Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day Four

with 5 comments

It’s axiomatic for a sitcom writer that if you have the choice, never work for a showrunner who’s single or who hates his (or her) family– they won’t want to go home, and will keep you with them as a hostage.  The flipside is that work often provides a bulletproof excuse to stay away from home when the kids/wife/dogs are melting down.  In fact, I can confess that on more than one occasion I drove around the block several times before coming in, and once or twice parked in front of a neighbor’s house just to listen to sports radio for ten minutes before entering the Hot Zone (if I haven’t mentioned how much I love my wife, this would be a good place to do that).

I knew right away that my not having somewhere to go during the day would take its toll not only on me, but on my family who would have to bear the burden of having me around all day.  In addition to the usual torrent of anxiety I provide, my poor wife also has to now deal with me talking about my blog– I believe I’ve become a blog-hole, and if that’s not a word it should be.  (coining words makes you a blog-hole).  In any case, I’m specifically mindful of how my being around affects my kids, one of whom as a bit of a social anxiety thing going on.   A couple of weeks ago my wife attended a lecture by a parenting Expert (who has no children– hmm) and was sufficiently intrigued to set up a private appointment with us and the Expert.  Now, I have always been very suspicious of experts of any kind– when I was 10 years old I asked to get a second opinion from my dentist when he told me I had a cavity in my baby molar. (I caused a sufficient scene to not be allowed back to this dentist or that part of the mall.  Yes, I went to a dentist at the mall).  This parenting Expert immediately got off on the wrong foot by telling me that they had just been offered a reality show (holy cow is there anyone in Los Angeles other than me who hasn’t sold a pilot this year?)

Anyway, it turns out that this Expert knew their stuff.  This Expert dealt with many kids who had social anxiety disorders and described perfectly the personality of our child.  The Expert then said aloud what no one had dared, but what anyone who knew my wife and me secretly knew: it was MY fault!  That’s right, I was passing on a 3,000 year old heritage of anxiety to my child.  The good news was the Expert could help us.  Today was that day.

Coincidentally– or not– I had a lunch meeting (a lunch meeting is a lunch where someone else pays) with a colleague of mine who was sharing their own story of a socially anxious child, and we talked about how every kid has issues, we’re just more aware of ours than our parents were.  I was confident in knowing that I was taking a positive step later in the day by meeting with the Expert who would unlock the key to better communication between child and father.  Hell, I was so cocky, I was almost inclined to pay for myself and make it just a plain old lunch– except that making it a lunch meeting meant I was doing something for my career.

So my wife and I took our kids to meet the Expert, who broke the ice with a ten minute fart story– holy cow, is there anyone is Los Angeles other than me who isn’t getting paid $250 an hour to tell fart jokes?  In any case, it turns out that in addition to passing on my Anxiety gene, I also passed on the dominant trait of Suspicion to my child who quickly sussed out that this was not, in fact, a private class on how to make daddy a better listener, but was instead an Expert who was telling my child that they had a cavity in their baby personality.  The response was predictable– we’re not allowed back at that part of the mall.

The ride home reeked of betrayal, disappointment and anger.  Something that could have been completely avoided if I was back at work, getting paid to make my own highbrow fart jokes.   The good news is, tomorrow is another day.  The bad news: it’s only Day Five out of a 100.

Goals: Lunch meeting: achieved; Hike Dogs: rained out; Any sort of fitness: too sore from yesterday; Cleaning Garage: Are you really asking me?  Setting back my relationship with my child another six months: Check.


Written by 100daysoff

February 17, 2011 at 7:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. oy. rough day. hang in there.

    blog-hole is inspired.

    David Kopp

    February 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

  2. Wow…I think you scared ’em all off with this one.


    February 18, 2011 at 1:30 am

    • Nah, still here. Can’t wait to see if the garage gets cleaned out.


      February 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

  3. I’m going to have to hang upside down again.


    February 18, 2011 at 1:33 am

  4. @shawni haha
    @bloghole we like when you injure yourself. please make a theme

    David Kopp

    February 18, 2011 at 4:58 am

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