A doofus can do things like sell small sponsorships, small sponsorships for his employer, small sponsorships for his employer that will more than likely yield a greater sponsorship, small sponsorships for his employer that will more than likely yield a greater sponsorship that still require him to be present. A doofus does these things without always paying heed to other things on the calendar. A doofus does these things without always paying heed to other things on the calendar like Father’s Day. A Doofus is a dad who somehow manages to find a way to work more on Father’s Day (hehe, more on).

I am that doofus.

A little respect, please, as I am Michael, lord of the Doofuses!



My dad, thoughtful observant dude that he is, recently noted that all it takes to make everyone around you a doctor is for you to come down with something. Opinions and assholes are forever linked in that regard.

I guess it is a sign that I’m getting older that it is taking a bit for an ankle injury(pulled tendons above my achilles) to recover for me. Age and the fact that resting it is a little dull. The needs of my job need me to do some ambling around, making me the Dr. House of marketing. A couple folks see me coming with a “still limping, there” observation. That’s helpful as I wasn’t noticing. Powered my way through our recent benefit which I think would fry the healthy cortex of Schartzeneggarian proportions. You know you’re doddering a bit when both your mom and daughter present you with ankle braces.

It’s funny what can slow you down. My building has a set of stair cases that thankfully after five years, I don’t think much about….till now. You have to be careful when you think about how you plant your foot a bit and that nearly induced, vertigo I guess. I’m part of a great team and one of the kind souls reorganized our group to “get Mike off the stairs.” That made me feel both really great and sort of pitiful.

I’ve never been a jock of any kind to speak of, but take a degree of pride in doing my share, toting my barge, lifting my bale, doing for the team (“TEAM, TEAM”).

I made sure I wasn’t screwing anything else upIt’s going away, but three weeks off from heavy lifting events will help, but the nerves can repair sooner.

I wouldn’t mind.

School Daze

Lot of milestones lately, and the latest one put me, the lovely mother of my lovely children, and the middle child of that collective in White Plains, New York at Purchase College for orientation. It was our daughter’s orientation and first visit to the college of her choice. It was a pretty regular assortment of meetings, sessions, icebreaker type activities. Given it’s location, about 30 minutes north of New York City so there were folks from all over.

I was relieved a bit that it looks nothing like U.B. and is a nice sized community for our daughter to start off and gain some confidence being on her own. It’s right next to White Plains, but built so it is its own little world as well and I think that is kind of cool. One can ease themselves into things so it’s not too much too soon. That didn’t stop my amusement at some of the parents whose questions sounded more like they were sending their ten year old off to camp as opposed to their young adult off to school.

If a community can take our too cool teenager and move her from “I can tell already I’m going to hate it here” (when she saw students dancing parking directions for us) to somebody who has a schedule, two job prospects and three prospective roommates, they must be doing something right.

You never know anything for sure, but this feels like a positive start.

“Be vewy qwiet…”

“We’re hunting cwistmas twees….hehehe”

Well, enough Fudd-isms, as we no longer do such foolish things. But the day after Black Friday, before American Express sponsored it, used to be known as…Saturday. Quite the revelation, I know.

My older brother and our dad had taken to procuring a real honest-to-gosh Christmas tree for the folks’ place on this mighty day. With the appearance of my lovely eldest daughter, I joined in the quest. When you have baby at home, suddenly tossing some lights on top of a six foot tall artificial plant that was there all the time, didn’t seem to cut it. The boys had done their due diligence and found that Ulbrich’s tree farm had a good selection of free range trees (A joke for those of who take shopping at the co-op too seriously). While the good folks at Ulbrichs had already had some on the lot already pre-cut and ready to be attached to your car, those were for the wimps, the candy-assed & generally inferior.

