Tim Whyte | A Smackdown for My Kid

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Last week, when I posted one of my columns on Facebook, one of the replies came from Tyler Lazarek, my son’s good friend, roommate and hockey teammate at the University of Oklahoma. They’ve known each other since they were little kids, playing youth hockey at the now-defunct Ice Station Valencia. 

Tyler’s post said this: 

“‘I feel like I can write a way funnier weekly Sunday article than my dad’ – Luc Whyte.”

Then Luc doubled down on it, posting a one-word reply: 

“Facts.”

Boys. You think I don’t remember my first beer?

A few thoughts came to mind. First, I’ve never known Luc to let “facts” get in the way of a good story. The boy has mastered the art of BS. 

And second: Son, I’ve read many of your college papers. Not once have I been rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off, when you’ve written about the reasons nations go to war or the inherent social injustice of the death penalty. They’re not exactly laugh-fests.

They don’t call you Chuckles in Oklahoma, I’m betting.

And third, Luc, no. You can’t write a funnier WEEKLY Sunday article than your old man. Sure, you might be able to do it ONCE. 

You know. Blind squirrel. Finding a nut. 

But weekly? First of all, it’s a grind. Coming up with an original idea, EVERY WEEK? Son, your head would explode. 

Obviously, not all of my columns are meant to be funny. But the ones that are supposed to be funny are way funnier than anything Luc could write, if nothing else due to the fact that I am a professional with many years of experience, wisdom and better material. 

Reading those Facebook posts, sitting in the back yard by the fire on a COVID-19 quarantine night, my wife, Luc’s sister and I hatched an idea of calling Luc’s bluff and letting him write a column on a week when I would write one on the same topic. 

Then, we’d let The Signal’s readers vote on which one is funnier. 

However, what would the topic be?

Right out of the chute, I thought of this one: “Why Brooke is Dad’s favorite child.”  

But anything Luc would write about that would just be sour grapes. 

Or: “Good looks: They skip a generation.” 

Nah. That would hurt Luc’s feelings. And my parents’. (Kidding, Mom and Dad. Good looks actually skip every THIRD generation… and Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

We could do this: “The hilarity of ill-advised debauchery among college students.” But, that would give Luc an unfair advantage because he knows a lot more about the topic than I do. And, of course, it might attract the attention of Roscoe, Cletus and the other law enforcement in Norman, Oklahoma.

How about, “Luc’s hair, through the years?” 

Oh, I could mine that. From his “flow” oozing out from underneath his helmet during his time in junior hockey, to that time he and all of his knucklehead teammates bleached their hair blonde for playoffs (it took a year to grow out), to that time he shaved his head — B-A-L-D — on a dopey college dare, to his Grizzly Adams beard days… If I ever write my autobiography, Luc’s hair is getting its own chapter. The kid is a walking shampoo commercial.

Whatever the topic, Luc, you need to know this: In a head-to-head column-writing grudge match, you’d be way over your skis. Your mouth is writing checks your keyboard can’t cash. And I really don’t want to embarrass you.

But if I have to, I will. 

Some lessons have to be learned the hard way.

Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal. His column appears on Sundays unless there’s a global pandemic.

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