insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child


Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]


Advertise Here

On Easter Sunday afternoon, we took our kids to a trampoline/obstacle course park, but not just any ordinary park. This wasn’t a collection of four-feet-across questionable exercise equipment in the trailer park’s social activities room. (If we cobble together a …...

[ Swap Article ]


Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

Grunge green accepted word round rubber seal stamp on white background

Filed Under , on March 30th, 2019

Editor’s Note–TFF Issue #21

By Seth Kabala

On Easter Sunday afternoon, we took our kids to a trampoline/obstacle course park, but not just any ordinary park. This wasn’t a collection of four-feet-across questionable exercise equipment in the trailer park’s social activities room. (If we cobble together a bunch of small trampolines, we could market this place as a trampoline park, Merle. We’re already a park. It’s time to upscale our image.); this place had Olympic-caliber trampolines, vaulting competent users 10-15 feet in the air (incompetent users to the top of FailArmy playlists), performing all manner of flips and tricks that, somewhere, are making a Southern grandma say, “Lord have mercy. That child’s about to meet Jesus.”

My justification for choosing this as a Sunday afternoon activity was part entertainment, part spirituality. The entertainment part is simple. I like to find fun family activities for the kids, particularly those where Amy and I can sit on the sidelines, talk about how great our kids are, how we can assist them with weak areas, and discuss the absolute suckiness of all comparable children that we know. (Don’t hate. You’ve done it, too.)

I haven’t even gotten to the spirituality part, and the haters are already assembling in droves. Just hear me out before you cast your stones. Yeah, I see them there behind your back. Jesus sees them, too. So (royal court announcer voice) put-ee down-ee the stones-ee. Now that we’re all disarmed, here’s my reasoning: I think physical exercise gets us closer to God. Not in the sense that we can sweat and calorie burn ourselves into heaven. I’d never go that far. (Well, Ironman athletes aside. Those people should qualify for automatic sainthood.) I’m talking in the sense that when we exercise, we better ourselves, lower our stress, clear our minds of all the junk and detritus and non-value-added shit that’s been building up, and we try, for a while, to see what we can do.

That, I think, makes God smile. He accepts us as we are, sure, but when we strive to improve ourselves, to increase our capacity, I believe we’re living God’s design for us to the full. I believe this to be true whether one’s desire is to be the world’s fastest bed maker at a hotel chain or the grand prize winner of the eat-a-72-oz-steak-in-an-hour competition. Unlike most eating competitions, this one isn’t simple gluttony; it was started because of an altruistic cow’s dying wish to donate itself to the science of human potential to eat massive amounts of protein quickly and unnecessarily, also to see the effects on longevity and heart performance. So far, the cow’s utters are shaking as it laughs itself into a frenzy in the calf-terlife.

Acceptance, then, is more than just casual affirmation of someone’s life trajectory. It’s relational, influential leadership.

It’s always a challenge for us to get our kids to exercise at home. We homeschool. Thus, we control the curriculum, so we make sure our kids get a certain amount of physical activity. Problem is, they see this not as being good for them, but rather a replication of the opening scene from Les Misérables. 15 minutes, to them, seems like 20 years. Exercise for fun? It was a gamble. Did it work? Keep reading and find out.

Prior to hitting the trampoline park, on the way home from church, Ella, our seven-year-old, wrote a note to me and Amy that said “Thank you for adopting me.” Quick explanation: she’s our blood child, not adopted, so let’s quash those rumors. Is it funny that Ella confused adoption for natural birth and blood relation? Sure. But to leave the observation there is to miss the larger point: she was emotionally connected to the idea that we had adopted her. It meant something to her that we had, from her perspective, chosen her. She wasn’t the biological foregone conclusion of a fantastic night out (and in) for mom and dad; she was an intentional choice.

I’ve got friends who have adopted children. The process takes years. Takes energy. Takes dollars–thousands of them. Takes a large chunk of your heart, and then asks for more. Takes all you have to give, and asks you to dig a little deeper. That’s just what I’ve seen from an observer’s position (observations mostly done through Facebook, being totally honest. I do people-watch, but from afar). Everything about adoption is intentional, so can the same be said for biological relationships? I think, yes, and it’s the long-haul commitment that proves it.

