Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dear 21-Year-Old Self

Dear 21-year-old Self:

Enjoy the relative ease with which you can put on socks. This only gets more difficult as time goes on.

Hold your nose and buy Apple stock. That Steve Jobs fellow is really on to something with that iPod thing.

There's a thing called Facebook coming right around the corner. The temptation is going to be strong to post drunk party pictures on there. Don't do it.

Strong work ethic = good

Blondes = bad

All that money you spent buying DVDs and CDs was a waste.

Don't break up with women via email.

Don't snort powdered sugar.

Float trips are fun. Float trips without water shoes are still fun, but much more painful.

No one thinks your car stereo with the remote control is cool. Idiot.

I know you don't fancy yourself to be a romantic, but you're considerably less romantic than you think.

Seriously, you're not romantic.

Do the world a favor and stop wearing your hat backwards.

You do not need to bench press a Cadillac. Let's up the cardio and try living longer.

If someone offers you a cup of purple drink and you didn't make it, turn that shit down. Nothing good comes from purple drink.

Stop dancing. If women flock to you on a dance floor it's only because they're worried you're having a seizure.

There are ugly strippers.

You can't hide in school forever.

When a cop pulls you over for speeding and asks if you realized you were going 80, it's neither funny nor acceptable to say, "Well, yeah. The truck shuts down at 85."

Buckle your seat belt.

Drink more water.

You can over-water a cactus.

Don't ask a woman if she wants wine and then bring her a bottle of Mad Dog. Just don't.

There is no money working in radio.

There is even less money working at a newspaper.

There is even less money than that working for a not-for-profit agency.

Not-for-profit agencies are all kinds of scandalous.

Continue to be curious. That will be your strongest trait.

You will have a bad track record with blue trucks.

That spring break trip to Texas you'll take is a good idea, but pick better tattoos and avoid the ear ring. Actually, disregard the tattoos as well, as you'll probably make the same or worse shitty choices.

Call your parents more. Take advantage of the time you have with them, and find the time to record a conversation with them.

Play more fussball.

Stay away from Jack Daniels.

Stay away from Jim Beam.

Stay away from Jagermeister.

Eject yourself from all situations that involve tequila.

To keep things simple it's probably best that you stay away from anything you can't get in a can with an alcohol content higher than 6.5%.

Let's throttle that down to 6%, just to be safe.

Do not take cold medicine and then drink. I'm not saying this will help you avoid a tragic incident where you end up arm wrestling yourself, but it may help you avoid a tragic incident where you end up arm wrestling yourself. Do with that knowledge what you will.

Read the Wall Street Journal. There aren't a lot of of stupid or broke people who read the Wall Street Journal on a regular basis.

One of your bosses will try and illustrate exactly how uncultured you are by asking you to name a Russian composer whose last name begins with "T." Let's break out Tchaikovsky and blindside that motherfucker this time.

Don't be afraid to visit other parts of the country.

Know when you're calling someone in a different time zone, especially if there is a big internship on the line.

Spend more time with your sister. You've only got one.

That late-night swim is a bad idea.

There is no job waiting for you after college.

The end of Lost is disappointing.

Embrace your mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than getting butt-hurt and complaining.

Not every hit is a home run.

Some home runs look like ugly hits.

Fruit Loops are not a food group. Give actual fruit a chance.

Vitamins. Take them.

You really wanna know what impresses women? A job.

I repeat, do not take cold medicine and then drink.

No one cares about your column. For the love of God, stop crying and get over it.

Write down that dirty joke that Ernie Hays told you about the Marlboro Man. I remember thinking it was really funny, but I can't remember it.

You can save yourself a lot of headaches at work by making sure you're always clear about who, what, where, when, how, and why. This also applies to relationships.

If you're comfortable in your job then you've been there for too long.

Never trust a person who says they're an expert.

Even if that person is an expert, it doesn't mean they're right.

Older doesn't always mean smarter; youth doesn't always equal inexperience; rich doesn't always mean wise; poor doesn't always equal miserable; and making assumptions virtually always makes an ass out of you and me. A wise man will beat that into your head.

Respect people.

Don't take any shit.

You only have so much time.

Live action Batman movies don't end with George "Nipples on the Bat Suit" Clooney, however his film does kill them for 10 years.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Copyright 2016, Simple Man's Survival Guide

Recently my wife and I switched responsibilities, and I took our 5-year-old daughter to her ice skating class with her sister in tow. All was good. We rolled down the windows and rocked out to Kidz Bop and its infectious blends of "Worth It" and "Bad Blood," got to the rink on time and got our ice skates on without any tears, and all without the 3-year-old dropping a crap grenade. #smallvictories

And then at the very moment I thought we were gonna slip into cruise control for the rest of the evening, she inexplicably lost her mind and exploded in tears -- right in the middle of the doorway. While I was consoling my oldest, my red-headed youngest giggled, turned around, and took off running and laughing along the side of the ice rink, a Disney princess doll in each outstretched hand, and destined for God-only-knows where; like a tiny Joker, I think she just wanted to watch the world burn. If there were any parents judging me at that moment, I can't imagine they would have scored me much higher than 3/10. It wasn't pretty.

