As the father, it is believed that I know everything. My wife believes it, and my children call me the fountain of eternal knowledge. I love these titles and would do anything to maintain this air of mystique, except for one tiny little problem. It’s all a load of refried-monkey-dung. I don’t know what bunk you’re feeding your children, and good for you if you’re getting away with it. However, the longer I remain a father the less I find that I know. Heck, half the time I don’t even know where my phone is.
There are family things I don’t know, like why my teenage daughter needs three outfits a day, seven if she plans on going out for the evening. Some of you ladies were teenage daughters at one time, can you please explain this? The thing is my wife asks me the same question. She’s closer to the situation than I am, but the father is one who is supposed to know. Here’s a clue; We don’t know Jack!
Then there are international things we don’t know like the one my son brought to me the other day. In choir they’re singing a patriotic song, something like Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue. My son asked me why this was a song for America as there are twenty-nine countries in the world with flags of those colors. I tried to fake my way through it and say something about the fall of the British empire, but was reminded of France and Russia. I quickly detoured away from that and found an Ice cream coupon in my pocket. He was distracted, and I didn’t have to answer. I may not know everything but I know how to be evasive.
There are technical things that are completely baffling like; If they can make a set of two-inch, wireless speakers that produce the quality sound of the Paris Opera House, why can’t they produce a Drive-Thru ordering system that even remotely sounds like a person talking? Personally, I think this is a CIA plot and the device was invented in 1995 by Irwin Rostenkowski, who disappeared in July of that year while vacationing in the Florida Everglades, and was never heard from again. You’ll know it’s true if I suddenly vanish as well.
Contrary, to popular beliefs, all new fathers are not imparted with vast knowledge when our children are born. There is no book handed to them by an elf named Rumplestilskin, nor is there a unicorn of truth galloping up to us when they sense our first child. I was with my wife in the delivery room and the sight of a child being born, first caused brain trauma, then caused me to pass out. Eternal knowledge was not on that list, although smelling salts, and a short hospital stay was.
The reason I’m telling you all this is simple. It is Back-To-School time and the fathers of the world are once again going to be asked to assist children in doing homework they are not prepared for. Think about this, I took geometry some twenty-four years ago. My daughter is taking in now. There two issues here. First the geometry book I used was twenty years old back then. My daughter will be using an up-to-date computer. Do you realize how much more geometry they created in those forty years? Ya’ don’t do you? Well, I don’t either, but I bet it’s a lot, and I never learned any of it. Remember also, I am an under-achiever. I forgot what I did learn in favor of talking to girls. Therefore, when she asks me for help on her homework, I will be of no help at all, but I will have to sit there and act smart to keep her morale up. That’s not fair to either of us.
Then there’s my son in college. He asked me to help him to pick out some classes. This is virtually impossible because our higher education goals are quite different. He is looking for a degree that will put him on the fringes of the medical field doing research on rare bacteria. My university experience was more in line with avoiding getting a job and entering the real world for four years. I think you can see the conflict here.
There I was, looking at an online course catalogue. I suggested a Vocational Breathing course followed up by some Basket Weaving. He laughed at me. He actually thought I was joking! I did very well in both of those classes and am proud of my C+’s. Well, in an effort to save face I laughed along with him and continued to look through the catalogue.
That was when he told me the requirements of the course he needed. It had to be a completely virtual course with no meeting times, because he just started a new job and didn’t know his schedule. It had to be in line with his degree and transferable as he is finishing up the two-year mark and will be changing schools next semester. It has to be a two-hundred level course, and he had to have a C or better in all the prerequisite courses or he wouldn’t have an Associate’s Degree when he makes the change. Lastly, it has to have a totally non-understandable title, because his counselor is a known sadist, and made him take two quarters of Sanskrit, just because he feels like torturing teenagers.
Well, we looked and looked and I was no help at all, except to bring a soda and a sandwich at the appointed time. The first class which almost made the cut was Colonization of Antarctica in the Seventeenth Century. The thing is there was a French prerequisite and my son took Japanese. I tried to convince him that the two languages were similar enough, but he insisted on continuing the search. Then we hit upon a course which fit all the requirements, Intro to Euro-Afro-Ameri-Asian Conflict and Peace Studies by Comparative Belief Systems During Odd-Numbered Centuries with an Emphasis on Alcohol Brewing. It certainly fit the non-understandable requirement.
I wanted my son to sign up right away, but he thought there might be something else. We looked at the class layout. There was one available seat left. If he waited too long, he would be closed out of the class. That wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted to keep going. I calmly said all right and went back to the screen, but in my head, I was screaming. All of our work was going to be for nothing!
Then it happened. The clouds opened and a single ray of sunshine struck my face. It seriously hurt my eyes, but in the moment that was okay. I realized my college career had taught me a lot about brewing alcohol. I knew something. I could help him with his homework. I was so happy, tears flowed from my eyes, although in retrospect, that could have been the sunshine. He signed up for the class and all was well.
Then my daughter asked me a question about snakes.
Thank you for laughing and Please read a little longer
Thank you all for laughing with me, but I need to be serious. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a genetic disease which rots the liver and lungs. There is no cure. The only help for people is to have a weekly infusion of proteins to stop the spread. For the next few months I will be taking all my proceeds and donating them to the Alpha-1 Foundation who are searching for a cure to this horrible malady. You can give here or for more information go to Alpha-1.org Thanks for supporting world laughter, and finding a cure. Laugh On