Late Thoughts on “Luke Cage”

Pops!

Always forward. Never backward.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

I will never finish binge-watching any series at the same time as the rest of the world. Never. TV has to wait its turn in line for my attention along with internet, writing, moviegoing, gaming, full-time day-jobbing, homeowning, husbanding, and whatever other errands and obligations lure me away from home. I get to things when I get to them even if it means I miss out on all the really cool chat circles.

By the time I held my personal Stranger Things marathon over Labor Day weekend, everyone else had already moved on to salivating over the nominal teaser for season 2 and whatever else was cool by then that I no longer remember. Without another three-day weekend at my disposal (alas, if only Halloween had been a federal holiday), I’m kinda proud I found time to finish Netflix’s Marvel’s Luke Cage before Christmas. Like the other Marvel series it has its flaws, but one of Cage‘s overarching themes resonated and stuck in my head even as the later episodes didn’t hold up to the promise of the first half.

(Some of this entry will have Luke Cage spoilers, but I assume if you’re interested in the show, you’ve already seen it and aren’t waiting for distant DVD release.)

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Empty Nest Update #3: Handling Our First School Shooting

Purdue shooting black ribbon, 1/14/2014

For Andrew Boldt and family. Our prayers and thoughts are with them tonight.

Today during the course of one of our usual workday back-‘n’-forth email volleys, I thought it odd when my wife sent me another, separate email with a new title: “Purdue Shooting”. She knew she’d have my full attention.

Within the same minute that I opened her email, my son the Purdue freshman texted me. In case I heard about a shooting at Purdue, he wrote, he wanted me to know he was fine, even though he’d been in the same building where and when the shooting occurred.

That disrupted my concentration for a while.

In case you missed the news…

In Honor of the Final Guy Night

July 9, 2013: dinner at the Gourmet Dumpling House in Boston’s Chinatown. Most likely my son’s final vacation with us.

[Tonight’s centerpiece is a previous MCC entry dated October 18, 2012. The photo, intro, and epilogue are new additions for follow-up purposes in light of upcoming major events.]

* * * * *

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Mailing Stuff for Dummies

sample envelopeTonight I found a glaring hole in my son’s education that all the high school diplomas in the world couldn’t cover.

At his recent graduation, a friend asked him to hold her school ID during the ceremony because neither her dress nor the graduation robe had pockets. As her friend and a lifelong pants-wearer, he obliged. When we arrived home hours later, he realized she failed to ask for it back and he forgot to return it. (Even though they’re both graduated and free, I think she still needs it to pick up her 2012-2013 yearbook when they’ve finally printed circa spring 2015.) Since their schedules haven’t quite synched up, he offered to mail it to her. She messaged her address to him.

I handed him a blank envelope. He gave me a blank look.

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Fleeting Moments on Graduation Day

Eighteen years of life, thirteen years of schooling, and countless evenings of coaching, admonishing, encouraging, lecturing, applauding, tolerating, and loving all led up to a single day that required tremendous coordination and patience to align all the pieces just right for the series finale. Though today felt about three hundred hours long, its unique centerpiece will seem fleeting when viewed in retrospect years from now.

Today was my son’s high school Graduation Day.

Graduation Day, Class of 2013

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My Kid Could Paint That. And Did.

alien worlds, high school art class

This weekend our local school system held its biennial art fair, a celebration of the efforts and creations of students of music and art from all age groups. I had one or two drawings on display in my junior year, though two decades later I no longer remember which ones. My wife and I were pleased to learn that my son, now in his final month of high school, would have several pieces on display this year. We made a point of checking out the fair not just for the sake of parental beaming, but because we knew this might be our last chance to view his works.

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College Dropout Prepares to Pass on the Opposite of His Legacy

This weekend’s main event was eighteen years in the making, an experience I never imagined because few parents want to daydream that far ahead in their children’s lives. Sure, we look forward to a few milestones — first steps, first words, first day of school, all the best parts of the cute years. I suppose some parents dwell on the long-term forecast and begin planning for the arrival of their grandchildren. I’ve taken more of a walk-before-they-can-run, crawl-before-they-can-walk approach when it comes to second-guessing my son’s future for him.

That being rambled on about: Saturday I drove my son up to West Lafayette for a tour of the campus of Purdue University, where he’s been accepted and is scheduled to attend this fall. Needless to say, our family is mostly thrilled (there’s always a naysayer, isn’t there?) and, having seen what’s in store for my former infant, I now feel ten years older than I did last year.

Purdue Clock Tower

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Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be College-Bound Slobs

Dramatic reenactment of the horrors we witnessed Saturday.  (photo credit: Clevergrrl via photopin cc)

Dramatic reenactment of the horrors we witnessed. (photo credit: Clevergrrl via photopin cc)

When I attended college immediately after graduating high school, I lived at home because my generous financial aid package wasn’t enough to cover living expenses. I’ve never lived in a dorm, nor did I dare to live the bachelor’s life while taking 16-18 credit-hours and working 40-45 hours per week. (The results of that bout of madness were shared in a previous entry. Long story short: those were some of my most miserable years on record.) Since I also made no friends during my stay in academia, I never had the opportunity to visit the living quarters of a real, live college student. This past Saturday, I finally had my first chance.

My son is a high school senior preparing to transform into a college freshmen as of fall 2013. This weekend we took a road trip to the city where he’ll theoretically spend the next four years learning, growing, and becoming greater than his parents. Our family mission: scope out potential apartments for him. Due to the long list of issues that living on campus would present (on which we won’t be elaborating here — suffice it to say this is our family’s decision), his only hope for avoiding a seventy-mile daily commute will be to negotiate off-campus housing. To that end, I found a lead on a pair of potential pads at shockingly competitive prices in a wide market that’s nearly sold out as a whole for the upcoming semester. My wife and I, dutiful and curious folks that we are, drove my son up there for a pair of apartment showings to ensure we wouldn’t be exporting him and his possessions into Avon Barksdale’s prized Towers from The Wire.

Like first-world anthropologists stepping tentatively into the native habitat of an otherworldly culture, we three ventured into each of the two available cribs, whose current tenants would be finishing their current leases in time for my son’s arrival in town. None of us knew what to expect and hadn’t really prepared ourselves. Judging by the conditions we tiptoed around, neither had the tenants.

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Wednesday is Guy Night.

Father/son quality timeOf all our household’s rules and guidelines that aren’t Scripture quotes, one of the simplest and most scrupulously enforced in our family is four simple words: Wednesday is Guy Night. What we call “Guy Night”, normal people call “father/son quality time”. Then again, normal people rarely use the word “enforce” in that conversation.

This rule was instituted in spring 2003 after a blessed but stunning turn of events that resulted in my obtaining custody of my son from my ex-wife. This unbelievable, unpredicted, somewhat intimidating lifestyle change occurred after six years of liberal non-custodial visitation, thousands of literal miles of two-way ferrying, and countless little reminders from society and the media that, in 105% of all divorce situations, the mother is good and the father is evil. The short, impersonal summation of our situation is that it had become necessary in the opinion of the majority of those affected, and thus it was written.

I believe Guy Night was my best friend’s idea. I trust her as usual to correct me gently if I’m misremembering. When he moved back in with me full-time and was no longer a beloved privileged visitor, we decided it was important to establish as soon as possible after the big move that — whatever else might be done with my week, with his schooling, or with other family and friends — he and I needed a regular block of time carved out that we could dedicate to spending with each other. When she and I married in 2004 and merged households, this became more important than ever with the closer quarters and the advent of the prefix “step-” into numerous aspects of our new living phase.

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