My Son Just Tied My Daughter To A Ceiling Fan

Aaron D. Graham

So, my wife and I are teaming up to co-author a book idea. Somehow, I got roped into writing a baby manual. Can you believe it? Me, parenting advice? Or, perhaps it’s a marriage guide for disillusioned couples struggling to keep their identity in the middle of a family. I don’t really know. I just write what my wife tells me to write. To sum up a possible tag line: Maintaining a sense of worth while raising children.

Or, to put it another way: “God, I was supposed to change the world, now all I’m changing is this dirty diaper.”

Which is currently our working title, so don’t steal it.

I always thought my first book would be some epic volume I of High Fantasy, not parenting and relationship advice from a male perspective but my wife wants me to add my own unique flare to her otherwise matronly…

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I’m Seriously Considering Shipping All of My Kids Off To “Sergeant Bollocks Crusher’s Military School For Discipline & Respect

I got a text from Heather Graham the other day that read “Your son is grounded for life.” A few things struck me as I contemplated this cryptic message. First, why does he always becomes solely the spawn of MY seed when he does anything unspeakably bad as if her actually giving birth to him was no longer relevant to the subject at hand?


Second: I wondered about the wisdom of grounding him for life. How much of this behavior could I really take and do I want to endure it for another 50 years or so until either I’m dead or I’m too senile to care anymore? Only after I had contemplated these two points was I even mildly curious as to what he actually did.

Sometimes, as a parent…frankly, I don’t really care anymore. The monotony of the routine has dulled my wrath a bit over the years into a steady diet of: first offense =grounded for an hour, second offense = grounded for another hour + loss of video game privileges, third offense = grounded for an hour + loss of video games, Netflix and bike riding for the day and so on and so on. After awhile, I tend to forget what was actually done in the first place. I just can’t keep up.

So, I decided to make a list of just a few of the offenses my children have committed in recent memory. Keep in mind, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Just the ones I could jot down off the top of my head:

1. One sibling smacking another sibling across the face with a lightsaber

2. All three hiding from their mother in the clothes rack of a department store and pretending to have disappeared.

3. One sibling hiding a precious article of personal property belonging to another sibling in an obscure location somewhere in the house, and then forgetting where they hid it.

4. Telling the Gym Coach at school that he “stinks really bad.”

5. Telling a new substitute teacher that “This school was perfect before you were hired.”

6. Stabbing another student in the arm with a pencil. (In my child’s defense, I think he was actually sword fighting with another kid while my son perfected his lunge and parry fencing skills. But the other kid still got stabbed and my son was sent to the Principal’s office)

7. Displaying disrespect to the same Gym Teacher when the class was told to go grab their balls to play a game…and my son obeyed to the letter of the law.

Looking over this list, I’m wondering why in the world anyone would want to buy a book about parenting from my wife and I. Sounds like we are doing a bang up job so far.

But, I soldier on, doing the best job I can with the information I have at the time. There are times as a parent that I’m called to judge a dispute between two or more parties represented in our home. I sit there in my chair and blink at them while a list of offenses are rattled off for me to evaluate. The funny thing is my kids think that I’m actually listening to them, wisely weighing each argument before rendering my ruling. The truth is, I’m feeling like God tricked humanity with this whole “Procreation” thing he designed for a man and a woman to mate. The idea seemed good to me at the time and the act of procreation was great and all, but I think I missed something in the fine print that covered all of this stuff.

Honestly, I’m out of ideas on how to punish my kids anymore, so I could use your help. If anyone has any ideas they would like to share, feel free to reply and toss out your thoughts. I will take the best one and wrap them on tiny 4″ X 2″ strips of paper and fold them into a fishbowl. When my kids do something wrong, they will have to reach into the “Bowl of Sorrows” and pull out their punishment.

I will Tweet a picture of their reaction. (Shameless plug: you will have to follow me on Twitter to catch this)

One of the best ideas I had in awhile came when my son decided to move out of the house. He spewed a litany of charges against his mother and me and declared his independence. He hates me, he hates his mother, and he hates his life, and he just wants to move out on his own and be really happy. Now parent, POP QUIZ: How Do You Respond?

