Wait, it gets scarier.
I was on vacation with my family. Our kids were older, and my daughter had a boyfriend with her. A space ship landed, and an alien came out yodeling the theme from “Close Encounters.” My wife was calling to me, trying to be heard over the yodeling alien, when I finally heard her cry out in utter desperation:
The cat likes to play checkers.
As you might expect, I woke up in a cold sweat, unable to shake that vivid, terrifying image of—that’s right:
My daughter with a boyfriend.
True, she’s only 11 years old right now. But time passes quickly, and in another 15 years she’ll begin dating. To me, this dream was a clear indication that I should begin preparing myself for the inevitable. When I explained this to my wife, she laughed.
I’ve seen drunken pirates with more emotional restraint.
For some reason, mothers are better able to deal with the whole dating prospect. I think this is because, statistically speaking, they aren’t men. They have no idea what it’s like to be a 15-year-old male. Well, I DO, which is why I will personally be screening each one of my daughter’s potential suitors before rendering my final decision to boot each one of them right off the front porch.
This may sound harsh, but, in the long run, will save my daughter the embarrassment of having to explain why her father has latched himself to the underbelly of her date’s car like Robert De Niro in “Cape Fear.”
Or why the only parties she can attend are costume parties, where the theme is Camelot, and all males are required to dress in full plate armor and a cod piece. If necessary, I will forge them myself.
I say this because I’ve seen what happens to fathers once their daughters begin dating. I have several friends who are just beginning this process. In most cases, this has included talk of buying a new home outside the city, and establishing a refuge for crazed rottweilers along a moat surrounding the family compound. Even to me, this sounds a bit extreme. At some point, you have to establish a certain level of trust with your daughter. You have to allow her a sense of freedom.
And you have to do it without letting her know she’s being followed.
You can try doing it yourself, but there are only so many times you can get away with “accidentally” crossing paths at the movies, Dairy Queen, and an abandoned gravel pit all on the same night.
Because of this, I’ve already begun interviewing private detectives. You see, to a father, money is no object when it comes to providing his daughter with the false sense of freedom that she deserves.
At least until a) his social security runs out, b) she becomes a national karate champion, c) he becomes a national karate champion, or d) preferably all of the above.
My wife, of course, thinks I’m being totally ridiculous.
“Over protective and irrational,” she laughed.
But, as I poignantly reminded her, at least I’m not the one who yelled out The cat likes to play checkers.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Or. 97439)