Okay, chances are those were also taken by the smarter people, but the real men, the hairy chested, not afraid of rear-wheel drive cars, drinkers in the good dive bars, went to get our own. Well, it was also cheaper to cut your own down as it saved the Ulbrichs folks from doing it. In our thriftiness, we also became snobs. That first one, that’s a good one, but let’s see what else is out there. My first escapade on this adventure had either my dad or I leaving a glove to mark a potentially worthy tree. From a distance it looked like the glove was giving us the finger. That system evolved as the old man made markers out of material, so we could TRACK the trees, as the good ones wouldn’t stay where we left them.

The uniting factor in all this is that I think with one exception the weather was mostly crappy. It was raining one year and even the staff was looking at us like we were nuts, which truth be told, we probably were. Either rain, snow, or ground that mostly resembled walking on a fudge sundae, it was never ideal, but you came away with the right tree from the space. I don’t think it mattered much to my kids where the tree came from, but it was an all too rare window in my brother’s soul. He battles a variety of issues, but can tell you about each jaunt in remarkable detail, even though we stopped some years ago.

That is what I take away, when I read about people tsk-tsk-ing about the midnight shoppers Thursday night, or self-righteously shopping local because a credit card company told them too, I tend to think more about this kind of silly stuff. There wasn’t a year that we didn’t look like the Keystone Kops heading into the woods of Alden, and that was pretty cool.

That said, shop the local shops at the damn time, the Black Friday deals are marketing (as they pop up again and again, during the year and the season) and cyber monday? Click on the “watch” buttons and you don’t have to do things because some smarmy marketer told you so. I say this as one of those smarmy marketers.

Black Friday

I mean seriously, I know some bars were opening back up Thanksgiving Night and all, but can you imagine being the guy who has to leave dinner to put his stuff on to head off for the 10 pm shift at Target?

There is a reason that people like Thanksgiving more so than Christmas, less constant pressure. This occurred to me, thinking of the poor devil who actually had the misfortune to need an essential, underwear, or whatever at the closest Target.

I mean, I understand, Friday is a day off for most folks and it’s the season and all that, Remember when the season started at the civilized hour of, say, 10? There wasn’t anything wrong with that. The bulk of the “incredible” deals often resurface during the season and even during the “mystery days” of Christmas, you know, that space between Christmas and New Year‘s.

I guess this all stems from me seeing the inevitable news piece of some poor slob who had to line up at 2 in the morning for the deal on a flat screen at some big box retailer, only to stumble and get trampled the moment the doors open. Nobody needs a new set so badly that they need to risk safety and regard for other people that way.

And I think that is at the heart of it for me. Christmas and I have had a love hate relationship over the past few years, mostly from my own odd belief that I wasn’t able to do all that I wanted for my kids only to find out we were doing fine all along. Yet, the season actually is a “Season” with displays creeping into the Halloween racks at some retailers last month, before Halloween.

It is the one time frame where people generally act the way they should all year long, provided you aren’t seeing them in a retail setting.

You want to embrace it, but it can sometimes be too big to get your arms around.

20 Years ago today

I learned some important things: Lamaze is crap and Petocin doesn’t speed your contractions, it makes labor one big long spouse’s hand-crushing contraction. And at 8:34 p.m. life changed

My eldest arrived on June 2, 1991 after 23 hours of “sheer bliss.” I think there is a file on my former spouse and me because the experience really molded us for when we returned for the other two kids.

But despite it all, she arrived quite nicely.


We were feeling pretty good about a year after. She’s continued to age quite nicely. I can’t do that beard anymore without there being “Santa-like” connotations.

Happy Birthday, Kid

Holiday Road

The holiday gave rise to a whole collection of random notes. Bear with me as I clean out a few mental pockets.

I’m fond of joking that my lovely former spouse and I are in the three phases of parenthood: With the youngest, we can still solve the occasional issue with a hug and a kind word. With the lovely middle child, we are the loveable buffoons who occasionally have the money. With the eldest, we are the fucking idiots with the money. And so it goes. Funny what you note and when you note it. We sent the mighty middle child west with her best friend and the friend’s parents on the fourth to spend time in Las Vegas followed by a canyon tour. Being all of 15 (and about to turn 16, as she would want me to add), her mom and I got over our fears of our child two time zones away and went on a charm offensive to get her at peace with the idea. The tragical history tour left last night and about 9 we got a call from chicago. “Did you like the first flight?” “No” was the curt reply. Apparently, she was really jazzed, but we were never going to see that.

