Camping: Your Solution to Making Sure Your Kids Don’t Live With You Forever
An excellent read about a varietal of gerbil and a technique for dealing with them. The GRIPE researchers will be conducting peer review of this intriguing field research.
Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice
Right now your children might be young and you think (hopefully to yourself) that they’ll accomplish anything they set their mind to. Or maybe your kids are teenagers and your neighbor told you that their child didn’t blossom until they were 27 or 28 years old thus giving you a little piece of hope. Or maybe your kid is 20, has dropped out of community college for the third time (in three attempts), lives in your basement, plays Black Ops all day, and will look for a job “tomorrow” (after he has his kill streak up to 70).
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but…the hard sad fact is that most likely your kids are losers and will be living in your basement for the rest of their lives. Oh sure, they’ll move out for a year or maybe two, but they’ll be back…or will they?
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I was emailed a news clipping today. Honestly, don’t ask me why. I can’t explain why so many folks email me stuff about things like farts, poop and what not. Anyone know why?
Anyway, the author is a sixth grade student and seems the sort, I hope, that will one day grow up to read my humble little blog. Or, way more likely, I’ll be reading hers! She’s got the writing skills that I sorely lack.
Stick it to the plan
Where am I going
How do I get there
What should I bring along
Are people kind there
Is peace of mind there
Will I finally belong
Cause you know ships sail their courses
And heroes ride horses
They know where they belong
But I travel in circles
Quickly to nowhere
Singing my unfinished song
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself – Well… How did I get here?
Once In A Lifetime
From the moment we are born, everything conspires to fill our heads with the word “should.” Our parents, the environment, and all of the other people how come and go in our lives essentially program what we know, who we are, and even influence that which we desire.
Boys like blue and play with trucks. Girls like pink and play with dolls.
At some point, though, after enough growth, the individual can exceed the sum of their parts. They can question anything they want about their own life. Is the religion of my parents, the religion I’ve known my whole life until now, is that the religion for me?
As you get older, you want things. Perhaps you want a flashy car or you want to get pregnant and have baby and/or rush out and be married. Do you ever stop to wonder, “Why do I want these things? What is it about these particular things?” Is it truly what I want or just the predictable output of the programming I’ve experienced since the moment I was born? How much is really me and how much is just random chance because I ended up in this part of the world and with these specific people?
You may find yourself getting out of school and taking one of two common paths – Jumping right into more school or going directly to work.
Perhaps you’ll become independent and established and have your own home or apartment. You’ll populate it with possessions and begin taking on financial obligations and debt that make regular income a very important part of your life. The more you owe, the more you have to work. Unless you are one of the few to be independently wealthy, that means you’ll be working a full-time job, perhaps more. The more you own, the more you work, and the more you want, and the more you consume. You may find yourself in a cycle where it becomes very hard to break free.
At some point you may realize you aren’t doing what you want at all. You might be doing what everything but. You may have been deceived by the should.
Lately, following the death of Steve Jobs, there has been a lot of blather about being that square peg that refuses to be placed in that round hole. Be different. Be unique. Be someone who changes the rules and changes the world. Refuse to conform. Write your own destiny and never compromise, never do what they tell you.
I can’t help but wonder. How easy is that? What would that world look like? What if seven billion people collectively said, “You know what? I’m going to do what I want. I won’t let anyone else tell me what to be.”
I don’t imagine that world would have very many ditches.
So what is your life path plan? Besides finishing high school and going to college and/or getting a job, what are these other paths? I see kids these days dropping out of high school and not getting jobs. They just sort of flounder, either living off mom and dad or bouncing from place to place, using it up, then landing somewhere else.
I don’t imagine they put a lot of thought into their future or any sort of planning on where they want to go. They just sort of exist. But what if they tried? They are actively rejecting the traditional life paths that most of us took, so what are their options to go forth and be different?
In the movie Into The Wild (based on true story) a young man graduates from college as a top student, gives away his possessions, donates $24,000 to charity and then hitchhikes to Alaska. Now that is a person decisively making a choice and deciding what they want. True, in the end, it didn’t work out quite so well, but the boldness of the choice is breathtaking. Could I do something like that? I highly doubt it.
