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After checking the weather for the fortieth time, I noticed that Sunday would be an ideal day to be outside and finally get my plants started. I threw on some shades, garden gloves and my hat, grabbed a beer and headed outside. Anyone that knows me knows I’m big into gardening. I spent the 80-degree day outside, planting peppers and moving my strawberries. Ordinarily, I do my gardening prep while Mrs. Madoff cleans out the flower bed in the front of our house, a task that normally takes no longer than an hour and a half. It’s cathartic and I thoroughly enjoy seeing the plants go from last year’s seeds to this year’s peppers. Plus, I get to wear a silly hat, be outside, and drink beer.
Today is a beautiful day to work in the garden #strawberriesfordays pic.twitter.com/fDhO2Iqx3K
— MadoffInvestment (@BLMInvestment) April 15, 2018
After lugging the various bags of soil and tools to my front porch, within literal seconds, I was greeted by the neighborhood posse of children. These kids roam the street and I only know their names because their parents yell at them constantly. They were interested in what I was doing and wanted to help. Who am I to deny some 4 to 6-year-old children the opportunity to learn from a seasoned late 20s man trapped in a 70-year-old grandmother’s body?
The issue is, I’m the 70-year-old grandmother with a sailor’s mouth. I’m at the age where the first wave of friend marriages have started having kids and they are impressionable. Friends and family alike remind me to, “watch your language.” I have to constantly be mindful of my surroundings, even though in my head I know that the kids have heard all the swear words already.
I always feel like society has painted men that interact with kids as creepy. Children love me and I’m not sure why. Most people (read: Mrs. Madoff) will tell you because I’m on their level but that’s because I’m the fun one. It’s hard enough on a guy with a beard living in sin with an unmarried woman with no desire for kids. Every tantrum and crying fit I see a child throw is a tsunami to the small ember of a desire for children, but like an uncle, you can rile them up and then give them back if they aren’t yours. Not a bad arrangement and their parents get a few minutes to breathe.
Every day when I get home from work, the neighborhood posse is outside which is refreshing because the free-range parenting that I grew up with seems to be the exception rather than the rule. These kids have no fear of knocking on my door to ask if I’ll let the dogs out to play with them. We’re the engaging young people of the neighborhood with cool toys. I’ve had several of them just walk into my house and scare the ever-loving shit out of me.
I’ve been doing some coaching lately and it’s always awkward when I have the, “So which one is your kid?” question. Some of my best coaches were people like me, younger guys with no kids that wanted to give back to the sport. My friends have kids so that’s my usual in — “I’m Pete’s friend. I play hockey with him. We’ve been friends for a while!” My friend, Peter, is a fan favorite and all around quality character so that is my street cred. I’ve even been approached to possibly coach one of the three youth teams this fall.
As more of my friend’s start populating the earth, I’m in a situation where I have to be on my best behavior. While my friends may not care that their old fraternity brother accidentally teaches them every swear word under the sun, their wives take exception to Uncle Bernie and will cut the already limited time I’m allotted to a friend I’ve likely known longer than them. I also try to be respectful of others wishes, something that Postgrad Madoff has been working on because College Madoff would certainly not make such concessions.
Children are our future. They are also impressionable little fuckers and if you say any of Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words, you best know they will not only repeat them but snitch on you when they ask where they heard it (ask me how I know). I do my best to tone it down but I can’t tell you how many times I’d be telling a story and, “You know XYZ? That mother… really mean person is a complete piece of work.” You see, I firmly believe people can coexist and be respectful of each other, even when they sell their soul to the fruit of their loins. In return, I even have windows on my industrial van.