My five-year-old son recently suffered a bout with RSV – or Respiratory Syncytial Virus – a really nasty, highly contagious bug that infected his lungs and breathing passages. We didn’t think it was that serious at first, but when he didn’t get over it for a few days, we took him to the nearby clinic. He hated it there: “When can we go home? When can we go home?!” I tried to calm him by reassuring him that we’d be home very soon… so I thought.
But, after a blood test and a chest x-ray – which seemed to us all that took forever and a day to process – the doctor finally, nervously, came into our room and told us that he had pneumonia.
I’m thinking, “What do we need for this? A prescription? A few days of down-time in front of the TV?”
I was wrong.
The doctor continued, “We are trying to decide right now if you should drive him over to the hospital right now or if we should call him an ambulance. We’ll figure it out. I’ll be right back.”
That’s when I started my – completely legitimate, I must add – panic attack. I put my head between my knees in an attempt to breathe properly. Meanwhile, my near-death son is yelling at me, “Dad get your head up! You’re freaking me out!… Can we go home now, LIKE YOU PROMISED?”
Well, we did get to leave in our own car. But we didn’t get to go home. After driving him to the hospital, I carried my son through the hospital to the ER. That’s where we learned that his right lung had actually collapsed! Even the specialists there said is was the nastiest case of pneumonia that they had seen in a long, long time!
This all turned into a weeklong stay at the Children’s Wing of our hospital.
Fortunately, they had a very impressive DVD collection for my boy to enjoy while staying at this medical version of Comfort Suites… a whole week spent watching Dora the Explorer! (Luckily, the hospital staff would regularly check in on us while we watched Dora to make sure I didn’t do anything harmful to myself).
Why do the show creators make this girl yell every single line of dialogue?? Why can’t she just calm the heck down?!
For my son, though, the worst part was the incessant Dora DVD’s, or the hospital food, or the IV’s or shots, not even the inability to breathe freely. The worst part for him was undeniably when they poked his finger.
But, I’m pleased to report that God spared my son.
We got him home after that week, but he was very weak. He could barely make it up the stairs. In fact, after a day or two, he completely gave up walking altogether.
Now, he just runs everywhere!
Thank God my boys bounce back quickly!!
Next, my friend Dan Taylor joins the show to talk about his struggles being an introvert in an extroverted career. I mean, everybody gets nervous around certain things: heights, roller coasters, venomous spiders… Dan gets nervous when he is around other people. People can be the source of complete emotional destruction or joy, and the inherent risk of which of these two will be the result of each and every human interaction drives Dan up the wall!
For instance, Dan has a friend who recently got a neck tattoo – which is a questionable decision in and of itself – that says “Only God can judge me”. But, as Dan puts it, if you ever see anyone with the words “only God can judge me” written anywhere on their personhood, you should begin to judge them immediately! Think about it – no one proclaims “only God can judge me” when they are up to something good. No one who just orchestrated well-digging and bringing fresh water to third-world countries, or donated thousands of dollars to Santa’s Anonymous ever rests on the “only God can judge me” line.
The only times when you hear someone insist that only God judges them is when they do something like putting their family’s entire grocery budget into the video lottery terminal.
And I think He will.
I think that most people have this opinion of God that is quite inaccurate – that he smiles and winks at our bad decisions more than He actually does. It’s as if they peer into the future and see a God who looks at their malicious acts, smiles and says, “Ahhh, you lovable scamp! How can I stay angry at you as you destroy your life and the lives of others around you?” As if even the worst of us are just 21st century versions of Dennis the Menace. God is just up there in heaven laughing away like He is reading single-cell Sunday comics of our lives.
Actually, as Dan puts it as a person who fervently believes in God, if you are doing something that is destructive to your life and to the lives of the people around you, I think that God is looking at you and your neck tattoo saying, “Yeah, I agree with everyone else down there. You should probably listen to them.”
