My Short Basketball Diary

1989 – I am 6. I start to understand that basketball is something tall people do. Dad plays in a league in Princeton, NJ. He seems to take this more seriously than the games we play at home: hide and seek, Sorry, and checkers. The men are all taller than me and wear short shorts. There is lots of yelling, sweating, and long, hairy legs.

1994 – I play games of horse and one-on-one with dad at my elementary. The courts are small, with basketball keys five feet wide and 3-point arcs closer to the hoop than they should be. We play full court games. He takes it easy on me, but not too easy. Some of my shots still get swatted away.

1995 – My parents photograph me in the backyard wearing Shaq’s brand new Reebok Shaq Attaq shoe with the Pump. I rep Duke with a new Starter, pullover jacket. I stretch my arms out as long and as straight as possible, mimicking Jordan’s famous Wings poster by Nike.

1997 – I try out for and make a club basketball squad, but the coach doesn’t play me that much. He plays his son a lot. His son’s friends play a lot too. At the end of one game in particular, I remember Dad giving the coaches a piece of his mind. Maybe I was a little embarrassed or surprised, but I remember feeling proud. I had the most potential of any player on the team and my dad knew that. He stood up for that.

1999 – Longmont High School. Spent my junior year on the JV squad. My coach was a horrible, bitter man because he was short, among other things, and he had a temper without any basketball knowledge. After a loss he threw a shoe at a locker and dented it. A teammate had some peculiar scratches on his back and we all learned in the locker room that his girlfriend had scratched him there during sex. My jaw dropped.

1999 – The last game of the season was in Greeley. My coach decides to play me for most of the game, a welcome change. I play my heart out and make it clear to him that he doesn’t know what he is doing. It felt amazing.

2000 – I do not go out for basketball my senior year. This is when I put it together that I don’t have to play this sport. I excel at swimming and devote the year to that. I am happy to leave the politics and drama of team games. I finally feel free of the expectations to be amazing at basketball because I am tall.

2004 – I make it to the University of Wyoming as an NCAA DI athlete in the sport that was for a long time, option B, swimming. Not bad. In the off season we play pickup basketball games. What I have athletically lacked up to this point, I now finally have after three years at Wyoming, a budding confidence in my athletic ability, an attitude shifting from I can to I will. I see the potential my dad saw in 1997 when he confronted my coaches after that game. During one pickup game in particular, a swimming teammate told me after I drilled another three-pointer in his face, “You should be playing basketball for us.” Heard five years ago, I would have laughed and forgotten about it, but now I agreed with him.

2010 – I coach NCAA DI swimming in Milwaukee. In the spring I play basketball games with the men’s team. I get far too heated during one game and yell at a swimmer of mine for not playing basketball well enough. I feel awful and embarrassed. I apologize, but I can tell I hurt him.

2010 – What I realize now is that I am extremely blessed to have the talent to have potentially played a different sport at the DI level. In another life, it would be amazing to prioritize basketball and to see what happens. These swimmers of mine, although very talented in swimming, some far faster than me, likely could not say the same thing. Of course, they aren’t 6’9″, but to this day I believe what set me apart on the court during those rare basketball games throughout my life were the games against Dad. He’d play. He’d coach. He’d praise. He’d criticize. He believed in me so that I would eventually believe in myself. That’s a rare gift, rarer than reaching 6 foot 9 inches.

To Suzi



Suzi, just last Christmas, with my family.

A couple of weeks ago, the family gathered for a reunion, one that my Grandma Suzi played a role in planning, but one that she did not make it to. She passed away in June after an amazing 91 years on Earth. Naturally, part of the reunion weekend turned into a memorial for her, during which any family member was free to speak about Suzi. I chose to write something that day based on a conversation I had with Suzi the month before she died. This is what I said:

In May, after I went for a run in Fort Collins, I was sitting with Suzi in her kitchen. She asked me how far I ran. I told her. Then she said something that struck me as profound, but to her it was a simple recollection. She said, “I remember running. I loved that feeling.”

In that moment after she said that I tried to picture a time when I could no longer run. It made me sad, reflecting on the fragility of our bodies, and on the days that have already passed by, specifically the days I chose not to run. 