I awoke to a text saying “I’m on a monorail.” So, I guess mission accomplished. Considering when her older sister turned 16, she was briefly in a bar with me in Williamsburg and now she is in Vegas. Either, we are either irresponsible or the coolest parents ever. I’ll opt for the latter.

While all this was going on, amazing number one son and I were watching a little tv and decided at the last minute to head down to the Central Wharf downtown to check out the fireworks. Got to say to Buffalo Place, well done. All the parking spots were open and reasonably priced. I slide into a space by the arena at 9:45 and we walked over the bridge to the strains of Lance Diamond turning somebody’s mother out in short order. The wharf wasn’t overly crowded and we caught a neat little show without working terribly hard. Not going to lie about the appeal of that. Nice half hour of pyrotechnics to cap a day, that sort of lost track of the holiday a little.

A friend of a friend lost his house saturday night and I started Sunday at a funeral for another. A little recentering was in order and Buffalo Place did the trick.


I started to become one late on June 1st, 1991. My darling eldest decided to announce her impending arrival around 10:30 at night and as a sign of things to come, couldn’t be bothered to finish the job until 8:30 the following evening. Little devil had to make an entrance. In prepping for the big event, I read all the books and immediately upon arriving at the hospital, all the books, except for the Dad’s chapter of “What to Expect while you are expecting,” proved useless.

Darling daughter is owed a favor by her two siblings as we made return trips to Sisters in 1994 and 1998 and were intellectually much better prepared to cause trouble on our own behalf. But in 1991, I was certain of one thing, well, two things (we have a beautiful daughter) and that Lemaze was crap. My dad took a spill a few years back and I could swear I felt a few piercing glances (the kids lovely mother and I weren’t suffering fools quietly).

Happy Birthday, darlin

She’s the clean shaven one.

The Suite Life

I’ve been to sporting events with lousy seats, with no seats, with good seats, and with very rich seats. Let me tell you rich is better.

I have a memory of going to a Bills game with my dad to see Joe Namath play on a nice fall day, with the sun shining, only to be retreating by the middle of the second quarter as the temperature dropped 20 degrees and the rain ponchos we were wearing were threatening to turn us into sails.

But over the weekend, we lived the highlife.

I was invited to take up residence in a suite for the Sabres vs. Sharks game on February 13th. It’s a beautiful thing. Not being the tiniest of guys, I can shoehorn myself into the seats in the 100s just fine, but the suites are a whole new world. Space, views, comfy chairs, oh, my. I took my 11 year old son who took to this level of exclusivity without a trouble. We were the first to arrive and the hostess came down to announce herself and there is something in the way my boy said “Dad, we have our own waitress?” that still makes me laugh.

She later offered freshed baked cookies that his young eyes a goggle a la Tex Avery. I carefully made a mental note. We’ve all been at something where a great view is ruined by a beer-swilling popcorn spilling wooly mammoth who sits down right in front of you. That wasn’t an issue on this fine evening.

Can you imagine having tickets for that section and having to wait for the worshippers to dissipate. It was a fine evening, and did wonders for my disposition and my youthful sidekick who had a long week, too. We thought of waving to great unwashed and thought that might be tacky, so we settled for a more refined remembrance of our temporary vantage point.

Yes, sure, part of the fun is that it was on somebody else’s dime. It does remind you of that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry is flying first class and the attendent asks if he wants more of anything, and the only true answer is more of everything.

Food prepped with a little more care, hostess who makes a special point to tell me where the Molson Canadian is, unencumbered view, great company, and a win. I parked in the ramp next door like I was meant to be there. We all need and deserve to be whoo-ed and spoiled.

Good times.