Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Father's Day Gift: A Scourge

On Sunday, I celebrated Father’s Day by reminding myself what a s#!theel I am.

REMINDER ONE:
I should probably be in jail for almost killing my children in the summer of 2012.

Heading home after picking my three children up from camp, I dropped by a grocery store to pick up the evening’s dinner ingredients per orders from my dear wife, who was working late. It was a list of six ingredients. I knew it would be a quick stop, so I told the kids to stay in the car lest their mere presence double the time needed to fulfill said mission. As is the rule - yes, I've done this many times - I left the keys in the car and had the kids lock the doors, but I failed to realize just how hot it was. It had rained earlier that afternoon, but the sun and humidity had it in the high 90s. The line was longer than expected, so the expected 5 minutes became 10, maybe 15.

By the time I got back to the car, all three children were drenched in sweat, and the older two -- 12 and 11 -- where wild-eyed with the beginning of panic. Ten more minutes and who knows what could have happened?

Someone could have called 911. I could have been arrested and charged with abuse, or worse. I could be facing jail time or thousands, possibly tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees trying to prove I'm not a criminal nor an unfit parent.

The "call 911" reaction isn't silly speculation. It's the expected response circa 2014. Shoot first, ask questions later.

We are now so inundated with the news of countless people’s idiotic moments, or just their natural idiocies, that we no longer see them as human or events as tragedies. Instead we see them as opportunities for us to express our own proud judgment, our superiority, in Internet comments. Shoot first, ask questions later.

REMINDER TWO:
There are at least 15 reasons why I don’t deserve Father’s Day recognition in the first place. Topping that list is Steffi.

When I was 16 and handed the keys to my first car, my mother’s 1981 Toyota Corolla hatchback, a car I neither expected nor for one second took for granted as a sign of privilege and status, I named it Steffi in honor of Steffi Graf, on whom I had a tremendous crush. Graf had begun to take over the tennis world, and I was taking German in high school.

How could I have known I was violating Rule #24? I guess I should’ve named the car “Becker” or “Boris.” Who knew that referring to modes of transportation as female was insulting? Hell, I deeply and sincerely thought it was a term of affection. I also know of at least a handful of women who also refer to their cars as women.

Why does feminism insist on being a bully?

Best I can tell, the only way a man is allowed into their club is by tucking his tail between his legs and apologizing for everything ever done by anything born with a penis. If we are not openly humiliated, ashamed and embarrassed, at all times and in all circumstances, by the inexcusable awfulness of our gender, we are not a friend to the feminist movement.

Best I can tell, “Rad Dad” magazine is printed feminist version of Silas from The Da Vinci Code (YouTube). And, for those smart enough not to read it, Silas was f*#king crazy. Self-flagellation may have its purposes, but I have yet to find many who engage in it on a constant basis who aren’t a part of exactly the kind of extremist patriarchy against which feminists rankle.

I found myself particularly touched Sunday by an Instagram post from Holly Williams, daughter of the “legendary” Bocephus. It was a quote from Anne Sexton:
“It doesn’t matter who my father was. It matters who I remember he was.”
I wonder how many people have judged her for loving her father, have questioned whether Hank Jr. was a good man or a good dad. I doubt Rad Dad magazine will celebrate Bocephus as a model of fatherhood. Nor would I, in all likelihood. As if it’s our business. As if we should have any right. That quote cuts deep.

My wish to us all is that we can find a place, a secret members-only corner of our hearts, where we can find the true meaning of holidays. Whatever holidays you hold dear, be sure to keep a sacred space where you can protect the value and weight of a day for yourself and those whose opinions most matter.

Haters gonna hate. They can’t rain on your parade unless you let them.

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