Upon further reflection, I started to think of other blessings in my life that have an expiration date, like being able to pick up my son and hold him with one arm. Or being at home with my kids. Or being able to outsmart my kids or being able to outrun them. At some point, if I live long enough, I will speak about many of the things I love now in the past tense. So I must do them now. We must do them now while we still can. 

That’s what Suzi taught me in her last weeks of life. Suzi did everything she could do until the very last moments she could do them. And she even did some things well past the point that she could actually do them…like driving. 

Stubborn to the very end, but Suzi just wanted to live life. She spoke about running in the past tense, but more often than not when speaking about the things she loved she spoke in the present tense. May we all be that lucky, that wise, and this loved. 

Camden’s Birth

Yesterday @ANNELAMOTT tweeted:

Okay everybody, it’s almost time to start writing. Main thing: put on some pants. Finish up your cup of coffee–no one here thinks you need more. You’re good. Now: butt in chair; deep breath; write something, badly.

Write something, badly. Too often I think I can’t write until I can sit down and write something, goodly. I have about four days a year, maybe, when I think that is a possibility. Thus, I don’t write that often. So, thank you, Anne, for tweeting this out like a punch to my gut. Here is something I will finish writing, badly. But I will not abandon the coffee. Not yet.

After a couple minutes of vigorous massage, Camden’s first cry pierced the atmosphere of the operating room. Life, new and loud, dirty and fragile, and a sweet, sweet noise, but what tugged at my heart was another noise I heard from elsewhere in the OR.

At 7am, that Saturday morning, we arrived at the hospital. Kate had gone into labor a couple of days before her scheduled C-section. Camden was breach, so as they would have done two days later, the doctors moved ahead with the operation, prepping Kate and handing me the biggest set of scrubs in the hospital.

Within an hour I was sitting outside the OR by myself as the anesthesiologist gave Kate a spinal block. The last time I was in this chair outside the OR, Kate was 26 weeks pregnant and we were having an emergency C-section. That time around I sat for two minutes as Kate’s spinal tap was administered, as doctors frantically scrubbed in, and as person after person filed past me through the double doors and into the OR. But this time I sat for 20 minutes as people casually prepared for another C-section, as I heard small talk and even laughter on the other side of those doors. The laid back, quiet atmosphere was surreal. The only thing familiar to me that Saturday morning was the chair, the door, and the closet-like feel to the space where spouses are made to wait until they are cleared to enter the OR. The expediency, the mood, the number of people in the OR, and the conversation were all different. All normal, I suppose. This is how C-sections at full-term proceed, we learned.

As I was allowed in, I started to take pictures. First of Kate on the operating table with a curtain rising up from her chest to shield our view and maintain a sterile environment. Then, a selfie of the two of us, five minutes before Camden arrived. From there, things moved quickly. The anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist stood by Kate, telling her when she might feel tugging or pressure. I readied myself to stand up and look over the curtains to glimpse my son for the first time.

By the time I was told to stand, Camden had already been placed on a warming bed, out of Kate’s sight. I leaned over and kissed Kate and then walked over to meet my son.

As I stood and watched a small team handle Camden during his first minutes of life, I knew something was not entirely okay. He was not making noise. His color was a little off, not pink yet. There were six hands on him, firmly massaging his whole body. One doctor was sucking a tremendous amount of fluid out of his mouth and nose.

I tried to keep things in perspective while I stood there. I had seen much worse. I had seen these docs with a much different demeanor. They were not there yet. They kept busily working on Camden, but did not appear worried. I kept reminding myself that this is a full-term baby. He will come around. He will come around.

First picture of Camden. 7 minutes old. 8:55am. 10/14/2017.

And then, he took a deep breath, and let out his long, first cry, which was answered by the sweet sound of Kate’s cry, the sweetest sound I heard that morning. For Kate, Camden had been out of sight since the doctors pulled him from her womb. She knew nothing of what was happening for that minute or two. The noise that came from her is truly a noise replicated at no other time than when a mother hears her baby for the first time. I could hear in it the anxiety washed away, the instantaneous connection of mother to son. Hearing it, I knew she loved him so much already, in a way only mothers can. To bear witness to that love is one of the single greatest blessings of fatherhood.

