MOST FOLKS PLACE A HIGH PRICE ON PRIVACY, and deservedly so. Those few moments when we’re secluded from family and pets are few, and far between. For some of us, they’re non-existent. This rarity forces us to value those minutes of isolation while we shower, bathe, or groom. Then afterward, we face the bathroom mirror, refining our exterior image behind closed doors.
It’s a portrait of the place I wish I were at this moment.
I’m partially there. I’m in my bathroom, standing in front of the mirror, desiring privacy. But there’s no seclusion when there’s no door. Who creates a master bath with no door? Let me be clear; there is a door separating the sink area from the toilet space, because the sink is walled from the toilet and exposed to the bedroom. There is no wall, separating the bedroom from the sink space.
For some reason, there is carpet flooring though. It lay in front of the sink. And its fibers are filled with all manner of fungi, caked atop dark layers of the world’s finest black mold. With any luck, whoever decided it was a good idea to design bathroom sink areas with carpet flooring instead of tile, or any other non-porous material, was wondrously tarred and feathered, or flogged until admittance of their evil. Certainly, this wouldn’t have been the only bad decision they made in life. The same person was likely a domestic abuser, serial killer, or made jackets out of human skin. Anyway, let’s talk about my first-world problems, because what I’m trying to say is, I hate the fact there’s no privacy door to my ensuite bathroom-sink.
But my son loves it because he despises closed doors.
I don’t know why he elected this motive as his young life’s cause. But I give the guy credit. He’s passionate about it. Whenever I close a door, he assumes the role of the door police. First, he locates the closed portal. Then, he demands that the gateway be re-opened. He does this by yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs while pounding on the door with his fists. My only reprieve from his regime is when I’m behind the commode door. Yes, thank God. He’s learned not to protest that particular closure. Though he sprawls on the floor, on the other side of the toilet door, extending his Vienna-sausage-like-fingers between the bottom of the door and the floor. It’s his disturbing way of informing me… I am your son. And I’m here. On the other side of the door, waiting for you. But when I exit the commode, there’s no portal separating the sink from the bedroom area.
You get it.
FACING THE SINK, fine-tuning my appearance when my privacy is invaded. The person infiltrating my alone-time is a good kid. And he loves to dance. There’s a special thing he does before he dances . It’s a dance introduction. Wanna see it?
Well, imagine this…
He angles his body sideways and faces me. Head down. Eyes peering into mine. Index fingers parallel, rifling my face saying,
“Watch my dance!”
It’s pretty intense. And I’m a sucker. Every time he does it I tell him.
“Show me what you got!”
Then he dances.
And his dance is bad. Horrible, in the most disturbing ways. I’m not even sure when it’s done. I just figure it’s over when he gets tired. His momentum sputters. Like a marathon runner. Trained poorly. Ran out of gas. After I witness his performance, I ask him. “Is that it dude?”
Don’t worry; I’m calm, and honest with him because that’s what good parents do. I tell him. “That was the worst dancing I’ve ever seen in my life. And I’ve been around a long time. I’ve seen a lot of dancing. Yours is the worst.”
Then I look into his soul, and say. “Here’s what you need to do. You need to go back to dancing school, or wherever you learned that weak sh*t, and get your money back. Because -and I’m being honest with you here-, they stole your fucking pride. You need to get it back!”
That’s a lie of course; I don’t really say that to him. I tell him what any supportive parent would say to their child. I tell him. “Wow! That was great! You might be the best dancer in the world! I mean, some parts need a little work. But I appreciate what you showed me. And I support what you’re doing because I love you. You are the most important thing in my life.” Then I give him a bear-hug, and I kiss him on the forehead gently.
My son is twenty-five years-old.
So I think he gets it. I think he understands the positive reinforcement I’m laying down. Even though his dancing emits damnation upon our world. He only does it at home, so I tolerate it.
That is not the truth. I lied again.
My son is three-years-old. My God, if he were twenty-five-years-old, I’m not sure I could tell this story. It would paint me in a hideous light. I’d basically be saying, “Hi, folks! I’m gonna tell you a story about my twenty-five-year-old son who has devastating mental challenges. I make fun of him, but I get paid a lot of money to do it because I’m the devil.”
If I did that, I’m pretty sure that would make me the devil.