Do you:

A) Ground him for an hour to his room, like we do for every offense?

B) Slap the little urchin until he swallows his own teeth

C) Send him to Grandma’s house for the weekend

D) Tell him “Ok, you can move out and I’ll help you pack.”

I contemplated C for a long time, but my parents wouldn’t return my text. I need to stop beginning texts with “What are y’all doing this weekend?” every time I want them to keep my kids. They have learned and always seem to have something going on. No, I decided on D.

Like I said, why anyone would want to buy my parenting book baffles me.

But perhaps I should explain myself a little bit. I had a very good reason why I chose to help my son find his own place at the age of 10.

You see, a few months ago I taught my son how to grow sugar crystals in a cup with a cotton string. We experimented by adding dye to the water to create all kinds of cool colors that made the crystals look like jewels such as red rubies, clear diamonds and blue sapphires. We even did a batch of green Kryptonite.


This was a huge hit at school and every kid in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades wanted one. So, my son started a business and had a waiting list of paying customers. I think the going rate was about $5 per crystal and the kid could have the color of their choice. To a 10-year old, that was like a 6 figure income.

Anyway, he had a steady business going there for a few weeks until the school cracked down on his little sugar crystal ring and closed him down. Evidently, it violated some district code or something. I told Gavin that he couldn’t sell his crystals anymore. To my surprise, he handled the news rather well. I was actually quite proud of him.

I should have known that it was too easy.

A few weeks later, I received a call from the Principal. Gavin had been caught selling crystals again. Evidently, he had been smuggling them in his backpack and selling them for kids’ lunch money at recess.

“But Dad,” he argued with me when I confronted him about it. “I promised my friends I’d deliver their crystals to them before you told me to stop and it takes 3 weeks to grow them.”

“Gavin, it’s against school policy. You can’t do it.”

“Yeah, but now I can get $10 each instead of just $5.”

My son had become the kingpin of the 4th grade.

Not too long after that my son got mad at me for something. I think I did something really bad like made him clean his room. He decided that my home was just too much pressure with all of the rules and expectations. He decided that if he had his own place, he could go to bed when he wanted and could keep his room in whatever condition he felt like. I listened to him rant at me for a minute as he told me all the ways his life would just be better off if he could move out.

This is where I opted for D. I told him “Ok, I’m fine with that but you will have to pay your own rent.”

“I can do that,” he agreed. “I can still sell my crystals.”

“Well,” I reasoned, “You’ve been warned that you can’t do that anymore. If the school found out, they might take all of your money. I’d suggest doing something that won’t leave you broke when your rent is due.”

“I could mow lawns,” he decided.

“Ok, well let’s see what you need to do.” So I took out some paper. “I have a neighborhood company that advertises to mow our lawn for $20, so if you want my business you would have to be lower than that.”

“I’ll do it for $10,” he replied.

“Fine, so you will make $10 per lawn. Now, you are limited in where you can live because you can’t drive yet. So you have to choose one of these luxury apartments by the school so you can still ride your bike.” I helped him look online and the cheapest 1 Bedroom apartments were about $1,200 a month. “Don’t forget about utilities, food and entertainment. I give you all of that here for free, but on your own you’ll have to pick up those costs too. To be safe, I think you will need about $2,000 a month to live.”

I pushed the paper to him. “Now you tell me how many lawns you will have to mow each month to make $2,000.

It took him awhile struggling with basic math to come up with 200.

“Ok, so you will need 200 clients who will let you mow their lawns. That means you will have to knock on doors. In sales, if you have a close rate of 1:10 for cold calling, you are doing well. So figure you will have to knock on 2,000 doors to get 200 people to agree.”

I let that number sink in, but I think I was already overwhelming him. I pushed on:

“Now, once you get 200 clients, it will take you about an hour to mow their lawn, but you still have to go to school, so you can only mow lawns from 4:00 in the afternoon until about 8:00 at night when it gets dark. That only gives you 4 hours each day. If you do this each day after school, you will have 20 houses done. If you work from 8:00 in the morning both Saturday and Sunday and don’t stop until 8:00 at night, you can get another 24 lawns mowed each weekend. That is 44 lawns in a week, multiplied by 4 gives you a total of 176 lawns you can mow in a month to pay your bills.”

