Tag Archives: Poison


Everything I needed to know about love, I learned from 80′s Hair Metal

I was sitting on a plane the other day and a thought hit me like like a ton of bricks – someday, someone is going to break my son’s heart.  I sat up straight in my seat and had a moment of pure, unadulterated pain.  I don’t know who she is going to be, or how she is going to do it, but someone is going to make my son feel the same way I felt many times growing up – alone.

It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and while I did, my iPod continued to play.  I was listening to a playlist my wife had put together to listen to in the car with the kids.  We’ve tried to instill a love of music into our children, and I’m happy to report that they are both fans of rock music.  It was then that another thought snuck up on me – I needed to share what I learned about love with my son – a bit of advice on just how to navigate the murky waters of love and infatuation.  And, as crazy as it sounds, the perfect way to do it was in the same way that I learned it – through the music of my youth.  So here it is, an open letter to my son about the highs and lows of love.


My first Broadway show

Nineteen years ago I had the chance to see a musical on Broadway for the first time.  (I know – It would sound much better if I could say it was twenty years ago.  Twenty is such a nice round number – but it was, in fact, nineteen years ago, and I don’t feel like waiting an entire year to write this, just so it has a nice clichéd opening.  But I digress.)  As I was saying – nineteen years ago I had the chance to see a musical on Broadway for the first time.  Not only was it great show, I also learned a few things along the way:  I really can do anything I set my mind to, young love is almost always misguided, and my father has a serious deficiency when it came to hotel nicknames.


“Don’t touch the hair…I would rather keep bleeding.”

My son has been taking Taekwondo for a few months now, and really enjoys it.  Recently he was invited to join the leadership program.  As part of the leadership program, the students are allowed to start training with weapons.  The first one wasn’t so bad – a Jahng Bong – essential a long wooden staff.  He had a lot of fun learning to use it.  Last night we went to a seminar to introduce the new weapon for the next cycle – a Gum Do.  Sounds fun, right?  Well – for those that don’t speak Korean – the Gum Do is a sword.  At first I thought – that’s really cool, my son is going to learn to use a sword.  Then I thought – holy crap, my son is going to learn to use a sword. What were we thinking when we agreed to weapons training?

That set my mind to work – no one ever offered to teach me swordplay when I was nine.  Would I have been responsible enough to learn swordplay at that age?  Would I have been responsible enough to learn swordplay at any age?  What kind of injuries would I have inflicted on my parents, my friends, my brother, and myself?  (I realized that perhaps one of the best decisions my parents ever made was making sure I was never in a situation where someone could ask them, within earshot of me – “would your son like to learn to use a sword?”)   I began to worry about my son’s well being, with a sword in the house.  After all, I had trouble enough with just the normal things around the house when I was a kid – things like bicycles, grills, skateboards, floors, and spray paint.   I can’t imagine the carnage a sword would have wrought. I managed to accrue three major head wounds in my childhood with nary a sword in sight.  It wasn’t pretty.

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