My stepdaughter wanted to know when I was going to die. She then asked: “How does it feel to be closer to death?”
Which made me think… If I die, someone new will need an instruction book for how to handle James.
So I came up with ten ideas, of course!
1) – Always Tie his Shoe Laces Before Leaving the House
He will complain. He will try to persuade you that he hasn’t tied them since he was six so he doesn’t need to. It’s his mutant power to walk around with untied shoelaces.
Please tie them.
2) – Tell Him How Cute He is Every Day
He could be insecure on some days.
3) – Don’t Bother Trying to Lead.
He will. Especially if you are bike-riding or dancing salsa. He will take charge. And it feels good.
4) – Whenever Visiting Whole Foods…
Yes, whenever at Whole Foods or any supermarket… Stay alert!
Because at any point he will throw the loosely fastened sauerkraut container which will miss the cart and end up splashed all over the produce area.
“I was just trying to practice my basketball skills,” he will say and he means it.
If you weren’t paying attention just help him sort of brush it off to a side, and take care of his self esteem…
Tell him it happens to all of us.
5) – When He Shows Up in a Doctor’s Lab Coat, Laugh and Get Used to It.
When he starts dispensing serious medical advice to people (he just diagnosed someone with a possible brain tumor) please tell the other person quietly that James is not a real doctor.
6) – Never Tell Him He Has Done Anything Wrong
He has his kids repeat all the time, “the one thing we know is that Daddy is always right“.
7) – When He Belches Out a Song Out-Loud on 42nd street and Broadway…
As he does…Often…
Just keep walking and pretend you do not know him.
He is an amazing singer though [Claudia’s note: James put that in there].
8) – Do not Encourage Corn Muffins or Bagels, or Hamantash, or Any Food Remotely Jewish.
He will have a stomach ache for days.
Nor encourage him to cook… His favorite recipe includes: pasta and bananas … I know.
9) – Do NOT Under any Circumstances Interfere with his Writing Time.
That could be a period ranging from three to 72 hours depending on how many ideas he gets.
10) – He Will Ask You This Question at Least Three Times a Day:
“What should I write about?”
It will be followed by this:
“Have I run out of things to write? “
There is NO answer to that.
I have tried ten thousand variations, nothing works.
Just look at him, don’t even nod.
Then stand up and remove yourself from the room. Eventually he starts typing.
James interrupted me to answer my step daughter’s question. He said: “When do you graduate high school?”
She said: “six years“.
He said: “Ok, that’s when I’ll die.”
But then he looked at me. “Actually,” he said, “Maybe I need to stick around another 30 or 40.”
Because I made him agree that I have to die first. Hence this manual.