Monday, August 22, 2011

Seeing the World Through Superhero Colored Glasses

The now waning summer months have seen my sons and their friends wisely coming inside from outdoor play to rehydrate.  That is when I can convince them to leave the calming glow of the television screen and set the development of their chosen video game avatar aside and actually play outside in the first place.  Over that same span of months, I have decided that water is the best thing for them to drink at these times.

I will not pretend to have made this decision for their health.  To be completely honest, I restricted their liquid intake to only water because, while Caprisun pouches are convenient and relatively inexpensive by volume compared to other drinks, kids are to juice boxes as chain smokers are to cigarettes.  (I am going to send this relationship to the committee that determines SAT questions for potential inclusion in next year’s test.)

I would have five kids at the house tell me they were thirsty.  “There are Caprisuns in the fridge,” I would say, “Help yourselves.”  I was so trying to be the cool dad in the neighborhood.  Ten minutes later, two full boxes (that’s twenty Caprisun pouches for those keeping score at home) had been completely demolished and the foil pouches and skinny yellow straws were littered across my front and back yards.

After the first time this happened, I insisted water was to be the drink of choice in our household and for anyone choosing to visit our household.  I went out and purchased a large package of red plastic cups and kept them stacked in the kitchen.  They would have water and like it.  So much for being the cool dad in the neighborhood.

But this didn’t change much.  Sure, I was paying less for red cups than boxes of Caprisun, but the endless supply of water available to the kids carried over to their perception of the red cups.  Every drink of water resulted in a new cup being used and they still ended up scattered across my yard because once the kids set them down, they instantly forgot where they put it.  In order to effectively reduce the spread of cooties in the neighborhood (which I commended them for), they would have to take a new cup every time.

Now, instead of twenty shriveled up Caprisun pouches on my grass, there were about fifty red plastic cups.  The only thing that distinguished my lawn from the aftermath of a college party on a Sunday morning was the lack of the frat boys face down with a dog licking up the pool of vomit nearby.

The next logical step was to get the boys using reusable glasses that they would be able to distinguish from one another.  And during a trip through Target, the solution came calling to the geek in me from the glassware aisle.  There I found multiple sets of superhero themed glasses, four unique glasses in each set.

Now, after much eye-rolling and forehead-slapping by my wife, the glass front cabinet in our kitchen that used to be filled with neat rows of matching (and classy) glassware is stuffed full of twelve colorful (and gloriously tacky) glasses featuring popular superheroes from both the Marvel and (counter to my usual standards) DC Universe.  Of course, the Captain America glasses are always to be placed in the back so that I get to use them.

Problem solved.  The boys all get to pick their own superhero and they have a designated glass for the day.  It helps them remember which glass is theirs, which reduces waste of plastic cups, foil pouches and my money.  At the same time, I get to regularly drink water and maybe occasionally something else (cough, beer, cough) out of a glass with Steve Rogers on it.  It’s a win-win scenario.

And I don’t get what my wife’s problem is with it.  I mean, I got her a Wonder Woman glass. Plus, she gets to be married to the cool dad in the neighborhood again.  Like I said, win-win.

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