Dear Friends and Loyal Readers:
Oh baby, what a year 2004 was.
Not only did George W. Bush pull out the election, not only did the Club for Growth have its best year ever (goodbye Tommy Daschle), and not only are the Fighting Illini (Allison and Steve’s alma mater) the #1 basketball team in the land, but here’s the best news of all: for once Allison isn’t pregnant. For all of these things, we are mighty thankful.
The election season was a busy time for all of us. Will worked not just to register more Republican voters, but to baptize them too. Justin, who is 13, groused for weeks after the first presidential debate that the idiot Republicans surely should be able to find a candidate for president–the commander in chief of the most mighty military on the planet and leader of the free world–who can at least cobble together two sentences in a row of semi-intelligible English. What a blessed relief that W. won even though he is not such a man.
Is this a great country or what?
But that’s enough gloating for now. Here are some new developments in the Moore household. The most important one is that after Justin turned the ball over six times in one basketball game, and after Will (age 11) batted an anemic .186 in his pee wee baseball league, and–the final straw–after David, who is 3 and ½, was described by his pediatrician as having “low muscle tone” (we’re still devastated by that diagnosis; he might as well have told us that David has AIDS)–Steve, who as you know is a world class athlete, finally insisted on a DNA test to determine paternity. And, aha! Just as Steve had suspected! The results came back inconclusive. Herein may explain the mystery that we told you about in a previous Christmas letter about William bearing an uncanny resemblance to the air conditioner repairman.
After a mere six months in preschool poor David is already falling behind academically. Allison was summoned to the principal’s office to talk about David’s inability to grasp basic concepts like sharing, taking turns, respecting his elders, and the dangers of head butting and throwing the blocks at the heads of kids with liberal parents. (How he knows which kids go with which parents and the political affiliation of the parents is a great mystery, but he has thrown lots of blocks but never at a Republican.) The principal also was puzzled why it is that when David is eating lunch in the cafeteria he guards his Twinkies and Oreos, the way a wolf protects his kill. Allison explained to the teacher that this may be an instinctive survival technique: David has learned to fend for himself in a house with two older brothers, Steve, and a dog. In the Moore household, he who waits his turn or shares, ends up with squat and goes hungry at night.
David has one other curious habit. He has come to believe that Hillary Clinton is the wicked witch of the North (we have no idea how he got that idea implanted in his head, but Steve has been telling him bedtime stories for years). Every time he sees her face on TV he starts hyperventilating and scrunches under the couch in the fetal position while whimpering: “There’s the evil Senator who wants to take away all my toys and enroll me in a Soviet-style health care system.” If Hillary wins the White House in 2008, this kid’s going to suffer from severe psychological trauma.
Speaking of psychological trauma, the Haycock elementary school faculty recommended that Will visit a therapist because he has “repressed anger and deep hostility to authority figures (especially career politicians).” So anyways, we humor the educrats and ship Will off to the social worker and after three sessions of deeply probing Will’s inner demons, (Steve kept warning the guy, you don’t want to go there), we’re proud to report that Will’s doing just fine emotionally but it’s the counselor who’s a basket case and in need of further psychiatric treatment.
We admit that Will has some ideas that are…well, a bit over the top. When he was instructed to write a touchy-feely essay (alas, it’s a public school) on how Bush could “bring the nation together after this year’s divisive election,” his idea was to round up all blue state liberals, sterilize them, disenfranchise them, and place them into reeducation internment camps. Start with the dimwitted members of the intelligentsia:
Michael Moore, Paul Krugman, Dan Rather, John Edwards, Linda Ronstadt, and sickos like that. He got a failing grade, but we think the idea has some merit. Another Will brainstorm: draft Indiana Pacer Ron Artest into the army and let him singlehandedly fight the Islamic radicals in Fallujah.
Justin now spends an average of about 7 hours a day playing computer games. Steve has recommended that he might want to donate his legs to science since he never strays from the computer screen and all his muscles are atrophying from nonuse. Ask Justin what he wants for Christmas and he piously responds: “Peace on earth, an end to world hunger, a cure for cancer, oh…and don’t forget to throw in Grand Theft Auto 4th Edition, and Cop Killer.” Lord, how we wish we could repeal the child labor laws and stuff him down a coal mine. Justin is what economists call a pure cost center; there have been no returns on investment–which we calculate has already set us back about $200 grand and his appetite is only getting bigger.
No, Allison STILL doesn’t have a job, but thanks SO much for asking. Steve keeps reminding Allison that in the Moore household everything’s upside down and that in the animal kingdom, it’s the lioness who’s in charge of chasing down and slaughtering the antelope and its the male lion, who eats leisurely to his heart’s content and then takes long naps.
We recently bought the 39 golden episodes of the Hooneymooners on DVD (which are great), but now it’s a constant annoyance to Allison that Steve goes around the house boasting about how he’s the “king of his castle” and she’s just a lowly knave. Whenever Allison gets a little sassy, Steve’s new mantra is: “One of these days, Allison, you’re going to the moon! Bang! Zoom!” Jackie Gleason was the last real man.
Allison and Steve ran against each other for home owner association president this past year and goodness did that campaign ever get nasty. They know all of each other’s dirty laundry–and you better believe they aired it all in public. Here’s an excerpt from their final debate: Steve: “She’s totally untrustworthy.” Allison: “He beats his wife and I can prove it.” Steve: “She’s been unfaithful.” Allison “His own kids hate him.” We both drove up each other’s negatives so high that the voters deemed us both unqualified for public office and a write-in candidate ended up winning.
Steve’s tumultuous basketball coaching career drew to an end this past year as the team suffered through an emotionally draining 1 and 9 season. Here’s how bad the team was: Justin was the leading scorer. When Justin “brick” Moore is your go-to guy, your team has serious problems putting points on the board. In the last game of the season, Steve came unglued and received a lifetime suspension for rushing into the stands to whack a kid who was flicking popcorn at him and shouting “Mr. Moore is a pea brain.”
Anyways as we reflect on the laziness, belligerence and rebellious behavior of our kids over the past year, it dawns on us that it’s not such a stretch to believe that these really are Steve’s kids after all. And maybe their athletic ineptitude is simply a result of generation skipping or a reversion to the mean. The only thing that keeps us going is our calculation that in a mere 4,821 days, Steve and Allison will be empty nesters and like a prison inmate serving consecutive life sentences, we’re counting down the days to this glorious liberation from the never-ending cost, emotionally and financially, of parenthood.
Steve, Allison, Justin, William, and David Moore