Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not Sure What's Funny Anymore


The ancient Greeks suffered it...the Roman civilization floundered and disappeared, and we might be next, if what's accepted as humor these days is any indication. The eventual decline and subsequent disappearance of any civilization can be traced to a whole host of reasons, but I'm thinking that Nero wasn't very funny as he watched his city burn (some say by his own hand). That brings me to the latest pop culture trend: vulgar language in book titles.
The first one I noticed was S*** My Dad Said which started as an internet sensation then eventually became something of a best-selling book. People found an emotional link between themselves and their fathers that, in some humorous way, made them want to buy the book. OK, OK, I can somewhat agree that a book for adults about adult/child relationships might bring back some of the more lighthearted moments as dads generally provide them with noteworthy material (noteworthy years later, of course)
But Adam Mansbach has pushed the limits of humor with his book Go the F*** To Sleep. In something of a reversal, the book details the frustrations that parents might feel after trying unsuccessfully to get a child to sleep. We've all been there, done that, and the solutions are as varied as are the parents themselves...but here's where I draw the distinctions between funny and horrifying. Even the idea of shouting something like this at a child who wants only parental attention makes me nervous. So...I don't think it's funny. How would I write this book? Hmmmm.
Any new parent can recall hilarious things he or she tried when babies were unwilling to nod off. Some people I know found the baby soothed by the sound of the vacuum cleaner, so they waited until bedtime to clean the house!
Haggard parents often resort to driving around for an hour or so because the motion of the vehicle puts children to sleep. My story would be about getting pulled over on a deserted street by a childless officer for circling the block 30 times...try explaining THAT one.
Of course, rocking away for hours has never seemed to fail, but then I generally fell asleep first and awoke hours later with a sleeping tyke lying across my knees and a kink in my neck. Funny? Maybe in years to come.
Our kids loved books so reading was the conduit we used eventually. Story time came after the bath, drinks (albeit tiny ones) and jammies. The natural cuddling that occurred was an added benefit...even when we'd worked all day and entertained children all evening.
So, If thirty readings of Where the Wild Things Are is what gets him or her to sleep, do it. If rocking until both of you fall asleep is required, so be it. Heck, if running the vacuum cleaner, playing music or driving around the block works, we have to do it...swearing? not so much. It will all be funny in twenty years, anyway, especially as we watch our kids try to get THEIR children to sleep! Now, THAT will be funny!


At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I have to disagree. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Because I remember THINKING IT when V was little and I was doing some 11pm-2am stretch where she just would NOT fall asleep. It highlights the difference between what we sometimes think as parents and how we behave (singing and rocking and snuggling). My opinion, anyway.


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