Halloween, In Spirit

I don’t believe in magic.

I also don’t believe in witches, ghosts, wizards, dragons, unicorns, demons, devils, poltergeists, vampires, werewolves and anything else that might go bump in the night.

And, for those curious, I don’t believe in angels either.

None of these things exist (or could exist) in the world I see around me every day. And if any of these things really were real, there is no way it would be a secret to all of us. If there is one great truth about human beings, from the North Pole to the South, it is that we are all lousy at keeping a secret. Remember, even Deep Throat said who he was before he died, and that was a secret kept by only three people!

Frankly, we would all know about Hogwarts.

I wish I could see a ghost.

Why?

Because I would find the experience incredibly satisfying. Continue reading

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How An Agnostic Can Explain Death To A Child

An essay by me on a difficult subject for Green Spot Blue.  Here is the introduction to the article:

My son is three going on four and he is starting to notice death.  It’s a part of life and hard to avoid even in children’s entertainment, unless you decide to always keep them covered by the security blanket that is Thomas the Tank Engine, Curious George, and Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse.

My son, for example, is obsessed with Batman; I try to keep him focused on the more fun (less ultraviolent) series Batman: The Brave and Bold (and might I add, mind-numbingly stupidly canceled by Cartoon Network earlier this year). Now, while this version of Batman has actual fun and friends, death still sneaks into the show from time to time.  There was an episode about how his parents died and in one episode a hero sacrificed himself to save the world (Even I kept expecting the hero to get up, but when the funeral started, it was more stunningly obvious they were going in that direction with the story).

I was watching the episode with my son when Batman’s friend died. My son asked me what happened and at that time I just said he had gone away; looking back it was a weak answer and I am surprised he was okay with it (Typically he is a very inquisitive boy).  Yet, later I began to feel more and more guilty with my answer, wondering if I had given a pathetic reply.  Of course I argued to myself that we were watching Batman, was it really the time to get into this life changing conversation?  Of course, it might have been easier to deal with the concept then, as compared to the inevitable moment when it happens to someone he knows, or might even love.

Whatever the case, that moment has passed, and I have struggled for some time trying to discover the best approach for introducing my child to the idea that life will have an end. When my wife and I decided to be parents, I argued to take a sincere approach.  I don’t know what happens after life. We agreed to deal with the questions as they come up and be honest in our perspectives.  Because, frankly, in all truthfulness none of us really do know what happens. It’s all beautiful conjecture.

To read the rest of my article (and my answer to this problem), please visit the article on Green Spot Blue here.

The New Kid in the Audience

 Hi, my name is Scott and I’m a Christmas-aholic. It has been two hours since I last listened to Nat King Cole sing “The Christmas Song.”

I love this season.

I always have.

I look forward to putting up the tree and buying presents (many times I have been known to do this in September and October… the presents, not the tree). Continue reading

Losing Raiders

This weekend I turn old…

Well, older than I am right now and each year it always feels like it is has more of an “umpf” than the previous year.  I’m only 36 (if I do the math right, I’m about to be 37), and that still puts me at what could be considered my healthy, cool, and on a good day, possibly sexy years.

Yes I’m older, but I’m not voting Republican yet or watching Fox, but my back does bother me from time to time… but that may be more related to the 32 lbs., three-year old who expects to be carried on my back, or shoulders, or in front in a flying-type formation as if he is Superman (He also likes to make “zer” noises while he does it, making me wonder why Superman has a motor).

But 36 for me represented one thing…

This was the same age Indiana Jones was when he fought the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Yeah, it is Indiana Jones age!

That gave the age a certain slickness to it that I didn’t consider before for the other years.  Could I stand up to snakes or be chased by boulders?…

Maybe…

OK, probably not, but it is the same age and look at all of the cool stuff Prof. Jones did!

That was the age he was called upon to save the world.  And he did it with flying colors (Let’s be honest, he really didn’t do much to stop the Nazis and actually helped them find the Ark, get the Ark, and open the Ark, but he still fought them along the way and that should count for something, right?).

I know it is only fiction, I get that, but for a kid who remembers vividly seeing the movie for the first time (and attending the same college George Lucas did because of it), it resonates.

This was the age when bad-ass stuff could happen.

And now that age is going away and only 37 remains.

37… Three years until 40… and then 41, the same age Jane Austen died.

When I accepted the fact I was an atheist (with some leanings towards agnosticism on a good day), time seemed to mean more. It is precious. It is not a test, with a reward at an end.  It’s a moment to relish.

This is it, there is only this one shot each year and then…

Brr… I feel a little cold.

On Wednesday I had to get a new Driver’s License and picture, capture the image of my new age, my new time in life. And I even checked the box for an organ donor, darkly thinking of a part of me living on after my brain has stopped functioning. Yeah, this is what birthdays do to my thoughts.

Yet, being a parent, has given me a new way of looking at time.  Seeing my boy, get taller, vocabulary increasing, etc., the time there impacts me in a different way. I can understand why some would find faith at the moment of a child’s birth, but for me it seemed all very natural.  Like an instinct kicking in.

And that instinct, relates also to my parenting and how I view the little Superman flying in my arms.  There is an immortality there.  No, no, not the idea of heaven and judgments, etc., but of meaning.  See a part of who I am is there, I can see it behind his eyes and with what he does.  Oh, he is his own person, but I can still see some of myself there, along with my wife, and even some of his grandparents.

But it is more than genetics.  It’s in the things I take time to really give him. The things I emphasize in teaching him, or exposing him to.  That stuff carries on too.

So having my son, does help some with the whole aging thing.  And when they sing the Birthday song to me and bring out the cake, I’ll smile.

But I will also fight back at least one tear for losing Indy.