fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Thursday, October 30, 2014

$#!% My Son Won't Do

Like any good parent, I worry about my son, and not because he will be 17 soon. I worry that he is going to miss out on life.

The thing about my son is that he doesn't just jump right in to situations. I do. I generally don't bother to look. When you look before you leap, you might see the dangers involved. That seems to serve as incentive not to do them.

I suspect that's what my son does. He looks first. It's worrisome! I'm afraid he's going to miss out on a lot of life's experiences by looking before he leaps. He says he's being careful...

Take electrified cow fences, for example. My son was with my father on my aunt and uncle's farm. My father warned him not to touch the electrified cow fence. My son's response? He steered clear of the fence.

When I was his age, curiosity would have taken hold in less than five seconds. Within another 10 seconds, I would have had a finger touching the wire just to see what it feels like to get shocked by an electrified cow fence.

My friends and I use to make human chains with one person touching the wire. That way, we could see how many people the current would go through. I remember volunteering to be the person touching the wire.

Careful and cautious has been a central theme throughout my son's life.

Once, when my son was two, I suggested we jump in some mud puddles after a big rain. He geared up in rubber boots, rubber fireman suit and hat. You know, mud jumping gear!

Once outside, my little guy looked up at me with his big brown eyes wide open with what I took to be excitement.

"Umm, Dad?" he replied. "Do you think this is a good idea? You don't know what's in there..."

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard the "do you think..." line, or some variation of it, in the last 16 years!

I had quite the sense of adventure as a kid. This may come as a surprise, but I still do. I like to try new things. I enjoy discovering what will happen when I take certain chances.

From birth to approximately 24 years old, my personal motto was "what if." Some strictly hypothetical examples would be 'what if I used a bedsheet for a parachute,' 'what if I used an umbrella,' 'what if I caught a snake,' 'what if I jumped my dad's car on my bicycle' and 'what if I threw a rock at that hornet nest.'

My son exhibits none of my natural curiosity. He definitely reads a lot. He Googles a lot, too. He loves to learn things, though not necessarily experience them.

Luckily, he has a caring, wonderful father who looks out for him. In fact, what if I booked a father-son bonding sky diving clinic for the two of us? Now THAT would be exciting and fun! Now if I can just convince him.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Paid Time Off Is Hard Work

I've diligently checked the current, extended and long-range forecasts for several days now and things are not looking good. No snow days have been forecasted for the remainder of October. Or for the entire month of November!

I think my co-workers would agree with me that a snow day would be awesome right about now. My snow dance, however many times I perform it, seems to have no bearing on the weather. No snow equals school, or work, for me.

If snow days are out of the question, then what? The answer came to me quickly. Holidays!

Tomorrow is October 24. Tomorrow is also National Bologna Day. Now THAT'S a holiday worth celebrating! That's also short notice. My boss might not be so understanding of my absence.

Monday is Navy Day. Tuesday is Plush Animal Lover's Day. Wednesday is National Frankenstein Day. Thursday is National Candy Corn Day and Friday, of course, is Halloween.

I do have a plush skunk. How can I properly celebrate Plush Animal Lover's Day if I'm at work? If I fail to show up at work Tuesday, my boss and students will surely understand...

While it may be too late for October, I'm hard at work on a plan for November.

While we may have two days off for Thanksgiving in November, that may not be enough. I've started a petition to make World Peace Day a paid holiday like Christmas or Memorial Day. That would free us all up for a mental health day on November 17th.

I won't even touch December for obvious reasons. January and February generally usher in some decent school altering weather, snow dance or not!

And then there's March. There will be some big changes come March. Those changes will be dependent upon my clout as a celebrity, as well as whether or not my paperwork is approved, of course. I'm hoping to hear from President Obama any day now.

He should be signing off on my paperwork to make March 12 an official, nationally recognized, paid day off for everyone. Parades will be held. Future students will be forced to read about it and write reports. You may be thinking "What earth-shattering event occurred on March 12?"

March 12 is the date that the creator of Fuzzy, Black Dogs was born! If that doesn't constitute a full-blown, nationally observed holiday, then I don't know does.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bass-tastic Fish Tales


"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr. Bass! I expect you to die!"

He was just a bass player in a little band. That is, until one day, a fan hooked him and stuck a finger in his mouth. That was the beginning of the end.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Bass Fish

"But you look like a baritone."
"Nope. I only sing bass."

Quick honey! Get out the Ronco Bass-O-Matic! Mmmm! That's good bass!

My mental radio seemed to be out of synch. I decided to adjust a little bass.

Another fisherman saw my catch.
"Nice fish," he said. "What're you fishing with?"
"Well," I replied, "I started with a treble hook, but ended with a bass hook."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fifth-Grader Kills Off Aliens

As a teacher's assistant working with third, fourth and fifth-graders, I'm very wary of dogs, aliens and unavoidable tragedies of epic proportions. 

Approximately 30-some odd years ago, when I was in fifth grade, all my friends, neighbors and I owned homework-eating dogs. These dogs look like any other dogs. They are only identifiable by being caught in the act. This also poses a problem since they very rarely are.

Regardless, my homework was targeted by these dogs more so than either of my sisters. Perhaps because I did so much of it. Maybe mine was tastier. Whatever the reason, it was most unfair how often I came to class empty handed because of that nefarious dog.

Even worse than the dogs in those days were the aliens! They buzzed around like scavenging mosquitoes. They took anything that wasn't nailed down like, for example, my homework. Imagine that.

Those aliens weren't picky, either. Besides homework, they took house keys, car keys, money, dog leashes, books, pencils, paper... You name it. They took it.

As if the dogs and the aliens weren't enough, we also had tragedies of epic proportions in those days. You know the kind. These are the inexplicable events that just randomly occur that cause homework sucking vortexes to materialize out of thin air. There's no explaining them.

Honestly, it was a miracle that I ever even finished high school. The amount of time I spent guarding the work I did left me with little time to do it. Despite my due diligence, I was not able to protect the amazing amount of homework that I produced!

This, of course, explains my dismay to my fifth-grader's response concerning her lost math packet last Monday. I stopped her and asked if she had found it.
"Umm," she said. "No, Mr. Haworth."
"Holy shmoly," I exclaimed. "Was it eaten by a dog?"
"We don't have a dog, Mr. Haworth," she said, and giggled.
"Aliens," I said. "It must have been aliens! They took it, right?"
"There's no aliens, Mr. Haworth," she replied.
I stood there a moment, stunned.

No aliens? No homework-eating dogs? Her casual comments killed them off quickly and efficiently. I simply didn't have the heart to allow her to kill off the tragedies of epic proportions. Despite her predicted reaction to these tragedies, I am certain that they still exist somewhere in this world.