Observations of a 12-Year-Old

Jack, and his school chum, whose name is also Jack (he’s 2 months older, so I call him “Jack Senior” to minimize confusion) were chatting in the back seat of my car as I was–don’t judge–ordering their lunches at the McDonald’s drive-thru’ the other day. I learned three valuable data points:

Nice “Kicks,” you Olive Garden-eating King of Disinformation, you!

#1. You will get a lifetime of food from Olive Garden if you name your child after a dish on the Olive Garden menu. I estimate it might cost about $1k to legally change your name, so this made solid economic sense to me. Jack now answers to “Veal Piccata.”

#2. The secret formula to the crabby patty is…crabs! The boys have concluded that Mr. Krabs is cannibalizing his own kind to form his crabby patties, since he seems to be the ONLY crab in Bikini Bottom. Even Mr. Krabs’ daughter Pearl is, oddly enough, a whale. I’m sure it was an adoption. Perhaps this was Sponge Bob creator Stephen Hillenburg’s homage to soylent green.

#3. Ross’s Dress for Less has HEAT. Jack is addicted to watching some YouTuber whose sole claim to fame is shopping at discount clothing outlet stores for close-outs on hard-to-find “Kicks” (when I want to make Jack, that is, Veal Piccata, die a thousand deaths, I call them “sneakers.”) In case you missed the memo, YouTubers are this generation’s celebrities. Hollywood celebs are soooo yesterday, losing juice and getting replaced by one pimply faced, semi-talented YouTuber teen at a time.

I can’t keep track of which LeBron shoe is hot at the moment, but Jack knows. He discusses the pros, cons, values and stats of various athletic shoe styles with the encyclopedic knowledge and fervor some might reserve for betting on prize fighters. If Imelda Marcos died before 2004 (I’m too lazy to Google it right now) she may have reincarnated as Jack.

So…if any of those fake news outlets out there are using my Jack or Jack Senior as their “anonymous sources,” run for the hills — these dealers of disinformation are not to be trusted. Flip your channel, pronto!

How Little League Could Improve the “User Experience”: 12 Tips

Someday when my son is lying on his shrink’s couch recounting the many ways I’ve screwed up his parenting, I will point to this blog as proof positive that I actually attended some of his Little League games. How else would I have snapped this photo? Attending these games is typically Dave’s duty, but since he’s out of town, I’m stepping up to the plate (see what I did there?). I pray this Little League season ends before his San Antonio trip next weekend!

75, partly sunny, and a mild breeze– the only perfect weather Little League game of this season.

All of you User Experience (UX) experts out there, please apply your mad skills to improving Little League for the parents. The Sister Wives crack up at my total lack of interest in children’s sporting and performance events (but if Jack were playing indoor tennis or volleyball, this would be different) but as of today, my sports ennui is bordering on sheer hatred.

This morning’s Chicagoland shit show–a Little League game in 48-degree weather with pouring rain–was the final nail in my sports attendee coffin. There is no good reason, in my mind, to make parents and their children suffer like that. For those of us with hypothyroidism, that is, the majority of us living in the “goiter belt,” recovering from being over-chilled takes forever.

As I sat there fuming–for the 10 minutes I lasted on the cold, aluminum bleacher bench before retreating to the car and watching the game through binoculars–ach, who am I kidding? I don’t own binoculars. Anyhow, as I sat there fuming and attempting to text my displeasure to the Sister Wives and my friend Lisa with my 1 bar of AT&T signal, I began compiling a list of ways we could all improve the UX, from my perspective. Your results may vary. Soccer and lacrosse parents, feel free to borrow.

  1. Games should only occur on days when it is partially sunny and 75 with a slight breeze, and never on Mother’s Day or other holidays. And they should be scheduled for after 10 a.m., within 5 minutes of home.
  2. The concession stand should have indoor seating–aesthetically pleasing–and be sponsored by Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, or some hot beverage company of that ilk.
  3. The bleachers should have a clear, protective roof that doesn’t attract heat (this would also protect against the liability of being hit in the head by a foul ball, while I’m busily reading my phone and not watching the game)
  4. Cushioned seating with a back rest would be even better than aluminum bleachers.
  5. Even better? A cabana I could share with friends, like the ones in Las Vegas surrounding the pool, that would perhaps have a fire pit in the middle for making s’mores as we “watch” the game.
  6. There should be an app developed to vibrate and nudge me when my child is actually doing something interesting on the field.
  7. A wait staff taking orders from the parents would be a nice improvement – sort of like the local iPic movie theater in South Barrington I so adore with the gourmet sliders.
  8. Cocktails. Bloody Marys for the morning games, Leinenkugel Grapefruit Shandies for the evening games.
  9. A covered pathway back to my vehicle would be great–my clothing from this a.m.’s total drenching is still in the dryer.
  10. A televised game I could watch from the comfort of my warm bed and never leave the house would also be a nice option.
  11. Joining a league with Matthew McConaughey or Peter Dinklage’s children, so I could steal more surreptitious glances than Jack steals home plate…that could make me not mind it all so much.
  12. To add insult to this morning’s injury, Jack’s dirt-caked uniform from his slide into 3rd base–right as the game was being called due to rain–stained the powder-gray cloth upholstery in the car. So…this got me thinking an on-site car detailing service might not be a bad idea. Also, a baseball uniform cleaning service, delivered to my front door, would be much appreciated (the domestic goddess that I am not placed a panicked call to Sister Wife Maura for advice on getting the dirt stains out of Jack’s uniform).

P.S. After the game, we drove through that same McDonald’s I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. The Arby’s subterfuge agent was no longer working the drive’ thru’ window.

If you have any ideas to add to this groundbreaking list, feel free to add your comments!