Getting A Feel For The Place

Dude Cover Cltp Column

Look at this. I can stand with my arms held all the way out, turn around and still not touch the sides.

This place sure is huge. Lots of room to stretch out, maybe spin off on a tangent or two.

Yeah, I think we’re going to like this place.

Sorry, didn’t mean to talk like you weren’t there. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Richard Jones. Along with my pal, Barry Robert Ozer, I’m the author of a hilarious how-to book for new dads: A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook, and that’s probably why we’re here on your screen.
There's a gorilla in the background.

I mean, it could have been my dashing good looks and well-known propensity toward pomposity that screamed out to the Benign Overlords here at Charlotte Parent that we needed to be grabbed before anyone else did.

But I doubt it.

Anyway, since we’ve got so much space here (and because I will be writing an actually interesting blog post later on to justify the Brinks armoured car that’s about to back up to my house as payment* and I want to feel like I did something to deserve it), I thought I’d take a little time to fill you fine folks in on just who we are and why we’re taking up valuable page space every other month in the magazine and why we’re hanging out in your internets so much.

Barry and I didn’t start out to write a book about how dads can be involved with helping to rear their kids without, you know, breaking stuff. Like so much in our lives, it just happened. See, we’d been friends for a while since our wives went to school with each other.

Once my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Tired Of Me Explaining This Joke, and I started popping out little dudes, it was only a matter of time before I started staying home with the anklebiters. It’s not that she lacks maternal instinct, but, rather, she makes more money in a single month than I would have over the entire year. So, yeah. I had to get used to that. Fortunately, it was relatively easy. I mean, she only brought home a fistfull of dollar bills and rubbed them in my face that one time. . . 

The transition from hard-charging defender of the public trust (I worked as a mild-mannered reporter for a series of [not-so] major metropolitan newspapers and had a bit of an inflated sense of my self and my place in the world) to dude first up with the butt wipes when there’s a bad smell in the house was. . . Let’s call it bumpy and leave it at that.

Although, if I could really leave it at that, I’d probably not be here right now, would I? (That was a rhetorical question. You don’t have to send in an answer. The mandatory quiz will come later.) 

I stumbled down a lot of dark alleys at night, getting mugged by way too many things that I should have known about beforehand as I learned how to be a stay-at-home dude. Fortunately for you, I survived to come back and tell you where not to go, what not to do and how not to do it. Still, I have to say (No, really. I have to say this. I’m contractually obligated. Kids these days, amirite?) being the primary caregiver for Sarcasmo** (our oldest), Zippy the College Boy° (our middle) and Hyper Lad°° (our youngest) was and still is a deeply rewarding experience.

I got so good at it, I made it look easy. Which, as it turned out, was both a good thing and a bad thing.

To start with, it was a bad thing because, by making it look easy, I accidentally led Barry to think he could easily do it as well. Barry’s youngest, a beautiful, scary smart little girl, almost broke him when he decided to stay home with her as a baby.

I gave him two days before I went over to say hello, see his daughter and chat. Barry answered the door on his knees, metaphorically if not literally. See, Barry had gone into the process with a few misconceptions. To wit: He called the golf course to ask if he could attach a babyseat from his car onto the golf cart, to make sure he still could get in a quick 18 holes.

To say he had grossly underestimated just how hard it is to stay home with a baby would, itself, be a tremendous understatement. Somewhat akin to saying Godzilla has a passing interest in urban renewal. In a sobbing, broken voice, Barry kept asking for the user’s guide for babies.

Richard Jones & Barry Robert Ozer at their first book signing. Still available for parties. Call us.Which is where the good thing comes in. See, once Barry had recovered and got a handle on being a stay-at-home dude, he began to resent there wasn’t a user’s guide to babies, written by men, for men, and one that didn’t have nine jillion pages of teeny-tiny text filling up each page with horror stories designed to make you flinch in terror if your baby breathed loudly.

And so we decided to write it. Which brings us back, full circle, to A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook. In support of the book, we even started up a blog at A Dude’s Guide to. . . Everything. We’re not short of braggadocio, yeah? One quick note about these columns. I’ll normally have some sort of footnotes or eratta at the bottom. Because I like to make sure my tendency toward hyperbole for effect doesn’t get too out of control.†

If you’re desperate for more (and I can’t think why you would be, but I’ve come this far and it’s too late to back out now, mostly because I hate hitting the delete key), you also can find me at my work, Web Words, or my fiction-writing website.

Anyway, that’s us. That’s the basics of where we’re coming from and why we’re here. Well, why we were here. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back for more, but I’m not counting on that one yet. At least not until the Benign Overlords get a look at the first few of these.

I’ll be back in a while with an actually interesting post about an astonishingly gripping, hilarious, achingly awesome. . . um. . . wotsname. . . thingy. You know the one. Yeah, that.

See you then.

Footnotes and Errata:
* There might be a Brinks truck backing up, but I can pretty much guarantee it’s filled with something other than money. Possibly ninjas.
** Not his real name.
° Not his real name.
°° Don’t ask.
† As far as you know, anyway.