My son just looked at me.

I pushed on. “Now, 176 lawns at $10 each will give you $1,760 each month, which still isn’t $2,000. I tell you what, I’ll give you $200 a month to cover the difference-until you are 18-since you are still my son.”

I let this sink into my son for a moment before I finished. “So, you have a choice. You can go to school each morning, and then work every day until dark, never seeing your friends, and work from sun rise until sunset all weekend without ever getting a break…or you can clean your room.”

“You choose.”

Tip Jar: It’s Like Giving A Barista A Hug Without The Awkward Body Contact

We have become a little obsessed with tipping the service industry in our country. I think it comes from a deep rooted insecurity American’s have against a culture of landed gentry being waited on hand and foot while they sip their tea and nibble on crumpets. Since we are uncomfortable with being served, we tip so we can sleep better at night.

I’m not an international banker who is fluent in the language of stocks, bonds and mutual funds but I do play a tough game of Monopoly and I did save up a substantial trove of gold coins in World of Warcraft back in the day.

Ay, seep me pile 'o gold? I dost have a larger bulge  than thou dost

Ay, see me pile ‘o gold? I dost have a larger bulge than thou dost.

Does this make me an expert in economics and able to explain how business makes a profit? I doubt it, but I’m still going to share my point of view anyway.

Basically, we trade in otherwise worthless pieces of colored paper called dollar bills. This piece of paper is inherently about as valuable as my daughter’s picture from the coloring book “Frozen”. Other countries use other pieces of paper, but we like dollars. Mainly because we like pictures of Presidents like Washington, Lincoln and Franklin. Wait…Benjamin Franklin wasn’t a President, was he? Let me check Google.

Nope. He wasn’t. Actually, I’m not quite sure why Benjamin Franklin made it onto the $100 bill. Poor Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They both got the shaft when it comes to being immortalized on our currency. The former we stuck on a bill no one has ever seen before and the latter…well, he kinda got screwed all the way around.

Founding Fathers

If John Adams had known that the only thing we would remember him for was a beer named after his BROTHER, that neither one even brewed, I bet he’d poke Franklin’s eyes out with that pen.

But I digress. We like Dollars and not Euros, Rubles or Pesos. Did you know that even though England is in Europe, they doesn’t use the European currency called the Euro? England continues to use the British Pound, but there is a country called the British Indian Ocean Territory, but they do not use either the Pound or the Euro. Evidently they thought pictures of US Presidents were way cooler than pictures of an rather old looking Queen of England and use the U.S. Dollar.

Why is this blog starting to sound like Sheldon’ Cooper’s weekly Vlog: Fun With Flags?

Fun With Flags

Where was I?  Oh yes, currency. No matter what President, Queen, Meglamaniac/tyrannical dictator graces the face of currency, the principal is the same; it is just a unit people use to exchange goods and/or service with each other. A business owner spends as little currency as possible to acquire a commodity and then sells it to someone else for a little bit more.

This is called a profit.

If I want to accelerate this rate of profit, I can share some of my profit with workers who will help me do small tasks in the whole process of acquiring my goods and delivering them to the people who value it. For simple jobs, an owner does not have to share a whole lot.

Now, tips complicate things a little, but the principal is the same. If I employ a waitress to take an order and service my customer, my customer may value my waitress giving him extra attention, even though she may not receive any more of my profit. So, in order to ensure that my customer gets the best SERVICE possible, he may choose to tip a waitress to encourage her good behavior toward him. The customer is still paying more of his currency to receive a better service.

I believe all of this is fair.

What I don’t think is fair is that now I’m expected to tip for a service that does not benefit me at all. Am I being greedy? I don’t think so. Let me explain:

I like coffee. The raw ingredients are not all that expensive for a consumer like me: beans and water. Not only that, but the service that I require to provide me with my drink of choice is also very simple: I need someone to stick a cup under a spout and pull a lever until the cup is full. I then need someone to hand me the cup.

