Once aspect of parenting that I have NOT had to deal with or react to yet, dating.
We have not used the girlfriend word around our house yet. Or the boyfriend word, but on that score I think we’re a long away. I hope we’re a long way from it.
In my more lucid moments I feel really for sorry for the significant other my kids might bring home with them. Dealing with me takes years of experience and I wouldn’t really wish it on anyone. I drive myself crazy half the time, my curmudgeonly attitude makes me a serious pain in my own ass, I can only imagine how others would deal with me.
Not to mention that in every interaction in my existence I’m looking for a chance to sharpen my trusty rapier of wit if you know what I mean. They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something. That’s 10,000 hours of purposeful practice. On that score when I think of my skills only a couple come to mind where I might be at the 10,000 threshold.
- Being a smart ass.
- Bass fishing.
- Playing the major blues pentatonic scale on a guitar.
- Driving a manual transmission.
- Backing boat trailers into very tight quarters.
In terms of actual value added to the human experience, I’d have to say the boat trailer thing is probably my most crowning achievement. You do NOT have to wait behind me on a busy Saturday at the ramp, I’m efficient and I’m good, nay I’m really really good. And every weekend in the summer I back my boat down my driveway, negotiate a 90 degree right turn and put it in the garage into the slot allotted. Only once in 12 years have I hit the lawnmower or the side of the garage.
In terms of the skill that brings me the most satisfaction, gotta be the smart ass thing. I can come up with a witty, to me anyway, response to anything. I can deliver at any level of raunch or properness you might care to impose. I am, that good.
Which is why I pity the significant others my kids bring home. Especially the first one, the one before Mrs S hears me and yanks on the choke chain to make me behave. I suspect that the kids will probably let her know before they let me know that they’re going to bring someone home. That way she can put me on the short leash and give them advice on how to make the proper introduction.
“Let the old guy sniff the back of your hand first dear”. I can hear it already. “Don’t say a word for the first few times, until you hear how conversations with him go, he ain’t right.” finally “Bring him a treat.. a 16oz tumbler of ice marinating in bourbon is a good start. He’ll like you then.”
And under no circumstances pet that little dog of his. If the dog likes you however, you’re golden.
This is coming up because there’s been some weird goings on around the Casa Del Sank-A-Ray, of the sort that I’m always the last to know about. Clandestine phone calls, ducking out of family stuff to answer a text, and hushed conversations in hallways and at the end of the driveway. Yea, I see them out there talking and glancing back to the house to see if the fat guy is watching.
Something’s up. And most telling, cellphones, which I would usually find laying all over the house have been judiciously guarded and worse, password protected. That’s never happened before.
Oh something is definitely up.
Last night I asked in my own loving way, because I’m feeling left out.
After the lad checked out for yet another phone call. On return to the table I gently asked “What the hell, are you making an arms deal or is that some Columbian drug cartel you chatting with?”
Dead silence. Fear in the kids eyes told me there was some ore in that rock. “Or are you talking to..” pause for effect “a g i r l”… I was like so damned pleased with myself. I was on to something.
Then the side of my head got really really hot, Mrs S across the table had turned on The Look. Caught me square. Burning flesh, singed hair, calendar on the fridge behind me burst into flames, dog ran for cover, daughter jumped up and ran to do the dishes un-nagged for the first time in 2 years.
Kid looked at me and said… “huh?”
They say that your children watch you all the time and emulate what you do. Kid learned, he did exactly what do when his Mom asks the hard questions like “Did you fill my car with gas like I asked” or “What is this $30.00 charge on your hotel bill for ‘premium package’? And why did you only watch if for 3 minutes?” You know, tough questions like that.