Sudafed is Dangerous

I confess I am fearful of wading into the topic of gun control, even in the wake of the disgusting tragedy in Las Vegas.

Already this shooting has faded from the headlines. Last week there were at least a few headlines about token Republicans saying they would be open to banning bump stocks or, at least, “looking into” bump stocks. What is there to look into? The NRA jumped in too, but the last thing I recall seeing about any looming regulation was that the NRA does not support a full ban on bump stocks.

I can feel the Las Vegas event already fading into the lengthy list of mass shootings, which haven’t produced an ounce of meaningful gun regulation. I so often think of the saying, if Sandy Hook didn’t change anything, nothing will. So, I too, expect nothing to happen in the wake of LV.

Well, nothing except this one thing. The NRA’s grip on politicians and gun rights voters will increase. The fear of the other, the fear of government, and the strong belief in conspiracy theories among the most fervent gun rights advocates and the NRA will grow its roots deeper in the people already in its grasp, from politicians to voters.

I heard about one person, a musician present in Las Vegas who now believes we should have more gun regulation in this country. One. Person. We are so entrenched in our beliefs that I could tell you to a T who would “like” an Instagram of mine from last week that featured a picture of Congress with the caption, “These cowards will probably do nothing again.” I was right.

The politician is bought by the NRA with a bone-in, dry-aged ribeye or by a campaign donation. The person who argues again and again against any increase in gun regulation is, in my opinion, ruled by an irrational fear.

I too have a fear of mass shootings, not necessarily of me being a victim in one, but of anyone else being a victim in one. I believe this is a rational fear.

I close with another irrational fear. The fear of Sudafed. The fear that we are all going to turn into Walter White if you sell us a couple boxes of it.

“Can I get 2 boxes of Sudafed?”

“Sorry, by law you can only buy one at a time.”

“Okay then just the one box of Sudafed and these 7 guns.”


Las Vegas

In the wake of another mass shooting I am still trying to process my thoughts and, perhaps, eventually get them down on paper. In the meantime, I am going to share a few things about the shooting and about gun control that I have come across on the internet and Twitter in the days since America’s latest national embarrassment. I do not necessarily agree with everything below, but I certainly found the statements and articles thought-provoking regardless of whether I outright agree with the content or opinions expressed.

First of all, this, from an email sent out by my church: How long, how long, how long will we ignore God’s call?

This Vox article is excellent. It is very informative and the author does an excellent job in sourcing statistics. “The research is clear: gun control saves lives.

The in-depth study referenced multiple times in the Vox article can be found here if you missed the link in the article.

Repeal the Second Amendment? This guy suggests it in the NY Times.

Lastly, a collection of tweets, which I will leave uncensored:

“i mean i fucking love pizza but if pizza violently killed 30,000 people a year i’d be like okay maybe none of us should have pizza.” – @DaveKingThing

“Who cares if Kim Jong-un gets a nuke? Nukes don’t kill people, PEOPLE kill people. …see how fucking stupid that sounds?” – @BCunningham215

“One shoe bomber tried to blow up a plane and now we take off our shoes. 1518 mass shootings since Sandy Hook and Congress has done NOTHING.” – @MichaelSkolnik

“The GOP insists that the Vegas shooter’s gun arsenal is “a right,” but medical treatment for his 500+ survivors is merely “a privilege.” – @thedesirina


“For whites, ‘it’s just something that happened [or happens, or is the price of freedom according to O’Reilly].’ When it’s of another race, ‘this is how they are,’ and there are calls for law and order.” – Criminal justice professor @ Texas State University

Write Every Day

Do I have a piece of advice for new parents? Heck no! I am flying by the seat of my pants, making things up as I go along, convincing myself I am doing it the right way until I find out I am doing things completely wrong. I haven’t subscribed to a parenting magazine and I don’t listen to parenting podcasts. Maybe I should do one of those things. I know I would learn something, but then there is always the time.

