Wednesday, May 25, 2011



COREY: Wise old daddy I am
BLUE: You’re cheating
COREY: I promised not to SAAAAAY anything  :-p

She rolled her eyes at me. What does it say about a 40 something year old man when his teenage daughter has to say, with hand on her hips, eyes facing heaven, “Daddy, grow up!”
Fact checking time: She didn’t actually say that, but Blue can think VERY LOUDLY.

I think it says that I’m doing something right. At least I hope it does, because I’m not going to suddenly transform into a fully-fledged, humorless grown up anytime soon. Fully-fledged, yes. Grown-up: not so much… only momentary episodes of adultness and only under extreme duress. Unfortunately DURESS lives down the block from me.

Funny, I used to walk out to say hello whenever I saw DURESS walking down the street. I still do that on a bad day. However, these days I have learned to wave hello from the other side of the street without engaging it. DURESS will knock on my door soon enough, without me inviting it inside for coffee.

I digress. I was thinking about how as an adult, I’m at my best when I am childish. Blue, on the other hand, believes she is at her best when she is most mature. Perhaps we are both right. Most assuredly we are both wrong. Go figure.

Blue’s Rebuttal

No rebuttal, although your last sentence has me curious now...

Dad’s Reply:

         Being both right and wrong is my nod to how complex the world is. It’s a false dichotomy, right and wrong. We can’t really separate our best selves from our worst, we carry our whole selves with us wherever we go.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It Ain't Me

          I see a lot of angry ranting people in my line of work. I try not to rant too much. It never really turns out well for me.  I still do it, of course, but at least I’m slowing down. The other day a student of mine was trying to tell me about a rant he witnessed at recess.

ME: “Can you tell me what he said?”

KC: “No Mr. Steinman, I’m not aloud to say those words”

ME: “It’s okay if you are reporting it to me calmly, I just want to make sure I know what we are dealing with. I don’t want to over-react”

KC:  “Well you know when you are stuck in traffic and you’re Dad is getting really mad. He said THOSE kind of words”

Got it. It sent me back to a rant I had while I was still working in a residential program, circa 1996:

I was fairly new to teaching and had the kind of fire in the belly that makes rookies simultaneously endearing and annoying. I was getting pretty self-righteous about something, which now escapes my memory. My boss, Larry, patiently listened to me for a full ten minutes. Larry was a giant twig of a man, with eyebrows that didn’t so much arch but pointed upwards towards spiky hair. Everything about him was sharp. His long goatee exactly mirrored the chevron of his eyebrows. His smile can only be described as wicked.

         Smiling, he put his arm around my shoulder to signal that I was done talking and said something that has become a sort of mantra to me.[1]

Larry:  “Corey........... you’re not that important”

ME:  “Gee, Larry, I’m touched. Ummm what the f***?”
Larry: “I’m not that important either”

ME: “So what is the important thing here?”

Larry: “The thing that's important to remember is …… What Is  Important” pause.......waiting for me to get it…..

ME: sledge hammer makes cotact…….”and it ain’t ME”

Larry:   “Nope…….it ain’t me neither”

         It’s hard to hold on to this mind-set, but I’m there right now. It’s my wife’s smile that completely fills me up. I love her voice and wish she was here to talk too. It’s the way the twins are petting a reluctant Sam-the-Cat. It’s the way the sun is landing on the Dogwood blossoms. It ain’t me.

         Later today, something is going to tug on my ego. Someone is going to cut me off while merging on to 128 or say something unkind. I’ll want to rant. All the good stuff will disappear if I start cursing. Please let me hear Larry’s voice again before I get a head of steam going-

“Hey Corey, you’re not that important”




[1] At least on a good day. On bad days, I forget the lesson learned and keep ranting, lunatic style until someone slaps me upside the head.