Live! Naked! Grills! (Not a Typo)

A few nights ago, we decided to leave both boys home alone. We felt confident that Justin could take care of himself and his younger brother for just a few hours while we had an evening with other adults. Not only did Justin meet my expectations, but he far exceeded them in a very classy way. Garrett, on the other hand, is barred from any and all electronics device in the house that have access to YouTube.

The evening began with me giving Justin one simple instruction: ‘Make sure you leave your cell phone on so I can contact you in case of an emergency and to let you know when the pizza is going to arrive.’ When the time came, I called him and his phone went directly to voicemail. He had clearly turned it off. That was the one thing I told him not to do! After three or four tries, I resorted to Alexa. I knew I’d be able to ‘Make an Announcement’ from my phone and the whole house would be able to hear me. Once he heard the announcement, he called me back. (There’s a reason he turned off his phone. I’ll get to that in a minute.) The rest of the evening was uneventful.

When we got home, Justin pulled GWE into his room for a brief conversation. I joined Garrett in the den and watched tv with him before I had to put him to bed. After speaking with Justin, GWE came up the stairs and told me that she needed to tell me something in private. I met her in our bedroom, and she proceeded to tell me this story, from Justin’s point of view:

Right after we left the house, Garrett ran upstairs to watch television and Justin went into his room. It didn’t take long for Justin to get bored, so he went to see what Garrett was watching. As soon as he opened the doors, Garrett quickly shut off the television and looked very guilty. Justin, realizing something was amiss, asked Garrett what he was doing. Garrett refused to tell him or hand over the remote. Justin spent several minutes trying to build up Garrett’s trust by promising not to say anything to us…and that’s why he offered to turn off his phone as a sign of good faith.

Once they had an agreement, Garrett handed Justin the remote. Justin turned on the TV and discovered what Garrett had been hiding. He had gone onto YouTube and decided to look up, “LIVE NUDE GRILLS.” That’s not a typo. That’s really how Garrett spelled it. Garrett was watching video after video after video of half-naked girls making out with each other. (By the way, the Parental Control were on and he was still able to watch this stuff.) In a very nice way, Justin reprimanded Garrett and told him that this was not appropriate for him to see and the he shouldn’t watch it anymore. Garrett agreed, in theory.

GWE and I were half hysterical/half horrified as she told me this story. Because our YouTube account is under GWE’s name, she was able to look up what he was watching. WOW!!! This is what it showed:

GWE and I agreed that YouTube needed to be removed from the family television in the den. It took me a few minutes, but I got it done. Several days have passed and Garrett has not mentioned anything about it. He must have noticed that YouTube is gone by now, but maybe the unsaid is better than the said.

While Garrett’s viewing habits were completely inappropriate and I am outraged…..I do have to give him credit for having excellent taste!

I’m Cooler Than I Think I Am

I was accused of trying to be cool by one of my son’s friends. It’s unclear if the thing that I was accused of doing made me cool or if the reverse psychology of someone thinking I was trying to be cool inadvertently made me cool because I was doing it…not knowing it was cool. (Yes, this explanation invalidates all my claims of coolness.)

Here’s what happened: I was with Justin in the car and we went to pick up one of his friends to bring him to our house. Usually, I leave the boys alone to have their private conversations and I zone out and listen to my music. Once they were on our way home (and I think GWE was in the car with us,) I stopped paying attention to what the boys were saying. However, I was mindlessly singing along to Kendrick Lamar and SZA on the “Black Panther” soundtrack. Yes – I realize the optics of a 40+ year old white guy listening to Kendrick and getting into it, but I like what I like.

From behind me I heard Justin’s friend say, “Hey, Jason. Stop trying to be cool.”

Once I got over the fact that my son’s friend decided to address me by my first name as if we were peers, I realized what he was saying. He thought I was trying to be cool by playing this music. He didn’t know that I’ve been listening to Kendrick regardless as to whether he was in the car or not.

Tell me what you gon’ do to me
Confrontation ain’t nothin’ new to me
You can bring a bullet, bring a sword
Bring a morgue, but you can’t bring the truth to me

So, I think an 11-year inadvertently acknowledged my “coolness” while trying to get me to stop singing. I prefer to view the incident as, “he brought the truth to me.”





Justin Won’t Take My Call

One of the reasons we wanted Justin to have a phone had to do with some of his Summer vacations this year. We planned on having him spend one week in Atlanta with his grandparents. He also spent a week in NY with GWE. We wanted him to have a phone just in case he got separated from GWE, needed to reach me, or uncovered an emergency Poke-Stop that contained a Nidorino he really needed.

During their trip, there was one morning when GWE had a meeting that she could not bring Justin to. Her plan was to leave Justin with Aunt Rori – a casting director in NY. He was going to ‘work’ for Rori for a few hours and then GWE would catch up with them later.

I knew when Justin was supposed to be in the office. I thought it would be funny to call him on the main office line and pitch him some of my clients. When I called, an assistant answered the phone and I explained that I was Justin’s dad and I wanted to talk to him and pitch some actors to him. (Ha Ha!) I was put on a brief hold. When she came back on the line, she responded, “He said he’s very busy. He said to please call him later.” And, then she hung up.

I thought he was joking with me, so I called his cell. He picked up on the third ring. “Hi dad. I’m really, really busy right now. I can’t talk. I’ll call you later.” I could hear the exasperation in his voice and imagined him rolling his eyes as he saw my caller ID on the phone. He didn’t give me a chance to utter a single word. He simply said, “Bye” and hung up

In less than 5 minutes, I went from thinking he was kidding, to being pissed that he wouldn’t talk to me….to hearing the lyrics to “Cats in the Cradle” in the back of my head. It was a sobering moment.

The more I thought about it, the more it became apparent that this was a double-doozy of self-realization. Not only did Justin (sort of) reject me by not taking my call….but, it also dawned on me that I’ve probably had the exact same exchange with my own dad a few times too many. It sucks to be on the other end of that conversation.

“I’m gonna be like you dad. You know, I’m gonna be like you.”  The older you get, the more sobering those lyrics become.

Excuse me while I make a call……..





Justin’s First Text from His Brother

Brothers have a special way of communicating with one another. Some brothers use their words and some brothers use their fists. My boys have elevated the art of communication to a higher level thanks to Justin’s new phone…and Garrett’s confiscation of my cell phone.

Below is the non-verbal communication of The Priluck Boys, courtesy of $1 billion dollars’ worth of Apple iPhone development and technology, Verizon’s cell phone service, multiple satellites in space, and the fastest bandwidth available:

Brothers and phones. Yea…that’s a good use of technology!