Fathering’s Funny Bone | HumorOutcasts

Fathering’s Funny Bone

January 20, 2015
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SCOOTER coverThe advice fathers give to their sons comes in many forms, from clipped, world-weary truisms, to hand-on-shoulder parables. Lessons can be serious and masculine, and they can be laced with the humor of a dad who never quite grew up.

Con Chapman’s book Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up! (HumorOutcasts Press, 2014, 112 pages) is packed with the latter. Whether you are a father or a father-to-be, or a mother or mother-to-be for that matter, this book takes you to the funny side of parenting and keeps you there.

Scooter and Skipper are the generic names Chapman gives to his two sons for the purpose of providing “an account of my journey through my sons’ first childhood as I experience my second.”

Here’s Chapman’s approach to the tricky job of sex education: “I keep things cryptic – birds and bees style – because the agreement in our family is that our children will get their sex education only through independent, approved sources, like the third-world kids who received low-cost laptops and promptly put them to use surfing porn sites on the internet.”

The title of the book is derived from the threesome’s opening adventure. The author describes the project to his local hardware store owner thus: “We need something small, not too expensive, that we can blow up.” The device should also “make a gigantic boom but is still legal for us to drive around with.”

A story about how Chapman singed his hair while working in a Missouri restaurant in the mid-sixties offers a delightful dish of comic insights. For example, it was not Abraham Lincoln or George Washington who coined the well-known phrase “different strokes for different folks” but another great American: Sly Stone.

Chapman’s explanation of the Boston Tea Party surely warrants a re-write of that episode in American history. The boys discover that the perpetrators of this famous fit of pique met in the Green Dragon Tavern beforehand. “You’ll find as you grow older that when are men on the verge if doing great and serious things, it helps if they drink a lot of beer first,” advises their sage father. The revelation that the protesters opened the boxes of tea with hatchets to make sure that the contents were spoiled inspires the important life lesson that “if you damage somebody’s property, you can usually get away with it if you do it for a political reason.”

My favorite chapter is the author’s Monty Pythonesque fantasy about taking his sons to the Roman Colosseum to watch a game between the Lions and the Saints. In this hilarious story, Scooter, the older boy, taunts his younger brother that the Saints are going to get killed. Skip, who favors the underdogs, retorts that “St. Ignatius of Antioch gained 200 yards last time these two teams met.” When the kids want to get autographs their father agrees, but: “If a lion grabs your program – let him have it.”

A close runner up is the chapter where dad organizes an Algonquin Round Table for his sons and a couple of kids from the neighborhood, complete with soft drinks for cocktails and a kids’ version of artistic wit.

The author follows with thoughts on a range of issues including bankruptcy, Congressional gridlock, and the City of Detroit’s financial mess. He appears not be a fan of economist Paul Krugman, suggesting to Skip that “if you ever see a man walking down the street who looks like the Keebler elf with dark hair and a beard and holding a Nobel Prize in economics, and he asks you for your allowance, say no.”

As the kids get older their parents decide to take a family vacation. Their father persuades them to visit the museum in Seattle “paid for by a Microsoft billionaire that looks like the architect was on drugs.” Amid the exhibits about Our Nation’s Psychedelic Era dad gets the question that many parents dread: did he ever drop acid? “I took LSD ten times but I didn’t inhale” replies the father.” Skipper wants to know whether dad burned his guitar as the rock band greats did. This time it’s Mom who provides an answer: “No sweetie, it just sounds that way when he plays in the basement.”

Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up! is a rare treat: a book on parental advice that makes you laugh out loud.

 

 

 

E. V. Erton

E. V. Erton’s career as a writer spans blogging, books and short stories, corporate communications, journalism, plays and comedy sketches, satirical essays, and TV documentaries. Possibly the best way to trace his career path is to dip a sugared-up fly with ADHD in ink, and let the insect wander around a blank sheet of paper. Comedy has long been a passion. A book of short stories and a play about George Washington crossing the River Delaware are almost ready to attract the first rejections. He would love to get involved in another comedy production and write for The Onion. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids, and a dog called Spike who should be named Obnoxious.

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2 Responses to Fathering’s Funny Bone

  1. January 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Yes, I use the “ignorance is bliss” tactic too!

  2. January 20, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks. My wife hasn’t read it yet, so I’m still married.



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