EppsNet Archive: Fathers and Sons

See You in Hell

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Greetings from the infernal regions! Man arrested at New Mexico compound was allegedly training child to commit school shootings — NBC News Here’s a photo of the gentleman in question, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj: One of the few black men in America actively involved in his children’s lives. Kudos, sir! See you in Hell . . . Read more →

Tom Wolfe, 1930-2018

Everything that bloggers have done for journalism — and I personally think they’ve done a lot — Wolfe did it first, he did it 30 years earlier, and he did it better. And I think we’re still catching up to him. — Lev Grossman Tom Wolfe had a rare combination of ideas, insight and a virtuosity with language. A lot of writers do well with at most one out of the three. You can read Tom Wolfe quotes all over the web but I include one of my favorites (from The Bonfire of the Vanities) here: Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of… Read more →

If You Act Like an Idiot, I’ll Kill You

When my son was growing up, I found a lot of opportunities to point to someone else’s kid and say, “You see what he just did? Don’t do that.” When I saw a kid acting like an idiot, I assumed the parents were idiots . . . the kid either learned it from the parents or the parents allowed it to happen. So if my kid were to act like an idiot, I assume other people would think I’m an idiot. A friend of mine recently shared some advice he got from his dad growing up. I’ve paraphrased it as the title of this post. Of course killing your own children is going too far, but in a figurative sense, I believe this is good advice and I endorse it . . . Read more →

The Family Nut Tree

A brother of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was arrested in Los Angeles on child pornography charges. Their father was a bank robber once on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. The nuts didn’t fall far from the nut tree in the Paddock family . . . Read more →

To Young Women Considering a Career in Technology

You’ve probably read a lot of articles about how sexist and awful the culture is for women in technology. I think if anything deters young women from technology careers, it’s this glut of articles saying how sexist and awful the culture is. I’ve worked in software development for 30 years. In my experience — and feel free to discount this because I’m not a woman — the culture is not tough for women. If anything, men give women the benefit of the doubt because they’d like to have more women around. As Holden Caulfield used to say, “I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.” Yes, I have seen bad things happen to women in tech, but I’ve seen bad things happen… Read more →

Some Things You Never Get Used To

Our whole family has been seeing the same doctor for about 15 years. I had an appointment with her today and she was a nervous wreck. She told me she’s flying to Houston tonight with her son, who’s starting college at Rice University. I’ve already had a child move away for college so she asked, “How did you handle this? I feel like I have a rock on my chest.” “Well, it’s a challenge when you love someone so much and they leave. Maybe prescribe yourself some Xanax.” “What do you do at the end? How do the parents leave? Does everyone just hug and say goodbye?” “You probably have to follow your heart on that. My goal was not to cry in front of the boy and I did accomplish that. I hugged him, I said ‘I love you, I’m proud of you,’ he walked into the dorm and… Read more →

Wandering Boy

I hope he’s warm and I hope he’s dry And that a strangers eye is a friendly eye And I hope he has someone close by his side And I hope that he’ll come home Where is my wandering boy tonight? Where is my wandering boy? If you see him, tell him everything is alright Push him towards the light Where is my wandering boy? — Randy Newman, “Wandering Boy” Read more →

World Series Ring

Our boy went to Chicago on a business trip . . . I was talking to him on the phone when he texted this picture from a Cubs game. “That’s a nice ring,” I said. “It’s a World Series ring.” “Where’d you get it?” “One of the ushers let me wear it for the picture.” “Ushers get World Series rings?” “Everybody in the organization got a ring.” I guess if you only win a World Series every hundred years or so, you can afford rings for the entire organization. Although I suspect the rings for the actual players have a little extra bling . . . Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: The Accountant

[imdblive:id(tt2140479)] The Ben Affleck character is at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, which means, among other things, that he has no social skills. I also have no social skills. It’s exhausting just to be polite to people most of the time, let alone trying to be fun and interesting. I’d like to be diagnosed with something that gives me a medical excuse for not having to do that. The Ben Affleck character also has some cool and useful skills that he learned from his dad, whereas my dad never taught me anything except how to hold a grudge (not always useful). Rating: The Accountant [imdblive:plot] Director: Gavin O’Connor Cast: Ben Affleck Christian WolffAnna Kendrick Dana CummingsJ.K. Simmons Ray KingJon Bernthal Brax IMDb rating: [imdblive:rating] ([imdblive:votes] votes) Read more →

Good to Great

Browsing a bookstore with my son . . . he checks in to say that he was skimming through Good to Great. “Have you read it?” he asks. “No, and I’ll tell you why . . .” “Because you’re satisfied with just being good?” he interrupts. Read more →

Dad vs. Stupidity

I overheard one of my colleagues saying to another, “My dad is really opposed to any kind of stupidity.” I passed that along to my own son: “If you want to describe me in that way — ‘My dad is opposed to stupidity in all forms’ — it’s okay with me. I mean, you don’t have to if you’re not feeling it but I can think of worse ways to be remembered.” Read more →

