bear
No...I wasn't born Rowboat.

My wife gave me the name. About twenty years ago. It's what she calls me still.

Why Rowboat? Well...I'm the first to admit I'd be a lousy speedboat. And I'm way too shy to be a showboat. And way too weak to be a tugboat. And too gloomy to be a loveboat. And (sadly) not swashbuckling enough to be a dreamboat. And no one wants to be called dinghy. So that left rowboat. Nothing fancy, but great to have around when the ship starts sinking. And they smell good in the rain.

When I was in first or second grade I wanted people to call me Fred. No one did. These things happen. But if rowboats could name themselves, I bet most of them would want to be called Fred.
gator
I never sing in public, but I was recently horrified to discover I've become one of those people who distractedly whistles movie musicals on the street. Not often. But notably more than once or twice. Beyond alarming. Usually while walking home after dropping my daughter at school. Am not sure what this means, but it can't be goodsubmarine.

My daughter will sing for anyone who can't run away fast enough. No one will ever call her Rowboat. Or Fred. She's 75% showboat. 12% speedboat. 10% loveboat. 2% tugboat. 1% yellow submarine.

She's decided to be a candy corn for Halloween. She was going to be a coin because it's an easier costume to make than a pile of zombie postcards. She is not at all interested in thinking about how hard a costume might be to make, or how impractical it might be to walk around in, or how unintelligible it might be to anyone other than herself. But, to be fair, she is only eight.
candy corns

stampThat being said, I'm the one who usually has to make the costume at the last minute and listen to her complain about how uncomfortable it is or how it was impossible to walk through doorways to get candy. Which is why I suggested a coin. She was a stamp last year and liked that people knew what she was and others of us liked that it was easy to make. But I made the mistake of making some sculpey candy corns the other day and now she wants to be a one-eyed cany corn.

rubyBy the way, candy corns don't have two eyes. If you thought they did, I'm sorry to report you're mistaken. As is everyone who's drawn them with two. Sorry. I don't make the rules. I also never dress up for Halloween. My dog never dresses up for Halloween either. She hates Halloween. Too many strangers ringing the doorbell. And she doesn't like surprises. Like plastic bags that suddenly (emptily) shift in the wind. Or someone not looking like how they're supposed to look. She doesn't like that one bit. But she hates shifty plastic bags even more.

bi orange splotSpeaking of things not looking like they're supposed to, one of my favorite picture books is Daniel Pinkwater's The Big Orange Splot. It's about a guy named Mr. Plumbean, who lives on a very neat street where everyone's house looks the same. And how he turns a random mishap into the fullest expression of his dreams. This might make the book sound fruity or trite, but it's one of those seemingly effortless feats of mind-scrubbing joy that the best picture books somehow manage to pull off.

circusSpeaking of pulling things off, please don't ever give me a turtleneck. I won't wear it. Same with cowboy boots. Or scarves. Wearing boots and scarves and turtlenecks is not one of the fullest expressions of my dreams. Neither is getting dressed up. Or hugging strangers. Or smiling for the camera. I dislike smiling for the camera even more than my dog hates haunted plastic bags.

My favorite color is purple. My favorite smell is burnt leaves. My favorite meal is steak and corn. If we ever meet I'm sure I'd be delighted to shake your hand. And talk about you. But there's slim chance I will want to hug you. Or talk about me. Nothing personal. Honest.

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