(Not) too cool for school

by Jennifer on March 5, 2008

harley-davidson.jpgTo the dad who showed up at our school yesterday on his Harley (sans helmet),

Very nice bike, beautiful. Great lines, very shiny. However, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t point out a couple of things RE: how to look cool on a cool-looking bike.

1. Ditch the green, button-up short sleeved shirt. Van Heusen was never meant for the Harley.

2. And the khaki trousers.

3. Ditto the loafers.

Here’s what I’m thinking: If you spent an assload of money on a bike that nice, you’ve given some thought to your mid-life crisis how you like to be perceived in the world. But seriously? We’re in the suburbs. And that makes us sarcastic and cynical. We’re a bunch of over-caffeinated, NPR-ed know-it-alls, and we’re bound to laugh at you if you show up like that. Yeah, I did.

Since a cluster of other dads circled around you when you pulled up totally f’ing up the car line protocol, I can only imagine your intent was to show off your new toy. I don’t have a problem with that, as I’m a bit of a show-off myself.

But, I just have a few suggestions for the next time you decide to pick up your kid on that gorgeous, shining mass of an unsafe child-transport vehicle:

Wear a pair of jeans. Not dad jeans (you know them–they look about as good as mom jeans do on women). Choose well. It’s important.

Rock a t-shirt. Maybe even a rock t-shirt. But it had better look like you actually got it at a concert at least 20 years ago. No holes, though, or saggy, stretchy t-shirts.

Want my pick? A plain white tee. You can’t go wrong.

harness-boots.jpgSkip the loafers and the sneakers, and go with a pair of these. But wear them around the house a bit to scuff ’em up. I suggest the garage. You know, where the tools are (you’ll fit right in). Maybe then, we’ll think you maybe wore them inside at least one biker bar. Or to Sturgis. If the scuff marks are convincing enough, we’ll take that leap of faith. Because we want to believe.

And for gods sake, wear a helmet. (I assume, though I didn’t get a chance to look, that you had one for your kid.) I know it doesn’t look so cool, but neither do brains on the sidewalk. In front of the elementary school. It doesn’t have to be gigantic and bulky, with wireless reception and a microphone, but put something on your head. Besides, you can totally live that moment when you pull up and take off your helmet in front of the 100 or so moms who, yes, will be watching. As long as you undersell the moment and maybe have a toothpick in your mouth, you’ll be fine.

Oh, and next time? Don’t cut in line. That’s never cool.

That’s all. Just trying to help.


A concerned mom


Dateline: Kitchen table, yesterday morning. I was ushering the kids through the morning business, trying to keep us on schedule. Then, from down the hallway, my son calls to me and says something I never, ever like to hear first thing in the morning. Or ever. But especially not anytime before 8:00 a.m.

“Mom! The toilet’s plugged!”

Shit, I think. shit.shit.shit. (On occasion, I try to correlate my swearing to the situation at hand.)

And the Girl, who is sitting next to me, lights up like it’s Christmas morning, throws her arms wide open like she’s on Broadway, and belts out,

“Haaaap-py BIRTHDAY!” There may have been jazz hands.

She sure knows how to give a good gift, that one. (Naturally, she was the guilty party–she’s incapable of using less than half a roll at a time.) It wasn’t even my birthday.

And me? All I want to say is, “Oh, how sweet. You shouldn’t have.” Really. You shouldn’t have.

Except I was laughing my ass off.


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen March 5, 2008 at 9:28 pm

I LOVE your description of the suburbians. Since I am one, I know you hit it on the head. I hope uncool dad takes your advice and becomes a bit more cool and a little less annoying.

“Happy Birthday!” That’s hilarious! My boys all seem to be uncapable of flushing their turds down the toilet. I am constantly telling them, “If it’s brown, flush it dooooown!” As if they ever listen to me anyway. Seriously.

chaotic joy March 5, 2008 at 9:54 pm

This weekend my 3 year old and I stopped at Starbucks for coffee juice and madeleines. We couldn’t find a seat because the place was full of bikers. Seriously a whole Starbucks full chaps, bandanna, and Harley jacket wearing bikers drinking lattes before their Saturday drive. I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Mrs. Chili March 6, 2008 at 5:05 am

My vote is for a black tee shirt, but I kind of like the bad boys. And I won’t even give a second look if there’s no helmet. Responsible is the new sexy.

We have low-flow toilets which TOTALLY negate their enviro-friendly benefits by having to be flushed multiple times to get certain jobs done, and I’ve gotten really good at unplugging with the cleaning brush. HATE. THAT.

Melissa March 6, 2008 at 7:07 am

TOO funny! I’m so glad you are up to taking the dad to task on his lame-o biker clothes. You sum up suburbia so well. The kid wishing you happy birthday after clogging the pipes? She sounds like a riot!

Meg March 6, 2008 at 7:30 am

Awwh…life in Suburbia…and the dads who maybe weren’t so cool in high school…ya think? I love a man on a Harley baby, yes I do…in leathers at that, with a bad ass bandana too…okay, okay back to reality… Poor guy, I hope he gets his “cool” act together! And, YES, he needs to “show off” the helmet he isn’t wearing BIG TIME!

As for the clogged up toilet…that is one thing (probably the ONLY thing) I won’t do around here, YUK….lol!