Another year has passed me by
Still I look a myself and cry
What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I’ve spent in search of myself
And I’m still in the dark
‘Cause I can’t seem to find the light alone
Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I’m a lonely soldier off to war
Sent away to die – never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all
I can understand that some kids may want to reject traditional dogma and decide their own fates. But how many possible life paths are out there? What is it they can really do to achieve what they want? If they reject the traditional 9 to 5 what will they be doing instead?
I can respect a non-traditional choice as long as it is conscious, not drug-induced, and makes sense on some damn level.
I really want to know.
The Gerbil, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I’m going to try to briefly recap some recent gerbil high jinx…
Long on boarding, short on brains – These days the gerbil likes to hang out at our house, or what he refers to as his Base of Operations and/or The Nest. He has taken up the habit of lounging in the driveway around the time I arrive home each evening. Yes, after a hard day at work, there is nothing better than finding a gerbil camping in your drive.
The other day, though, I had to make an extra stop at the store on the way home. So I was delayed and came home from the other direction. As I rounded the corner on the back way to our house, there was my gerbil in the middle of the street, on a longboard (skateboard) and heading directly at me. He was headed right at my car while looking behind him in the other direction and completely unaware of the fact that a vehicle was about to run his ass over.
Someone tell me how he’s managed to live this long? (Answer: The reflexes of others, so far, have compensated for his poor decision making skills and lack of attention.)
Why Don’t You Spend The Night – Twice in the last two weeks the gerbil has showed up – unannounced – to make use of our home as his lodging for the evening. He apparently enjoys forcing the role of Innkeeper and his Wife upon us. The other day it was 8:45 at night when we heard his tapping at our door!
I’m Counting to Three – When a gerbil spends the night, there is one thing that is guaranteed. In the morning you will hear his cell phone (his most prized possession) being used as his alarm clock. It will create the most annoying sound in the world every nine minutes. The only other guarantee is that it will have absolutely no effect on the gerbil’s slumber. Eventually my wife will be forced to go mother him and force his ass out of bed since we’re about to leave and he has no key. The gerbil has gots to go. I have no idea how he makes it to work – ever – or how he has managed to hold onto his job thus far.
Gerbil Nap Time – The other time the gerbil recently spent the night he crawled into my wife’s office and shut the door behind him. And then he didn’t wake up until 6pm!
Sleeping all day is another common gerbil activity. My wife finally went to wake him up and found that he had not only taken over her room, he had also locked the door. Gerbils are highly private creatures.
Loan Applications – The gerbil has held down a part time job for a while now but never has money. Odd. By my calculations his net take home pay is $300 to $400 a month. (He only works part-time.) Yet he comes to our home and tells us how he has 43 cents to his name and his bank account is overdrawn and checks are bouncing and by the way, also I need a loan. What the fuck? The gerbil has no bills!
You should hear the gerbil whine about his weariness and his job. Lawl! Come see me when you’re working 40 hours a week like me, you twit.
The Gatekeeper and The Keymaster – We previously documented how we finally got the gerbil to return our house key. First he returned the key we knew about after we hassled him about it for months on end. Then we discovered he was still sneaking into our home. We finally realized he still had a key! We suspected he had made a copy but that wasn’t the case. He simply had our missing spare key and didn’t bother to return it with the other one.
So my wife went into the gerbil’s car and got the spare key back, which made the gerbil very, very angry! He said, and I quote, “If you wanted the key back you should have just asked!” Umm, we did, dip shit. For months. When we said we wanted you to return the key to our house that didn’t mean, “But be sure to hang on to the spare for yourself.”
Then we discovered he was still sneaking in. His modus operendi? He’d find some reason to visit while we were home, then, when we weren’t looking, he’d surreptitiously unlock the side door to our house. Sure, this leaves the house open to criminals, risking the lives of myself, my wife and our cats, but the gerbil has gots his needs, yo. He needs access to his Fortress of Solitude whilst we area away. So twice in the last week I’ve found the side door to the garage completely unlocked. My wife say something to him about it last night (during his latest sleepover) and he again became very angry. Gerbils don’t like to be questioned about their rude and irresponsible behavior.
