victim offering comes courtesy of Tracy from her blog, Whim.
Tracy has written a nice piece about pointless conversation and television role models. You jackasses in the blog world didn’t give her time and energy nearly enough love. I know, because I was one of you.
Before we continue, there are still spots open for your submissions. It’s a win-win. I get to slack on posting and you get link love, and quite possibly crabs. I have a lot of riff-raff in these parts.
Now, with nothing further ado, I present “Lofty Goals” from Whim:
Originally posted on June 28, 2006.
Here is something you may not know about my husband and me…we are masters of pointless conversation. We thrive on inventing hypothetical questions to guide us into the most obscure possible discussions. Proof positive of this occured two years ago when we took a two week road trip to Kansas City. Over the course of the 4000 mile round trip, we never ran out of crap to talk about. It was at that point that I realized our marriage would last forever. Much has been said and written about what happens in a relationship when you’ve heard all of each other’s stories. In our case, we just make shit up.
It is in this way that we have, over the years, finely honed our parenting philosophies. One of our favorite topics of hypothetical conversation has been our unborn child/ren. These discussions started out simply enough (How do you feel about spanking? What kind of chores are fair to give a child? What should we say when our child inevitably discovers us having sex?), and eventually evolved into longer, more philosphical inquiries (What if our child is gay? What if our child wants to become a vegetarian? What if our child is a Republican?). In this way, we have mentally prepared ourselves for whatever Twitch throws at us.
One of our favorite parent discussions, though, is who we should use as parenting role models. Of course, discussing real people here would be no fun at all; rather, we choose to analyze the parenting skills of television characters. Thus it was that one day we challenged each other to come up with our personal lists of the top three TV moms and dads. I thought it might amuse our gentle readers to see the results.
1) Ma Ingalls. Ma is the greatest television mom ever. Period. I accept no argument on this point as it is FACT. Raising seven children (four her own and three adopted) in the harsh landscape of 19th century Minnesota was no small feat, and yet she succeeds at maintaining a happy family life against all tragedy. She is a rock. A gorgeous, eloquent, talented, tireless rock. At the worst of times, when even Pa loses it, Ma holds it together. If her children go blind, fall down old wells, become sick with plague, get their hearts broken…whatever, Ma is still her strong, beautiful self. She is wise and well-educated. She is gentle but firm. She can whip up a fantastic pie and then go out to the fields and help Pa bring in the harvest. Best of all, she always knows the exact right thing to say to her kids to help them through tough times. Conversations with Ma inevitably end with one or more kids exclaiming “Oh Ma!” and throwing themselves into her arms. She makes great coffee; sews all of her family’s clothes; and lances her own infected wounds whilst in the midst of horrendous fever. Oh, and having the hottest husband in town ain’t such a bad thing either!
2) Kitty Foreman. I just love Kitty, and really, what’s not to love? Kitty is the type of mom who is so great that she becomes the coveted mom, collecting kids from all over the neighborhood who hang around because they secretly wish that she was their mom. Kitty is a career woman but still makes sure that her kids have hot breakfasts in the morning and fresh baked cookies when they need a snack. Much like Ma, Kitty can bake a mean pie. (Pie always works its way into any discussion of my future happiness.) She is a strong believer in the power of a mother’s love, though, like any mom, gets upset when that love is taken for granted. (“You know I love my family. It’s just sometimes I want to get in the car and run ’em all over!) Although Kitty can become easily frustrated, she knows when to hit the juice to get herself through a crisis. She laughs easily, yells sparingly, and gives lots of hugs. Best of all, she embarrasses her kids regularly and could care less. That’s the price they have to pay for her undying maternal devotion.
3) Lois Wilkerson. If Ma and Kitty lack one thing, it is the ability to inspire fear. And let’s face it…sometimes you need a healthy dose of fear to keep your kids in line. Enter Lois. Admittedly, Lois is far from the perfect mom. All of her kids are seriously screwed up. Even so, she keeps them in line through a reign of terror to rival even the most bloodthirsty dictator. She is also cunning. It takes weeks of planning for any of her kids to pull one over on her. Lois’ ability to sniff out a lie is spooky. Her talent at knowing exactly when one or more of her kids is getting into trouble is inspiring. It is Lois’ near-psychic connection to the sick minds of each of her children that I most admire. I can only hope to someday perfect that singular look that conveys to Twitch, “I know what you’re thinking and you’d better stop. Disobediance will be swiftly punished.” When Twitch withers under this look, I will know I have achieved the ultimate in parenting. I don’t think Lois has ever baked a pie, but I’m sure she buys them at the store once in a while.
