Posts Tagged With: Cheerios

Not Your Grandpa’s Father’s Day


There was a lot of it showing at the family wedding last weekend. The father of the bride. The father of the groom. The father-to-be who is the youngest sibling in our blended family, and who many of us secretly still see as 12 years old and too young to be having children of his own. And the brothers, brothers-in-law, cousins, and friends who were fathers of the babies and all those little kids having so much fun on the dance floor.

This generation's young fathers are a joy to watch. They look just as comfortable with a baby tucked under one arm as they do with an iPad. They appear to share with their wives the "parent radar" that's always alert to what the kids are doing. They seem to take for granted that it's up to them to do a fair share of the yucky stuff like changing diapers and cleaning up messes.

Here's to all the young fathers in my family and elsewhere who aren't embarrassed to go out in public with little plastic bags of Cheerios in their pockets. Who matter-of-factly wipe sticky little fingerprints off their cell phones. Who, when they're looking after their own kids, don't call it "babysitting."

You're doing a great job, guys. Happy Father's Day.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Wait—What’s That Fly Doing In My . . . ?

The backstroke, presumably. Or maybe the crawl. But whatever style it's using, that fly is swimming for dear life, because it isn't in the soup.

It's in the urinal. (For someone with less restraint, this would be a perfect place for a truly tasteless comment about pee—er, pea soup. Luckily, I refuse to indulge in such low humor. It would be hitting below the belt.)

But back to the fly. Flies, rather. I haven't seen them myself, but I am informed by a reliable source that in the men's bathrooms at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, there are flies in the urinals. This is not a reflection of the hygiene there—we are talking about the Dutch, after all.

Nope, these are painted flies, realistic little critters manufactured into the porcelain, rather like their prehistoric ancestors frozen in amber, except not as collectible. They are there for a reason—target practice. According to my reliable source's reliable source, adding the flies has improved the accuracy of airport urinal users by 80%.

And just how did they come up with that statistic? Who collected the information? It seems to me that peering over a guy's shoulder to assess his accuracy wouldn't do much to improve his aim. Besides, stationing an unfortunate researcher in the men's bathroom with a notebook for long periods of time just might result in reports of suspicious loitering and possibly an arrest. "Research? Yeah, right, buddy. You can tell that to the judge!"

Maybe they just asked for an estimate from the people with the most to gain from the project. I'm sure the workers who clean the bathrooms would be delighted with an 80% improvement in hitting the designated target.

Some of you—parents of little boys, for instance—might be interested in trying this technique at home. If so, I'd recommend an alternate version. It doesn't involve installing a permanent fly in your toilet bowl that might be a bit startling to guests.

All it takes is some Cheerios. I've seen this recommended as a toilet-training aid for little boys; you just drop one in the bowl and encourage the trainee to sink it. (M & M's might work, too, but that would be wasteful. I wasn't even willing to sacrifice one just to find out if it would float.)

I didn't realize this technique had its own theme song until we got a DVD of the Vermont folk group The Woods Tea Company. One of their songs is "Sink the Cheerio," by Pete Sutherland. It's a lively tune that, appropriately enough, is somewhere between a sea chantey and a drinking song.

It is also just reminiscent enough of "Sink the Bismarck" to give the whole endeavor a sense of purpose. It serves as a reminder that, if you want to succeed, it's important to have a clear target. Especially if you're trying to hit it on the fly.

Categories: Just For Fun | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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