Free Parking – Almost two years ago my wife and I had achieved one of our dreams. We sold the single-wide trailer and moved into a brand new home complete with two car garage and an office for each of us. Unfortunately my wife’s dream of having an office was put on hold as the gerbil made the move with us and took over her room. (I worked from home at the time.) She had to wait a year and a half to just partially get her room back. (The gerbil still takes it over on a routine basis.) Meanwhile the gerbil left his useless car in our driveway since the day we moved in. Every time I pulled out of the garage I had to maneuver around his car.
All in all the gerbil has rather tainted our enjoyment of our new home.
One weekend we asked the gerbil to move his car because our friend had stuff in our RV parking and the gerbil’s car was blocking the gate. Our friend needed his stuff. By Sunday night there was no sign of gerbil. He couldn’t be bothered to do such a small favor for us.
Finally my wife and I pushed his car out onto the street and parked it on the curb. We notified the gerbil so he’d know he now had a legal responsibility to move the car or face a possible ticket. It took about three weeks but his car was finally tagged by the police. He was given five days to move the car or else.
We watched the days go by with nervous anticipation. What would the gerbil do? Would he show up in time? Or would his car be towed away? A towing would represent an almost certain death sentence to the vehicle since the outrageous charges for towing and storage at the lot would quickly dwarf the value of the car.
On the last day and at the last possible minute, oh miracle of miracles! The gerbil showed up and moved his car. And, thank God, it was not back in our driveway. He found one of his friends who lived in an apartment and moved it to their apartment parking lot. Now it was the apartment’s problem. Yeah!
One more small baby step to having the gerbil out of the nest!
Three blind gerbils
Not every gerbil path is exactly the same. For example, most drop out of high school but some actually hang tough and barely graduate. Either way, though, the paths taken can still have remarkable similarities.
Most live at home as long as possible. Most avoid jobs, effort and all forms of responsibility like the plague. Most get into things like drugs, smoking, energy drinks (Monster, Red Bull) and expensive coffee stand drinks as quickly and as deeply as possible. Most are extremely poor, becoming adept moochers, yet still maintaining the most expensive of tastes. Some rely solely on mooching skills, others may turn to petty theft and crimes to maintain their standards of living.
In terms of avoiding jobs, most gerbils go one step further and begin customizing their appearance. Things like tattoos, tongue piercings, lip piercings, ear piercings, ear lobe gauging, bizarre facial hair, nose rings, and long dirty unkempt hair are routine. Strange clothing completes the ensemble. Not wanting to be limited to the dimension of sight only, most smell bad as well.
The net result is a life form that it almost unemployable in every way shape or form.
I’ve covered most of this before, however. This is really nothing new.
Our GRIPE scientists recently made another startling breakthrough in measuring gerbil behavior. Within a single herd they successfully identified three males sharing a surprising characteristic: They have all applied and been approved to receive food stamps!
The GRIPE scientists wanted me to pass along a message regarding this finding: “We are not shitting you.”
Details are still sketchy, more field research is needed, but here’s what we know so far.
Three gerbils, including our own son and two of his herd, have applied for and received food stamps. Yes, they’ve had a rough life and need help from a system they’ve never fucking paid into. Dropping out of work, avoiding your GED, refusing to look for a job, and turning your physical being into a fashion accessory is hard work.
So these three lazy 21-year-old assholes who have underachieved, dropped out, and never really held down a job are all pulling in food stamps. The food stamp money can even be used to pay for their “take and bake” pizzas!
Oh … my … God. What does a motherfucker living at home still need food stamps for???
I think the pyramid produced by our GRIPE staff sums it up nicely. Pot, smoking and drugs all come first. Then non-nutritional edibles like candy, expensive coffee drinks and the primary nutritional source for gerbils: lots and lots of Monster and Red Bull energy drinks.
If you have no job, live at home, have a medical marijuana card and are on food stamps, nothing less than $4 coffee drinks will suffice. Obviously.
–Tom B. Taker
It’s obvious why their is a need for food stamps. They do actually use the food stamps to buy some groceries, thus they are able to divert the remainder of their cash money to the things they really want that are really useless. The other day the gerbil stopped by and tried to borrow money from us because, he said, he only had 43 cents to his name. Yet he is never without his expensive smokes. Funny how that works.