Do I have the time? No. Sometimes. I don’t know. I probably do have the time, but remembering every little thing I am supposed to do during that time–when she is sleeping or at preschool–is very, very difficult. Many of the tasks seem overwhelming or too time-consuming, like if I take time to peruse through a parenting magazine for an hour and London simultaneously takes a short nap, all I can say about my day is that I read a parenting magazine. Forgive me, but I want more out of my precious free time. By now I have probably given you the impression that I have no interest in learning about parenting or becoming a better parent. That is just not the case.

What got me on this topic of advice was a question a friend asked me months ago. It was not a blanket appeal for advice for new parents. The question was broader than that. What have I found to be helpful? What was a waste? What would I do differently? It was a multi-parter, but without the requirement of answering each part. I have got a simple answer for one part.

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 1.36.30 PMWhat have I found to be helpful?

Write a few words about every day you have with your child. When you are in the thick of it, you can think to yourself, I have no time or energy for this. This is often true. It’s okay if you get a few days behind and have to write an entry for a few days back. But there is another excuse, I’ll never forget this. Oh, how wrong you are. There is so much happening each and every day that there is no way to remember each and every day. Your kid can say something hilarious one moment and then the next you are rushing to get out the door and by the time you get back home you know that something great happened that morning but you can’t recall what it was that happened.

So, my advice, if you want to call it that, is to buy a one line a day journal that covers five years. I have written about these journals before. I just bought this one for my baby boy…arriving any day now. Name suggestions anyone?

For the days of firsts, you will likely have photos and videos of crawling, walking, talking,  and maybe even sitting on the pot. But if you don’t write it down, you will forget your kid’s reaction to his first popsicle, the name of a friend made at music class, or that day your kid takes a glorious three-hour nap (September 10, 2016).

Do not fret if you don’t write something every day. I do write something every day, but it took me a while to get into that habit. There are too many blank days in London’s first year and a half of this journal, but better to get into this habit later than never. Now, I am on a streak of 2+ years and her journal has become one of the most-prized possessions in my entire house.

If the house goes down in flames, I am getting my family out and then going back for this journal and, if I have the time, a backup of the hard drive on this computer (photos!). Everything else can be replaced.

But do not forget the journal. Even the sharpest of minds cannot bottle up all the precious days of infancy and toddlerhood.

Going Wireless

Nowadays, everything is going wireless. We have wireless video game controllers (which I still am not used to), wireless watches that answer phone calls (not perfected yet), wireless headphones, hands-free calling, and voice-activated phones. I remember being really impressed with wireless phones in the home.

Here at the Perica household we are going to keep the trend alive.


We are going to have a wireless baby. It’s true. I hear it is all the rage. We are late to the trend, but we were afraid to be early adopters of this newfangled technology.

Though going wireless will give us a freedom we have never had with a newborn, it will not be without sacrifice. For example, the option of being able to pump a meal into your newborn at just the right time regardless of whether they are awake to eat is truly handy. The food just pumps right out of an IV bag on a hospital rod in your living room and it goes right into your baby’s stomach via a tube that you get to insert yourself and feed down to the stomach.

Also nice, was knowing my baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation every second of the night by connecting more wires to the baby. If ever there was a slight hiccup, we would be notified in the middle of our sleep by a fire alarm basically.

Lastly, there was the convenience of forcing oxygen into my baby. With oxygen tanks on every floor of my house an_BKP2796d oxygen tanks in the car, in the stroller, in my backpack, I always knew the baby was getting oxygen. In the rare case my baby looked a little winded or was turning blue, all I had to do was walk over to the giant oxygen tank in my living room and let her loose up to 1/4 flow. Baby turns the right color, but falls asleep right before it is dinner time. Not to worry. This is why there is a nasogastric tube, feeding at the right time is always an option.

Now that people have been having wireless babies for many years, we feel comfortable moving onto this post-modern way of having a newborn. We are happy, blessed, and excited to welcome a wireless baby into our family in the very near future.

I Needed A Subject

As a creative, there is nothing quite as painful as being told what you’re putting out there is not very unique. When I was told this, it basically boiled down to, and I’m paraphrasing here, “People have gone through much worse…There are lots of stay-at-home parents…What you are doing isn’t special.”

