When it comes to guiding another human being’s journey through this big ole world, there’s no rule book.
Okay, technically, there are a seemingly-endless supply of parenting rule books out there… But unless it’s a celebrity bio or a comic book, I don’t care. Anyone who has read this blog even once (but refuses to admit it) is well aware my style doesn’t conform to any known structure. There is no greater example of my unique and indefinable parenting stye than the following conversation between myself and my teenage daughter, who no doubt will never say she won the Parent Lottery. (If such a thing exists.)
The set-up is this: My daughter was invited to a get-together with other young mammals of similar age, one of whom, (the host) was not someone she considered a friend. They were in each other’s friend orbit but they were definitely not close. And so my wife was charged with providing a legitimate, foolproof excuse for my daughter’s absence. But even though they sat in the kitchen for a full hour, neither she nor my child could come up with an excuse that seemed plausible.
Enter Skippy (“dad” was never a word used in my home – and never will be) and his, shall we say, “novel” approach to such situations.
DAUGHTER: Hey, Skippy! Help me out here, will you?
ME: Wow, You’re that desperate?
DAUGHTER: Sadly, yes.
ME: You’re confidence is empowering…
DAUGHTER: And well-deserved…
ME: I’ll drive you over there myself…
She piped down. But she still had that, “Please, save me!” puppy dog look.
ME: (Exhaling a long sigh only a dad can produce.) Fine… this will work, trust me.
She looked at me expecting to hear wisdom reminiscent of the Dalai Lama.
More silence. And then a very strange, quizzical look. And then a question.
DAUGHTER: Uh.. what, Skippy? Do you… have diarrhea?
ME: No… you do.
More silence, though if you listened hard enough, you could actually hear my daughter’s neurons exploding in her head.
DAUGHTER: I may be young… but I don’t have forever, Skippy…
ME: Send so-and-so a text and say you have really bad diarrhea.
DAUGHTER: As opposed to what? Really good diarrhea?
ME: No one asks you to their house if they think there’s a good chance your bowels will violently explode.
My daughter pondered my “wisdom” for a moment and then ran off to the kitchen to relay my advice to my poor, poor wife. I sat in my chair in the living room and waited for the inevitable, “What the hell is wrong with you?” from my wife. A minute later…
THE WIFE: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?
The walls actually shook.
But I still maintain to this day that the excuse was valid and foolproof.
See you in the lobby, kids…