Jon and Kate Plus Hate

1:16 AM Posted by Knox McCoy

Recently, after yielding the remote and thereby forfeiting my chances of watching the NBA Playoffs, I watched the tabloid melodrama that is Jon and Kate Plus 8.

Admittedly, my history in watching the show is brief and limited to random viewings as seen when 1) the remote was lost, 2) I was too lazy to get up and retrieve said remote or 3) Options 1 and 2 simultaneously.

At any rate, given my occasional indulgence in US Weekly (there I said it) my interest was piqued given the allegations of Jon’s philandering, Kate’s profiteering, and a cult-like obsession with the “unique” stylings of Kate’s hair.

Given the Lost, American Idol, HIMYM, and Southland-sized holes in my TV schedule, JKP8 was definitely getting a look-see at what the Gosselins had in store for the American Public.

Sadly, the show quickly took me from morbid curiousity all the way to discomfort in watching what transpired.

First, before I begin launching boulder-size stones at J&K’s massive new glass house, let me say this: If I was approached to do a reality show with my family, the easy answer is to say, “No thanks.”

But when people start throwing out compensation figures like $50,000 - $75,000 per episode, then things change. Everyone has a plan until they get hit with the green wave. But would I still say no? Ideally, I’d love to say that I would, but knowing myself, I would negotiate with myself until I could say yes. Doesn’t make it right.

But even then, does that make it a bad decision? From everything I gathered, early on J&K seemed to have a good relationship centered around a strong faith. Sure, Jon always seemed to look about as enthusiastic as I did during my colonoscopy purge and Kate managed to make Bellatrix LeStrange look charming. But there was an authenticity to their relationship that made the show feel less like a reality TV show and more like an earnest documentary with flawed but genuine subjects.

But at some point (and I haven’t watched enough to know when), J&K clearly allowed their own self-interests to usurp the original priority of their family first and foremost.

For Jon, this is most clearly seen in his forgetfulness about who his wife is. For Kate, this is seen in her choosing to be away while trouble brewed. The blame pours both ways and though many excuses and arguments can be posited forth, what remains is that you NEVER are justified in cheating and leaving when things are left unresolved is unacceptable. This clearly wasn’t a conscious decision on either of their parts, but what ensues will be.

While some will scream that they should cancel the show and work out their problems, I’m not so sure that it is that simple. TLC has made J&K the incubator through which all the other programming is gathered around. It is a cash cow and this kind of cow is usually contractually obligated to continue being milked until every last drop is extracted and the network is content to move on, so I can’t beat them up for not shutting this thing down and trying to work on their problems.

The next few episodes will provide all the answers though. Will the show center around the impending split? The marital strife? The accusations? Or will it show two people humbled by their mistakes and attempting to rebuild the foundation in which their marriage was originally built on? The optimist in me hopes they rally, but I’m afraid we’re about to get 39 more episodes of the smoky descent and fiery crash.

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Lessons in Leg Lesions

9:10 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

These are the facts: I have a large, gaping wound on the side of my left leg. It has been like this for 2 weeks. I’m whining slightly more than the average contestant on the Biggest Loser. I did this playing church softball. I am 26.

Having no other recourse after my amateur medical methods yielded little improvement, I sought out the good doctor, Doc Thompson to shed some light on the unrelenting grotesqueness that sits just below my knee. At the conclusion of our visit, Dr. Thompson declared my wound to be, not an abrasion, but a severe 2nd degree burn. Good times.

This struck me as odd so I compiled 2 theories on how the leprosy of my leg came to be.

Theory #1: I was running at such a great speed, that my slide simulated that of a motorcycle wreck, resulting in a wound similar to that of an injury earned during a motorcycle’s skipping across a hard surface (A 0.01 % chance of being the likely answer).

Theory #2: The cumulative mass of my ample backside forcibly striking the ground, created a big-bang style explosion of energy and heat. The burn on my leg was ground zero of the massive release of energy, thus providing the source of my heinous, festering sore (A 78 % chance of being the likely answer).

I’m fairly certain that the truth is somewhere in the middle of those theories.

Following a nightly occurrence of my yelping in pain as a result of peeling the bed sheets from the gooey adhesiveness of my wound, I thought of this situation as a plush garden from whence I could extract many teaching points for young HR: The benefit of pants when playing baseball/softball, being content with doubles, and addressing problems head were just a few of the gems I came up with.

