Monday, August 23, 2010

Center Offers Help to Hysterical Mothers

SPRINGDALE, AR--With kindergarten underway, many of Springdale's mothers will be receiving that terrifying call from school asking for a conference to discuss "educational strategies" for their young children. Mother's of boys with summer birthdays will receive most of those calls. Fortunately, a local agency provides support to help these mothers cope with the reality that their kids just aren't quite ready for school.

The Ozark Education Services Coop offers a wealth of resources designed to reassure mothers that their children are basically healthy and free of disabling learning disorders. "All children develop differently," says OESC Director Margie McDonald, "The fact that your child is barely five isn't an indicator of a learning disability any more than being almost six is an indicator of superior motor control." Still, many mothers panic or become severely depressed when they realize their five-year-old simply isn't ready to cope with the rigor and intensity of today's kindergarten. These are the mothers OESC was designed to help.

According to the center, parenting website addiction counselling is their most commonly requested service. "Only a medical professional can diagnose autism and other learning disabilities," reminded McDonald. "We tell moms that putting their kids on a diet of clownfish, beet juice, and pulverized gunamalaca root just because autism_mom431 from DesMoines said in some chat room that it did wonders for her autistic child is not a great strategy for giving their own perfectly normal child a fun and productive kindergarten experience. Instead, we urge mothers to simply allow their kids to become a year older, which happens quite naturally."

Another popular service offered at the center is objectivity training. Nearly all mothers can spot the aspects of their child's development which seem to be lagging. Unfortunately, many moms find it much more difficult to see the areas in which their child is developing faster that average. "Usually they just need a reminder. Being able to ride the crap out of a bicycle on steep trails is not an indicator of kindergarten preparedness, but it's a skill that most kindergartners have not developed yet," explains McDonald. The objectivity training classes meet twice a week and focus on teaching moms to see the bigger picture of their child's development.

For so long, mothers of children with summer birthdays were forced to deal with the stress of a July kindergarten cutoff date by themselves. Many felt great guilt at having conceived in October. But thanks to the Ozark Education Services Coop, those mothers can now get the reassurance they need that their children are developing just fine. Many mothers report that holding their children back a year before starting kindergarten actually set them on a trajectory to learn more and have more fun throughout their educational careers. All the center's services are offered free of charge.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Doomed Child Just Started Kindergarten!

But seeing all the other kids this morning, I think he's not doomed any worse than the rest of them, in spite of my months of near constant protestation that he was not ready. He might even enjoy having some structure to his day, which if the first few minutes was any indication, he will have no shortage of structure! By the time we arrived, most of his classmates were already seated, with their hands in their laps and their heads pointed straight forward, afraid to blink. We only had a few seconds to meet his teacher but she seemed like a very sweet lady as long as you don't try to fuck with her. So go forth with gusto, Doomed Child! Play time is over, but a life of wondrous toil awaits those who seize it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Infinitely Better Rewrite:

I don't dream, I ponder the unobtainable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Don't Dream

I stare dejectedly into the Great Unobtainable.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recondite Quips and Hockey Fight Clips

"Suicide is not an act, it's a fearless imaginative leap across the sucking black void of the unknowable."

--Failure expert UF Mike

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Dave Mows Grass on Being Straight

I've known I was straight since my first inkling that such things as gay or straight existed. Even before that, I suppose I did sense that I was different from most of my playmates in some vague way which I didn't understand. By puberty, there was absolutely no doubt. I liked girls! Since then, my life has been a continuous struggle for acceptance in a world which hates and fears me because of what seems to me to be a minor and inconsequential difference, a difference which poses no material threat to anyone. I've never been ashamed of being straight, but for many years I've kept it to myself, even when it was obvious to the people who were close to me. Well, today I'm coming out!

My parents happened to be male. I was lucky, though, that neither of my dads ever beat me like happens so often to other straights with male parents. Instead, they took the "compassionate" route by sending me to counselors and priests who could help me "discover my true, natural preference for boys." I threw a screaming fit one time when one of my dads staged an intervention with a bunch of people from church who tried to hold me in a room with them while they "prayed the straight away," as if the inclination I have always had towards girls was some kind of demon which could be exorcised. That was the last time I've ever entered a church.