This same “Neck Tatoo” friend of Dan’s often posts on social media, complaining about “haters” who walk around in judgment of him. But, looking at the way that he uses the word “haters”, I think he actually just means “people who disagree with him”. For example, “…those hater police officers who don’t like the fact that I am driving 95 mph in a 40 mph zone… Only God can judge me. Not law enforcement officers, or juries, or judges…”
It’s situations and people like this that fuels Dan’s fear of interacting with other humans.
And after hearing his rationale, I think I am starting to side with Dan on all this.
Next, I am joined by musicians/comedians Dave and Brian. This amazing comedy duo met at a summer camp when Brian was just 12 and Dave was 15-years-old. Brian’s mom was the camp cook and Dave worked as part of the kitchen staff. After several summers “palling” around together, they started singing and cracking wise in front of captive audiences at the camp.
The first good song they wrote together was called “Reality TV”, but the very first song they wrote was about the chocolate drink YooHoo. As teenagers, there were certain qualities of the overly processed beverage that needed to be celebrated in song! But, what made the number tough to perform, over the years, was that it always ended with Brian chugging an entire bottle at the end of the song. As the boys grew older, the song had to be retired, simply for health reasons.
Before taking YouTube, and the world, by storm, Dave studied radio/tv/film in college and became a youth pastor, while consistently writing and performing comedy and song parodies on local stages. During this same time, Brian was wallowing around with no direction in life, but was mentally treading water in a sea of comedic genius. Then, in 2004, the two officially began performing together as “Dave and Brian” (apparently the names “The Beatles”, “Blue Man Group” and “Jerry Seinfeld” were already taken).
The glockenspiel became a featured part of their act when they were writing a parody of an old Blink 182 song. Dave’s mother-in-law had an old glockenspiel just laying around collecting dust (as they tend to do). Eventually, they dropped the parody idea, but kept the “Rockenspiel” as a key component to their original works.
And, it’s their original works that keep audiences spitting milk out of their noses! Songs like “Party Like It’s Wednesday” are not only hilarious, but also reflect Dave and Brian’s priorities and milk-toast lifestyle.
As Dave puts it, “We just kept hearing all these new party anthems on the radio, but we couldn’t relate to them at all. I mean, now that we have kids, by the time Wednesday comes around, we’re pretty beat. At that point, mid-week, we’re ready to just throw all caution to the wind and party with our Sunny D!
Recently, Dave and Brian did a song based on the show Downton Abbey and put it up on YouTube. Brian came up with the concept of a bunch of fraternity brothers gathering around the TV and partying hard to an episode of the PBS masterpiece. Somewhere along the lines, a producer at Good Morning America saw the video, loved it, and featured it on the national morning show. In fact, the GMA team loved it so much, they asked Dave and Brian to come up with some comedic pieces about some upcoming ABC shows, including the Bachelor!
And finally, my old friend Robert Paske calls into the show all the way from Japan. Back when we were in college together, he went by “Rob”, but since moving to Japan, he has had to adopt the more formal “Robert” moniker, mostly due to the Japanese pronunciations of English words. For instance, if he were to go by “Rob”, in Japanese it turns to either “Robu”, which means “bathrobe”; or “Roba”, which means “donkey”. So, rather than walking around the streets of Japan having people calling him a donkey, he decided to start going by his full birth name – Roboto. In fact, as an English teacher, many of his younger students call him “Mr. Roboto”, which is a lot of fun for a Styx fan!
Robert works for Kotobukiya, making statues and model kits of comic book and sci-fi heroes! As a life-long Star Wars geek, Robert got to live out his dream lasst week at the office. He got to be the model for reference poses as the team went to work creating new statues of the Star Wars, Episode 1 villain, Darth Maul! Prior to that, he has also modeled as Darth Vader and Jango Fett. Not to be typecast as merely villains in a galaxy far, far away, Robert has also modeled as Krypton’s favorite son, Superman! As well as the Amazons’ greatest hero, Wonder Woman!!
He’s living the dream!