Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Father's Day, What Can I Say?

“Dad, Can I Help?”
By Bill Kirk

The long weekend beckoned--
I’d written my list.
And I was quite sure
There was nothing I’d missed.

No yard work distractions,
No carpools to do.
The weekend was mine
Until I was through.

I had all my hardware
And lumber galore.
I’d work on the deck;
Replace an old door.

I set up my saw
And tested my drill.
With anticipation
I felt quite a thrill.

“No holding me back,”
I thought, a bit smug.
Then all of a sudden,
I felt a slight tug.

Stopping my work,
I turned with a glance
To see my small son
Grab the leg of my pants.

What could I do?
Did I have any choice,
When my little son asked
In his little boy voice?

“Dad, can I help?
I just need some glue
And maybe a nail,
Some wood and a screw.”

“I’ll be very careful
And do what you say.
I promise, I’ll try
To stay out of your way.”

I felt the deck slipping
Right out of my grasp.
The door would remain
On its very last gasp.

We built a small boat
With a deck and a sail
Out of two bits of wood,
Some string and a nail;

Then battled some pirates
And found chests of gold.
With each new adventure
A story was told.

We sawed and we hammered
Until we were done
With all of our work—
Like father, like son.

I never did finish
My list on that day,
Instead I spent time
With my son, just to play.

And those weekend projects?
They just had to wait.
For some life appointments,
A Dad can’t be late.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What The...? Did You Just Spill Your Milk?

At the risk of giving someone an audience they don't deserve, I feel compelled to comment about the latest wolf in sheep's clothing: A clever money-maker (if only because some will actually think it's funny enough to buy) which may end up creating a whole new genre of adult bedtime picture books.

Now before you get your panties in a wad, arguing that adult bedtime picture books have already been done, I'm not talking about the kind of books with pictures that adults may use at bedtime from time to time. Yes, you are right. Those "self-help" books have been out since shortly after Guttenburg figured out how to mass produce the printed page.

But no. This latest creation is what otherwise would appear to be a children's picture book both on its cover and inside. But that's where the resemblance ends. Instead the book purports to be written for new parents to somehow help them deal with the frustrations of being a parent trying to get their new baby or toddler to sleep. What new parent couldn't identify with that?

No doubt the book will get a few chuckles. Likewise, I have little doubt it will sell, although probably not nearly so well were it not formatted as a children's picture book---kind of a formatting double entendre, if you will. And apparently many of you out there indeed will.

After all, the colorful children's illustrations are simple yet engaging. And what new parent could resist a bedtime story to help lull their little kiddo to sleep? But forgive my lack of excitement. To the author---and to Nightline for running the feature---I say GMAB! (which is now far and away my new favorite texting abbreviation).

For those of you scratching your heads wondering "What the... is he talking about?" I can say that sadly you won't have any trouble searching for or finding the hot new release online. This book has done what most authors can only dream about. It has "gone viral" with so much free promotion (including, I suppose, this blog post) that the author may be able to retire in before Labor Day. After all, it's a #1 best seller on Amazon---maybe even in a couple different categories.

And who knows? It may spawn any number of other books covering such parental challenges as long road trips ("Shut The F--- Up, We're Not There Yet!"), potty training ("Sit The F--- Down And Poop!"), arguing in the car with sibblings ("Don't Make Me Pull The F--- Over!"), food consumption ("Eat Your F---ing Vegetables!") and dinner time accidents ("What The F---? Did You Just Spill Your Milk?").

OK. So, perhaps I'm being unfair. After all, I'm still quivering after last month's sale of four copies of my books online. I suddenly found myself propelled up to a sub-500,000 sales ranking in children's books on Amazon. I gotta admit, having only half a million books ahead of mine in the rankings is pretty heady stuff.

Just think what might have happened if I had added an "F-bomb" (or its abbreviation) to a few of my published titles. The Nightline producers would probably have me on speed dial!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Rhyme Of The Month on

Here's a short rhyme, slightly revised since its original appearance during the Poem A Day Challenge in April. It seemed like a good message going into summer.

After spending the winter and what seems to have been a non-existent spring puting things off until we have more time, more energy, more money or more motivation, now is the time to simply take that first action step, then another and another and....

Don’t Say Don’t. Say Do!
By Bill Kirk

Just thinking DON'T is such a drag-
It's nothing but a frowner.
For DON'Ts won't end up in a smile
Because a DON'T's a downer.

It doesn't matter if a DON'T
Is practiced past or present,
For whether spoken then or now,
A DON'T is never pleasant.

Besides a DON'T from yesterday
Won't generate much action.
An old DON'T's just a DIDN'T that
AIN'T got no satisfaction.

If saying DON'T on down the road
Is what you are intending,
That future DON'T becomes a WON'T-
A DON'T that's merely trending.

And if you might not do a thing,
A "might" makes WON'T a "WOULDN'T."
To be polite about your WON'T,
You must say, "I just COULDN'T!"

Yes, DON'Ts abound in all their forms,
And if we listened to them all,
We might just think, "I CAN'T!"

So, when you're asked to give advice,
Think what you'd like to hear.
If you were in another's shoes.
What word would you hold dear?

Just one small word will say it all.
Two letters and you're through!
You WON'T get far with Mister DON'T.
So, DON'T say "DON'T." Say "DO".