GQ — Because they’ve obviously never seen what I dress like, I’ve got a few short pieces in the new “print magazine version” of GQ. (Not about LeBron. Or Kate Mara, regrettably.) Check out “The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People” (page 102) and “How to Work (No, Really) From Your Living Room” (page 140). (I am also the model for all of the Prada ads.)
Island Packet — Nine-year-old boys knock their teeth out a lot. That is simply scientific fact, one verified by my son’s dentist, who told me “9-year-old boys knock their teeth out a lot” both times I took my 9-year-old in to the dentist because he knocked out his tooth.
The first time was shortly before Christmas. You know how 9-year-olds theoretically have the power to walk, how they technically learned mobility 7 or 8 years before, but instead of using their legs to “cross a finite space” they “fall on purpose” and “flop around like panicking safari animals” and “act like someone has lit some of their socks on fire”? Yeah, he was doing that. So, surprise, he ended up taking a bite of floor, breaking his tooth off about halfway up, just shy of the nerve, in one of those severe-looking dental injuries that makes a parent think two things: 1. “GASP! MY PRECIOUS LITTLE MAN IS INJURED!” 2. (whatever the sound is when you run out of money).
That’s right, 2014. No better news will come out this year. If I find that a mysterious rich uncle left me $55 billion and a yacht it will not be better news than this. If the Cubs decide to avoid baseball this summer and save us all the errors and collapsing it will not be better than this. If Sean Hannity plunges into a sinkhole filled with monstrous giraffe-sized worms who feast on pouting, it will not be better than this. OK, that last one will be pretty close, but still: Bring the children into the room, find a comfortable chair and grab a nice bottle of seltzer, for drinking:
The United States is facing a severe clown shortage.
HOW GREAT IS THAT? It’s working! We’re getting rid of clowns! Which is frankly long overdue, because it’s been like 300 years and several circus mergers since anybody needed them. And I say that as someone who has purposefully attended an Insane Clown Posse concert, which was — and this is not a joke — easily the most positive clown-related environment I’ve ever been in. (Seriously, however much Faygo you think those guys spray at an average small-market concert, it’s like a million times more Faygo. I didn’t know Faygo made that much Faygo. And the concert ended with like 20 guys on stage, mostly in face paint, and lights and confetti and lasers and Faygo and everyone hopping around stage performing a thrice-punctuated track called “Bang! Pow! Boom!” and it was maybe deeply entertaining? I don’t know, all the confetti was very disorienting.)
Island Packet — Are you supposed to let your kids win at board games? Let me rephrase that: Are you supposed to let your kids win at board games if you can beat them at board games? Because frankly I lost a shocking amount of Candy Land to my son when he was 4, but in my defense, there is zero strategy to Candy Land, and that dude had no idea what he was doing. It’s not like I lost because of some series of tactical errors, right? The little mop-top just pulled the colored cards in the right order and avoided Gloppy when he needed to, right? Everyone just smile and nod, please, thanks.
On the whole, we’ve yet to establish a consistent routine about this winning-and-losing situation. Sometimes when we play games I’ll take a dive in Battleship, make a ridiculous accusation in Clue or make a lousy chess move or two to let the Little Man stay a competitive step ahead. Sometimes I’ll spot-decide that I should use this game of Ticket to Ride to teach that life is an unending thread of disappointments that he must begin enduring as soon as possible. Sometimes my 9-year-old straight up beats me at chess, which naturally makes me want to immediately crush him at Ticket to Ride.
But there’s no rhyme or reason to these games, and there probably should be, at least while I maintain the ability to keep an upper hand at some of them. Because there is one game at which he regularly throttles me, one game that I lose, regularly, badly, to a person who routinely puts his shirts on backward and ends 85 percent of all dinners by falling out of his chair.
The game is called Blokus.
GQ — First things first: GNC? Little terrifying. Stand outside and try not to be intimidated by this fluorescent wonderland lined with roots and isolates and and ginseng sold by the keg. (Costco be damned—GNC may be American’s champion of selling its wares in the vastest-possible containers. Many of these Muscle Milk barrels could safely store my car.) Going into a GNC is like falling out of the mall and into the future, where you can buy a full day’s serving of veggies in a pill. I’m pretty sure this is what the people in Wall-E eat.
