The Natural Born Athlete

natural born athlete

His mother's outfit and his father's athletic ability.

Rule #99: Encourage Your Daughter to Date a Carny


I'll always be there to hold your hair back as you puke after I spin ya on the Tilt-a-Whirl if ya know what I mean.

Your teenage daughter reminded you the other day about several of her friends who are traveling in Europe this summer. And she, of course, is not.

There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is you do not trust people from other states, much less people from Europe or “Europeans” as many are called by people who try to be all superior.

While you recognize that travel was an important part of your social development, especially the summer you smuggled cod and dope across the Canadian border in a Pinto, you do not have the funds to allow your child to experience “culture.”

What you do have, however, is the carnival in town. [Read more...]

Rule #58: Admit Your Baby Isn’t Cute

Either you can't look at it, or you can't look away. Either way, you're not reading this caption.

Either you can't look at it, or you can't look away. Either way, you're not reading this caption.

Your baby is an impish, miniature troll, who’s mere appearance can devastate aspiring Miss America contestants into never doing a pageant again.

You’ve been etching scars on friends and family members’ corneas with your wallet photos of “Ugly Jimmy” and in an honest moment, you realize you may have been responsible for several minor car accidents just by toting the sucker around in your stroller.

And this would be fine, if you quietly went about your business, raising the beast and ushering him patiently through an awkward adolescence.

But you keep subjecting us to “it,” and that’s something we won’t stand for, and neither should you.

Besides, admitting your baby isn’t cute is the first step in sculpting a healthy and realistic worldview for your child. Benefits include: [Read more...]

Rule #32: Give Your Child an Inferiority Complex

Prepare your child for a life in the shadow of better kids.

Prepare your child for a life in the shadow of better kids.

An enormous part of parenting involves cringing at your children’s shortcomings and jealously pining for the intelligence, accomplishments and excellent traits of children who are way better than them.

This instinct to compare your children to others is natural, and from the time your offspring are old enough to blow spit bubbles, you start noticing that the spit bubbles being blown by babies the same age are somehow better—maybe they’re more symmetrical, or the baby has ingeniously laced his spit bubbles with breast milk or crushed peaches to increase their stability.

And so you look disdainfully at your baby as he blows ordinary spit bubbles and want to say to him, “Son, it seems pretty clear that you can’t even blow a decent spit bubble. Look at how large Matthew’s spit bubble is compared to yours—and he can even crap his diaper while he’s doing it.”

When your child gets older, there’s a good chance he’ll be surrounded by kids who are considerably better than him. You might see this, but he doesn’t—that’s why it’s important to point out how superior some of his friends, classmates and total strangers are. [Read more...]

Rule #24: Crush Your Child’s Dreams Early

Teach your child that when you try, you'll probably fail. And no matter what, you'll always look ridiculous.

Teach your child that when he tries, he'll probably fail. And no matter what, he'll always look ridiculous.

There was a time when good-natured people (parents, teachers, coaches, and the guy who tried to make you an Amway rep) told you that there was “nothing you couldn’t do if you set your mind to it and worked hard.”

You sort of believed them. But, after college, you also figured setting your mind to something and working hard didn’t sound nearly as appealing or interesting as bumming around Europe for a couple of years and not shaving things that usually need shaving. You returned home, shacked up with a person who would later steal your cat and the fez you bought in Amsterdam, and finally settled into a job that satisfied you about as much as licking stamps.

Your children share your slacker DNA, which means they’re prone to fits of general laziness and ambivalence during times of great opportunity, as well as when people are counting on them—so it’s important to let them know now that they probably won’t amount to much. [Read more...]

Rule #18: Harass Youth League Umpires

What are you, the Vienna Boys Choir? This is a youth league basketball game. Yell. Throw stuff.

What are you, the Vienna Boys' Choir? This is a youth league basketball game. Yell. Throw stuff.

Somewhere between getting cut from a beer-league softball team and drafting a high-stakes fantasy-football squad, you became a bitter douche bag about sports.

Check that. You became a bitter douche bag with a sports agenda. And that agenda usually entails letting most of the free world know that your prepubescent children are superstar athletes.

Anyone who doesn’t see the pure genius of your child’s athletic skills—especially volunteer referees and umpires—should be appropriately scolded. Publicly.

So, we suggest screaming, loudly and frequently, at youth league umpires. This proves to your children that you love and support them, and that you’re willing to make a braying jackass of yourself in public to fulfill all their athletic dreams.
[Read more...]

Rule #4: Tell Your Child He Sucks

peed pants playing baseball

Peeing pants isn't a part of baseball. But for your kid? It is.

You feel it almost every day. It gnaws at you like a pet mouse with a tapeworm: Despite your best work as a parent, there are times—well, many times—when your child just sucks. They suck in school, sports, personal hygiene, posture, overall appearance, and even checkers. And nobody really sucks at checkers. Well, except your kid.

But you resist the temptation to say anything. It wouldn’t be right to point out the obvious. You’re a progressive parent, after all. Children have feelings. They care what you say. Hell, you care what you say.

But consider this time-honored maxim: Humility is underrated.

[Read more...]