Hey…by the way, you have something over at “my” place…teehee!

de March 6, 2008 at 8:06 am

“there may have been jazz hands.”


Kellan March 6, 2008 at 8:53 am

I loved the letter – especially the boots (wear them in the garage – HA). And, yes, distraction is often a very good tactic – too cute, your girl!!

Hey – Thanks for the prayers for our baby – we appreciate it! See you soon. Kellan

Kelley March 6, 2008 at 9:11 am

I can’t stop giggling. Your daughter sounds like a riot.

we_be_toys March 6, 2008 at 9:43 am

Nice…! You can’t say the kids never give you anything!

Lovely letter to the Yuppie mid-life-crisis dad. Some very good tips for achieving cooldom – it sounded like he really needed a little help – are you going to casually drop a copy of your letter nearby, when he pulls up next time?
Ugh – carpoop – ugh.

Emily March 6, 2008 at 9:56 am

The outfit would be fine, provided he was just riding the bike for the pleasure of it. But the lack of helmet? And putting a kid on the bike? WAAAAY uncool.

dragonfly March 6, 2008 at 10:05 am

No helmet = Very Bad Idea.

Love the jazz hands bit. I had to laugh at the whole toilet story, because when I was a kid I probably would have done something like shout “happy birthday!” too. 🙂

Molly March 6, 2008 at 10:48 am

And to think that the poor guy probably thought he was a total bad-ass and relished the chance to show off his “rebel” side. I really don’t think I have ever seen anyone on a bike in khakis. Don’t you just know his wife was cringing inside when/if she saw him on his bike in his accountant attire!

ByJane March 6, 2008 at 12:27 pm

maybe his momma wouldn’t let him out any other way….

Brenda March 6, 2008 at 1:22 pm

You always seem to know when I need something totally hilarious to start my day! Wednesdays are horrendous for me (8-3 with grades K-8, then 5:30-7:30 with preschool – grade 8. God help those teachers that do this on a daily basis!) So I got a late start this morning–totally disrupting my day, but I had this terrific post to make laugh so hard I nearly forgot everything else!

I have a great sense of humor (at least I think so), but just ordinary stuff doesn’t amuse me so much. I LOVE it when I can guffaw, and I certainly did today. (Small Child kept asking, “What?! What’s so funny? Mommy, WHY are you laughing? What?!…….”) The “biker” especially. I do think you should print copies and let the wind take them around the school yard in hopes that he would SOMEHOW get it!

Jazz hands. Happy Birthday. TOOOOOO funny!

Thank you for making my day!

HRH March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

It is too late for that dad. There is no undoing the image that you painted. ever. even with the boots.

Hatchet March 6, 2008 at 3:18 pm

You slay me! I love the kitchen scene and I hope that dad brought a helmet for his kid.

Little hope, but it would be nice to think he wasn’t a complete Squid.

Betsy Bird March 6, 2008 at 3:24 pm

The image of the biker dude in the green short-sleeve Van Heusen will entertain me for the rest of the day. Not to step on any toes, but guys like that who cart their kids around while not wearing a helmet themselves sure seem to be compensating for something — or the lack of it.

Amanda March 6, 2008 at 3:38 pm

I think I’m going to have one of those toilet moment soon. My son is putting all sorts of things in there. Rubber duck, sieve from the kitchen, balls…..but not what he’s SUPPOSED to be putting in there 🙂

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I didn’t even realize that the BlogHer ads had listed my blog already.

Slow Panic March 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm

This not Jodi, it is her asshole husband who found her feeding her blog addiction.

I admit I liked your post.

See I’m just a little assholeish.


cce March 6, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Wait a minute, did I miss something? When did it become okay to drive your elementary school kid around on the back of a motorcycle? Jesus, forget the outfit, what a turd to think his driving good enough to warrant a risk like that. I know, I sound a thousand year’s old, but motorcycles are sooooo dangerous.

Our toilet almost never flushes without a dramatic moment of plunging and over flowing and loud cursing. I feel you on that one, definitely!

Sandy (Momisodes) March 6, 2008 at 5:10 pm

OMG! I’m laughing so hard here! The suburbian description + jazz hands had be rolling!

Julie Pippert March 6, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Those boots are HAWT. But I also love, err umm would suggest not per se a white tee but maybe one of those rocker style boy tees. Dark colors. Gray. or black. Not that I have an image in my mind. LOL

Tootsie Farklepants March 6, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Oh boy. What a dork.

And I’m sorry that you were met with jazz hands and stubborn poop first thing in the morning.

Mrs. G. March 6, 2008 at 7:03 pm

No helmet is a complete and total turn off. Sam Elliot would wear a helmet!

Lisa March 6, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Ha!!! Totally dying over the wanna-be biker. Maybe he wore no helmet since his brain could not be more damaged than it already was?!
I pray the kids had helmet though….really.

flutter March 6, 2008 at 10:12 pm

*dances through your comments, doing jazz hands*

Landon March 7, 2008 at 7:54 am

Hilarious! Both of them.

Manic Mommy March 8, 2008 at 9:14 am

A daddy pulled up on his bike yesterday at preschool – with helmet but still…come on.

To any male over 30 on a motorcycle, I just want to yell out “Sorry about your penis!”

JCK March 11, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Advice to Dads and Happy Birthday surprises! You’ve covered them all! 🙂

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