These words struck me in a part of my heart that the world had not calloused over, a part that my own cynicism had not hardened. Their aim was true, but the words were not. Nevertheless, they hurt at the moment and they still hurt. They made me second guess. But they’re not going to stop me. I hope other creatives don’t let the people who don’t understand their art destroy their drive to make it.

My drive was fully realized the moment London arrived in my life, as I expressed to a dear friend in an email on March 24, 2014, nearly two months after London was born:

For a long time I’ve questioned whether I will ever write for a career, as I’ve dreamed of most of my life. Besides getting rejected from MFA programs four years ago, I’ve also had my doubts that I had anything worth writing about. Clearer than ever, I have an answer to that now. I’m not sure what form that might take, but I have a story to tell from this whole experience. This also dawned on me within the first day or two after London’s birth. And in a way, it felt like God was saying, “This is it. This is what you’ll write about.” That has rattled me, probably because it is the truth. Pure, distilled truth.

Years later, I don’t know exactly what form that might take and I recognize the story is just starting. But I hear the still, small voice…This is it. This is what you’ll write about.

Just the Two of Us

London and I sat in the sun on a warm February day. We took chalk and colored our_BKP8247 respective patches of concrete and bricks. There was no breeze, a few clouds, and a welcoming burst of warm Colorado air in the waning winter.

I colored stripes. London seemed more interested in collecting all the chalk and moving it from one location to another and then she would peel off to grab another rock to drop down the drain cover.

There wasn’t anything particularly extraordinary about our activity that morning, at least, that is what I thought at the time. But later that day I found out Kate was pregnant. A blessing, indeed, but I almost immediately recalled the simple morning I had with London, the hundreds of simple mornings. The two of us drawing with chalk, taking a break with her, and sitting on the brick wall at the end of the alley. Just the two of us. The  two of us.

I at once felt overjoyed at the thought of my family growing and mourned the days of London and I coming to an end. She is my life’s greatest work. My family is my greatest joy. If I don’t write about them, then why write about anything else? More to come…

The Truth Is Out There

Staying informed these days feels like a full-time job. After one month of Trump, I was convinced it had been 100 days. Thank God for journalists and truth-seekers. When you hear someone say, “How do you know what’s real or not these days?” give them some tips. If you read something that appears false, try to find the same story elsewhere. Search for sources. If Trump gives you a list of media companies, tweeting that they are the enemy of the American people, try getting your news from them or all of them. He only dislikes them because they factcheck him. The truth is out there. It’s not hard to find, at least not now while we still have a free, independent press.

If you aren’t subscribed to some newspaper or legitimate online news source right now, I ask, what in the hell are you thinking?

As he so often does, Andrew Sullivan is providing an interesting take in his weekly posts at NY Mag’s Daily Intelligencer. Here’s something from nearly two weeks ago. It feels like two months ago.

Their [Putin and Trump] domestic politics also have disturbing parallels. Trump would love nothing more, it seems to me, than to be an American Putin, treating the country as he long treated his own corporate fiefdom. He once explained he admired the autocrat because Putin has “great control over his country.” Like Putin, Trump would love to control the media. Like Putin, he has developed a leadership cult, devoted to the masses. Like Putin, he believes in a government that has “killers.” Like Putin, he threatens his geographic neighbors. Like Putin, he has cultivated an alliance of convenience with reactionary religious conservatives, to shore up his power. Like Putin, he believes there’s no moral difference between American democracy and Russia’s. Like Putin, he is enriching himself by public office. And, like Putin, he has targeted a minority as a scapegoat — Putin targeted the gays to gin up support while Trump targets the Muslims and Mexicans. And as Putin has RT as his conduit, so Trump has the Murdoch empire.


What seems like two years ago, I submitted a short essay to the Denver Post. To my delight, I heard back from them. They wrote that my essay was being considered for online publication as a guest commentary. A couple months passed and I hadn’t heard anything from them so I emailed the Post again. They wrote back, saying that my essay was still in the queue and I would be notified if it was published. I maintained my optimism for about one more month and then, like all writers often do, I gave up all hope. I started wearing Crocs, drinking Folgers, and bought tighty whities in bulk at Costco.