For this service I am typically charged $2 and change which I’m willing to give because I’m addicted to the contents of that cup. Now, the server will be paid a small percentage of my $2, but again…her role in my process wasn’t all that involved. Besides, its not like I’m expecting the server to walk around every 10 minutes to top off my coffee. When I am done, I will throw my own cup away, and if I spill in my car, I doubt my baristia will come out and clean up my cup holders for me or get me a fresh cup.

So today I’m standing in line to get some coffee with Heather Graham. She tells me that she is tired and wants to sit down and asks if I’ll get her a cup too.

“Sure,” I agree. The baristia greets me with a smile and I order my two coffees and a small doughnut to nibble on. “Could I have cream and sugar in one?” I ask. “The other is just black.”

“We have a sugar bar over there,” she says with an overly friendly voice.

She tells me the total. Keep track of the work she is actually doing. So far, we have her punching in some buttons and reading a total off the screen. (She let the computer do the actual math work, though)

I give her my bank card and she swivels the iPad around to face me. “You can swipe it here,” she indicates.

So, I process my own payment.

She thanks me and points to the line below. “You can add a tip if you would like,” but keeps the iPad pointed toward me until I punch $1.00.

She thanks me and hands me two empty cups. “The coffee is at the end of the bar,” she indicates. “Help yourself and there is a doughnut in the case you can get.”

I juggle the two coffees and a doughnut. My wife likes cream and sugar so I prepare her drink and get her a glass of ice water I know she will want. While I’m managing all of this, I accidentally spill some coffee on the counter. I look around for some help, but my barista is busy pointing out the tip line to the poor guy behind me and she doesn’t notice I made a small mess.

So I clean up my own spill and carry everything back to the table where I serve my wife her coffee and water.

I didn’t get a tip but I did toss out all of our empty cups on my way out the door.

Save Nemo!

Save Nemo!


My Friend Sam Needs Your Help…Please Advise

My friend Sam has a problem and can’t seem to figure out what to do about it.

Sam is a good guy and all. He tries to help people when he can.

He works at Starbucks and makes a little over $21,000 a year. $28K if the tips are real good.

But Sam’s problem is his expenses.

Sam lives in a 3 bedroom apartment, because he likes to have space for his video games, music, and comic book collections.

He got the Xbox One the day it came out.

As well as the Sony 4.

He has a car and a motorcycle.

He likes pizza and orders out every Monday. Tuesday is Taco night, which, of course, means he goes to Taco Bell. Wednesday is Chilies night. Thursday is poker, and usually eats at the bar. Typical grill food: cheese sticks or a hamburger. Unfortunately, he isn’t a very good poker player, and last week he blew $100 on a bad hand. Friday is date night. His girlfriend is Alecia. They see movies a lot. Sometimes they do a musical. It’s her call though, and she has good taste. Saturday is ethnic night. He likes to try exotic places like Greek or Russian cuisine. Sunday is sports. He does not go out much on Sunday but instead orders Chinese Take out.

I have 3 kids and a wife, so I can’t be nearly as reckless with my money as Sam is with his.

I didn’t realize until recently just how big of a problem Sam has. I want to be a good friend about it, but I don’t know how to help him. You see…Sam and I were drinking one night, and he opened up about his finances. He told me he really hopes he gets a raise at work. Evidently Starbucks is looking to promote a shift supervisor, and it would be a good raise for him. He thinks if he works hard for a year or two as a shift supervisor, he can then apply for a manager position.

“They make almost 30,000 a year!” he said with innocent naivite. “I could really use the raise.”

“Are you worried about money?” I asked.

Sam got quiet and wouldn’t look at me. “A little,” he admitted. “My dad was talking to me last week. I think I maxed out his credit card.”

“You’ve been living off of your dad’s credit card?” I asked.

“And my Grandpa’s. Both of Grandpa’s, actually.”

“Sam . . . ” I said without knowing what else to say.

“My dad told me I spent $38,000 last year. Between all the credit cards, I think I added $16,500 to the balance.”

“Wait…you ADDED over 16 grand to your parents’ credit cards?” I asked trying to wrap my mind around what I was hearing.

“That’s what he said. My grandpa was pretty upset.”

“How much do you owe? I mean the total balance?” I asked.