Really, I want to know. What, if anything, are we teaching the youth of this generation and how in any way, shape or form are they being prepared to deal with the real world? I fear for them.
Gerbils and neighbors
The biggest PITA (Pain In The Ass) neighbors in the whole area live 15 feet from my house. Naturally. Where else would they be? Literally no one else for blocks in any direction can come close to these people in sheer douchebaggery. I believe that all good people should tithe me or something because I’m the one who always has to take this kind of shit for the team so no one else has to. I guess that makes me the DOW Scrubbing Bubbles of society.
We found out recently, however, that The neighbor’s days are numbered. The universe noticed them for what they are and, for once, actually gave a shit. I’m still flabbergasted by this unusual development. Of course, the shit they pulled wasn’t exactly subtle.
I have to say, this city living can be weird. Out in the country we knew our neighbors for miles in every direction. But here, in this tiny and cramped urban subdivision, where buildings are 15 feet apart, we don’t know our neighbors at all. Not just these douchebags but everyone. They all keep to themselves. No friendly waves. No welcoming new neighbors. No nothing.
Anyway, it turns out that our gerbil became friends with our neighbors even though we never did. No doubt it had a lot to do with the fact that they have so much in common. Like smoking, marijuana, drugs, drinking, partying, irresponsibility and much, much more. (I wrote about this in My neighbor is parenting my kid.)
We happen to have the same landlord as the neighbors. She’s a very nice lady. And even though the neighbors have irritated the living fuck shit out of us since the day they arrived, we have never once went to her and complained about anything they did. That’s just not the way I roll. I may bitch and moan and complain, but I don’t turn them in. That’s a skosh too passive aggressive, even for me.
About a week ago, though, we heard from the landlady. She had concerns about the neighbors. Imagine that! She had been hearing all sorts of awful things. (Again, not from us.) So she needed a favor. Had we noticed anything at all? Could we confirm what she had heard?
Now I may not be a tattletale, but on the other hand, I’m not about to lie to protect some flaming douchebags, either. We replied to her inquiry and basically said, “We can confirm that what you’ve heard is true.” Shortly after that she let us know they wouldn’t be back when their lease ended at the end of August.
Based on what I’ve written so far you can probably begin to guess where I’m going with this…
Yep. Enter the gerbil.
We were watching a movie in the living room the other night. My wife was on the sofa. I was in my comfy chair and had a view out the front window of our driveway. I noticed our gerbil was out front. I went and took a look and sure enough, he was standing in the neighbor’s driveway (that’s where they mostly live) and they were having a little smoke party. I watched the gerbil throw his butt out in the street and start to move in our direction.
Of course he had an agenda. That was the purpose of the visit. More on that later. But in the midst of us dropping everything to discuss his needs he switched gears into investigative mode.
“So you know the neighbors are getting kicked out. What did you tell the landlady?”
Nice. Very subtle. We can’t even begin to imagine who you might be asking for. We informed him that we never went to the landlady with any complaints about the neighbors. Ever. It wasn’t our fault that they were such big douchebags they made everyone else complain.
“Uh huh,” he said. Oh, this is rich. Now our gerbil is calling us liars? Wow.
Then he went into a little gerbil rampage. For some reason gerbils love to get angry at those who support them the most. I have surmised this is probably why some gerbils also eat their young. “I don’t give a shit,” he yelled at us. “It doesn’t mean anything to me! I’m just asking! I could care less!” Indeed. That’s probably why you’re yelling.
So that was pretty much the end of it. He calmed down and realized he needed to get back to the remainder of his agenda, which was, of course, asking us for more stuff. Then he split rather abruptly.
So, let’s recap. The gerbil visit consisted of:
- Asking us for stuff
- Quizzing us about the neighbors (and no doubt reporting back)
- Call us liars
- Gerbil rampage
- Asking us for stuff
- Leaving abruptly
I’m beginning to realize something. I keep waiting for the shit to be over. This is a fool’s errand. The trick is this: it’s never over. If one piece of shit gets solved then tenfold will flow back to take its place. The shit will never be over.
I don’t feel so good.
Guess which gerbil is coming to dinner?
