Before You Go

Dear Kevin,

When you were little you didn’t like when we over explained things to you. You were an extremely curious kid. (You still are.) Like a detective you’d ask a lot of questions to get at the truth, or at least your understanding of it. But once your curiosity had been satisfied, you wanted us to stop talking. You had no patience for anything that sounded preachy. When you sensed a lecture or sermon coming on, you’d interrupt and say, “I don’t want to know. And I don’t want you to tell me.” So please forgive us for writing this letter of unsolicited advice.

What follows are things we have come to believe and value about life and the human experience. Much of it we learned from you, by being your dads. All of the sentiments expressed below have been said or written by others, and with more eloquence than us. And our thoughts are repetitive, disjointed, and scattered. One passage may contradict another—sometimes in the same sentence—but that’s life: a complicated, repetitive, disjointed, random, beautiful mess. The route is seldom a direct express.

The tone below veers into commencement speech territory, including generalizations and nauseating clichés commonly heard at graduations. But since neither of us are likely to ever deliver a graduation commencement speech, this is our attempt at passing on what we’d like to believe is wisdom, all of which you are free to ignore. (Skip past the dotted lines if “you don’t want us to tell you.”)

So from us to you, in no particular order, here goes.

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Blow Out the Candles

Before the phone rings and my parents cackle-sing “Happy Birthday” into my ear then ask me what kind of cake or pastry I want for my birthday dessert, I wish to address our dear leader and make some birthday wishes of my own.

Dear leader,

It is an honor and privilege to turn another year older under your noble reign. May you transfer so much wealth from the poor to the rich that Putin needs to build more Russian banks to hold all the money. May the sick without healthcare not die on the sidewalks in front of your towers. May Mar-a-Lago always rise above sea level. May you detain and deport many Mexican rapists. May facts remain as elusive as your tax returns. May you find the 3 million people who voted illegally. May your faithful followers, especially the Sean Calamity Shamity asslickers, forever defend your cons, lies, vulgarity, indecency, bullying, and cruelty while whining about how victimized they are by liberals. May they always believe fake news and never wake up to the truth. May your every tee shot be a hole-in-one.

And most of all, when your time comes, may God show you more mercy and grace than you did for his children.

The phone’s ringing.

So, dear leader, as you blow out the candles on the planet, let us eat cannoli cake.

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We Are Not Enemies

Dear conservative friends and family,

I am not your enemy. And you are not my enemy. But you’d never know that from the information you receive. I have tuned into Fox. I have read Breitbart. The overwhelming message they send is that I, your friend and loved one, should be despised, ridiculed, and, yes, some even say eradicated.

Think about that.

No, really, think about it.

Turn off the TV or radio and get quiet with that thought.

Is your happiness really dependent upon my demise?

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