Want to be a better father? Get a bigger grill

image Sunday morning I will awaken to the sizzle of bacon and eggs, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and the shuffle of approaching feet as I lay in bed quietly thinking to myself:

My God, my wife is leaving me.

Then I’ll remember:

Wait — It’s Father’s Day!

It’s the day when we fathers are revered for our wisdom, patience and, in a few rare instances, our neckwear. For one whole day I’ll be the perfect father since my wife will be handling everything for me. She does this to help me relax and enjoy my special day. The problem is, it’s hard to relax when, by handling everything herself, my wife makes it clear I could be replaced by a dishwasher and a few extra power cords.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

But now that our children are all old enough to take out the trash, I am left with “the grilling of food” as my main contribution to the daily operation of our family. I have managed to keep this duty the way most men do, by making the task of grilling appear as complicated and miserable as possible, even if it means faking a heat stroke while grilling pre-cooked hot dogs.

I realize there are many new fathers who are making themselves indispensable during the diaper-changing phase. Just remember: your indispensability in this area — much like this morning’s tightly-wrapped dooty — will eventually disappear into the Diaper Genie. That’s when grilling even the simplest things, such as a bratwurst, should be made to look as difficult as possible.

To do this, you’ll need a large grill. The bigger the better. In fact, if a hibachi is your main grilling source, go now, hop into your vehicle, and accidentally back over your hibachi several times and replace it with something more practical.

And, practically speaking, we’re talking a grill roughly the size of a Miata.


You need a large cooking surface so that you can convincingly spray down flames and battle for control over a raging inferno that, if not for your grilling skill, would quickly consume everyone’s bratwurst — and quite possibly the world. Unless you are highly experienced in pyrotechnics, or live near an open gas line, trying to produce this same effect on a hibachi is very difficult.

Once you have your giant grill, you’ll need to keep a spray bottle handy. Your wife will assume it’s to prevent charring. This is partially true. But mostly you’ll be using it to spray on your face and body to appear as though you are perspiring when, in fact, you are frequently supplementing any loss of body fluid with liberal amounts of ice-cold beer hidden behind the grill.

Lastly, you should purchase a special, custom-made spatula that is so enormous and so heavy it can only be wielded with two hands. This will make the grilling process appear even more difficult by requiring a “spotter” every time you flip someone’s burger.

Put all of this together — spray bottle, giant grill, two-handed spatula — and you’ll have the dramatic image you want, which is that of a sweat-stained father staggering in and out of the flames of his grill, both hands gripped tightly around the handle of his 50-pound spatula as he devoutly retrieves the evening meal.

Sure, this may sound like a lot of effort; you could fold clothes instead. But the effort is worth it when it comes to family.

Besides, it’s really hard to keep beer cold when it’s hidden in the laundry.

(Ned is syndicated with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at Siuslaw News, P.O.Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

62 thoughts on “Want to be a better father? Get a bigger grill”

    1. For me, it has always been, ‘the bigger the grill, the bigger the inevitable burns I receive to my hands’.

      1. Tip: A two-handed spatula can keep you far enough away from the flames, yet close enough to the beer cooler, to prevent charring and embarrassing knuckle-hair loss.

  1. This hits way too close to home. Some men are kept around solely because they can reach things on the top shelf; I don’t even have that–I married an Amazon that’s an inch taller than me. I will take this advice tand try to avoid my inevitable doom.

    1. Good plan, Kev. I don’t know about you, but I’m also the “spider killer” of the house, which I didn’t mention. Some are so big I wrestle them onto the grill.

  2. That is funny as in our house I do the grill cause when hubby does it the food looks like charcoal…he does make a mean hamburger helper dish of his creation. Thank you for sharing with your readers. Have a great Father’s Day

      1. Thank you…PS we have a really big grill area as he combined a single into a double and a side burner on ground that I can make my corned beef and cabbage…lol

  3. All true. Every word. I up the ante by using charcoal and a bizarre lighting technique that involves rolls of newspaper in the base. Try getting THAT lit, honey! They may take away our dignity but they will never take away our arcane knowledge!

    1. Thanks for the affirmation, Ross. After the paper is ablaze, I’m picturing you like Tom Hanks from Castaway… “I have made FIRE!”

      By the way, allow me to share this American holiday with you by wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.

      Now, go light something on fire…

  4. Oh, you are too much! My mom actually called out my dad on that… he doesn’t grill, I do. She looked at me one day and said “what do I have him here for??” Well, apparently it’s just do to the dishes. I wish you many happy moments on your day, with a lightly crisp bratwurst. 🙂

    1. Haha! You’re Mom must keep your Dad on his toes. At the kitchen sink, of course 😉

      Thanks for the kind wishes, and I wish the same for your Dad as well!

  5. Want to feel even better about yourself — your wife sends you out to grill because it’s just another way to get you out of the house.

    Do you have the official “Head Weenie Warmer” apron?

                1. Good thing you gave in. I was about to share the courtroom scene from Kentucky Fried Movie (Take me to your leader). I also have successfully cruised into quitting time. Ciao.

  6. It’s about time someone did an exposé on this whole grilling scam. Thanks for being the guy to pull on the mitts and wield the spatula in order to get to the bottom of things.

  7. By the end of this picture I had an image in my head, good or bad, I’m not sure yet. It was of Ned’s face on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body as Conan the Grillmaster, wielding a two handed, 50 pound spatula. Rippling muscles glistening from lavender scented water applied with a spray bottle. For real.

    On a more serious note, I’d like to delve a little deeper into this cultural shift that demands grilling be made to look more difficult than it actually is in order to make up for less responsibilities elsewhere. I think this is a very important anthropological topic. I’m going to think about this for a while.

    1. Who says I DON’T have rippling muscles?!

      OK, fine — everyone. But lavender-scented water from a spay bottle? That’s an element of detail I would have missed! Lol!

      And yes, there is definitely cause for a deeper, more anthropologically-driven look into the evolution of grilling as a measure of a man’s contribution to the home. Then again, I like to spray myself with lavender-scented water. That should count for something…

      1. It counts for everything, Ned. It truly does.

        One day if you and I ever happen to cross paths in reality we should discuss that anthropology bit. Might be interesting. I won’t even mind if you leave a few shirt buttons undone to prove yourself on the rippling muscles. Maybe I’ll mind a little bit.

          1. Good, the rest of it really shouldn’t ever be discussed. Let’s pretend I only mentioned crossing paths and having anthropological discussions.

                1. Set it back, or took it to strange new heights? Remember, I’m a Master of Psychology. I’m therapizing you and you don’t even realize it. Sure, at first it seems like I’m setting you back 6 years, and likely it’s actually 8 or 9 years, but in the end, you’ll see the benefit. Or at least an invoice.

                2. I keep forgetting that because you’re so good. And you can expect my payment within that same time frame, give or take 8 or 9 years.

No one is watching, I swear...

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