A few years ago we packed a lunch and took the girls to Cocoa Beach. It was a very big deal for them because it was the first time they'd been to the ocean. When I was younger, I have very clear memories of my mom and uncle throwing McDonald's french fries into the air for seagulls to catch, and how cool I thought that was. Fast-forward 20 years and I thought I had a wonderful opportunity to throw a piece of a sandwich in the air and lure some birds over so the girls could get a better look. What I didn't know was that over the last 20 years those birds had adopted a more aggressive (not nearly a strong enough word) approach to their pursuit of human food, and that feeding them was looked at as more of a required sacrifice than a voluntary donation. In a matter of seconds we had retreated back to the van, the girls were both sobbing like busted fire hydrants, my wife was calling me names that Donald Trump wouldn't even call Rosie O'Donnell, and I was was legitimately considering exiting the van and letting those pterodactyls have their way with me. It was definitely not one of my finer moments as a parent, and even years later when the girls hear anything that remotely makes them think we're going to a beach, they look at my wife and say, "Mommy, we're not gonna let daddy feed those seagulls are we?"

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Farting Ninja

"Daddy. You're bald."

The girls have made a habit of dwelling on my follicle misfortune after I tuck them into bed at night. They'll actually hold the "a" in bald and let it drag on to really hammer the point home. The minute they sniffed out that needling me over being bald bothered me, they proceeded to sink the hooks in deeper and rip my heart out with the joy and zeal of a 1-year-old working through an endless pile of paper mache. There's very likely more than a few rounds of sensitivity training in their future.

But if there has been any one good thing to come of being bald, it's the Farting Ninja story.

One day I was shaving my head in the shower and I nicked myself with the razor. It happens. So I got out of the shower, got dressed, put a small piece of toilet paper on my head to keep from bleeding all over myself, and went downstairs.

My oldest daughter saw the toilet paper and blood on my head and asked what happened. So I did what any good father of two young daughters would do on a Saturday afternoon: I made up a tall tale that involved an Uber, pirates, a whale -- and a farting ninja. And, I drew it out on a white board to get myself out of playing dolls for 15 minutes.

So with that, I give you The Farting Ninja.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SMSG 06: Sh*t We Build for Our Kids

Travis reads the Some Assembly Required blog post, and then Travis and Greg discuss the pains of building swingsets, bikes, and other terrible things for their children.

Have you got a story to share about something you've built for your kids? We want to hear it in the comments section!

Don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Day the Hamster Died

"You need to come down her and look at this," I told my wife. "The cat caught a mouse."

"Well, take it away from him and throw it out."

"I don't think it's a mouse," I said. "I think it's Hamster."

One year prior we made the mistake of telling our girls that if they displayed some modicum of responsibility we said we'd consider getting them a small pet -- like a hamster. Of course, in toddler speak, that means you're getting them a hamster. Not in a few months, not in a few weeks and not in a few days. To them, that means you are loading up the van, making the mecca to PetSmart, and rescuing some poor, unsuspecting creature from a glorious life behind bullet-proof glass, with an endless supply of food and friends to run around with, and dropping him straight into hamster Hell -- a house with two cats and two toddlers. Because one of the many things I've learned about being a parent is that you can only stand firm for so long against your children before you give up and allow yourself to get willingly steamrolled.

Looking back, it's a miracle his run even lasted two years. The day we brought him home we set up his cage and then went out to eat. We came back home to his cage door unhinged and flung open, and one of the cats sitting with half of her body in the hamster cage and the other half out, and the other cat standing guard one foot away. I yanked the cat out, trying to remember if we had any shoe boxes we could bury this thing in and mentally mapping out the eulogy in my head. I was also thinking about whether or not this was the right time for one of those no-bullshit children's books like The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, and wondered if there was something along the lines of Tough Shit: Your Hamster Died and Your Cats are Assholes. But as I was rustling through the cedar chips, I heard a squeak and saw two very-alive tiny, beady black eyes looking back at me. Against all odds, the little bastard was alive.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SMSG 05: Bad Family Vacations

Travis reads the Disney Cruise Disaster blog post, and Travis and Greg share other stories about bad family vacations.

Have you got a story to share about your bad family vacation? We want to hear it in the comments section!

Don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from and have a Creative Commons 0 license.