MY WIFE AND I VISITED A STREET FESTIVAL in the San Francisco Bay Area with my son. It was a few weeks ago. Upon arrival, we wandered around, casually evaluating the scene. But festivals aren’t what they used to be. When I was little, I remember street parties having super-cool, unusual stuff for sale. There’d be a person selling potted plants, trimmed to resemble popular people like Madonna, Michael Jackson, or George Clooney. And some blind woman who writes your name in old-English calligraphy. She pens it beneath a picture of you she paints, based on facial descriptions provided by your family and friends.
That’s real magic! I wanna buy her stuff.
But nowadays, it’s all the same sh*t. Some guy is selling overpriced photographs of the ocean. And his ocean pics look the same as thousands of other pics, selling at street festivals, in Houston, Portland, and Honolulu. The reason this guy’s stuff looks the same as the other crap, is because it’s actually the same.
Anyway, there’s also some hippie woman, selling expensive soaps and candles that she makes in her bathtub, by hand. Honestly, I have no clue how she creates over-priced soaps. I imagine they’re boiled, the same way Brad Pitt’s character (Tyler) did in the movie, Fight Club? I don’t wanna buy handmade soaps, blended with human fat that was stolen from dead people. Everyone reading this can hopefully agree, that’s friggin disgusting.
The only unique thing about modern day street festivals, is the music.
They had a few bands playing at this festival, and we watched one of them perform. A classic rock group, playing Boston and Aerosmith covers. We stood in front of the stage and listened. They were okay. But I had my eyes on my son while he bobbed his body back-and-forth, swaying. And I thought to myself… cool. He’s not gonna dance here, in front of everyone. Not until he, you know, learns how to dance.
Anyway, he did this ‘head bobbing’ thing for two songs… no problem. Then we walked to the other side of the festival where a Santana cover band was playing, these guys were really good. Their guitarist must have been Santana’s next door neighbor or something, because this dude knew all of Santana’s licks. He played just like him. But still, I kept my eyes on my son. And he’s bobbing back-and-forth… no problem.
But with each song. He moved more passionately, and gained confidence. By the time the band played their fifth tune. ‘Oye Como Va,’ or whatever the hell it was, my son decided.
“It’s dancing time!”
He approached the dance area, and gauged the crowd.
I need to break for second here, because here’s how you know someone is weird. Most solo dancers –at any street festival- stand, facing the band. They’ll dance their entire routine, facing the performers because that’s what normal people do, right?
But not my son.
He walked to the edge of the audience, then turned around and faced them, with his back to the band. Then he danced while staring at the crowd. I watched him do this, and thought to myself… oh, this motherf*cker thinks the crowd is here to watch him. Like the band is his backup. He thinks he’s the main attraction.
He swayed back-and-forth, and stepped side-to-side, safety dancing. And the people in the audience watched him. Then one of them said to me.
“Is that your son?”
And I smiled, “Yeah. That’s my boy!”
I’ve never wanted those precise words to spill from my lips. It sounded like a line from a movie or something, where this old Dad is sitting in the high school bleachers while his son back-flips over three defenders to score a winning touchdown. The kid’s father is pissing the hell out of everyone in the stands, screaming.
“That’s my boy! Guess what, ya’ll? He came from deez nutz!”
Anyway, while he danced, my son got super confident. And I saw what he was thinking because I have that ability. The ability to think like a three-year-old.
That’s my superpower.
He was thinking back to a few weeks ago. Because a few weeks ago, he and I were home alone, and I said to him. “Do you wanna watch some dancing?” And he said, “Yeah!” So I connected my computer to the TV, and found some break dance groups like Jabbawockeez, and Remote Kontrol on youtube. These dancers perform choreographed break dance and dubstep dancing. It’s awesome. Some of the moves they execute are mind-blowing. We watched a slew of videos, and my son soaked it up. Also, last week we were walking in Jack London Square (it’s an area in Oakland California, bordering San Francisco’s Bay) and there was a dance contest going on. They had an MC and everything; the whole deal. Twenty different dancers got busy. My son grabbed a seat in the front row. He watched the whole thing. But he can’t physically do the same moves that the dancer’s perform, neither can I. The only difference is, I’ve learned not to try, because I don’t have the time, or the patience to learn dubstep dancing. Plus, I’d break something of value on my body like my arm, or my brain.
AFTER A WHILE of warming-up, my son thought… it’s time for me to stop messing around. Time to unleash my abilities.
And he did!