Skip ahead to 2017 and I am half-heartedly looking for writing gigs when I do a quick self Google. I was curious if any of my writing was available on the web still. One of the top results was a Denver Post page titled, “Guest Commentary: Tiny hands change everything.” I clicked on the link. I confirmed that it was my work and noted the date. July 17, 2015. UPDATED April 24, 2016.

The photo with the commentary is of an adult hand, one finger of which is grasped by a tiny baby. This is not a photo of hands I know. I could have provided a better photo if they had told me I was going to be published.

Like this one…


And then I read the words. Thoughtful, touching, but flawed. Like nearly everything I write, I only thought it was decent or, at best, good, at the time I wrote it. Now, almost two years later, it strikes me as insufficient, short, even a little cheesy. I would have been happier to link to it back in July of 2015. Linking to it now is anticlimactic. It feels like I am sharing a draft with you. Nonetheless, for it to appear on the Denver Post‘s website and for me to not share that on this blog does not feel right. Here is the article.

Have a great weekend.


At 3

I look at London and whisper, “You weren’t supposed to be three yet.” It is just like last year when I whispered to her, “You weren’t supposed to be two yet.” And the year before that when at 1 she was 9 months old to me.

We were robbed. At least that’s how it felt for a long time after London arrived. Robbed of that anticipation. Robbed of what this pregnancy thing was supposed to be like, especially for Kate. I have written about it before.

But as time has passed, healing has come. More and more I think of London’s premature birth at 26 weeks not as robbery, but as getting to receive the greatest gift I will ever receive three months early.

Though her birth and the following three and a half months in the hospital have left Kate and I with scars and, at times, profound distress, the experience is slowly shaping into a larger blessing as we watch London meet and exceed our expectations and the expectations of every healthcare professional she has seen over these three years.

London is less and less defined by the story of her birth, but for her mom and I, as we move further and further from that night, we are made more aware of how that night has shaped us into the parents, friends, and professionals we are today. We are aware that the passage of time will not completely fade that night in the minds of others, but throws it into sharp relief for us.

Emboldened by a Trump Victory, No, Not That Kind of Emboldened

Like many of you, I was late to bed on Election Day. The morning after, I was early to rise, unfortunately remembering right away that Donald Trump just became the next President-elect. I hadn’t slept well. I had a headache. And I had six miles to tick off the training calendar. Hoping that the run would distance me from America’s new reality, I welcomed the strides ahead more than I typically do before the sun rises.

The one thing that struck me as I ran my usual route was how quiet this morning was. There was little traffic in the usually congested roundabouts. Even less traffic on the sidewalks. I had a sense there weren’t as many people joyfully embracing the morning in the aftermath of this election. Of course, I live in Denver County, where Trump earned less than 19% support; I wasn’t expecting to run into a lot of cheery people. But the atmosphere was something different than disappointment. It was somber. I had a sense people were mourning in those dawn hours.

After my run, it was back to reality, which this morning included getting through breakfast with my two-year-old daughter without my coffee supplement. As soon as possible, we were out the door to replenish the coffee bean container in the kitchen. I drove to the nearest coffee shop, which for me, happens to be a Starbucks. In I walked with London and I had this peculiar feeling. I looked around at the clientele, not surprised to see the shop was already full of immigrants, as this particular Starbucks always has a very diverse customer base.

I was sad. I could feel it on my face. But the peculiar feeling was shame. For the first time in my life, I had a sense of shame from being white. I wanted to announce to the whole café, “It wasn’t my fault. I voted for Clinton.”

And I wanted to say that I was sorry. To the Muslim barista, I am sorry. To the nice Ethiopian men sharing the Starbucks patio with London and I, I am sorry. To the immigrants sipping their morning espresso, I am sorry.

We have heard a lot about those people who have been emboldened by a Trump victory. The KKK, the racists, the xenophobes, and all the bigots out there think it’s their time.

Well, show them that it isn’t. Be emboldened to greet with open arms, a smile, or a handshake, those who Trump and his deep base have disparaged. Women, immigrants, non-whites, Muslims, Jews, or Mitt Romney. You shouldn’t have to look far. Go out there and be better.