Harper Lee, 1926-2016

28 Sep 2008 I took my son to the bookstore to buy To Kill a Mockingbird for his English class. They had two paperback editions available — one with a fancy binding for $15.95 and another one for three dollars less. I pulled the cheaper one off the shelf and my son asked, “Why are we getting that one?” I said, “Because it’s three dollars less for the same book.” “I like the other cover better,” he said. “Gimme three dollars.”   23 Oct 2008 FATHER: Would you take out the trash please? SON: Are you KIDDING?! I’m doing homework! I’ll take out the trash if you read To Kill a Mockingbird and tell me what each chapter is about. FATHER: I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. You want to know what it’s about? ‘Racism is Bad.’ Now take out the garbage.   RIP Harper Lee Read more →

Lover of Life, Singer of Songs

I know the lyrics to a lot of songs . . . not current hits so much but if we’re listening to an oldies type of radio station, which we, the Epps family, are doing in the car right now, I pretty much know every song they play. “I should be a singer,” I announce. “I would have a tremendous repertoire of songs.” “But you can’t sing,” my son says. “Hmmm . . . that’s a legitimate point that I don’t really have an answer for.” Read more →

I Am Identified as the Worst Father of All Time

I noticed a significant uptick in traffic to EppsNet in the past week . . . a check of the referrer logs indicates that it’s coming from Reddit, specifically from a series of posts on the hapas subreddit (here’s an example) identifying me as the worst father of all time and an overall despicable human being. (If you’re as much in the dark as I was about what a “hapa” is, it’s a person of partial Asian or Pacific Islander descent. My son, for example, would be a “hapa,” which is how the hapas subreddit took an interest in EppsNet.) Ironically, the posts cited on Reddit as evidence of my awfulness are — to me, anyway — either pretty obviously not intended to be taken at face value (some are attributed to an imaginary author named Hostile Witness, to make it even more obvious), or completely on point, or both.… Read more →

Women’s World Cup: USA 5, Japan 2

I turned on the TV just as the announcer was shouting “2-0, USA!” so I thought they must be showing highlights of the game against Germany. It’s only 4:06 p.m., the match probably hasn’t even started yet. Then I sent a text to my kid, “This will teach me to tune in to soccer games on time.” I sent a second text saying I thought when the announcer yelled “2-0, USA!” they must be showing Germany highlights. Then I sent a third text, “My god in the time it took me to type that they scored two more goals.” View image | gettyimages.com Read more →

e e cummings wishes you a happy fathers day

my father moved through dooms of love through sames of am through haves of give, singing each morning out of each night my father moved through depths of height this motionless forgetful where turned at his glance to shining here; that if (so timid air is firm) under his eyes would stir and squirm newly as from unburied which floats the first who, his april touch drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates woke dreamers to their ghostly roots and should some why completely weep my father’s fingers brought her sleep: vainly no smallest voice might cry for he could feel the mountains grow. Lifting the valleys of the sea my father moved through griefs of joy; praising a forehead called the moon singing desire into begin joy was his song and joy so pure a heart of star by him could steer and pure so now and now so… Read more →

Thoughts in the Shower

If I just stay in here and never come out, maybe the graduation won’t happen and he’ll still be my little boy . . . Read more →

Now What?

We’re in Berkeley for Casey’s graduation tomorrow . . . we got a text from him earlier this week saying “I just took my last two college exams.” Thus ends a journey that began 17 years ago on the first day of kindergarten, which I feel like I remember too vividly for it to have been 17 years ago, but it was. Now what? I don’t mean for him . . . he’s got a job lined up in San Francisco. I mean for me. I’ve had the milestone birthdays — the ones where your age ends in zero — that seem to depress a lot of people . . . they didn’t bother me at all. But my boy becoming an independent person in the world is really disorienting me . . . Read more →

See You in Hell

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Greetings from the underworld! I just read about a father and son teaming up to punch out the son’s high school basketball coach because the teen wasn’t getting enough playing time. What a heartwarming story! A lot of young black men don’t have a male role model in their lives. See you in Hell . . . Read more →

Happy 21st Birthday, Casey

On this date 21 years ago — July 28, 1993 — our son Casey was born. On his first birthday, we took him to Chuck E Cheese. On his 21st birthday, he’s in San Francisco having dinner with his girlfriend so we have to wish him a happy birthday over the phone. “I remember the day you were born like it was last week,” I say. “I was an integral part of it.” “Yeah, so was I,” he says. Right, but he doesn’t remember it like I do. And I don’t want to mention it on his special day, but he didn’t really do anything either. His mom and I did all the work and yet he gets all the glory and recognition. Think about that. “Happy birthday. I love you.” Read more →

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