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Showing posts from February, 2007

Pretend Princesses: Royalty or Royal Flush?

Pretend Princesses: Royalty or Royal Flush?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

I had imaginary friends when I was a young boy. Friends who would help me solve crimes, rescue people in danger, and other situations most four-year-old boys find themselves in, when said friends are Scooby Doo and his gang of meddling teenagers.

As a rough-and-tumble little boy, I was naturally their leader. Our adventures were harrowing and frightening, but were always solved from the comfort of the family couch, or the Mystery Machine, which doubled as my bed.

We saved family businesses from sabotaging ghosts, recovered valuable art from pirates, and rescued helpless damsels from monsters. It was a footloose, carefree existence.

Until I met her.

She was a princess of unknown origin and name. Her name was unpronounceable, so she was simply known as Princess. She was my light, my raison d'etre. At age four, I had found my imaginary soul mate.

We met while we were battling the Ghostly Diver fro…

Confessions of a Four Eyes

Confessions of a Four Eyes
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

"Daddy, how old were you when you got your glasses?" my oldest daughter asked.

"Six."

"How old are you now?"

"Thirty-nine."

My daughter stared at me, amazed that we had vision correction technology all the way back in the early '70s.

"So you've worn glasses for 33 years?"

"Pretty much."

My daughter had just gotten her first pair of glasses that day, and was still getting used to them. More importantly, she was still trying to wrap her brain around the idea that she'll have to wear them until she's old. Thirty-three years is forever to a child.

"They still feel funny," she said.

"After a while you'll forget they're even there."

"Everything looks weird too."

"Don't look at them, look through them."

Judging by her expression, I had either said something profoundly stupid, or her glasses were slidin…

The Three Phases of Parenting

The Three Phases of Parenting
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting this column from 2005.

I recently became a proud father for the third time, and although I love and adore my new son, I've noticed my standards for obsessive care and compulsive hovering have lowered quite a bit.

Most new parents agonize over every little detail about what's best for their child, but they relax significantly after the second and even third child comes along.

My own constant worrying and stress has decreased to the point where my blood pressure is nearly normal, and I think my hair is growing back. And after analyzing the charts and graphs that every new parent keeps, I think I've discovered a pattern in every facet of child raising.

Your typical three-child family goes through three distinct phases, the obsessive phase, the careful phase, and the lax phase, also known as the "Where did she go?!" "Have you seen …

Are You Ethical? Take a Quiz and Find Out

Are You Ethical? Take a Quiz and Find Out
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Do you think you're ethical? Do you eat other people's lunch at work? Run red lights at 2:00 a.m.? At cash register "take a penny/leave a penny" cups, do you take or leave pennies? Then probably not.

But how can you be sure? After all, they're just pennies, no one is around at 2:00 a.m., and no one really likes that guy anyway, so what's the harm? But to be really sure, I've developed a scientific test to see if you truly are a good, ethical person, or you're the kind of evil, immoral, and unethical person who cut me off on the highway last week.

So grab a pen and take the Laughing Stalk Ethics Quiz. No cheating, and keep your eyes on your own paper.

1. You're sitting in your favorite coffee house at a regular table, when your favorite table opens up. You move toward it and reach it at the exact same moment as a young woman. As an ethical person, you should:
a. …