Someone Else’s Hot Take

I have not taken the time to sit down and write about the election results. I am still in the process of getting through the shock, absorbing the news, and watching Stephen Colbert’s Election Night special on Showtime. But there are quite a few politicians and journalists who have sat down in the aftermath to record their thoughts or to share a story and some advice. Today, I share with you one letter of note. “A Letter to Young Women: How We Will All Move Forward Together Now.”

So how do you cope with how you feel right now?

First, don’t be destructive: Don’t burn a flag, don’t be vitriolic. Anger will give you a worse hangover than cheap tequila.

Second, you are allowed wine—preferably to drink with friends because I know how lonely you are feeling.

Third, find your thing. Find your cause, and get back in the game. Be a mentor or volunteer. Remember every priority of Secretary Clinton’s and dive into one headfirst. Most importantly, bring your friends.

It’s our responsibility to form a tribe unlike anything that’s ever been seen before—one that is stronger, louder, and more ferocious than ever. The suffragettes didn’t win us the right to vote by walking down the street with headphones on, reading Twitter. We cannot let this happen again.

It’s a short, passionate letter. You can read the rest by Alyssa Mastromonaco at Broadly.

A Vote For Decency

For the last three election cycles I have heard, “This is the most important election in modern history.” The first two times I did not believe it. If anything, in 2008 and 2012, it was political hyperbole from both major political parties, expressing fear of their opponent winning and desperately trying to spread that fear among on-the-fence voters, hoping they would agree and fall in line.

This time around, I believe this is the most important election since I have been voting. (I am 33.) It has come down to the most unpopular nominees since polling began, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. One nominee, from a political powerhouse, the Clintons,  wildly adored, untrusted, and loathed by huge swaths of American voters. The reasons for which I will not get into because there is nothing I can add to the discussion to persuade you one way or another and the other reasons were fomented in the editorial room of Breitbart (which is now, figuratively, the same thing as Trump HQ) or in the dark, hideous pulse of a Trump rally.

The Clintons are indeed measured, calculating politicians. This election cycle, when Hillary stands up against a know-nothing, fascist sociopath, her deserved or undeserved labels pale in comparison to Trump. She is at least sane. And that is what this election has come down to. Sanity.

In 2016, a vote for Trump or, just as bad, an abstention, is a vote for insanity. It is a vote for a person who is “characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals.” It is a vote for a need for stimulation, a need to live on the knife’s edge of nuclear warfare. It is a vote for conspiracy theories. It is a vote for having no concern about wrecking others’ lives and dreams en masse. It is a vote to affirm the idea that since you have spent the last four years watching cable news or reading jingoistic slop disguised as fact you know as much about international relations or economic policy as someone with advanced degrees in such fields, or as much as a former Secretary of State.

It is a vote for a bleak and volatile future, one that I, voting now as a father for the first time, am terrified for my daughter to possibly have to face.

In the last three presidential elections, I at least had the comfort of believing that our liberal democracy would continue if my candidate did not win. I cannot say the same this time around. Trump is not just a threat to his political opponents, but a threat to the idea of America, something that the five former presidents still alive today appear to agree with as not one of them supports Donald.

Hillary Clinton enjoys the support of some voters who would otherwise vote for the Republican nominee if said nominee was not a racist buffoon. That said, I have heard of too many Republicans drawing a false equivalency between the two big party nominees. Many of these Republicans are abstaining or throwing their vote away on Gary Johnson, a man who, in this case, they know only one thing about: that he will not win. Johnson provides an out for these aforementioned Republicans so they can say that they voted but they did not vote for Trump or Hillary, while simultaneously pretending that by voting for Johnson they have disguised the fact that they prefer Trump over Hillary. This is disgusting and fools nobody.

The same can be said for Bernie supporters who have refused to support Hillary and have thrown their support to Johnson or Jill Stein.

If a voter was already in the Johnson or Stein camps before the primaries concluded, then good for them, but all the latecomers to these alternative candidates are putting this country at greater risk than I feel they are aware of. A vote this late in the game for Johnson or Stein, or an abstention, is a vote for Trump and all of his rabid base.

