Sand in the Gears

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Father of the Year

March 27th, 2006 Posted in Greatest Hits, Snapshots of Life

I’m in an air museum with all three boys in tow. The two oldest are seated in the replica cockpit of a helicopter. The youngest and most troublesome is strapped to my back in a contraption designed for children less dense than iridium, which he is not.

I am trying to be a good father, though they tax my patience, especially the wee one with his ear-pulling and newfound spitting skills. To that end I am leaning into the cockpit to show my sons how the controls work.


It is the voice of a librarian, a schoolteacher, a junior senator from New York, or some other such female-type killjoy. I am physiologically and ideologically predisposed to ignore such voices. I continue my instruction.


I glance in her direction. It is a woman with her own children in tow. She looks concerned. She is a concerned mother.

“Yes?” I ask this in the terse-yet-polite voice I reserve for people I am not allowed to openly despise. What business could this woman possibly have with me?

“You’re whacking your baby’s head against the top of the helicopter.”

Oh. Well then. I had heard the thumping, but as a parent you grow immune to the minor noises.

Little stinker should sing out if he’s hurt, if you ask me. Still, a good reminder that even when we think we are something special, the odds are against it.