September 14, 2000
I Used to Have a Life
I was looking at my three boys the other day as they argued over the remote control. One of them yelled, "Hey, give me that, you little rat." It made me think that if this is any indication of how they will conduct themselves in their future business dealings or marriages, my kids will never get jobs and probably not move out of our home until they are in their late 50's. I also realized that, more than likely, the next time I am going to be alone with my wife will probably be on my death bed when she says to the kids, "Just give us a few minutes." However, even then I imagine either a ball bouncing off my heart monitor and hitting me in the head or my wife telling me she just realized she has to drive one of the kids to a friend's house but she promises to see me in the next world.
I love my family, but who has this kind of time? As a comedian, I used to laugh at people who had to get up before the crack of noon. I now rise so early each day I could probably apply for a grant from the Board of Farmers. I hated homework when I went to school, and I hate it twice as much now. The great thing about having kids is you get a chance to fail twice in life. Once when you're a kid, and the other when your offsprings hand in homework assignments you helped them with the night before. I love the look I get when I tell my kids, "I don't understand the assignment." I know they're thinking, "What an idiot my dad is."
What have I gotten myself into? I used to have such an exciting life. I had my own apartment in the middle of Manhattan. I had more girlfriends than Donald Trump. I had pockets stuffed with cash for whatever I wanted. Now look at me. I have one kid who won't get out of a bed without me using a crowbar and another son that will be holding onto his "blankey" and sucking his thumb when he is standing under the chuppah, and a third who, in the fourth grade, has already figured out most of my tricks. And to top that, a wife who has convinced me that her sleep is more important than my connubial needs. I used to have a life. I really did.
You may be thinking: Really, Mark, isn't your life today much fuller, richer and ultimately closer to the way God wants you to live? That might be true, but the problem is that I'm much too tired to enjoy most of it. And the other problem - a much deeper one - is that no one wants to hear me complain. There is not one person in my home who is the least bit interested in how tired or how stressed I feel. Oh, sure, my wife makes believe she cares. "Honey, I'm sorry you are so tired, but could you do me a favor and mop the roof and rebuild the garage before you come to bed?"
Then there are those who tell me that my old life was nothing but a selfish, self-centered, think-only-about-myself, feel-good, narcissistic existence. They are 100 percent right about what they're saying. Oh, to have the energy to relive those days just once more. To be able to sit in my New York apartment, alone with the stereo blasting, a six-pack of beer and a body so thin that I could just sit and eat all the peanuts and fat-full Entenmann's I want. To have two tickets to a Broadway show and a date with Miss Sweden, whose extent of the English language is "Yah, yah. Sure, sure," and whose only care is that I'm happy and smiling at all times. Oh, well, I have to go now. My wife is calling me. It seems my son just threw up in my hat.