The Fonz Needs an Empathy Transplant

Posted on April 6, 2012


Yesterday I took the boys out to eat and my seven-year-old, The Fonz, asked how transplants worked. I explained that you could give someone one of your two kidneys and could survive with just one. My ten-year-old, Optimist Prime, turned to The Fonz and said, “If you needed a kidney to save your life, I’d give you one of mine.”

The Fonz replied by saying…

Nothing. He just kept sipping his ice-tea.

I said, “Hey, did you hear OP?”
“He said he’d give you one of his kidneys if you needed it.”
“I heard him.”
“Do you have anything you want to say?”
“What am I supposed to say?”
“When someone says they would give you a kidney, it’s polite to reply that you would also give them a kidney, unless you suspect they currently need a kidney and only broached the subject to get you to agree to give one up.”
“You should also make clear that the offer to give a kidney doesn’t extend to selling a kidney to help pay off his gambling debts.”
“So would you give OP a kidney?”

I’ve officially put all my child-who-could-be-guilted-into-paying-for-my-retirement eggs in Optimist Prime’s basket.


I write a lot of silly, humorous poetry similar to Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein that I read to the kids at dinner. The boys are my all-time favorite audience because they’ll laugh at anything…or else!

The Fonz has started writing his own humor poetry and I wanted to share his very first poem. I’ve included all spelling and punctuation mistakes because it’s hard to determine if they were part of the poet’s artistic intent:

cause and effect

food can leed to certain deeths,
like if you choke you’ll run out of breaths.
many things can happen with fumes,
some things leed to certain dooms.
if you say hi while eating pie,
you might choke down your coke.
if you drink to many at a bar,
you’d get an acident in a car.
my uncle jimmy once got pied,
by eating to much pie, and exploded, and died.
Joe dropped his cell-phone in some juice,
he got so mad, he barfed out his chocolate moose.
This conclusion makes me sad,
because, how do we survive if food is bad?

I’ve already started to look at food in a whole new way. I’ve also started to look at The Fonz in a whole new way…as competition. And I don’t like it.


If you encounter an emergency, you have to think fast. Here in Shanghai you may find your emergency response time affected as you rush into your apartment building’s hallway and have to pause to consider whether a ‘FIRE HOSE’ is the same thing as a ‘FIRE COCK’.

Photo by Paul Wood, Arran Hawkins

In case of emergency, (insert dirty joke here).


Don’t forget to submit a caption in the caption contest. Don’t let this child’s melancholy be in vain.

Posted in: Chinglish, Family