“Over 142 thousand dollars. My dad told me I had to cut back on my expenses.”

“Yeah, I would agree with that.”

“I was looking at the budget he gave me. I think I’m going to stop getting cokes at the gas station from now on.”


“Yeah, well those are over $1. I figure that if I cut that out, I could save $385 a year. That will help, won’t it?”

I don’t even know where to begin.

Do you have any suggestions for Sam?

The United States of America brings in about $2,170,000,000,000 in tax revenue each year.

The annual budget of the United States is $3,820,000,000,000.

The United States of America added $1,650,000,000,000 in debt last year.

The National debt is about $14,271,000,000,000

Last year, the United States of America cut $38,500,000,000 from the annual budget…and those budget cuts led to the shut down the government because we couldn’t agree on how to fix our financial problem.




A Treatise On My Chances With Supermodels, Sainthood And Other Summer Musings.

Odds are funny things. I think we subconsciously allow odds to dictate our lives far more than most people realize. For instance, I love watching my kids swim in my pool even though there is a CHANCE they could all drown and die. Why? Well, because the odds of someone accidentally drowning is only 1 in 79,065. However, I won’t let my kids run across the major interstate during rush hour because the odds of my children surviving that isn’t nearly as good.


There are many things we allow ourselves to do because there is an acceptable level of risk involved. Since I was a kid, I’ve known that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1 because C3PO just kinda knows these things and it worked out ok for Han Solo.


Speaking of asteroids, there is a 182,138,880,000,000 to 1 chance that a rock from outer space could crash into my living room, but I still sit on my sofa in my boxer shorts and play video games.

Another example of picking and choosing life changing events based on odds occurred to me in college. I gave up my dream of dating Jordana Brewster because my odds of dating a supermodel are 88,000 to 1.


My odds of dating Heather Miltimore on the other hand were much more reasonable.

Some other odds I found interesting was that even though there is a 576,000 to 1 chance of me being struck by lightening, I take courage in the fact that there is only a 2,320,000 to 1 chance of me actually being killed by lightening.


I wonder if this is what Ben Franklin told that stupid kid who he talked into flying that kite with him?


Now, in light of all of these crazy odds, here is one that is a little more disturbing. There is a 117 to 1 chance of you ending up on a plane sometime in your life with a drunken pilot. No, I didn’t miss a few extra zeros. That’s it folks: 117 to 1. Hell, that’s almost the same as your odds of being audited by the IRS sometime in your life, which is about 175 to 1. Unless, of course, you recently donated some money to a political right wing 501.c group. In that case, I hope you saved your receipts. But don’t worry about that drunken pilot thing. Your chances of actually dying in a plane crash is only 354,319 to 1. And as I just pointed out…you have a better chance of dating a supermodel sometime in your life than you do of dying in a plane crash, regardless of the sobriety of the pilot. So, “Mazel tov” and pour that pilot another round and don’t let that stop you from taking your family to Hawaii this Christmas.

Reviewing odds like this in the middle of summer gives me hope for my Dallas Cowboys winning the Super Bowl. Because if I think about the fact that there is a 20,000,000 to 1 chance of me becoming a recognized Saint in the Catholic church sometime in the future, it makes the fact that Las Vegas only has a 40 to 1 line against my Cowboys winning the Super Bowl this year way more exciting!

So cheer up, my faithful readers from Jacksonville, Oakland and Minnesota. Though your odds are somewhere around an IRS audit, there is still hope!









What To Get Dad For Father’s Day Who Already Has A Drawer Full Of Neck Ties He Never Wears

Father’s Day is coming up and my wife is always asking me what I want. Every year I tell her the same thing, but she never gets it for me:

I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock.”

She just laughs at me and says, “No, really what do you want?”

Fine, I want a force activated, double bladed light saber with 1.21 Jigawatt energy pulse and a purple beam.”


Oh, and a compass in the stock would come in handy too.”




But she just tells me I’ll cut my arm off.


Last year I got a grill, which would be cool and all, but basically it’s her way of shoving “Dinner Duty” off on me 4 or 5 nights a week from the last week in May until the first week of September. She does this as a sneaky way of not cooking for 3 months. In all fairness, she does put the frozen French Fries in the oven and bake them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. A grill for Father’s Day in my household would be like if I bought her some sexy lingerie as a Mother’s Day gift.

