Sunday, March 1, 2009

Boredom Rides Shotgun In The Carpool Lane

The below article was commissioned by a suburban living publication, wherein I was tasked with writing about kids and carpools. It was also swiftly rejected for offensive content. Now I'm left holding a piece that likens me to a deranged pedophile. Win some, lose some, I guess.
Would you trust me with your kids?

I’m hardly irresponsible. In another life I owned a lucrative seat at a once exalted investment bank; secured by merit, mind you, not because I traded my dignity for intercourse with a randy executive. Truth be told, avoiding the minefield of infidelity was a personal victory, both at the workplace and on the sidewalks of Stepford when mingling with domestics. And domestic I’ve become, another casualty of the economic fallout which relegated our nation’s leaders to money minting desperados. With financial security reduced to indulgence, my new status on the bread line affords ample moments for introspection, especially while awakening to the dreaded Kathie Lee Gifford hour of the Today show and wishing for a shotgun (for the television, not my temple). Numerous weeks have been squandered observing the stay at home moms of the village: the stroller pushers, the play-date negotiators, the resentful career flusher-cum-homemaker, and the lipstick temptress with her seductive saunter. In the span of three months, I’ve been degraded to a cut-rate voyeur of Daytime In Suburbia, weaning off that final swell of testosterone amongst the afternoon company of mommies, geriatrics, war veterans, and Ellen.

And you know what? I want a piece of this, permanently. There’s an inexplicable joy to seeing the midday sun lighten the facades of Main Street; something very “Leave It To Beaver” in the camaraderie of park bench lollygagging and conversations about the weather in meat markets and bakeries. I want a slice of that hot apple pie, that Mayberry ideal fresh out of the oven. Better yet, I want in on your kid’s car pool.

That said, come April 15th I won’t claim any dependent tax deductions. Not yet anyway, and not because my penis is broken. Hell, I can hardly stand the rugrats sometimes, forcing me onto bad knees to hear their incessant incoherent nonsense, fingerprinting my furniture with various bodily fluids, and erupting into fist-pounding tantrums over lost toys or reneged dessert privileges. And once we’ve mastered diapers and sharing, it’s time to pray your adolescent prodigy doesn’t crash the family car after funneling King Cobra behind the Sunoco mart (you know, the one that sells to underage kids) or take to smoking with last year’s Camaro driving dropout. Let’s not even get started on acne or vocational aspirations. Yet still, I think I can handle the car pool.

Exploring the aisles of costume wholesalers, I’d expect to unearth a Mickey Mouse mascot head on the cheap. What kid wouldn’t want to be escorted to school by the world’s friendliest rodent: giant white gloves clutching the steering wheel, huge head bobbing through an open moon roof, agape neighbor watching me suit up while pondering the exact moment when my train flipped the rails. Who doesn’t love Mickey Mouse? Think back to that summer he tousled your hair, then hammed it up in the family photo gently ribbing dad.

But let’s quash all the rumors proactively, shall we? Those whispers exchanged at the PTA meeting, the muttered indictments at brunch questioning my motives for Carpooler of The Year. I’m not an idiot, I’m simply unemployed, with heaps of time to anticipate your demeaning accusations. Nipping them all in the bud: I did not quit my job following a superb mental breakdown, I am not a registered sex offender, I will break your kid’s teeth if he wets his pants on my seat, Twinkies are indeed brain food and belong in the lunch bag, and this mouse costume is not used in conjunction with a role in a pornographic theater ensemble. Finally, if you note an ever changing lineup of children in this automobile, some not even enrolled in the school district, perhaps you should warn them to stop treating my car like a gypsy cab. I’m just a chauffeur. I don’t take attendance.

Erroneous gossip aside, ladies, you want me in that carpool. When you’re dawdling at leisurely lunches with the alcoholic socialite contingent, or philandering with a FedEx hulk at the hourly motor lodge, you need me in that carpool. And I couldn’t be happier to offer my services, gratis. Not only does this coupe with rear bucket seats beat the stigma of the yellow bus, but it fits six (even with the colossal mouse head) assuming we perch two urchins atop the center console. In fact, I’m thinking of delaying the job search a few months. My $364.50 weekly take from the labor department is enough to keep the electric humming in this modest abode, and besides, I enjoy discussing weather at the meat market. Have another appletini, or sign up for that second pilates class. I’ve got it from here. Come April, I’ll sprout pendulous breasts and trade Martha Stewart recipes with the rest of your jaded friends. And we’ll all find a nice young delivery boy to ravage.

That is, if you trust me.


Matt Shea said...

Mike. I really can't understand why this was rejected by the prudes and wonks at the suburban living publication, unless of course you rocked up for submission in your terry-toweling robe. Either way, your article illustrates that the line between unemployed investment banker and slobbering kiddy fiddler is a thin one indeed.

Chris said...

I'm not sure what bothers me more about this, the implied desire to bring suburbia to a grinding halt through the corruption of its youth, or the fact that I really, really enjoyed reading it.

Great job, I'm glad I found your blog. Funny, funny, shit.

MVD said...

Glad to have you along for the ride, unsteady as it is. Take a seat. I've got an extra King Cobra in the glove box.

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