I was still a kid when that happened, not even old enough to date. The fact is, I didn't date at all in high school. Sure, I ran around with some girls and my friendships with girls had a somewhat different context than my friendships with boys, but I never had a girlfriend. I didn't dare! Of course, my dads kept prodding me to find a date for the prom, but I never considered that possibility for an instant. The idea of dating another boy seemed absurd from the outset because I was not, and had never been, even the slightest bit attracted to boys, not in any sexual or intimate sense, at least. My best friend at school, who happened to be male, often suggested that I try dating a boy--not himself; he already had a boyfriend, but some other boy--just to experience it for myself. He said I would only be exploring my sexuality which, particularly for late-teenagers like ourselves, might not be a bad thing. Of course, I countered by asking him why he didn't try dating a girl just to explore his own sexuality. Of course, he said he could never do that! I appreciated my friend's good intentions and the delicacy with which he approached the matter. I also very much appreciated the fact that he was never afraid of me (Nor were my other friends, who were quite numerous). He was kind to me when so many others weren't.

That's been a recurring theme in my life, that I've always had friends. Unfortunately, though, even my friends were not completely immune to the conditioning that comes from a society in which the overwhelming majority of people are gay. So many times, I've sensed that one of my friends actually had quite a strongly entrenched opposition to heterosexuality but regarded me as an exception only because they had, in their first interactions with me, found me to be an admirable person for some reason before they ever figured out that I was straight. I sensed from them: "I think heterosexuality is wrong, but it's hard not to like Dave!" I forgave them, though. I had to forgive them or I would have no friends, which is very sad.

I joined the Army at an interesting time because Don't Ask, Don't Tell had just become law. If anything, DADT made my own situation worse because it highlighted the fact that I could not be openly straight. I was still in the closet then just like I have been till this minute as I write this, so if DADT didn't exist at that time, I would have stayed in the closet without much thought. I would have known that I couldn't come out without that fact being codified in federal law. As it was, we had fun with it. I suppose it was pretty obvious that I was straight so it didn't surprise me that much when my cohorts took to calling me Don't Ask Don't Tell. It was a term of endearment, I suppose, because it was only my friends who called me that. For the most part, I think I endured less discrimination in the military than on the outside. It's as if the topic was off-limits. I was assigned female roommates just like gay males and we showered together. None of my roommates ever requested to be moved and none of them was ever afraid to dress or undress in front of me. I knew they were lesbians and I respected that. My being straight was a complete non-issue to them. That said, I did have a few bad experiences in the Army. The worst, and certainly the scariest, was when I was walking back to the barracks from the head just as a group from my platoon was coming back from a drinking binge. They didn't actually do anything to me other than yell things like, "Why don't you go fuck a woman in the vagina, straight boy!" One of them made obscene gestures like he was squeezing a breast. I wanted to shout, "I'll fuck your mom in her vagina!" but I didn't. Instead I just looked straight ahead and quickened my pace back to my room. It was frightening and very humiliating.

Since I got out of the military, I did what most straights do: I quietly lived my life. I finally met in person the cute and very funny woman from the Philippines I had been penpals with for several years. I went to the Philippines again a few years later and decided for sure--though we had both seen that it would happen long before that--that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. It took her a few years to get a visa, but eventually she got here and we started our lives together. Now we have a five-year-old son who's about to start kindergarten. How time flies!

A few years ago, they passed a law creating an institution called a "Domestic Partnership" for opposite-sex couples which grants them many of the privileges same-sex couples enjoy. We thought about it just because the tax treatment would save us some money, but in the end, we decided to hold out till society gets it's head out of it's ass and finally passes a law allowing opposite-sex couples to marry. The modern world has already done it; it's only these puritanical religious states like America that are holding out. We have hope, though! We see progress in the courts and we see progress in the society-at-large. The young people I talk to today could give a rat's ass that I'm heterosexual. As non-traditional couples become more common, and people see that kids from hetero couples end up becoming homos, and kids from homo couples become hetero, and that none of those kids become rapists or spread the plague just because of the sexual orientation of their parents, the argument that straights are a threat to our society is going to get harder and harder to make. We have hope! I know that someday I will be able to finally marry the only woman I have ever loved. My wife!

So I declare today, to my family, my friends, and anyone else who is interested; to those who suspected it but weren't sure, who wanted to believe otherwise but didn't, or who were simply too thick to notice the preponderance of indicators of it which were obvious to everyone else; that I am completely and unabashedly straight! I always have been and I always will be! As if it fucking matters!