I began this post weeks ago, intent on writing a lengthier piece on why I think Clinton is the best choice for this country. But since I started, even worse revelations about Trump have come to light, specifically his bragging to Billy Bush about sexually abusing women. I have heard this talk defended by Trump, Trump surrogate Ben Carson, and many others as locker room talk, with Carson going as far as telling Neil Cavuto that he has heard much worse in locker rooms. I have also witnessed the rape talk defended on Facebook under the ridiculous guise of “he who is without sin cast the first stone.” No one is saying we have not sinned and we have all made mistakes, but is there no expectation of decency in our leaders? Are there no standards? During the last week of the campaign these have become rhetorical questions.

I am quite afraid of the Trump base if he loses next month, but my greater fear is of a Trump presidency. If there were any doubt about Trump’s respect for his opponents, or simply ideas not one-hundred percent in agreement with his, the last week has certainly shown Trump’s true colors as he has admonished his own party’s leaders and veterans, threatened his primary opponent with imprisonment, lambasted the entire media establishment (minus Hannity, I guess), and had to deny multiple allegations of sexual assault, while implying one woman was not even attractive enough for assault to have taken place.

As a human being I am disturbed by the way he speaks about other religions, races, and the opposite sex. But I am not just voting as a human being next month. I am voting as a believer, as a husband, and as a father to a little girl. All of these roles have further convinced me that the most important thing we can do in November is to make sure Donald Trump does not become our next president. To vote for Trump would be to abandon all of those roles and everything I have been raised to believe in. Lastly, a vote for this man would be to abandon my human decency. Thus, I have had a very difficult time not judging those who are still standing with Trump, who are still abstaining, or who are still supporting Johnson. Because unlike in previous elections, these people are supporting a man for presidency who would have been fired from McDonald’s by now for the things he has said. Yet, these people think it is okay to give this man the nuclear codes merely because they have loathed the Clintons for decades? Or because they just cannot support a Democrat?

Just swallow your pride for once and keep this country alive. Then, in four years, you can have another go, but if Trump wins, I am not sure America’s future lasts that long and that will be on you.

Put Down Your Phone

It is such a joy to be able to read Andrew Sullivan again. Last week’s New York Magazine features a lengthy article about Sullivan’s rehab from blogging and his sustained connectivity to news, devices, and the internet. fullsizerender

I know from time to time I am on my phone way too much, especially in front of London, so reading this gave me several pangs of guilt, but it helped. Since I finished it I have been more aware of my screen time throughout the day and night. I have tried to cut back, but I also know that the lessons learned from reading Sullivan’s latest piece will likely fade. This should be on an annual required reading list.

The Body-Shaming Candidate

During the last two presidential campaigns I wrote blogs primarily about politics.

So far, in 2016, I’ve stayed away from blogging political on here. But election day will be here very quickly and I need to say a few things about this election, specifically about one of the candidates. I’ll get around to posting my thoughts on Mr. Trump, but for now I wanted to share this one commercial with you. It is made by Donald Trump himself, but it is an ad paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump merely provided all the material.

As a father of a beloved, precious little girl, Secretary Clinton could not have produced a better commercial. When you’re running against a candidate who thinks of women “as a collection of sex toys” (Comedian Samantha Bee’s words) reminding all the fathers of little girls all over this great land of Trump’s distaste for women is the most powerful message you can send.

Stay-at-Home Dads and Depression

I shared this article on Facebook a couple of days ago and I must share it here as well. It really is one of the most honest articles I have ever read about the stay-at-home dad life.

The reality of being a stay-at-home dad is that strangers are suspicious, our friends are patronizing, and stay-at-home moms—the one group you might actually expect to have your back—often won’t let you into their club.

Bradley Egel, who has been a stay-at-home dad for the last decade, told me when he first started taking his son to the park, he felt ostracized by the other moms.

“There was this group of moms who were extraordinarily cold to me. Sometimes to the point where they would just leave [when I arrived],” he said. “Then, after a year, this one woman—I guess she was like queen bee—walks over and says, ‘We’ve been noticing that you come to the same park all the time. What’s your deal?’ I was like, ‘I’m here with my kid. The same as you.'”

Read the rest of the article, “Why So Many Stay-at-Home Dads Are Depressed.”