GNC helped pioneer the over-the-counter weight-loss medication industry, and is an enduring beacon of hope for the tenacious chunk of the populace who, in the face of hundreds of years of medical science, expert analysis and the old-fashioned common sense, believe it’s possible to drop pounds without modifying portion size or going for a walk. But it’s also been around for like 300 years (every mall in America contains two things: a GNC and a Cinnabon, and I suppose it’s a testament to the economy that both can coexist in the same space), so there must be some magic in those titanic jars of powder, right?
South Magazine — You know how it is: You’re a New York Times best-selling author, out for the weekend piloting your plane over Florida coast, when out of nowhere, right on your tail, bam, there’s John Grisham. “I’ve got a 235 Charger, basically a really nice single-engine plane,” says Dr. Howard Wasdin, 51, Georgia chiropractor, former member of SEAL Team Six, Purple Heart-awarded veteran of the Black Hawk Down battle of Mogadishu, author and guy who’s probably underselling his plane right now.
“And [Grisham] comes flying in behind me in a Citation, this really nice jet. His house is down the beach from my condo — I always show people his place, saying I’ve got to sell a whole bunch more books to get that. And his Citation overtakes me flying into Fernandina — I had to hold out over the ocean and come in behind him,” he says, laughing at the idea of two best-selling authors landing on a little spit of land in northern Florida at the same time. “It’s all good.” Actually, make that three.
“The funny thing is, between where I am and Grisham’s place, Stephen King is building his new house.” Three big-shot authors, within a half-mile of each other, in one sleepy, humid corner of the world. “Now keep in mind,” Wasdin says, “King is king, and Grisham has 22 New York Times best-sellers. I’ve had one.” Luckily, it’s a pretty good one.
GQ — When you tell your female friends that you’ve made an appointment for your first facial, you tend to get one consistent response: deranged enthusiasm.
It’s like being welcomed into a secret society, all these lovely ladies assuring you that you can’t possibly imagine the glorious wonders that await your face-parts. “You don’t have to carry a messenger bag and be named Thad to get a facial. Jeffs deserve facials too,” Robyn told me. “Masculinity is not an issue,” added Anna. “All the gang dudes in my neighborhood in Spanish Harlem got facials.” I’m taking her word for that, as it’s an extremely difficult thing to fact-check.
GQ — Footballs are good at many things—flying through the air, causing family arguments, being thrown to opposing teams by Eli Manning—but regulation-size balls are not particularly forgiving to the average dude. Sure, you think you look cool in your backyard, dropping back and calling plays like a version of Colin Kaepernick without the tattoos that look like a shirt. But in reality your spiral is probably more like a circling-of-a-drain, and your throwing motion looks like someone just plugged a microwave into your nervous system.
GateHouse — Never rent a carpet cleaner.
Never rent a carpet cleaner.
Just don’t. Realize that carpets, by their filthy fibrous natures, will always contain some considerable amount of playground dirt and cosmic dust and standard-issue housefunk and dog hair and old food and and that’s just how it is, and you should be OK with it. Maybe it, you know, boosts immunity or something.
We rented a carpet cleaner this weekend. Related: We live like farm animals. Related: That’s not true. Farm animals would not let their living spaces get like this; at some point a rooster or something would be like, “Guys, seriously. Also, cock-a-doodle-doo!”
Oh sure, there is a hygiene upgrade and general peace of mind that comes with the post-clean knowledge that your carpets are so sterling you could eat off them (so long as you didn’t mind fibers in your steak or the occasional ball of fuzz in your soup). Sure, it’s nice to have a clean house. We have two kids in ours, so this last part has gone from being an occasional delight to something we remember from a time we’ve come to know as “The Restaurant Years.”
Island Packet — My dad and 9-year-old are downstairs right now watching the first of the new “Star Trek” movies, the one that came out in 2009 and is cleverly titled “Star Trek.” I’m making that point because it’s going to get hairy with the titles here in a minute.
We watched the second of the new “Star Trek” movies, “Into Darkness,” last night. That’s the one that was released this spring and contains Evil and Pale British Khan, and at the end they eradicate 85 percent of San Francisco and — you’d think a bigger deal would be made of this — stumble upon a way to CURE HUMAN DEATH, yet neither development really causes any of the characters to look up from their phones much.
But there’s a separate issue developing. My son becomes obsessed with detail, the sort of detail that eludes the casual viewer, and by “eludes” I mean “bores the pants off of.” He’s been known to spend the better part of a road trip expounding on the stylistic differences of various years of Honda Odyssey minivans, because I have the only budding car kid in town who is less into speed and danger than he is fiscal sensibility and good Consumer Reports ratings.