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Keeping It Real

Am I negative or a realist? I’m hoping for the latter, but fearing the former. Regardless, I actually do enjoy my life, adore my wife and kids, and even like singing along to Daughtry. But when you’re writing the last page in an issue focused on tiny tots, it takes an especially brave man to bash baby pictures. But alas, the brilliant editors let me freestyle like Eminem in this space and then promptly turn me over to the witness protection folks. I’ll tackle baby pictures a bit later, but let me open this discussion by touching another third rail—Valentine’s Day.

This being February, I note on my Far Side calendar that February 14th is a holiday of some sort. I’m supposed to purchase flowers, cards, candy and pretty much anything from Kay Jewelers and make reservations at Del Frisco’s (or at least stand in line at Yucatan Taco Stand or Pei Wei). Can someone remind me why Valentine’s Day has become as big as New Year’s Eve? Does Hallmark and Hersey’s have us locked in some mind-control experiment? I adore my wife and have no issues taking her out for some fine dining and showering her with diamonds and rose petals … OK, that’s a lie. I can’t afford diamonds and the only man that showers their wife in rose petals is one of those goofballs from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But the point is that I’m not opposed to showing my affection. I just don’t need a calendar to hold me at gunpoint. Valentine’s Day is a whipping for husbands and boyfriends, not to mention ladies who are unfortunate enough to be alive and dateless on this infamous date. Like Mad Men and sushi, Valentine’s Day hits the top of the charts for most overrated—at least in my book.

But Valentine’s Day is not alone. 3-D movies are as overrated as the bank bailout. My kids don’t even like 3-D movies. Paying an extra $3 for glasses that give me a headache is another reason to stay home and play Call of Duty again. Fireworks shows and parades. Am I alone in my lobbying to have these two events banned in the U.S.? Well, maybe not banned altogether, but seriously curtailed. Lots of waiting before. Lots of traffic after. Lots of failed smiles during. Fun, right?

Change is overrated. The tired, old saying that “change is good” never had their company bought out, their boss switched and their compensation package adjusted. Change usually is as settling as a punch to the stomach. Convertibles are overrated, especially if the temperature isn’t exactly 72 degrees with zero wind, no dust in the air and no direct sunlight beaming in on your thinning scalp. They also leak after your warranty expires.

Yogurt is overrated, especially when I’m serving myself and it costs $17 for one person. I know Halloween is overrated. All year I tell my 6-year-old that ghouls do not live in his closet or under his bed and then every October, every adult he comes into contact with tries to scare him with Freddie Krueger masks. This holiday, like Valentine’s, no doubt is run by the CWoA (Chocolate Workers of America). The massive, history-making HD screen at Cowboys Stadium is overrated. Watching that thing is great if you want to count Jerry’s nose hairs, but it makes me feel detached from the game I paid to see in person.

Baby pictures are overrated. There, I said it. Like parades and fireworks shows, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Until a child actually starts looking like their parents, all babies look like scrunched-up, bundles of joy.

Except for your own kids, of course. They’re very highly rated and I would never argue otherwise.

Cute photo!