Last weekend, my middle child bought a Rubik’s Cube because he’s twelve, and therefore omniscient. After tinkering with it for an afternoon, he gave it to Russell, who solved it in about an hour of dedicated trying. When I asked him how he did it, he told me he vaguely understood Cube theory. When I asked him why he would bother to learn such a thing, he told me so he could impress my son one day. After profiling my kids, I had been looking for a way to explain the other person living under my roof to an unassuming world, and this moment personified it:
Dude’s a weirdo.
Of course he is—anyone would have to be to take on a woman with three kids. (Couple that with his own daughter, and an outsider might confuse this household with a Mormon compound.) But there’s weird, and then there’s the fences Russell swings for. He refuses to wear hats, eat cherries, vote or order for himself at dinner. Why? Because of his “personal standards,” which is a completely arbitrary list of prohibitions that serves no greater purpose than to make his life difficult. He also suffers from what he calls Calvin and Hobbes syndrome, only coming to life when no adults are around (which is fair, as yours truly clearly doesn’t qualify as anything adult-like).
As an introvert, he becomes overstimulated hours before momma. As an anti-socialite, he couldn’t initiate a conversation even if it were, “will someone please extinguish these flames, because holy shit, I’m burning alive!” As a villain, his superpower is to say the exact combination of words that can drive someone out of their freaking skull. (My eldest is pretty chill, but Russell can switch his factory preset to rage in a single sentence.) And as a business owner that insists on doing it all himself, he has no vacation days reserved for anything ever. (He’s only missed four combined days of work in the last six years.)
What’s in it for me? Why cull such a seemingly incompatible man from the herd? I mean, if I haven’t driven the point home yet, look at it this way: he’s twenty-nine and will be three decades sober in August… what could he possibly mean to a forty-year-old party girl? Everything. Why? Because there’s a difference between people that are good with you and people that are good for you. In the short time I’ve known him, he’s helped me evolve from a nervous train wreck into a (sometimes) confident train wreck. As an introvert, he gave me the voice he can’t muster for himself—allowing me to better speak up at work, crack the whip harder with my kids and take sizably less shit from my ex. As an anti-socialite, he moderates my enthusiasm, helping me to stay prioritized. As a villain, he’s shown me that doing the right thing is not always doing the nice thing. And as a business owner… well he just makes my widening ass feel lazy.
It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the epitome of tall, dark and handsome, comes from a family of wealth and is the foremost expert on the subject of everything. To celebrate this man, and how much I value his unabridged sobriety, here’s a cocktail I pilfered from another man:
Crunch Berry Milkshake A Go Go
Adapted from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 1/2 cup Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries
- 3 oz vodka
- 1 oz Kahlua
- 1-ish cups ice cream
Pour milk and cereal into bowl, and allow to soak in the fridge for 20–30 minutes. Strain milk into blender and throw out cereal (or, if you are also a Russell-like weirdo, eat the soggy cereal.) Add remaining ingredients to blender. Blend. Keep adding ice cream until the shake is a consistency of your liking. Drink up, bitches!
When I started the draft of this post, it read like a puff piece in a gossip magazine, with me gushing like a star-struck fan girl. That’s why I went back and reworked the beginning to be as mean as I could about Russell. Y’know, for objectivity’s sake. That, and he makes it really easy because… well, dude’s a weirdo. I really wish my English major and I could think of a more articulate phrase for it, but no: dude’s a weirdo. Three words that a thousand others couldn’t say better. However, I’ve chosen him to be my weirdo, so he must be doing something right. Oh yeah, worshipping the ground I walk on. Good boy.
TWTG says, “Look, Hannah! You know what that is over there? Those are bus folk!”