I don’t recall one special birthday as a kid besides my Bar Mitzvah Party. If the Aussie transplant student Joanne Matthews slow danced with me with too much upper body stiffness, then my 13th birthay would’ve been a total bust. Slow dancing with brace face Denna Kleinman was nice and I liker her spunky, not as peppy cute Punk Brewster personality. But she failed to stimulate visions of walking hand and hand along the boardwalk at Rye Playland at night. The way statuesque, fuller lipped, higher caste, bigger blast laugher Kajal did.
My son Arthur Morrison Kornbluth, AKA Art Show USA, AKA Feather Foot, AKA Number 1 Capricorn, AKA Gimel Be Good, won’t have an issue attracting woman to slow dance with him at Bar Mitzvah parties. Because my son Arthur already looks like a handsomer, pubescent Leo. At 4 going on five, Art Show USA, number 1 Capricorn who was born on New Years Day, looks like a dreamy pairing of child star Chad Allen from Our House and a less aw shucks, mop head blondie Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons. But never coming off overtly preppy stiff either.
Arthur’s also hilarious already. These are his greatest ad lib hits so far. “Cortana, throw yourself out the window.” And “daddy be funnier than Weird Al by Christmas or I’ll kill you with your sharpest knife for real.” This morning, I’m working on a new blog post chapter post and ask him. “Art Show, what do you think of the title, Book Authors Are Fire Proof?” He says. “Your office is on fire.” And my wife questions my comedic tutelage by exposing my son to an episode of Robot Chicken. Until I realized how Seth Green grew up in Hollywood as a child star. So of course his sense of humor is going to be ten times darker than mine. Assuming he hung out at the Viper Room with River Phoenix 1 more time than I did.
But forget the God given good looks and intrinsic sense of funny man timing, my son Arthur also happens to be the sweetest boy in the world. Who was drawing a picture of me as I picked him up early from Pre-K today. Arthur launches into yummy dances after taking a bite of my blanched broccoli, shitake bake casserole supreme in my honor. Whizzing around the kitchen back into our living room dinning room area. Singing “Best daddy ever, best daddy ever.” Arthur plays so well with his 7 year old big sister Singing Rose Matilda. Besides when Arthur orders his big sister around. Commanding her to put down her Barbies and play Honey with him. Which is their teacher, pupil imaginary game. Under these circumstances, I’ll control my son with comedy and address his pushy, controlling behavior in a playful yet direct tone. I say, “Calm down Little Hitler. You have the best sister ever. Because of Matilda your bare minimum grandparents on both sides are rendered 100% useless.” In case you’re wondering, Arthur, doesn’t like it when I call him “Little Hitler.” If he ever really pissed me off, I’d buy him eight MAGA Hats for Chanukah and drop him off in the middle of Prospect Park by himself and go for a run there for old times sake.
I’ll never get over my parents ho hum embrace of Art Show USA’s birth into our family. The thing is Arthur was born 2 weeks early and my parents were already retired in Scottsdale, Arizona for 5 years already. So on some level, I feel my dad resented Arthur’s birth a tad because it’s not a good look when you only see your not 1 but 2 grandchildren now, only 10 days a year. When you’re both retired in your mid sixties in an Arizona Estate shrine home for themselves. Despite claims of getting it to make it a marquee vacation destination for my family to visit despite their old yenta friends spending way more time than our family has. And despite them buying the home after we already had Matilda and still hadn’t added 2 more children to our Kiss Army family at large.
Don’t get me wrong. My parents worked hard for their Arizona Estate home. Nothing was given to them. I respect their achievement in this respect immensely. Still, this financial, career offshoot accomplishment in a cushy Clinton years economy, pre 911, doesn’t erase the fact that after my son Arthur was born, I sensed 0.0 rush to book the 1st flight to NY to hug and kiss their grandson.
What was more infuriating was me on the phone with my Dad who was on his way to Vegas after my son Arthur was born. On the phone, I said Dad. “Don’t forget to bet on 1 at Roulette in Vegas.” But my dad whose never been a narcissist according to my younger brother. Totally blanked on why he should bet on 1 at Roulette in Vegas. So I yell over the phone. “Let me help you dad. Bet on 1 at Roulette because your grandson was born on New Years Day.”
I return to work, cold calling Directors in charge application development as a new business development rep for the IT consulting staffing division of Robert Half at the time. As the day progressed, I become consumed with clench fisting rage over the fact my parents weren’t on a Southwest Flight heading toward Kennedy already because their flight back east was already pre-booked 2 weeks in advance. Later that evening, I told my mom how I felt. Thank God, my mom realized our fledging remnant of a relationship, depended on her booking a flight ASAP to see her grandson back east. Pops didn’t join her. My dad doesn’t do the cold anymore. Now, his favorite pastimes, retired in Scottsdale, Arizona. Are playing tennis with Dr. Ken and jerking off to the Weather Channel, whenever a new winter storm does a bukkake all over the eastern seaboard. Slamming it harder and harder with more flurries of winter blasts, again and again.
Last year a day before Arthur’s 4th birthday my wife still hadn’t contacted Jame’s mom from Pre-K yet to invite them over for Arthur’s birthday. And James was his only main bud there. To say I was infuriated was an understatement but I assumed ownership of the situation. Called Jame’s mom who I chatted it up with numerous times at Arthur’s Pre-K prior. She’s a pretty, striking, tall Croatian. So I got off making her laugh and she got my off the cuff humor which is always nice. James made it to Arthur’s birthday with his mom, big sister and construction worker Dad. Who made me feel like Rocky staring up at Drago after he kills Apollo. I got every big balloon possible from Party City. It’s a birthday tradition I established with his big sister Matilda from the start. We don’t have a big home, so only inviting James and his family was perfect. Jame’s big sister really got into me after I told her I hosted a podcast even though I hadn’t recorded an episode yet. I’ve done 57 since our exchange last year in case you’re wondering.
My parents always claimed birthdays were never a big a deal for them. But my children’s birthdays are for me. I tell my kids their birthdays are mine to because all 3 kids of mine have made me born again. All 3 of my kids have blessed me with the divine powered opportunity to relive my age of wonderous innocence but through more mature lived through lens this time around. So I can make sure they suffer less than me. So I can make sure they suffer from less career hampering mistakes than me. So I can make sure they develop richer, more substantial, more long lasting friendships than I have.
All of my kids birthdays also celebrates me becoming a family man, not a degenerate, self serving, show biz slut for hire. I love my children’s birthdays because each was a big deal then and always will be, come rain or shine. Without my children, I don’t do my podcast. I don’t decide to become a best selling book author. We make a great home team and celebrate all our unique brands of specialness all the way.
My children are superior company than most. And if you can’t get excited about the birth of my children, which are in essence sweeter, superior manifestations of me. Then, I think it’s safe to assume, I don’t possess a special place in your heart after all. As long as I’m around, my kids birthdays will never blow. I’ll always make sure to make them feel like center of my universe and never be afraid to show it. I love my little Kiss Army with all my heart. Fathering my kids good is my starring part.