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Monday, November 28, 2016

‘Daddy says’ will be my undoing

Damien Fisher
Over the Edge

It's never good when one of the kids starts a sentence with "Daddy says ..."

I have a hard time paying attention to what I say. I know I have a tendency to speak first, and think about it later after my wife has slapped me. Or one of her friends has slapped me. Or that old lady at the grocery store has slapped me and called for the police. ...

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It's never good when one of the kids starts a sentence with "Daddy says ..."

I have a hard time paying attention to what I say. I know I have a tendency to speak first, and think about it later after my wife has slapped me. Or one of her friends has slapped me. Or that old lady at the grocery store has slapped me and called for the police.

(You know what, ladies? Slap me all you want, that joke about the melons was funny.)

Look, the point is, I say a lot of things. Not all of them are supposed to mean anything. I'm just saying stuff. Then I hear the kids repeat what I say in public. Those rotten kids. Those rotten, rotten, rotten kids.

"Daddy says there are dinosaurs living in the center of the Earth," or "Daddy says Oswald was a patsy," or "Daddy says to be quiet while he pours a drink," or "Daddy says he's going to sell me to the gypsies," or "Daddy says 'Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!' "

You get the idea. (And, for the record, no one has proven conclusively there are not dinosaurs living at the center of the Earth, as far as I'm concerned. I mean, there are always dinosaurs in all the center-of-the-Earth movies. Are you telling me movies are lies?)

Now, the little tykes store these nuggets away until they can deploy them at the most inopportune moments. They say them to my wife after I've been in charge of the house for a couple of hours, "Daddy says not to tell you about what the dog did on your bed."

They say them to my brother-in-law at family gatherings. "Daddy says you're a jerk and he hates you."

They say them to the priest after Mass. "Daddy says people who like guitar music during the liturgy probably ate paint chips as children."

Any sentence that starts with "Daddy says ..." might as well be used as evidence in the tribunal to decide on my annulment, my drunk and disorderly charges, and or my excommunication.

It's not like I don't try. No, wait. Come to think of it, I don't try, and I never have. Recently, my sister-in-law, who I met 20 years ago when she was 9, recounted a story about the time I told her that the Holy Trinity is made up of the Father, Son, and Ringo Starr.

I have no memory of making this crack, but even I have to admit it sounds like something I would say. It apparently made an impression on her. I wasn't trying to be blasphemous and ruin the faith of a child. I was just saying stuff.

Why should I be careful with what I say? The kids say any dumb thing and you don't see me holding it against them. "My toy rabbit named Razzer Dazzer once wanted to go to the moon, so I built rocket ship out of tuna cans and electric tape."

Pretty stupid, right? It also explains why we never have tape of any kind in this house. Lots of trips to the moon.

The point is, I don't go around telling all their friends at work about the goofy things my kids say. I could totally embarrass them in front of their friends and teachers. Heck, I don't go into the fourth-grade classroom to tell me kid's teacher "My son calls you 'Your Heinieness.'" (Actually, she knows that. We have to have another parent teacher conference for that kid. That rotten kid.)

I guess, at this stage of my life, I should just learn to accept the fact that the kids are out to make me look bad. Or, at least, worse that I really am. Or at least, slightly worse than a totally accurate depiction of me, despite the fact that they are using my exact words pretty much verbatim. The little creeps.

It's not fair, but being a parent isn't fair. I just wish that they would maybe try and repeat some of the nice things I say to them. Like, "I was kidding, I would never you to the gypsies. They don't buy circus animals anymore."

Damien Fisher is prepared to defend his life choices and can be reached at dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com.