1) Julius Rock. Here is a man who knows the cost of everything, and despite this horrifying knowledge, comes home from work and raises three children anyway. His wife is constantly quitting her jobs because he has two, but he doesn’t get a divorce. When he chooses to do the housework and cooking, he is three times as good at it as his wife is, but allows her the conceit that she is a better domestic than he. He is tall, attractive, and one of only three fathers on his street (and in Bedford-Stuyvesant, for that matter) who meets his responsibilities as a man, and yet he does not cheat on his wife with the stream of women who come to his door looking for a man just like him. Were I in his shoes, I’d take the one useful member of My household (Chris) and run to the hills, but he stays, works from before dawn until after dusk, pays every bill on time, raises his children correctly, loves and encourages his wife (and cedes most authority to her), and walks the line with head held high. What is his reward for all of this? Smothered chicken-fried bacon, gout, and baldness. His life is the example I would point at when asked, “Master, why choose the Dark Side?” But he chooses to live this way, and for these acts, I must anoint him as the greatest TV father ever. That’s 42 cents worth of soda you’re wasting, fool. Pick it up and drink it before the next entry.
2) Reginald “Red” Foreman. Kitty Foreman is, as She notes, beloved by the entire neighborhood. Red, however, has only Kitty. This is all he needs. Kitty provides all of the love, support, and emotional connection that any child could need. Red provides the rest. Failing math? How about a foot in the ass. Arrested by the police? Would you like a foot in the ass? Marrying your girlfriend in spite of your parents? Hmmm, Let me think. Oh, I know! How about a FOOT IN THE ASS. Red has one job: to provide the impetus for his son Eric to succeed in the world and be a good man. He has the perfect tool for this job: his foot. Red does not need to go to church, because he and God had a heart-to-heart when his destroyer was going down in the Pacific during Korea. He need not worry about the spectre of Communism, because he has lots of experience killing Commie bastards like you. In fact, he does not worry about violence at all, because he is the only local guy who has ever killed anybody, and he will be happy to give anyone who forgets their place a generous sized helping of foot in the ass. His only regret is that he does not have 2000 feet, so that he can put 500 feet into Eric’s ass and the asses of his idiot friends, who are coddled by Kitty and clearly have no idea what a hard life is. Everyone in the neighborhood loves Kitty, but they fear Red. Everyone. Even the professional wrestlers who come to visit have the good sense to fear Red. This is why Red has no problems being a father to Eric, and despite his best efforts otherwise, to all of the other neighborhood children, who, he notes, quite obviously need a tender fatherly foot in the ass. Did you finish that drink yet? No? How would you like a foot in the ass?
3) Jonathan “Jack” Donahue Bristow. How do you know that Jack Bristow is a good father? Simple. He will happily kill anyone who interferes with his daughter in a negative fashion. Anyone. Including her mother. Now there is a father that can be trusted to follow through. He is a master spy, knows everything about everything, is sexy, deadly in combat, speaks almost every language, is an unsurpassed actor when he needs to be, and even in the throes of radiation-induced hallucinations is still ten times more sane and rational than anyone else. Oh, and he nailed his wife’s hot sister. But this is acceptable, since they were divorced and he later had to shoot her in the face for putting a contract out on his daughter anyway. His advice to Sydney (who, despite also being a spy, and having two master spies for parents, is a complete moron) is always 100% correct, he always shows up to rescue her, he constantly monitors her like any good parent, and whatever his mistakes, he corrects them, usually by killing the cause of the mistake in the first place, to insure that it doesn’t happen again. His reward? He has to blow himself to pieces to protect his daughter, who repays him by naming her first son after him. Is that all, you ask? Yes, but Jack does his duty out of love, not for the reward. Jack’s love for his child is so great, that like any good father, he will commit treason and kill all of her other relatives by gunshot to the head to make sure that she grows up properly. That is the kind of father I want to be. (Do not take this to mean that I want to shoot Herself in the face, I’m merely pointing out what I find the appropriate level of devotion. I will happily shoot your interfering ass, though, so watch it). Ah, I see you finished your drink. Too bad I poisoned it to keep TWITCH safe from you.