Jonathan Light

Writer. Director. Producer.

Category: Meta-philosophical Thingies

I Was Told There’d Be Joy

The children were quiet. Too quiet…

I walked out of our bedroom to peek into Nathan’s room, expecting to see them both dead on the floor from some sort of karate move gone wrong, but – instead – I see this picture:

Isaac, 6 years old and learning to read, sitting on the floor with Nathan, 20 months, on his lap. Isaac holds Goodnight Moon – aka “Moo Book” – and is intensely trying to sound out the words to Nathan, who stares at the page, enamored and riveted. He points to the bunnies and the different things in the room and looks back at Isaac with his trademarked, “hennghh??” And Isaac says, “yes, Natey that’s right!” because that’s exactly what Rachel and I say whenever Nathan says “henggnh,” as if “henggnh” is the most profound observation of the universe a human has ever expressed. Which, of course, it is.

I took a moment to endure the cuteness-overload that flooded my brain, and then went to Rachel and made her look at what was going on.

She looked in and tears welled – joyful tears, tears that come out only when you see these moments that seem to make everything worth all the screaming and crying and mess and sleepless nights. Then she grabbed her belly: “Oh my god, my ovaries.” She wants another kid, and somehow – in those moments – I do too.

HERE is the the joy I was promised, I thought. Such delight. Such love between the two humans we created, the two babies for whom we have sacrificed and slaved for all these years, and for whom we will continue to do so until we die, even if it is this very sacrifice that will be cause of our deaths. Here is the wonder and happiness and pure, unencumbered joy that comes with being a parent.

But then Isaac saw us watching, and he got up and wouldn’t put his socks on. Nathan – livid that his 352nd journey through the Great Green Room had been left unfinished – started screaming something a lot less cute than “henggnh” at his older brother, who was now ignoring him.

We had to leave, so I asked Isaac once again to put on his socks, although the actual reaction was probably more along the lines of: “PUT YOUR SOCKS ON NOW OR I’M TAKING AWAY YOUR POKEMON CARDS!” to which he responded by bursting into tears and running into his room, which led to another Rachel EyeRollÔ and a very concerned look from Nathan, who suddenly smelled very bad.

As all parents know, these moments of pure happiness followed too quickly by abject rage are pretty much a daily occurrence. It’s stressful, and the extent to which you are able to cope with that stress is the number one indicator of your happiness as a parent.

Several times a day, I ask my older son what he wants to eat. Without fail, he replies that he doesn’t know, so I list some options, ranging from scrapple to duck l’orange, each of which is met by an emphatic “No.” I then give up and insist he decides, and the reply comes: “I just want something that I want that’s good.”

What the hell does that even mean, you incoherent spawn??

At this point, I have three options:

  • Decide for him, then when he starts screaming that this isn’t what he wants, calmly explain that he wasn’t being clear so I was forced to make the decision, and offer to have a fruitful discussion about communication.
  • Tell him I will be ignoring him until he decides, then refuse to engage even when he start shattering glass with his screams and end up an hour later with a still-screaming child who’s even hungrier and no closer to deciding what he wants.
  • Scream at him to just tell me what the fuck he wants, for the love of motherfucking GOD, then run upstairs and angry-cry into my pillow.

Though my responses have always shifted between A and B (yes, this conversation happens several times a week), I admit that there are more and more days lately in which C is my choice, albeit without actual F-bombs.

Clearly my children are the reason I had cancer and heart disease.

I’m kidding, of course, but when you find the baby drawing on the furniture even though you were sure you put the markers out of reach, this is an easy trap in which to fall: It’s all their fault. If only I had chosen to not have children. If only I had chosen to stay single and un-tethered to anyone or anything other than my own happiness and ambitions. There’s no way I would have gotten cancer and heart disease had I chosen another path, one paved with fewer diapers and less stress.



The great epidemic of our time. I’m coining this phrase to describe the ridiculous thoughts that spew from the stewing brain matter of some of our elected officials: evolution is “just a theory,” the government is unconstitutional, CO2 is good for you, guns make you safer, prayer works, gay people are evil,  etc, etc…  Continue reading

Can’t Spell Sandy Without Sad

Rachel and I were lucky. We had power, heat, water – we were really, really lucky. So many weren’t, and it’s terribly sad..

The resilience – some would call it cynicism – of the people in this city amazes me, but I think that this event will have longer-lasting effects than people might think.  We’ve basically gotten a teaser trailer of what’s going to happen when these storms start becoming more and more frequent.  As someone (I forget who) so eloquently wrote: “I can’t believe New York has a hurricane season now.”  It’s clear that this city is unable to handle it, and I hope the powers that be are paying attention.

It does make you realize that a city is only as good as its infrastructure. Getting from point A to point B or making electricity flow is completely taken for granted sometimes, and we forget the importance of infrastructure at our own peril. This is an especially important point these days, when the whole idea of any kind of social cooperation that involves pooling funds to create infrastructure is decried as Godless Muslim Socialism.

The bottom line is this: take away our electricity for a few days, and we’re pretty much crippled. It really should make people think about just how fragile our modern ecosystem has become, and just how much we need to change our thinking to guard against future catastrophes.

Brian Epstein

In light of the George Martin’s death, I’ve decided to re-post this. I think it’s a shame that he’s not had more mention or recognition for what he did, and I don’t think it diminishes George Martin’s genius or contribution to acknowledge that the Beatles would never have found Martin with Brian Epstein.

He’s the most famous person you’ve never heard of. I vaguely knew he had something to do with the Beatles..until recently, that is, when a friend of mine introduced me to his life’s story.

I’ve been mired in it since then, and each nugget of information I consume leaves me wanting to know more.  Look up his story – Brian reached the height of heights, and then took a long, slow tumble to the bottom. His death (ruled accidental) was front-page news at the time, but people barely know him today, especially on the American side of the water.

This is sad. Brian was a stark example of what happens when people give their all and just don’t feel appreciated for the work they do. Despite his fame and fortune, all Brian really wanted was to give – and receive – love. That he was unable to find love – both because of his circumstances (being gay during a time when it was illegal to be so) AND his destructive tendencies – is a sad, sad thing.

I believe, after reading quite a bit about him, that had he been alive today, modern psychiatry would have been able to help him, through a combination of therapy and medication. He was almost definitely bi-polar, at least mildly, and medication would have helped him with his terrible mood swings.  In addition, had he had access to people like my wife, he would have received the help he needed to kick his drug habit, and the tragic combination of pills could have been avoided.

But mostly, all he needed was love.



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