(Non) Cat-Launching Kids and Cyber Weirdos

A guy who’s worried his girlfiend’s son is too much of a wuss, and some tips on thwarting cyber-weirdos.

Q: I have a girlfriend with a young son. I find the sprite interesting to play with but he doesn't really go for the things I did as a kid. I built forts, played endless games of stickball, made tennis ball cannons, stayed out of the house. I didn't need much to create entertainment. A hammer, rope, saw, a couple shotgun shells and a tree could easily turn into a long range crossbow with explosive bolts. Ahh, good times.

But this little guy won't hit a ball I pitch to him, sleeps with his mommy, grabs her boob in polite company and whacks the cats with the whiffle bat. Dammit! She also treats him like a sissy, buys him bracelets and other jewelry, lets him whine and complain and caters to it. (Also, she has a pet habit.) I do love this woman, and the cat whacking I'm not totally against, but I'd rather he built a cat launcher out back. Cock-blocked by a six year old. What do I do? – Stand-In Dad

A: Ok, we get it. You were like Daniel Boone growing up, and now you’re in a testosterone tizzy trying to toughen up your gal’s offspring.

But first things first: Go watch Cyrus. I don’t think it’s in theaters anymore but download it on Comcrap or whatever. It’s a hilarious-yet-horrifying look at the disaster that ensues when a new boyfriend (John C. Reilly) meets a hot mom (Marisa Tomei) whose life centers on coddling her adult son (Jonah Hill). I’m betting the movie will make you either 1) run for the hills 2) appreciate that maybe you don’t have it so bad.

But, what, truly, is the issue here? Are you really getting cock-blocked by this kid, or are you just wound up that your girlfriend isn’t raising Rambo? (I mean, maybe it’s not a bad thing she buys bracelets instead of bazookas for her son.) Without trying to Dr. Phil-osophize too much, I’m guessing her pampering stems from some major single-mom guilt. And, unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much you can do to change that – or the behavior that results.

What you can change, however, is your approach to interacting with the kid. Obviously, he’s not the next Bear Grylls. But maybe with all that whining and complaining he’s destined for a career as an emo musician, so sign him up for guitar lessons and help him with his chords. Or just find some common ground; you even admit he’s “interesting to play with.” Hell, grab a whiffle bat yourself, and instead of whacking the cats, just gently taunt them.   

Of course, if you love this woman but just can’t stomach how she’s raising her kid (or her “pet habit” – we won’t even get into that), then just end it already and spare everybody more pain down the road.

And if you’re still jonesing for a partner in cat-launching crime, why not give Mel Gibson a call? He hates the furry felines as much as you do, and with his career in the toilet, he’s probably looking for creative new ways to release his rage.

Q: How do you recognise if a guy is just persistent or a stalker? A guy I didn’t know contacted me via LinkedIn, then e-mailed me so I responded. Then he set about e-mailing me constantly one morning asking to go out for coffee and asking where exactly I lived. I finally had to be firm and indicate I’d just met him so he was pushing it. There was an ominous silence … so perhaps I’ve answered my own question! Anyway, perhaps you can address the whole cyber stalking thing and forewarn people about this type of behaviour. I'm a little freaked out. – Cyberstalked?

A: No problem. People: Please take cyberstalkering seriously. Of the 3.4 million people impacted by stalking annually, about 25 percent report technology — including spyware, e-mail or IM — was involved, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So good on you for shutting this potential psycho down, and make sure you do a better job of vetting friends and contacts on social media next time (especially on Facebook, which is in some legal quandaries right now with privacy issues).

 Here, a few tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance: 

  • Scan computers for malicious software and make sure all your security software is up to date and firewalls are turned on.
  • Avoid sharing personal information online, using computers at libraries or other locations away from home and work.
  • Only use home wireless networks that are secure with complex passwords.
  • Maintain the most stringent privacy controls on social networking sites.
  • Don’t post photos of your home that might indicate its location, like a pic showing a house number or an identifying landmark.
  • Be careful connecting cell phones to social networking accounts, and if you do, use extreme caution in providing live updates on your location or activities.

I’d say to go to the NCSA website for more info, but as of pub time (geez, they’re gonna hate me for this) the site appeared to, um, have been hacked. The message for the rest of us: Sometimes the experts aren’t even immune to this new breed of savvier-than-ever cyber criminals. Please type and text with caution, people.


  1. I’d be more concerned that her son is a serial killer in the making. Not everyone likes cats, but whacking them with whiffle ball bats and encouraging launching them across the neighborhood is a bit more disturbing than not wanting to play stick ball with mom’s boyfriend.

    Comment by Michelle — September 1, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  2. Hehe. I’m the writer of the note to Blane.

    What would any of you do if you just made a pristine perfect hot dinner and turned around seconds after putting things in the fridge and found a cat on the counter marking your freshly made dinner?

    I routinely taught them how to fly and if the opposite wall got in the way so be it. I could start urinating in their water bowl but I’m not that kind of guy.

    I do understand equating cat launching to serial sociopathic tendencies but a fair balance needs to be established don’t you think?

    Comment by irck — October 5, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

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