When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Damn, but I thought it was going to be spring for longer than this. As a transplant to the American Southeast (colloquially called “The Say-outh” by the locals) I was thrilled to experience some of the weather it had to offer – autumns effused with gold and red and yellow of turning leaves; winters graced with just enough snow and ice for the kids to have fun but not enough to keep us from a drive to our favorite beer joint; and springs that start dreary and suddenly assault the senses with so much greenery one seeks out large parking lots to catch a glimpse of asphalt, all the better to keep from overdosing on the green-ness of the place.
Then summer comes. Does for us all, I guess, and I suspect I will not be the only one complaining of the 95 degree temperatures and 90% humidity for days and weeks on end. Still, I am already pining for September, they way my Canadian wife says she used to pine for May when she lived up north, but for different temperature related reasons.
All that poetic nonsense I was spewing a few short weeks ago about the lusty burgeoning of spring is well and truly (and suddenly – came on fast) over with, and here's my most poetic statement of late: fuck this place in summer, it's too goddamn hot and sticky and nasty.
I am taking a new tack with DP letters – I will paraphrase the actual letters rather than recap, because I've noticed my recaps can suck a lot. And so, without further commercial interruption...
Originals are HERE.
1.) I married my high-school sweetheart. I had an affair with a colleague. My husband found out, and we decided to work things out, then I found out I was pregnant. Do we ever tell our son that my husband isn't his biological father?
Always Worried – Among the joyful things about youth are the alternatives in how you live your life without cognizance of responsibility. Spilling sperm all over the landscape is, apparently, a requirement of being a stupid young male, and receiving said sperm in unprotected sex is a similar requirement of the young female. The cheating part comes with youth as well, and most don't survive it – good on you two.
Ah, la. Youth! Huzzah!
Um, do you really need to write a letter to someone asking if you need to tell your three year old offspring who his father is? How fucking old are you? Did you make it all the way through high school? Did you ride the special bus there? Geez.
Go get your Magic 8-Ball, you cheesebrained dummy, and see what it says, because whether you tell him or not he's got a long row to hoe with a stupid parent like you to follow. This poor kid already has your genetic material in him, and I simply have to assume that means he's fucked regardless what you do. Maybe his real dad had a goddamn brain and he'll be lucky. Proof once again that natural selection has it's flaws: the particularly stupid ones seem more prone to successfully mate. Sad thing.
My take? Let the natural father make the choice. You can't handle it.
2.) Our kids are in summer sports. I coach my son's baseball team, and my daughter plays softball. I'll attend one of my daughter's games each week. But I don't want to be heaped with guilt by my loving spouse if I don't attend every one of her games. My wife thinks I'm cheating our daughter. When I was a kid, I was lucky if my dad came to any of my games.
Ballpark Bum – let's start with this: “I don't want to be heaped with guilt by my loving spouse.” Really? Is that was loving spouses do, dickless? Heap guilt on you? Better revisit that.
Let's move on to this: “When I was a kid, I was lucky if my dad came to any of my games.” Boo fucking hoo for you, but it gives you a tidy, if completely lame, excuse. Is that what you need in lieu of paternal skill and instinct?
You mentioned also that coaching is stressful. Really? At least parenting isn't, right?
You should go put on a dress and do your hair, Nancy.
Look, you goddamn pussy – man up and make a fucking schedule. Baseball, softball, whatever: sit down with your “loving” spouse and sort it the fuck out and shut the hell up and go do it. Prudie isn't going to solve your problems or stop your whining for you, you weak-ass milquetoast pansy, and if you can't handle it you should just let your “loving spouse” continue to use the testicles you obviously gave her at marriage and do the sports planning.
3.) I'm a single mom of three teenagers. I divorced when they were little. Their father dropped his involvement when he remarried. He's divorced again, and my kids hate going to his house; they say my house is their real home. I need some down time from chauffeuring, solving problems, and providing meals. My sister said I'm destroying my kids by forcing them to go to their father's.
Protecting My Sanity – Oh, joy. Another one of ”those” letters. Yippee. Stifling a yawn, I say: um, what's the problem? Oh, I see: you're a single mom, seeking a day or two off.
Let me start by saying it is my belief that one single mother is worth twenty of me. This world still has the fucked-up biblical-paternal stupid way of thinking that once the seed is sown the woman is thence on call 24-7 for everything and the sperm donor is effectively off the hook and retired from service.
It don't work that way, sis, but you are probably screwed.
Here's a mechanical fact, and it is an unfortunate one: one day, years ago, a boy and a girl ended up in a place he was compelled to insert his erect penis into the girl, who was compelled to received it into her vagina. With me? Sperm came out, traveled through the vaginal canal, past the cervix, and onward whereupon it met an egg, and one of those sperm penetrated that egg, and viola! Baby!
You know this story – you were there. And from that very moment you became 100% responsible for those children. One. Hundred. Percent.
What's that, you say? That's not fair! What about him?
Get this: he also became 100% responsible.
Before you start making mewling noises and spewing that stupid goddamn imbecilic mathematical argument, listen up: you both have exactly that percentage of responsibility to those children, or you are each only 50% a parent. Furthermore, this isn't a goddamn math problem, princess: it's children, and life. Your lives belonged to them from the moment you had sex. You didn't “start” it, and neither did he. It's not your “fault” these children were born, nor is it his.
It is simply both of your responsibility. There's the truth. Anything else is sloppy parenting.
Now, he's not quite taking this task on, is he? I mean, you aren't the “bad” parent, if there's any truth to this letter; he is. You just want a break, and with 5 kids and a grandchild of my own, God knows I understand that, as does my wife.
So take your break, but you better start having a few conversations with Daddy Dearest regarding his responsibilities, because he's not doing them any favors, teaching them everything he shouldn't by example, and let's face it – you may have to pull the plug on him entirely to protect them.
And if you do, you will never have a break.
And that's life. Sorry.
4.) My dad asked that I write a testimonial for him an online dating service. I have no desire to be involved in his dating life, and can't honestly give him a glowing recommendation. Let's just say that there's a reason he's single. I'm afraid if I decline to write the testimonial, he will feel offended. What should I do?
On-the-Market Dad – Nothing like unresolved childhood issues and resentments to fuck up the lives of otherwise normal people in the digital age.
BTW – Read this for a little perspective.
Seems this letter is properly placed: he's not the one with the problem, you are, and that's where we're going, chum. See, in people without pages of unresolved bullshit with their parents, the solution to this is to write a testimonial and be done with it.
You can't because you're evolved enough to know it's a bunch of bullshit and he's not worth it...but you're not evolved enough to be anything but stumped for a solution. Let's fix that, Darwin:
I cannot write a testimonial for you, because I think you have emotional problems and frankly I still harbor resentment for the way you've treated me.
See what I did there? I did something magical, amazing, unimaginable: I wrote a letter for you that tells the truth about how you feel! Aint' that grand?
Send it. Don't send it. Your call, Darwin, but I might suggest you get this fucking bullshit over with and move along, because until he dies you're on some a hook that you can't seem to wiggle free of. Yeah, I know you think he put you there. That's irrelevant. It is your job to get free. Grownup stuff, you know.
This Sunday I will have two kids climbing on me like little monkeys, then I shall enjoy my Father's Day by loafing like a clod, sipping (like I ever sip) beer, watching something on the tube, and generally screwing off all day.
To all fathers out there worth their salt and title: happy day, and after it's over remember you have 364 days to prove you're worth it again. And happy birthday, Igor