Family acceptance is huge, no matter what jet stream pattern on which your stork flew. It’s what’s allowed us, in this issue, to explore science fiction and genetic engineering and Russian royalty in Ammo Arms, the virtues of microwaving rice in tube socks and keeping your mockumentaries close in Waiting for Sock, and raising awareness around the dangers of joke writing and affirmative consent in woodland creatures in Toxic Bambi.

It’s weird. It’s wacky. It’s mildly offensive? Meh. Only if you take life (and yourself) too seriously.

It’s The Family Farce. It’s who we are. It’s what we’ve done here for almost 10 years and will continue to do for as long as our families accept us and don’t sue us for making fun of them on the page. (We love you guys!)

Getting closer to God through exercise? That’s debatable. Our kids had great experiences at the trampoline park. I think most of them were more the FailArmy variety as opposed to the Aint No Mountain High Enough kind. Still, they worked out their brains and their bodies. Not a whine was heard for a solid two hours. I call that a win.

(Can’t say the same for Merle and his attempts to put his trailer park on the map. I hear he’s trying to market it as a complement to American Ninja Warrior, but that’s going nowhere. The problem stems from all the liability from overall buttons and large belt buckles getting stuck in netting.)

Expanding our capacity to accept and love who we are and accept and love those around us–and still retain enough influence to coach those we love to living their lives to the full?

For that, I think even Jesus would take a run at the warp wall.


Leave a Reply

Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]


Time Traveling Titan

At Toastmasters last week, the theme was National Velociraptor Awareness Day (a real thing). During Table Topics, one of the questions was this: describe your experience finding the first velociraptor claw. Tonight, the whole family is going to watch Avengers: Endgame. In the spirit of honoring the...

[ Swap Article ]

Mad scientist holding up a test tube

Ammo Arms (part one)


[ Swap Article ]

Set, collection of colorful socks icons with different ornaments isolated on white background.

Waiting for Sock

Think about stuff you need to get you through your day. Does coffee come to mind? Of course it does. For millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, coffee, in its various forms, is a daily ritual. Not just a daily ritual--an hourly fix, as in you need to grab more black sludge...

[ Swap Article ]


Shuffler's Luck

I never knew a card game could change my life. I'm not talking about a high-stakes poker game, where international gangsters vie for dominance in a world of chance, and if chance doesn't go their way, bullets will do as a nice substitute. I'm talking about a simple card game with suggestions for the...

[ Swap Article ]

Bully man

Meter Mensch

A co-worker of mine dropped her bus pass in the hall. Someone picked it up and handed it to her. She thanked the person, saying she was sure glad she hadn't lost it for good. I poked my head out of my office and said, "You just ruined a fare inspector's day." Got a good laugh, and it got me...

[ Swap Article ]

Chess board made of white and brown sugar with King

Sweetness and Dark

The street is dark. Cars line both sides, hugging the curbs. Streetlamps reflect off of glossy paint jobs and squeegeed windshields, creating alternative perspective art pieces from flipped aspect ratios of bent light. A breeze blows the evening fog up from the water. It lowers the ambient...

[ Swap Article ]

Holy Cow - handgezeichnete Illustration mit Pastellkreide in türkis

Couch Etymology

From where you sit, do you understand seated origin? The reason for said sitting? If not, you soon will. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Pop-art style poster with hipster deer dressed in yellow glasses and scarf, telling I am cool.

Toxic Bambi

Yesterday while I was writing, Ella, our seven-year-old, came up to me and said she had thought of a joke. "My first joke," she announced, pride streaming from her voice and face. I asked her what it was. Here's what she said, "What does [we'll say Bob] want to do for school? Me U. Get it? Me U...

[ Swap Article ]

World Map in Typography word cloud concept, names of countries

Plan for the Journey

Toastmasters is moving away from its physical manuals and static speech-making program into a dynamic program called Pathways. On January 10, 2019, I delivered my first speech in Pathways: a re-imagination of my ice-breaker speech. If you don't know me, know this: if you give me a rubric, I will...

[ Swap Article ]


Battle of the Sarcasticons

I’m raising a band of Little Sarcasticons. Defined term? Yes, yes it is. You can find it in the Kabala Book of Sarcasticisms. New chapters available daily. No longer must we be constrained in our sarcastic witticism production. Oh, no, folks. Netflix has joined the charge with their resurrection...

[ Swap Article ]