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Here’s ComputerGirl with DynaPapa back on his birthday in April.
ComputerGirl celebrates her own birthday today, turning 24. Gosh, where has the time gone? She was ten-years-old and in fifth grade when I met her. Now, she’s all grown up, a college graduate, and a working woman fully supporting herself. 
She taught me a lot about being a dad, always willing to point out when I was being too much of a hard-ass on some things and making it clear when I wasn’t being enough of a hard-ass on other things. OlderTwin and YoungerTwin benefit tremendously from the trial run experience I got from being her bonus dad. 
Claire accurately describes parenting in one episode of Modern Family when she says,  
Raising a kid is like sending a rocket ship to the moon. You spend the early years in constant contact and then one day, around the teenage years, they go around the dark side and they’re gone. All you can do is wait for that faint signal that says they’re coming back.

At 24, ComputerGirl has definitely come back from the dark side of the moon. She’s grown and matured into an intelligent, fiercely independent, delightful, and wonderful person, just as I always knew she would.

Her two younger brothers absolutely adore her and couldn’t ask for a better “Sissy”. As for me and DynaPapa, we wouldn’t change a thing about her, even if we could. Like the Billy Joel song says, We Love You Just the Way You Are.

Here’s ComputerGirl with DynaPapa back on his birthday in April.

ComputerGirl celebrates her own birthday today, turning 24. Gosh, where has the time gone? She was ten-years-old and in fifth grade when I met her. Now, she’s all grown up, a college graduate, and a working woman fully supporting herself. 

She taught me a lot about being a dad, always willing to point out when I was being too much of a hard-ass on some things and making it clear when I wasn’t being enough of a hard-ass on other things. OlderTwin and YoungerTwin benefit tremendously from the trial run experience I got from being her bonus dad. 

Claire accurately describes parenting in one episode of Modern Family when she says 

Raising a kid is like sending a rocket ship to the moon. You spend the early years in constant contact and then one day, around the teenage years, they go around the dark side and they’re gone. All you can do is wait for that faint signal that says they’re coming back.

At 24, ComputerGirl has definitely come back from the dark side of the moon. She’s grown and matured into an intelligent, fiercely independent, delightful, and wonderful person, just as I always knew she would.

Her two younger brothers absolutely adore her and couldn’t ask for a better “Sissy”. As for me and DynaPapa, we wouldn’t change a thing about her, even if we could. Like the Billy Joel song says, We Love You Just the Way You Are.

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I was at a meeting with other parents when someone asked the question, “What song best represents how parenting makes you feel?”

The first few people to answer had young babies so they, of course, were rattling off the names of very sweet, innocent song titles like Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy”. 

So, a few of them were a bit horrified when they got to me - someone who’s survived raising two teens and is now dealing with two incredibly independent, hard-headed seven-year-old boys - and I responded, “You Make Me Wanna Shout”

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Conversation with ComputerGirl, my adult stepdaughter.

Me: Don’t you shop at T.J. Maxx?

ComputerGirl: No.

Me: Oh. I thought you did cuz I wanted to warn you that they’re having a recall on their peanut butter and other nut butters or something.

ComputerGirl: Uh, do you mean Trader Joe’s?

Me: Yeah. That’s it. I knew there was a T and a J in there somewhere.

I haven’t written a post about the events unfolding in Ferguson and have pretty much limited myself to “hearting” sporadic posts on the subject rather than commenting to the posts with my usual gusto and flair. I would be saddened if people attributed these actions to apathy because it’s quite the opposite. It’s about self-preservation.

Despite improvements in relations between the police and the gay community, I’m still somewhat fearful of the police. And by “the police”, I don’t mean the band. The Police were quite delightful, actually. How can you not like the song, “Every Breath You Take”? I also don’t mean individual cops because I understand, as with every group, there are fine, upstanding people doing the job of policing and there are utter lowlifes who strap on a gun and pin on a badge for the power rush, giving little thought to the concept of protecting and serving. Everyone. Equally.

I fear the institution of the police because I grew up in an era during which police organizations routinely and viciously persecuted the gay community. They raided gay bars. They conducted numerous entrapment stings targeting gay men. (And still often do.) The LAPD once beat and stomped a gay man to death and nothing happened to the officers. It was labeled an “excusable homicide”.

Hell, our two famous SCOTUS sodomy cases involved police arresting consenting adult males having sex in the privacy of their own home. When you can’t have consensual sex in the privacy of your own home without the fear of police busting into your bedroom and arresting you for it, are we really the land of the free?

I came out in a conservative southern city. I remember the nights the police would come through the bar under the guise of public safety to make sure the maximum occupancy rules weren’t being violated. As they were walking through the bar, they would mutter phrases like “godd*mn cocksuckers”. I’ve also been stopped leaving the parking lot of a gay bar and asked, “Hey, faggot, had anything to drink tonight?” I can’t even describe how degrading it is being forced to respond with a polite, “No, sir,” because you know the cop talking to you has all the power and you, as a member of a marginalized part of society, have none.

And I’m certainly in no position to be judgmental about the concept of rioting. The fact is I, as a gay man, probably wouldn’t have the rights I do if it weren’t for the well-known Stonewall riot or the somewhat remembered White Night riots.

Lesser known riots such as the Castro Sweep, in which police used unnecessary, heavy-handed tactics, blowing the situation out of control (Sound familiar?), also helped bring about much needed change within police organizations with respect to how they interacted with the LGBTQ community.

There were also now largely forgotten riots like the ones at Compton’s Cafeteria and Cooper’s Donuts which preceded Stonewall and began to give the LGBTQ community the courage to stand up to the brutality and unfair tactics the police employed against them.

Living a life in which you are afraid of the police exacts a powerful emotional toll. And, for that reason, I’ve largely opted out of the Ferguson discussion.

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