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Superhero Finds Work/Family Life Balance Difficult

Captain Freedom is a Superhero who’s written a memoir of his life while he figures out what to do in his retirement. His powers are strength, flight, lightning-fast reflexes and weather prediction. He’s just convinced a family court judge to allow him custody of his soon-to-be sidekick DJ but the responsibilities of parenting only begin to dawn on him.

From the novel Captain Freedom, by G. Xavier Robillard
“After-School Special”

It’s hard to maintain a proper work/life balance. Crime doesn’t keep regular hours. I’ve got a contract with a concierge service, LifePlans, which is great. They’ll send someone over to wait for the cable guy, they’ll make sure the bills are paid, and the dry cleaning is done, but can I rely on them for the important moments in DJ’s life? Turns out I can!

Whenever I have to miss a school play or the battle of the bands (I Tivo all the sporting events on ESPN-High), a dedicated staffer from LifePlans will come over, brief me on the event and give me a tape of the whole thing. But there are certain things I can’t get out of, like the PTA.

Since they all think I’m a screenwriter they assume I have unlimited free time. I show up at meetings whenever I can. They’ve got me on the fundraising committee and the cultural committee. I was booted off the fieldtrip committee after my suggestion that we take the kids to the war-torn mountains of Kashmir. Where else can you see alpine nature and guerrilla war at the same time? They ended up taking the students to Washington, DC, to show off the war-torn aisles of Congress. In protest, I refused to provide anything for the bake sale fundraiser.

The worst part has been dropping DJ off at school. An out-of-work screenwriter can’t be seen in an FUV, so I’ve had to lease a minivan. I would have gone for something sportier, but I got the model that accommodates the teenager safety seats that are so bulky. Can you believe that car seats are required for everyone under eighteen? And truthfully, we needed a way to haul the twenty-four-bottle trays of Gatorade.

I’d send him on the bus, but apparently, the bussed-in kids are shunted off to their own special section of school, wear special hats, and have to be tackle dummies for football practice. Bus kids aren’t allowed to go to college. He gets really sore that LifePlans has to pick him up whenever I’m gone, so after losing too many arguments I get him a bicycle.

Big mistake.

Some teens get lost with drugs or become insubordinate. DJ develops a bizarre addiction to cycling. He got totally sucked into the culture. It’s a ridiculous hobby—how could anyone prefer two wheels over four? The math isn’t there, but he loves it and has to have the special shoes, the special tight outfits, and the special steroids.

DJ makes it into tenth grade at the Sacred Crystal, and post-puberty he changes from awkward to sullen. I attempt to make it easier for him. I buy him a video game console, a skateboard, season tickets to the Lakers, and send him his own subscription to Playboy, but it doesn’t seem to help. I’m forced to go his school one day after he’s been bellicose.

We walk into the school’s Ziggurat to meet with the headmaster. He’s unhappy that DJ’s fighting put somebody in the hospital, and he mentions that they prefer to avoid physical conflict.

“You teach passive resistance?” I joke.

“We like to call it passive aggression. It’s part of the Zoroastrian philosophy.”

I had no idea. I knew this was a religious school, but it never occurred to me that they’d teach religion.

As we sit in the small office I can’t shake the uneasy feeling you always have as an adult visiting high school, like there’s some dandruffy guy in a jacket and tie with BO and pit stains who’s about to berate you because you don’t know the capital of Congo and you were late to return the National Geographic videos featuring brief nudity to the school library. The room is more like a crypt than an office, and although the headmaster is different than Master Van, I cringe from the anticipation of one of his trademarked beatings. Then it hits me: I’ve been here before, but last time I was tied up in the barry bonds, a magical psychiatric restraint that seems to be unbreakable until you snap out of it and realize it’s entirely made of hype.

Will Freedom and DJ escape the clutches of the Zoroastrian headmaster? Will Captain Freedom ever get over his minivan problem? Find out in Captain Freedom, A Superhero’s Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves, available in fine stores and internets everywhere!

Photo courtesy of Offsprung

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