But women never quite see things the same way.

Speaking of my wife, you all need to check out her blog too. (Insert Shameless Plug Here: Heather Graham’s Blog ) I promised her that I would promote her blog on my site to double her exposure. She is an aspiring writer and has grand dreams of collecting an entourage of loyal followers to build a pipeline for a future business plan and possibly a book deal in the near future. Which will be great because when she is out on some book tour or writing junket, I can stay home and grill burgers for the kids.

I doubt I’ll get either my Red Ryder BB Gun, or my lightsaber this year, so I had to do some digging for suggestions. For my female audience, if your man is anything like me, these are all GREAT ideas. But then again, there aren’t too many people like me, so you probably want to stick with that pair of Superman Tube Socks you were eying up at Target.

I’m sure he’ll love it.

As for me, one of the top of the things on my “Father’s Day Wish List” would be the Henry VIII with heat sensitive vanishing wives!


As the coffee gets cool, the wives tend to vanish. Note the subtle play on the heat of passion cooling to the elimination of the wives. This would be so cool!  (Oh, the puns don’t stop with this gift)

As another option, I am not a fan of the Family Stick Figures as window clings in the back of the family SUV. I don’t even really like the Star War’s Spin off clings, even though I’m a huge Star Wars Nerd. But Stick Figure Zombie Clings…I would DEFINITELY hang that along the back window.


Has anyone seen that bumper sticker that says something like: “My Family Stick Figures Kicked Your Family Stick Figure’s Ass”  I doubt my wife would let me put either of these on our Nissan Pathfinder, but a guy can dream, right?

Another idea for Dad could be his very own Einstein Plush Doll. I don’t know why, but I would love to set Albert up by my Boba Fett action figure at work. Some guys have a Payton Manning Bobble Head. I want an Einstein plush doll.


Of course you can never go wrong with the Candy G-String.

Image Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

So ladies, I have given you some great idea for the over grown nerds in your life.

Ok, enough for tonight. My wife just asked me to fire up the grill. She bought some steaks for us to eat tonight.









Friendly Tip: Please Proof Read Your Texts BEFORE You Hit Send

‘m always on the lookout for something funny on the internet. I used to have a rule that I would not start my day until I found one thing that made me truly, deeply laugh. I must admit, I don’t do it as often as I should, but there are days when finding those hidden gems online is like a treasure trove of “ROTFLMAO”

So, I stumbled on this site called and it was pure gold! What could be better than laughing at someone else’s “smart” phone blunder? Just when I fear that technology is progressing to quickly and I might find myself wishing I had taken the blue pill, my fears are temporarily relieved by the fact that our smartest phones still can’t quite keep up with human wit. Sites like this proves our technology is not quite intelligent enough to pose any real threat of machines becoming smarter than us and launching a campaign of World Domination. Right now…our machines are not all that smart after all.


So we can laugh in perfect security at other’s misfortune. Take for instance, poor Jake. He seems like a nice guy. Jake seems like the kind of bud who actually WOULD lend you his truck to help you move and not make a big deal about it. Not only that…he even decided to help paint Jason’s Living Room.

Poor Jason didn’t realize what color Jake picked out:


I wonder what the poor girl at Home Depot said when Jake took that in for one of those guaranteed color matching.

Then there is Chris. I can relate to Chris. He finally catches a date and the chick actually texts him first to tell him what a great time she had.

Until his damn “Smart” phone started being too cute:


I wonder if Chris ever got to touch those nipples?  Vote below on my comments if you think he did…hell, if you think he even got a second date.

Back during my “dating days” I took a trip to Europe for about a month and left my girlfriend behind with nothing to remember me by except for my Lava Lamp (which I still have to this day) and some of my clothes to comfort her in my absence.

Evidently Charlie found something else to cling to late at night:


Sorry Charlie.  I bet he hates his IPhone now.

Finally, we come to my favorite. I love my mother. They say no one knows you like your own mother. Matthew’s mom knows him better than he knows himself..Poor bastard: