(For the second week in a row, I am utilizing the power of Flashback Sunday to stay ahead of the space-time continuum and avoid actually being late on my post by convincing you, the reader, that Stephen Hawking says my columns are like a black hole, devoid of the confines of time, space and, as he put it, “Any actual content.” So journey with me now back to 2004, back when I thought Freshly Pressed was prison jargon for a white collar criminal who is added to the general population…
And in all sincerity to you Dads out there: Happy Father’s Day.)
As any father will tell you, today is a very special day. That’s because it allows you to see what it would be like if your children came from another planet. On Father’s Day, children are required (And I’m pretty sure this is an actual law) to do things they would otherwise only do if there was some serious chocolate involved.
It is essentially a day similar to how you envisioned each day would be, back before you actually HAD children; back before reality set in, and you came to realize that, although insanity didn’t previously run in your family, there was a good chance it would be starting with you.
For example, on Fathers’ Day, there’s always enough hot water for my shower. That means plenty of time to wash-up, shave, and even get the mirror foggy so that, by squinting really hard, I sort of look like George Clooney in the shower, squinting really hard.
That’s on Fathers’ Day.
On normal days, the hot water lasts just long enough for me to realize that, in the time it takes for me to squint, I’m ALREADY OUT OF HOT WATER.
This is because I usually take a shower after my daughter, who, at age nine, defies the natural laws of physics by requiring close to 700 gallons of hot water to wash a surface area equal to three fruit roll-ups. Though I’ve tried to explain to her that most sea mammals get by on less water in their entire lifetime than she consumes in a single shower, she only listens to me one day a year.
Which brings us to Fathers’ Day rule number two: Children actually listen to Dad the first time he says something.
Again, this goes back to those early dreams of fatherhood, when a raised brow was all that you’d need to bring order out of chaos. In reality, of course, that raised brow has now become part of a nervous tick that is a direct result of repeating yourself so many times that you’ve begun to sound like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman.
But this isn’t the case on Fathers’ Day. That’s right; when we go out to breakfast, my children will listen the very first time I tell them to stop eating sugar packets — at which point they will, instead, politely begin consuming Crayons, place mats and/or whatever happens to be stuck under the table.
I think it’s important to note that what makes Fathers’ Day different from Mothers’ Day is that, for women, the transition into parenthood is easier. That’s because, like a lot of women, they have prepared themselves for dealing with children by, well…
Being married to men.
In a way, today is about children expressing their love and appreciation for their fathers by trying to be on their best behavior. It’s a day filled with attentive faces, quiet voices, good manners and no squabbling.
To be honest, I’m glad it only happens once a year. Otherwise I’d go insane.
I love you, kids.
And that’s definitely worth repeating.
(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)