Let’s face it. You guys reading this, those of you not related to me by marriage, if you know what I mean, you know my agent, not me. You know the guy teasing out bits that, while true and genuine, are also curated. I edit out the nose picky parts of me. Of course I do.
Many of you say very nice things to me in comments that I LOVE, please keep doing this. However, I feel it only fair to share with you the, well, um, challenges one might find sharing a life with me. My wife is far too kind and wouldn’t ever write this list, so allow me…
- I can only commit one ear to my family – My wife is amazing and endlessly patient with this issue. I can absolutely hear out of both ears, but I can only hear the people in the room, talking to me, with one of them. This is due to the earbud that is permanently present in my right ear. It’s normalized now, this ever present distraction. I’ve had serious conversations, regarding very serious topics, eaten dinner (most nights) and gone to bed (every night) with them in. It’s bad form and it will never change. My wife has accepted this shortcoming because she is a saint. My kids have yet to see the issue, though I’m quite certain it will come up as early as when they are asked to draw a picture of their family and will remain through the years of therapy they will doubtlessly require later in life.
- I’ve got some real physical limitation due to my strained neck, injured from repeated eye rolling – I am one seriously judgmental dude. I play the results and then I act as if I’d have never gotten myself into the trouble I’ve nudged others into. It’s terrible. I’ll say things like, ‘Don’t ever ask a 3 year old what he wants.’ Only to meet my crying 3 year old and ask endlessly loving wife, ‘Well, did you give him options?’ Yep. I’m that dude! Don’t all jump at once, ladies. I’m taken. Lucky girl.
- I’m moody – I can’t speak for all writers, but for me it’s pretty bad. I can be all up in her business, asking all about her day, listening thoughtfully (even with one ear listening to baseball or a podcast) asking questions, connecting. Then out of the blue I find myself thinking about something. An idea. Perhaps a list of my personal flaws made funny so as to ‘apologize’ to my wife for my shortcomings without having to speak them, take ownership of them or ever really having to say I’m sorry and like that, I’m somewhere else. Aloof is accurate but to anyone outside my brain it can look dismissive at the least and hostile at its worst. I don’t deserve her. Don’t tell her I said that.
- I’m a yeller – It’s terrible. I am not at all one that feels like yelling is good role modeling. Particularly for a dad to two boys. I don’t like it. But they are 3 and 5 and there are times when it’s necessary, which is fine. But I can come to rely on it too much. It’s effective in the short term. To be clear, in general this is a trait that is only used with the boys and often when they are in imminent danger of things such as getting yelled at. Still, it’s a small house and it’s not pleasant.
- I have an iPhone and an addictive personality – Seriously.
I think I’ll stop here for now. As my shortcomings continue to determine my future I’ll try to check back in from time to time to update and add (and delete?) from this list from time to time.
Until then I’d like to say thank you to the greatest gifts of my life, my family, for seeing past all the rough edges and loving me anyways… I love you…
What? What did you say? I can’t hear you, the Mets are on.
One thought on “The Real Joe”
1. I think in a way we all don’t completely deserve our spouses! The fact that they live and put up with a writer on the daily definitely makes them saints.
2. With kids, you have to be a yeller- they don’t hear you otherwise. You may sound crazy to outsiders, but I know those kids are thinking, “why didn’t you just yell the first time?”
3. Seeing the real you, in small doses is enough some time. Little glimpses are okay. I would never expect anyone, writer or not to show more than a glimpse. This is how a story unfurl is it not- making us come back for more.
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