Him: We had a substitute teacher today, papa. You know what I said to her?
Me: (distracted) Hmmm? What’d you say?
Him: I said, “Hi, beautiful!”
Me: What? Why did you say that?
Him: (puzzled) Because she was.
Me: (nodding) The truth is a powerful thing. You’re definitely my kid.
He and I went to see my sister-in-law the other day for lunch. We had originally planned to go to something at the pier in Hoboken but they cancelled it due to rain.
It did not rain. But they cancelled it anywho.
So, we went over to Jonny Rockets; it was the same one that Alison brought me to all those years ago. It hurt walking in the door, as you might expect.
But the kid was so happy to be there that he pulled me back to earth.
Him: I want a hamburger!
Me: No kidding.
The jukeboxes on the tables no longer worked. Another victim of everyone having mobile phones where an app is much more convenient.
But he still got to pick some tunes.
Classic rock for this kid.
Afterward, we went by this shop I’d driven past a dozen times but never went inside before to get him a pumpkin.
She and he carved it up without me.
The reason I wasn’t around was because it was my buddy’s Ian’s birthday and I’d missed out on the other major birthday party the gym was having because of my accident.
Earlier that week, his girl wrote us all and told us to politely decline if he invited us out to drink, which many of us did.
Never doing that again solo unless I get help. And for other reasons we don’t need to get into.
In any case, Ian’s girlfriend rang me and I gave her some suggestions. She ended up choosing the one closest to my pad, which I was thrilled about because I literally lived just three blocks away.
A good deal of the gym showed up, including my buddy Bill, who was there waiting 30 minutes for me for because of a mix-up.
But once everything got settled, everyone had a grand time.
Ian: Man, I asked three people to hang out and no one said yes. I was super bummed.
Me: You didn’t ask me.
Him: I didn’t want a fourth no.
Me: Fair. I woulda had to have said no.
I ate four slices of pizza – huge slices – and felt disgusted by myself.
There was also a copious amount of alcohol and pharmaceuticals so a lotta the night was a blur.
Yes, I’m sitting on Chad’s lap. Like I said, there was a lotta self-medication going on.
Her: What’s your name?
Me: Does it matter? I’ll just be the story you tell your friends about on Monday. Speaking of stories, Voltaire once told this joke about the Holy Roman Empire…
The next morning, my sitter brought back my son and we went out for a walk, where we saw a classic rock cover band.
So, we sat there in the bright cold and he sang every word to every song and was the hit of the crowd.
Him: Thank you.
Me: For what?
Him: For sitting with me.
Me: Where else am I gonna go, kid? I go where you go.
He pulls me back to earth without ever knowing it.