The oh so feisty one thinks Alternadad is an idiot.
And she told him so. It happened on Sunday night at the Tea Lounge on Union Street in Park Slope, where Neal Pollack (a.k.a. “Alternadad”) was promoting his new book.
Early in the reading, Pollack ranted about “The Backyardigans,” a Nick Jr. show he thinks is unctuous and stifling to the imagination. He much prefers that his 4-year-old son, Elijah, watch a classic superhero cartoon like Justice League of America. Then he looked out at the audience.
“Does that boy out there watch the Justice League of America?” he asked.
Everyone looked around wondering whom Pollack was talking about.
“That boy,” he pointed right at OSFO, who was wearing her brand-new Navy blue Brooklyn Industries hoodie — with the hood up.
“That’s not a boy, that’s my daughter!” Smartmom corrected. On cue, OSFO removed her hood, which revealed her beautiful, ultra-feminine face and long billowing brown hair.
“I thought she was a boy because she was wearing a hood,” Alternadad said.
Them’s fightin’ words in gender-neutral Park Slope, where a maelstrom developed last year after a woman inadvertently assigned gender status to a Navy blue hat that was left at a playground.
You could say that the reading didn’t get off to such a good start. And Smartmom was already miffed because Dumb Editor asked her at the last minute to cover it for The Paper. Still, she went along with it, judging this book reading by its cover (a funny picture of a rubber ducky with a nose ring in his bright orange beak).
Before the reading, Smartmom sauntered right up to Pollack and introduced herself.
“Hi, I’m Smartmom,” she said.
“I’m Dumbdad,” Pollack answered. “There, you have your lead.”
Snarky. Very snarky. This hipster guy is one super ironic dude. Still, she tried to keep her mind open to Pollack, whose new tome is getting raves (which always raises Smartmom’s eyebrow).
Next problem: finding a seat. Not an easy task on Sunday night when the Tea Lounge is packed with childless twenty- and thirtysomethings doing whatever it is they do with their laptops.
Finally, a scuzzy yellow armchair freed up and OSFO grabbed it.
Pollack read from the preface of his “tell-it-like-it-is” parenting book for people who spent their pre-kid years, like him, obsessed with popular culture, babes, bars and bongs.
Big surprise: the book was all about poop.
Like many a snarky guy, Pollack is obsessed with excrement — the most-dreaded reality of fatherhood for many a would-be dad.
Pollack told of the time his 2-year-old son took off his diaper and threw poop all over his bedroom.
There went Smartmom’s eyebrow again. Ho freakin’ hum, the mother of two thought to herself.
The big surprise of the book is really no surprise for anyone who has had a kid (presumably, Pollack’s audience). The “Alternadad” comes to realize that he loves his kid even more than he used to love the Sex Pistols. It’s a rocky, often painful, ride from rock-and-roll dreamer to responsible and pragmatic parent. But he loves it in the end.
In the book, Pollack discovered that such love trumps going out to the midnight show at Union Hall or Southpaw. Sure, he still goes out. But, frankly, why bother? Judging from the many “isn’t-my-kid-cute-and-cool” anecdotes throughout the book, his kid really is the best show in town.
And that’s the part that made Smartmom squirm. Pollack acts like he’s the only parent in the world who thinks his kid says the darndest things.
Just spend a half hour eavesdropping at Sweet Melissa’s and you’ll get better material than his.
Perhaps no one has had the guts to say it, so Smartmom will: Pollack is not the first cool guy to procreate. Even Keith Richards is a dad, for Buddha’s sake.
This edgy writer guy with his not-so-edgy book deal from Pantheon and a savvy publicist to boot may be funny, but so is Smartmom’s fave Annie Lamott, author of “Operating Instructions.” And, frankly, so is Smartmom herself. You can go to the Tea Lounge and hear her read (to herself) any time you want.
Yet here comes “Alternadad,” this braggadocious boho, veteran of artsy performance spaces and poetry slams in the backroom of independent bookstores. Suddenly, he grows up and becomes a Dad. And he likes it. In fact, he finds it amazing! It’s even stupendous! It’s even better than the sex he no longer has. Now Smartmom knows he’s nuts.
So you can see why Smartmom, who’s been mommying for 16 years, was annoyed having to listen to this cool cat’s initiation into parenthood.
Needless to say, Pollack’s got sequel written all over him. Heck, he’s got a cottage industry with his kid: Elijah Takes Theremin Lessons. Elijah Meets Patti Smith. Elijah Gets Thrown Out of Waldorf School.
A TV deal is no doubt in the works. This kid thing is a cash cow!
Do I really need to hear Neal Pollack kvell about his kid: “Elijah is imaginative. He’s wonderfully creative. He asks interesting scientific question, and makes up imaginative superheroes. He’s a smart kid and great to have around. He is endlessly fun and endlessly hilarious...”
Blah. Blah. Blah. Speaking of kids, OSFO really is one smart cookie, too. She called it as she saw it: Alternadad really is an idiot.
In last week’s column (“OSFO gets a piano”), Helen Richmond’s name was misspelled. Smartmom regrets the error.
©2007 Community News Group
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