It’s Finley’s 6th birthday today, which is absolutely crazy. I wanted to post something about his original birthday, but that time was a bit too stressful for my to laugh at right now, so I’m doing something a bit more lighthearted.

A couple weeks ago, I came up with an idea for a children’s book. It’s not really fleshed out yet, but since it’s inspired by Finley, I though it might be nice to post the first chapter today.


In third grade, my city hosted a monster drawing contest. The top results would be used in a playground’s new area called The Monster Maze.

While other kids drew goblins and Cyclopes and vampires, I shook my head. “I’ll draw a real monster,” I thought, then drew a Dilophsaurus. This, if your parents let you watch the movie Jurassic Park like mine did, is the dinosaur that took care of the bad guy. I had big dreams at the time of becoming a paleontologist—someone who studies dinosaurs—and discover new bones of the monsters hiding in the ground.

My poster won, along with about 40 or so other drawings. The adults in charge hid my work in a dark corner of the maze were nobody would ever see it.

I gave up on my dream of being a paleontologist.

Next, I wanted to be an inventor. My great uncle invented the television, and after hours of staring at the TV, watching dinosaurs and other monsters duke it out, I decided I was going to create something as great as he did. Maybe a new type of computer, or a new game system. When I had kids of my own, they would use my invention to watch new, more exciting monsters. All I had to do was win a place at a good engineering school—that’s where they teach you how all the electrical parts inside your devices work—and I’d learn all I’d need to know to be a great inventor.

I won a place at a good engineering school. Then, after months of sitting in a dark corner struggling through thick textbooks and endless math equations, I gave up that dream, too.

Now I’m an accountant. Accounting is what people do when they give up on their childhood dreams. I sit in an office all day, pushing numbers around a bland computer screen to make new numbers. It’s a bit like your math class, where 1 + 1 = 2, except I have an expensive machine that does the actual adding and subtracting for me. And, unlike your math class, when I hand people my numbers, the people are either very happy, or very, very mad.

That might sound boring. It can be. But I have a secret. When I am working with those numbers, when I am staring at the screen, sometimes, if I look close enough, I can still see the monsters.