Since the origin of my wound, I have been diligently treating the problem. Triple antibiotics, Neosporin Pain+, and surgical dressings have all been purchased in an effort to quell the throbbing pain emanating from just above my shin.

My attention has rarely wavered from it and it’s healing has never been far from my focus. But it was only recently that I understood just how starkly my handling of this injury stood in contrast to my approach in other areas of my life.

If given truth serum, could I honestly say that I’ve approached all my problems in this manner? How would my marriage be if I attacked each of my faults as I have my melted tissue? What about my spiritual walk? Have I ever paid as much attention and been as consumed with my spiritual flaws as I have been with my leg?

Most of the last two weeks have been spent franticly trying to figure out some kind of resolution to my problem, but yet when God is dealing with me about something, I often find it appropriate to stick my head in the sand and hope for the best.

The physical immediacy of the pain made it the preeminent problem of the last two weeks for me, but discomfort alone isn't the measure of a problem's depth.

So if there is anything profound to be shared with HR from an injury incurred just before third base, it is to tackle the problems of his spiritual walk and personal relationships like they are throbbing flesh wounds.

Sometimes they go away quietly and just leave a faint scar as a silent reminder, but other times they escalate, and in doing so, are complicated infinitely more than they ever should have been.

Or sometimes they make you have to wear shorts for two straight weeks, ensuring that you look REALLY professional at work, as you’re forced to walk like Lieutenant Dan after Vietnam. Awesome.

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Enlightenment at a Yard Sale

10:41 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

In the interest of spring cleaning and eventually selling our house, Ashley and I planned a yard sale and so embarked on the process of inventorying and itemizing the wealth of junk that had accumulated in our house. This was no small job, but we found it to be liberating and cathartic when we observed all our tables and blankets robustly filled with once treasured items.

As early morning on the day of the sale approached and our first customers shuffled about our cast away items, Ashley and I revisited a previous conversation we had joked about. We should sell, nay, give away our dog, Emma.

Before you leap to conclusions though, ignore the simplicity packed into the previous sentence. To accept Emma as an ordinary dog is to casually dismiss the essence of her being.

Our dog Ajax is normal. Though he is princely, moody, and sensitive, his behavior typifies that of most humanized and domesticated dogs. By this definition though, Emma is not normal.

She is a swirling vortex of death, destruction, and mental problems.

Her name is the last vestige of femininity that has been associated with her and a portly frame combined with killer instincts works to betray any softening perceptions one may have of her.

Her weight gain has been especially troubling to us and to combat it, we stopped leaving food in her bowl and began feeding her smaller portions but the balloning continued. It wasn't until I realized that she was supplementing her diet with high fat dishes like squirrel, blue jay, and rats that I understood how her rotundity came to be.

Naturally, with Rowe on the scene, the exit of our natural born killer has been weighing heavily on my mind. But even with her foibles, I still feel she deserves a graceful exit to a setting where she and her unique skill set would be welcomed (like maybe Afghanistan).

So a yard sale seemed to be the perfect venue to find a decent home for Emma.

A couple of prospective adopters passed after seeming concerned that I had to bring Emma out like a restrained Hannibal Lecter, but it was still early when a female customer asked to see Emma and seemed genuinely delighted that Emma was overweight with a nervous tic.

After some pleading with a disinterested husband, I found myself hoisting Emma into their car while excitedly detailing some of Emma's "quirks."

And just like that, the fat, black albatross that hung so heavily around my neck was gone.

But just like Michael Myers, Jason, or the Fast and the Furious movies, she was never really gone because 5 hours later, there she was soaking wet and back in my arms.

The girl gave me some delirious story about cats, eyeballs, and frantic french bulldogs, but I waved her off because Emma is my cross to bear and I was kidding myself to think her exit would come so easily.

I think as parents you are naturally eager to convey all your failures to your children in the spirit of improvement and avoidance. I have no shortage of failures and screw-ups to share, but Emma will be a vivid lesson for me to share with Rowe.

My rescuing of her, though noble, was ill-fated as I had neither the space nor time to properly invest in her. Optimistic intentions without consideration rarely end well. Especially when dealing with a killing machine.

And so when Rowe asks about the shadowy, black shape waddling around our back porch in the pictures or videos of his infancy, instead of needlessly recounting the massacre of woodland creatures around our house, I will use it as an opportunity to teach Rowe about the importance of foresight and consideration in decision-making. Because if not, he could end up with a dog that can eat an entire kitchen floor in one night (a story for another time).