Last night my wife and I were invited by family friends to see a performance of some live bluegrass at a local pizza place. The husband plays mandolin and performs vocals and is a hell of a nice guy. He’s quite a musician, too, and owns more instruments than I do Pokemon plush toys.
The band was excellent and sounded great. The music was really good and it was quite a treat to relax after work with a cold one and enjoy their music.
These friends have been indirectly mentioned on this blog already. By that I mean, they are parents to two gerbils of their own. In fact, they are no slouches and have produced world-class gerbils. They also consider our gerbil to be a close family friend and don’t always see eye-to-eye with us regarding parenting and how we choose to interact with our own gerbil.
The first gerbil of theirs I am hereby issuing the codename “Farley.” He has been featured on this blog in such classic posts as Audience participation and the classic Holmesian tale The Adventure of the Raspberry Bar. Farley is also the one who got a medical marijuana card due to his “sore back” and recently signed up for food stamps from the government even though he still lives at home. Like I said, Farley is a world-class gerbil.
He’s also a glutton. When we arrived he was already at the table. We were a little surprised as we didn’t know he was going to be there. But it wasn’t too surprising, really. What else is a gerbil to do except hang up with the food providers when meal time is near? Farley and our friends had already ordered and Farley was waiting for his food to arrive. To pass the time and whet his appetite Farley was taking little cups of ranch dressing, topping them off with Parmesan cheese, seasoning with salt and pepper, then quaffing them down as his own personal homemade appetizers. Bam! Let’s kick it up a notch! What a sight that was! Utterly rude and utterly disgusting! Sadly this sort of behavior is quite the norm for Farley.
At a nearby table sat Farley’s older brother, already codenamed on this blog as Pooch. He has also been featured in at least two previous posts including Gerbil rampage and Good news with a twist of gerbil WTF. This gerbil also had his own marijuana grow under the family’s garage. He sat at his own table with three of his own friends. His child (I guess we’ll call him Future Gerbil Jr.) was over on grandma’s lap, who functions as his primary caretaker, for the most part completely ignored by his pa.
I don’t like being in such close quarters with gerbils but I managed to relax and listen to the fine music as we placed our order and chatted with our friend while her husband performed.
I can’t say I was much too surprised when I saw our own gerbil approaching. Yes, it was our very own son! Most of the gerbil posts on this blog have been about him. I won’t bother to list them. Just click the logo for GRIPE if you want to learn more.
We don’t see this kid or hear from him except, like earlier this week, he shows up at our door or on the phone when he needs something. He sat down at our table and soon food arrived, including a pizza just for him! I realized then that our gerbil had been invited and they’d already ordered food for him. It was beginning to feel a lot like a setup and an ambush, like our friend was trying to surprise everyone and that would magically fix things and brings us all back together. Sad to say, if we had known he was going to be there, we probably wouldn’t have gone. It was just too damn awkward. We were supposed to be there to see our friends and relax.
Suddenly I realized that I was sitting in the middle of a bona fide gerbil nexus. Unfortunately I didn’t have my field research kit with me. I’d heard of the gerbil nexus before, of course, but I never really expected to see one in my lifetime. There are pretty rare and, after all, I do spend a lot of time actively trying to avoid gerbils at all costs.
The duty, however, fell to me, and I was not about to shirk. I immediately did an empirical scan of the scene. What did I see? What was observable?
- Three gerbils stuffing their faces, none of which, naturally, would be paying for their own meal.
- Three sets of gauged ear lobes.
- Three similar sets of odd facial hair.
- Three marijuana users.
- Three heavy drinkers.
- Three smokers.
- Three men who still live at home. (Ours is quasi-moved out, though. We have the key! More on that later.)
- Three guys with questionable occupations. Ours works for our aunt, Farley is unemployed, and Pooch has been employed less than a week. All three have shitty work histories.
- Three people who have deliberately altered their appearance to be as unemployable as much as possible.
- One high school diploma, one high school dropout with no GED, and one unknown.
Our gerbil and Farley stuffed their faces, didn’t say much, then disappeared. Pooch stayed away at his own table and left all responsibility for watching the kid on his mom.
Sadly I wasn’t more prepared and that’s about all of the data I was able to gather. It was one harrowing experience!