The Girl ran through the water with all the energy her two-year-old toddlerness could muster, which is approximately enough to power Detroit through a rough winter.
Her mother and I have, of course, told her not to run at the pool 1,001 times. This is not hyperbole; we’ve kept track.
“Daddy, Daddy,” she screamed, although her mother and I have, of course, told her not to scream at the pool.
We’re no longer surprised she doesn’t hear us. All parents will eventually realize their children only consider them “those big people who give us food.” When they’re teens that turns into, “those people who embarrass us/give us money/gave us their hairline.” What we say isn’t really important. You know, like “don’t play in the street,” “don’t eat the thing wrapped in foil in the back of the fridge,” “study.”
“Honey, don’t run at the …” I started, but was stopped by a sudden blinding pain.
Using a cursory, “awe, isn’t she cute,” glance, a child looks like a soft little bundle of fluff that is fun to play with. In reality, a child is pointy, possesses at least six knees, 14 elbows and a head I’m convinced was built on the planet Krypton.
I bent forward, but not voluntarily.
The groin, I wondered as the pain subsided and I could see shapes and colors again. Why is it always the groin?
Fathers, I’ve found – the hard way, and don’t think I haven’t cursed my father for not warning me – spend roughly 37 percent of their day working, 29 percent sleeping (mostly in front of the television), 19 percent eating/driving/thinking about cheerleaders, and 15 percent in the fetal position gasping for air.
What I wouldn’t give for a bruised thigh or a fat lip. At least then I wouldn’t wonder why we spent all that money for a vasectomy when it was going to be done at home for free. I usually wonder this while lying in a pool of my own tears.
“What’s wrong?” my wife asked.
“Hhhhhheeeeeehhhh,” I wheezed.
“She got you again?” she said, trying her best to sound sympathetic.
Ladies, you’re wonderful understanding people who have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about. When this injury happens in the movies, everyone laughs, Dad gets up and goes about his business, which usually involves doing something socially awkward in front of his kid’s friends. Hollywood is founded on lies. When this happens in real life, everyone still laughs, but Dad doesn’t get up.
When the color came back to my face, we left. Not because of me, the kids were tired after dragging me out of the water.
On the ride home, the Girl and the Boy screamed when they saw a woman walking her golden retriever down the street.
“Maybe we should get a dog,” my wife said.
Great, that’s just what I need, another pointy thing in the house.
Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt
You can order Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at amazon.com.