It was a mixture of Tai-Chi movements blended with break dancing. Well, not really break dancing, because he danced like he was already broken; let’s call it broke-dancing. He didthis slow-motion thing, stepping forward-and-back while jumping around. And the crowd in front of him said.
“Oh! Look at him!”
They loved it.
That’s when my son went all in. He broke-danced on the ground. Dude put his hands on the asphalt, then rolled around on top of it. Afterward, he got up and looked at the crowd. They cheered him on, so he went down and did it again! He flopped all over the place. Other dancers stopped dancing, and watched his crazy moves too. The crowd went nuts. They’re like.
“Whaaaat?!!!! Oh, my God! No, he didn’t!!!”
My son heard their cheers, and he felt it. He got busy for five songs, folks. This guy switched between three moves. The side-step. The slow-motion Tai-Chi. And the roll-around-on-the-ground.
I can’t remember the last time I cried before that day. But I laughed so hard I wept like a baby. The reason I cried isn’t because my son is adorable. It’s because he’s actually twenty-five-years-old. He has debilitating mental conditions. I was lying when I said I wasn’t the worst person in the world.
I’m the devil.
Just kidding, you know who the worst person in the world is?
I’ll tell you.
I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS a lot. It’s the real reason I wrote this post. Sorry for the click-bait. But there should be a Black Hitler. I need to talk about it because… he’d be hilarious. And since he’s Black Hitler, he’s the opposite of the real Hitler.
Hear me out on this.
He’s a super successful visual artist. Black Hitler’s world-renowned, and donates millions of dollars to charities around the globe. He’s the nicest guy imaginable. Dude runs marathons in his spare time, and writes self-help books. Millions of people have benefited from his counsel and advice.
And he looks exactly like Hitler. But he’s black. He doesn’t have the armband and the military clothes, and all that stuff though. That’s going too far, but other than that; he looks the same as the original. And his name real name is Aloysius, but everyone calls him Black Hitler behind his back.
Anyway, after a while, his friends stage an intervention, because that’s what Black Hitler’s friends would do. And they elect a spokesperson for their group. His name is Darren. It takes months of planning, but eventually they have the surprise intervention.
They told Black Hitler they staged the intervention for another friend in their group, but after Black Hitler arrives, Darren reveals the group’s true intention. He looks at Black Hitler and says.
“Hey man. You do a lot of amazing noteworthy things like raising money for charities across the globe, and funding low-income school districts. The things you do are incredible. You’re making the world a better place.”
He scans across all faces in the room.
“Everybody here loves you because you’re an amazing person.” While Darren’s speaking, the rest of the intervention attendees nod approvingly, because he’s right.
Then Darren stares at Black Hitler. “But seriously… what the fuck’s up with the whole Hitler thing? It’s beyond disturbing.”
And Black Hitler says. “What are you talking about?”
Then Darren points at Black Hitler’s lip. “Dude? The mustache? Why is it trimmed like that? It’s shaved on the sides with a patch in the middle. Just like Hitler’s!
And Black Hitler says. “Whaaaat!? That’s just the way it grows, man.”
“That’s physically impossible!”
“Well, it’s the truth. It looks like Charlie Chaplin’s.”
Darren shakes his head. “What about your hair, bro? You’re straightening it! And you got the sides trimmed tight, and the top is all pulled over, and gelled? It’s like Hitler’s!”
“No way.” Black Hitler trails his fingers through his hair. “This is totally natural. It’s just my preferred look. Why would anyone purposefully want to look like Hitler? You guys are friggin crazy.”
“Yeah, okay! We’re the crazy ones?”
“Thank you!” Black Hitler rolls his eyes. “I’m glad you see it my way.”
Darren widens his gaze like he’s talking to an alien. He speaks slowly. “Listen to what I’m telling you…” He shakes his head. “Your name is Aloysius, but people call you Hitler behind your back! And if that’s not bad enough; they actually call you Black Hitler!”
Another member of the intervention group (Stacy) interjects. “It’s racist when you say it like that.”
Darren turns his head and looks at her. “Stacy! Focus, please!”
Then Black Hitler says. “When people call me Black Hitler, if they really mean, Aloysius. Then, yeah. They call me Black Hitler. I’m fine with that.”
Darren looks at everyone in the intervention, and throws his hands in the air. Then he points at Black Hitler.
“Fuck you, dude! I’m done.”