smart and funny. Just like their Daddy!

    (This was Mary El, obviously…)

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