We're All Damaged

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

World’s Greatest Dad

When I was younger—back when fatherhood was, at best, an abstract concept—I always promised myself that when my time came, I wouldn’t be one of those glassy eyed dads who can talk about nothing other than his adorable children.

Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t planning on being The Great Santini or anything. I’d like my kids. I’d read to them and teach them about not touching burners and how much better dogs are than cats, but when push came to shove, I’d still be able to say something witty about politics. I’d be able to read books and keep up with what cool people are wearing and live a life that was at least similar to my pre-child days.

Well, it’s been fourteen days since the little one arrived, and I am currently an unrecognizable shell of the person I once was. The novel I’m trying to get off the ground has sat dormant; my thus-far poorly developed characters are floating in suspended animation, waiting to be told what to do. I can’t even remember their names. My house looks like a Babies R Us threw up in it. I have no idea what’s going on with the healthcare bill. A public option? Huh? Cap and trade? What is that again?

Strangely though, I find none of this even a little bit troubling. It’s like that movie, the one with Nicole Kidman about the body-snatching aliens. Halfway through, the people who had their body snatched are kind of like, “you know, this isn’t so bad after all.” My daughter is sitting next to me. Fast asleep, she’s wearing a pink onesy and she’s sitting in a little vibrating chair. Every few minutes, for no reason that I can identify, she flings her blanket open and tosses her arms up in the air. She’s a miniature referee. She’s calling touchdowns in a game that no longer interests her.

Is this who I am now? Am I going to start wearing sweatpants in to the grocery store? Am I going to hear single people at work discussing a big movie that just opened and not know what the hell they’re talking about? Am I going to start complaining that Letterman comes on too late or that the neighbors make too much noise coming home from the bars on Thursday nights? Is the youngish, socially interested quasi man of the arts dead? Is he gone forever?

Oh well. Let’s be honest. I doubt if the world will miss him all that much. Frankly, he was getting to be a little smug for his own good. And all that business about Natalie Portman being in love with him. What was he, twelve?


  1. Welcome to parenthood. Your young self will come back when she's about 18.