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Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Dad's Point of View: Random Musings

Sometimes there are many ideas fighting for attention in my mind, covering all the subjects I tend to write a column about, but each isn’t worthy of its own full-length coverage. Consequently, I collect them.  So, in no particular order, here are my current random musings.

* A great feel-good dad moment occurred when I complimented Will on how terrific and cute his new girlfriend was.  Without missing a beat, he replied, “You taught me well, Dad.”  Guess he’ll get to use my truck, after all.


* Do you wonder how your kids can watch the same video over and over again? . I’ve never gone to see a movie twice in the theater, on purpose, with the exception of my second favorite all-time film, “And Now My Love,” directed by Claude LeLouch. That meant, of course, going to the one theater in town that was showing this particular foreign film, paying admission twice, and seeing it a second time. 

The option of watching this movie on television was not available for such a relatively obscure film and there were no VHS cassettes yet, let alone DVDs. Unlike my kids, I’ve rarely watched the same DVD repeatedly with the exception of “My Fair Lady,” and “Singin’ In the Rain” (my all-time favorite).  I think the phenomenon of seeing movies repeatedly began with “Star Wars.”  Maybe some more knowledgeable film buff than I can confirm this?

* We had the funniest episode the other morning when we discovered a tiny field mouse in the house.  As David was screaming while standing on the kitchen table, my wife and I did our best hockey imitation, with brooms, with my assist sending the mouse to her broom for a perfect “sweep” outside the opened patio door.  Score!

*  Why is it so easy to gain weight and so hard to lose it? It is the same with working out.  You lose muscle tone within days of laying off and getting it back can take weeks.  I guess I’m complaining because I’ve been blessed my whole life with a fast metabolism that allowed me to pretty much eat whatever I wanted and, on those rare occasions when I did gain weight, I could work out a bit harder, cut back slightly on those sweets, and lose those few pounds in less than a week.  Sadly, that’s not the case any more.  Maybe this is payback time?

A late-in-the-season ski accident hobbled me for a couple of months during which time I did the sensible thing and ate myself silly.  Fifteen pounds later, my wife pointed out my “pregnancy,” as it was all stored in my belly.  Now, several months further along in the term, to use this analogy to death, it’s still there and may even be growing.  This time, the extra working out isn’t helping.  I do know that I haven’t cut back on the eating enough yet, so I guess I will have to take more radical steps to lose this bowling ball I’m carrying around, as my wife so lovingly calls it.  It’s not fair, said in my most whining voice.  My mantra to our sons is “life isn’t fair”—so why am I complaining?


* Both of my parents are now gone. Being the last and oldest remaining adult in my immediate family is a very melancholy and often scary feeling.  It’s a sense of mortality, obviously, but also responsibility.  Now, who will remember family history and family genealogy?  I have two cousins that are still alive, one who is turning 80 and the other who is just 60.  The latter is such a distant cousin we can’t actually figure out exactly how we’re related. The former cousin, at 80, has been the family historian and my “memory bank.”  I am grateful I have his memory to boost my failing one.

One special memory I actually still remember, all on my own, and a really “old days” recollection is when I bought tickets to see “The Sound of Music” for my mother, as a Mother’s Day present.  It was playing at a local theater in which you could only buy assigned seats, far in advance.  I picked out the seats I wanted, and bought them for my mom.  Movies, then, had both overtures and intermissions, just like “live” theatre. My mother was thrilled, we loved the movie, of course, and I felt like such a good boy.  While I miss my parents terribly, I’m grateful to have had them for so long, since they lived to be 89 and 90.

* These musings began with a story about Will.  I’d better give David equal time now at the end. On the way to school one recent morning, David asked me a question about what made Marvel comics so different and successful.  I explained, in the cultural view of the times, how Marvel paralleled the sixties and the revolutions taking place among the younger generation at that pivotal period in our country’s history.  And, that the Marvel characters reflected the vulnerability and fallibility that young people felt at the time.

Marvel characters were completely unlike the out-of-this world Superman fantasy of a baby falling to earth in a spaceship, who has super-human powers.  Superman, like most all of the DC super-heroes was just too perfect and too un-real for these rebellious teenagers and college kids to identify with.  I really got into giving his question a thorough answer and he seemed fully engaged as he asked questions throughout my little lecture.  When we arrived at his drop-off destination, as I was saying goodbye, he said “Dad, that was a great conversation.”  I sure cherish such moments.




Please visit www.brucesallan.com to contact Bruce and to enjoy the various features his new Web site offers, including contact info for advice and coaching, an archive of his columns, general contact info, links to his published work, photo galleries, and reader comments, plus much more.  Bruce Sallan was an award-winning television executive and producer for 25 years.  Google him if you really want to know more (e.g. his credits).  When his boys were quite young, Bruce left show biz to become a full-time Dad.  Shortly thereafter his marriage ended and his wife abandoned their children, leaving the State.  Bruce found himself a full-time single Dad, in his late forties, as well as a returning single man to the changed world of cyber-dating.  It became a classic “sandwich” situation when he also began to care for his ailing parents.  He began writing various blogs on the dating sites he used as well as articles for local publications.  The goal of his column, A Dad’s Point-of-View, is to primarily focus on parenting and occasionally other issues from the male perspective.  Presently, his column is available in over 75 newspapers and Web sites in the U.S. and internationally.  Bruce lives in Agoura, California with his second (and last) wife and two boys, who are 16 and 13. Find Bruce on Facebook and add him as your friend and join his “A Dad’s Point-of-View” group.  Just be sure to tell him you saw him here.

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