How Will I Explain My HBO Special to My Son?
‘Career Suicide’ is unapologetically honest about my struggles with depression — and the lessons I learned fighting it
I have a son named Cal. He’s three months old and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic at all to say that he is the most perfect being to ever live on earth. He’s adorable and kind and he can already slap things with his hands, which I am pretty certain makes him very advanced. When he wakes up he looks sleepy, until he makes eye contact with me or his mother, at which point he breaks out into a bright, huge, toothless smile, which leads to a rush of euphoria that is the most addictive feeling in the world.
He’s also redefined all of my priorities. My life used to be about any number of things, but now it is only dedicated to one: making sure he has the best life we can provide for him.
I realized this the moment I first made eye contact with him, just after he was born, when he was purple and cone-headed and so, so scared. My desire to protect this kid is a mantle I proudly take on.
But it’s also brought up a question I never anticipated.
As an artist, how do I protect my son from my art?
This isn’t one of the questions they tell you about in birthing class. There’s a lot of breathing in birthing class, a lot of visualizing. At one point in the birthing class I took, everyone was told to hold a raisin in their hand and to remember that “a raisin is a construct.” (It wound up being a very useful class once we got past all the raisin stuff.)
They warn you about exhaustion. They warn you about diapers, about teething, about tantrums. But they don’t warn you about your own body of work and the potential that your offspring will someday be smart enough to operate streaming platforms without your assistance, at which point they will definitely find it.
This scares me on a few levels. First off, Cal’s mom and I met on a public access television show we worked on together, and it’s an understatement to say that the show was bizarre. Someday my son will find videos of me getting beaten by people with wiffle bats, or of a dominatrix lighting me on fire while I lie in my underwear on a table…