Image of Ink Painting by Irene Neal

Chris, you are turning 25 today. Happy Birthday, son. You have always been a taker of risks, a free spirit, someone who is willing to try anything, no matter how challenging the idea is. Your Dad and I love that about you.

(Recently, when we were talking on the phone, you mentioned that you wished you had a GoPro camera to record the fishing trips you have gone on with the captain of my brother’s boat.)

Fishermen are colorful. Your fishermen are particularly colorful. Your stories as recounted via our running  three year long text message conversation are astonishing in the extremes of drunkenness, and idiocy that some of your colleagues exhibit.

Your last captain, ignominiously named after a farm animal asked you to be his IT Manager and organize an account for him on Ashley Madison, a social media site geared at married people seeking extra-marital liaisons. Honestly, son, you have way more good writing material  than anyone I know.

It was with some trepidation that we purchased the Go Pro camera for your 25th birthday. I could easily see you failing to respect the privacy boundaries of someone on the street, or, because you have the GoPro strapped to your head, feeling the need to do something wild to capture it on camera. Here are my top ten instructions for you, Chris, for using your new birthday present.

1) Do not get arrested. I will not bail you out if you get arrested for something stupid related to your GoPro Camera.

2) Please don’t  get beaten up.

3) Don’t go all Scorsese when you have been drinking. Nothing good will come of that, and whatever happens will then be evidence for the police to prosecute you.

4) By all means avoid recording other people who have been drinking. The person you are filming who is drunk may get physical and given your track record, will most likely hurt you.

5) Do not get arrested.  Oh, I guess I already said that one.

6) Use your new camera to make beautiful things – beautiful movies, not movies of the rats on the dumpsters (though that might be useful in getting the port to clean up the area)

7) Do not use the camera while you are driving. If you think a cell phone is distracting….or infuriating to others around you…

8) If you do get arrested, do not try to talk your way out of anything. Keep your damn mouth shut.  And turn the camera off. This is not the time to argue  or try to film the police.

9) Keep the camera at least waist high – have you watched the news lately? Men have been arrested and prosecuted for looking under women’s skirts – even if that’s not what you are trying to film, it will look that way to the people who arrest you. See 1 and 5 above.

10) I think you may be the next Huell Howser in the vlogging world. Showing us the dark, menacing and insanely comic underbelly of the world in which you reside. Be a risk taker. But be a judicious risk taker.

I think that just about covers it. We love you and just stay out of the newspaper on your birthday, okay?

Would love to hear what you are thinking!

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