Interview with Laid Off Dad
Even though his blog’s name says he’s laid off, LOD is actually gainfully employed and living in New York with his wife and 2 kids. It’s not that he’s lying; it’s just that he’s already gone through the getting laid-off and the getting rehired process. If you missed it, you can read all about it in his archives. Laid Off Dad is not just funny, although he is that. He likes to use semi-obscure words and writes with finesse. His writing sometimes reminds me of The Good Example I could never hope to be as good as from my college writing course. His words intertwine and arabesque and then make you laugh so hard you almost pee your pants. You can also find Laid Off Dad at The Blogfathers.
June 1, 2003
Why do you blog?
My two favorite things in the world are writing and being a father. The blog seems the most appropriate confluence.
I also like the immediacy. You put something out there, and within seconds somebody has read it and given you feedback. It’s purest form of self-expression afforded the written word. It’s the stand-up comedy of publishing.
What do you talk about?
What don’t you talk about? Why?
I try to keep it goofy and steer clear of polemics, which angry up the blood.
Worst/best experience regarding something you wrote in your blog or put out on the net?
The best came last January, when a half-assed, last-second idea to get readers to de-lurk ultimately raised $1,280 for charity. You hear a lot about the power of the Internet, but you don’t fully realize it until something like that happens.
The worst was when an MSN Groups website stole a picture of Robert and published it with a semi-literate caption representing him as a Lebanese kid named Antoine. (“The second male son wish the long life and the hapiness of the boy between his parents.”) I’ve never felt so livid. This is why I rarely publish pictures of my kids anymore.
Favorite/worst thing about living where you live?
Most people think the usual things about New York, but not enough is written about how great a place it is to raise young children. It’s very neighborly; the coffee guy knows my usual, the deli guy has Robert’s bagel in the toaster before we walk in the door. Everything I need is less than three blocks away, and we don’t spend all day strapping babies into car seats. But we’ll never afford the space we’ll ultimately need, and on one very sucky day we’ll have to leave.
If you were president of the US:
I’d tell the current guy to get the hell out of my chair.
What actor would play you in the movie of your life?
The Patriarch once described me as “a less violent Lee Marvin.” When I read that, I thought, Is he kidding? Lee Marvin is like, 70 years old, and he’s dead. Then I took a good look at myself and thought, Holy crap. I look a lot like Lee Marvin.
I’m not aging well.
What do you do to stay sane and healthy?
Not nearly enough, apparently.
Moxie’s rhubarb cake. She has to hide it from me; otherwise I’d scarf the whole thing.
When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I probably wanted to be an actor. When I was five, I starred as Prince Charming in an all-kindergarten production of “The Bluebird of Paradise.” And I killed. During the curtain call, the young girls showered me with their Pull-Ups.
Alternately, I was ten when the U.S. celebrated its bicentennial. So I could just as easily have wanted to be the guy who painted the red, white, and blue line down the middle of West Main Road.
What do you hate?
I hate the tiny aperture of time I have to write each day. It feels like noose. When I’m really inspired, I have to stay up at night to write. And that’s dangerous, because excessive fatigue can deplete your underpants supply.
What do you love?
I love how marriage and fatherhood have made me a better man. And when I need to manage stress, I love everything to do with words and anagrams and puzzles. They keep my brain from overheating and my blood pressure down.
What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?
Stand by, and wait for my signal.
Astounding facts about you:
When I was two, I got a staph infection and almost died. My family was on vacation, and the nearest pediatrician turned out to be Rupert von Trapp, the oldest child in the (very fictionally dramatized) Trapp Family Singers. I have no recollection of the ordeal, but for some reason I often crave schnitzel with noodles.
Are you Windows or Mac? Why?
Windows. As a New Yorker, my middle finger is too prehensile not to right-click.
How would your wife describe you? How about your kids?
Moxie and I are very much alike. Life with her is wonderful and exhausting, and I’m pretty sure she’d say the same thing about me. Robert thinks I’m the strongest man alive because I give upside-down hugs. TwoBert thinks I’m delicious.
Do you still wish you were laid off?
Hell, no. I am a brooder, so when I had all that time on my hands I had to keep from chastising myself as an unfit provider. I don’t like to think about what I might have done instead of blogging, but it probably would have involved a lot of self-medication.
What did you learn about yourself why you were laid off?
I learned that I hated the career path I was on, and that it actively squelched any creative impulse I had. I also learned that my wife loves me unconditionally, and that I could really get into being a stay-at-home dad.
What do you miss about being home with the kids?
My current gig affords me lots of time at home, so I don’t miss much of anything. What I remember, though, is the immense challenge of filling the hours each day. Dressing the kids is no picnic, either, since they’re both such aggressive nudists.
Why are you glad you are working again?
The boys outgrow their sneakers every 45 minutes.
Do you cook?
Not as much as I used to, but I love it. We experiment with new recipes all the time, and whether they work doesn’t really matter because Robert won’t eat anything, anyway. If I ever hit the big time, I’d love to pull a Hourihan and become a journeyman foodie.
What are you working on right now?
I began a story as a screenplay, but now it wants to be a novel. And it’s about food.
Your own favorite post? And/or your favorite post of someone else?
You’re going to BlogHer? But, you aren’t a ‘her’.
At last year’s conference, all the women I enjoy reading got together and became BFFs 4EVER, and I sat here on the other side of the country feeling jealous as hell. I’m told we XYers are welcome, so I’m going. Since women are the dominant writers and readers of parent blogs, it is incumbent on us dads, the Elizabeth Cady Stantons of our generation, to blaze a trail.
What will you be doing next year?
Expanding the percent of my income that comes from writing, and agonizing about whether we can make it through another year in our little Manhattan Habitrail.
Tell me a secret?
At night, when everyone is asleep, I like to put a hard-driving tune (from Eve 6 or Veruca Salt or Rush or Molly Hatchet) on the headphones and air-drum until I can’t lift my arms. I think that’s one of those “things to stay sane” you mentioned before.
What do you wish I had asked you that I didn’t?
If this were “Inside the Bloggers’ Studio,” I would tell you that my favorite word is kerfuffle, my favorite curse word is dipshit, and if Heaven exists, I would like to hear God say that I was right, and she was wrong.