The O-town Scene

October 14, 2010

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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Two Single Dads Aliens and discipline One of the more difficult things for a parent _ single or otherwise _ is the tone and level of discipline. Being human, kids make mistakes. It goes without saying that among our prime tasks as fathers is to help our children understand that they’ve done something wrong, why it’s wrong and why it shouldn’t happen again. Of course, we often need to remind ourselves of the same. Recently, I had the unenvi- able task of confronting the insidious crime of theft. The situation: taking my 5-year-old son to my friend’s for a weekend getaway. After the weekend, unbe- knownst to me, two alien toys surreptitiously had made the trip with us. Alien toys that did not belong to me or my child. My son was questioned before departure if he had any knowledge of their loca- tion. He lied to my friend, and then again to me when I my friend called about the missing objects on the drive home (yes, I was talking on my cell while driving. If you can honestly say you don’t do it also, then feel free to contact me for chastisement). Basically, after we got home, I checked his things, found the toys, and had to decide how to respond. This is where things can get tricky. My first impulse was to really let him have it. I was embar- rassed and angry. These are the times that it is very im- portant as a parent to take a deep breath and do a quick appraisal of the situation. This was the first time we’d ever dealt with this situation. I’d never had a talk with him to tell him how wrong stealing is. Certainly, at 5, he understands this is wrong. If not, why lie? But given he’d never heard as much from me, I realized I had to go easy on him at punishment time. Yet he needed to under- stand the severity of his actions. In very harsh tones, I told him how wrong he was. I said how terrible it was that my friend let us stay with her, how she showed us such a great time and he responded by lying to her and stealing. Just to make sure I got the required amount of tears, I told him how embar- rassed and disappointed I was, which, if you ask me, are basically the worst words any child can hear from his parents. When I felt he understood how serious I was, I switched tactics. I let him know that he had made a mistake that was never to be repeated, but that I still loved him. I told him it would be our secret unless it ever hap- pened again, which adds a bit more motivation to ensure that it doesn’t. Also, adding another level to the situation is the fact that my “friend” is really my girl- friend. I tried my best to give him attention equal to what she was receiving, but I know there was still a good amount of jealousy. I wanted him to know that even though he had made a mistake, I was still going to love him and be there for him. His punishment will continue this weekend when she comes to visit and he has to return her things and apologize. _ Mickey O’Chavez Mickey O’Chavez and Raul O’Toole are two single dads raising young kids in the Oneonta area. Shannon Gregory Rejected, spilling drinks The day I graduated college, my mom was so proud of me. I couldn’t help but won- der, did she re- ally have the right to be? I did not do the impossible and I had no job lined up. The same plan has been in place in my life since I was 12 years old: graduate col- lege, get a great desk job and live somewhere with sand and surf. So, in the past few months, I have done what lots of college grads do _ apply to millions of jobs. words. August Johnson Writing under deadline “The difference between an artist and a writer is a deadline.” I heard that in a writing class once. At the time it seemed absurd that a due date somehow changed the artistic quality of one’s Scores of great wordsmiths submitted monthly or weekly writings to magazines. I said something like that to the teacher. He assured me I would figure it out one day. Like the story should go, one day I was approached to write a column. Assuming 300 to 500 words a month was as easy as 17 words a day. I figured it couldn’t be much harder then writing a haiku a day. Apparently I agreed, overlooking the deadline. Until that fateful day, I realized I had nothing writ- ten and countless topics to choose from. Naturally, I panicked. Then I wondered what my favorite writers would do. You can tell a lot about a writer by how he or she handles a deadline. Bukowski wouldn’t be awake before noon. Thomp- son would probably be scarping the Nembutal out of a hotel room carpet in an at- tempt to get the phone to stop speaking Chinese. Bourdain would get up hung- over and try to remem- ber what country he is in. Then again if I could ask Bu- kowski for help, he would call me a “pussy.” Thompson would have no way to be sure if it was me, him or the telephone talking. Bourdain would say, “Screw the editors,” but he could always go back to cooking. I’m pretty sure, the writ- ers I care about ignore the pressure, do what they love and hand in an article. I should do the same. Topic ... Poverty, poetry, pottery, make-up, break- ups, tax-cuts, the moral implica- tions of giving small animals booze, media bi- ases and problem in the news, with so many worthy topics abound: how to choose? A writing teacher I had once said the key to interesting writing is writing what you know. Now I know about writing on deadline. Next, giving small animals booze? August Johnson is a senior at SUNY Oneonta. And some of the inter- views I’ve been on have made the top 10 most embarrassing moments of my life, including one where I mixed up the company I was interview- ing with and one I had merely applied to work at. Some interviews were like interrogations, bright lights burning my face. Interviewers would stare me down as I stammered responses to their generic questions. And then they would say how nice it was to meet me and they would con- tact me soon. And then ing that four-year computer science degree. Wait- ressing might be a field I could excel at, minus tripping on chairs while simultaneously dumping drinks on customers. But it’s not where I feel I belong. I’m constantly being told “you should feel lucky, you’re making money and have a con- stant schedule,” however it’s hard to be enthusi- astic. So here I am in a position more than a few recent college grads find themselves in. I’ve put in the work, and come away with a degree. But until I find that dream cubicle job _ seriously, I want one _ I’ll work on not spilling Coke on customers. Shannon Gregory is a recent college graduate working as a waitress and looking for a dream desk job. not contact me soon. Despite my best efforts, which included reviewing a 20-page packet of com- mon interview questions and a 10-page paper on “Behavior during an interview,” none of my attempts ended well. It’s been like going on one bad blind date after another. Rejection after rejection. It’s not only bad for the psyche, but exhausting, too. I’ve learned “entry level position” does not mean first-real-job-ever and no-experience-required anymore. I should say now that I’m not totally unemployed. I am a waitress _ really utiliz- This whole thing is online! Oct. 14, 2010 O-Town Scene 5

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