Thursday, November 13, 2008


    Fatherhood is a breeze, if you don't count all the studying.
    It was last Saturday at the local Supercuts. I've got the whole family there, plunked down in those plastic chairs and reading golf and travel magazines. There are a few other people waiting. Gabriel asks a question - kind of casually.
    "When was World War II, Dad?"
    I had just found an article in my magazine that promised to shave 10 strokes off of my golf game, so I shot him back a casual answer.
    "A long time ago, Gabriel."
    When I didn't look up from the magazine, Bridget punched me in the arm.
    "Answer him," she said.
    "It's a trap," I said without looking up. One of the male patrons laughed.
    "A trap? That's the weirdest thing I've ever heard," said Bridget. "Answer the question."
    I didn't move. She appraised me for a moment.
    "Unless you don't know the answer."
    I looked at my wife for a second and put down my magazine. I looked at Gabriel, who was playing a Nintendo DS game.
    "The United States entered the war in 1941, but it started in Europe earlier, in 1939."
    I picked the magazine back up.
    "When did World War II end?" he asked.
    "I thought that was the Civil War."
    "Nope. The Civil War ended in 1865."
    "When did the Civil War start?"
    "1861, I think."
    Gabriel changed tack.
     "Who were the good guys in World War II?"
    "Lots of countries, but I'll go with the biggies...the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union."
    "Who were the bad guys in World War II?"
    "The Axis - the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese, mainly."
    Gabriel wasn't done, but I could see my wife getting a little antsy.
    "When did it end?
    "1945, roughly."
    "Why did it start?"
    "Lots of reasons, mostly economic. But Hitler lit the fuse by invading Poland."
    He flicked off his DS and sighed.
    "Dad, why was Hitler bad?
    "Gabriel!" Bridget almost shouted. "That's enough. Let your dad read his magazine."
    I scanned the golf tips.
    "I told you it was a trap."



Anonymous said...

Here are some Dad answers that are good to have in your tool box:

1) Q - Where is my ... (note it does not matter what the specific item is - this is an all purpose answer)
1) A - If it was up your ass you'd know. - this is an always correct and never helpful answer - an A+ Dad Answer

2) Q - Why ... (again it does not matter what follows the why form of question - the best dad answer is always)

2) A - Why is an orange - this is an answer that demonstrates that many of life's "why" questions do not truly have an answer - if your child is exited by the prospect of pondering why is an orange then he or she will become a phlosopher or more probably a slacker but either way they will remember this often heard answer to their "why" questions with great fondness. By answer all why questions in this manner you show your child that you have already figured out that there is no winner in global thermal nuclear war - you don't want to play tic tac toe, and that you to would like to have a remote control terradactal if only your wife would let you.

Who When and What -- these are easily ascertainable by looking up the answers - you can pretty will stop these questions cold by turning them into assignments -- whenever you get such a question you tell your child that you pretty well recall the answer but just to make sure they should look up the answer and report back to you so that you can be sure to remain current

Anonymous said...

Here as a good Dad answer for all questions regarding why your son must do maintenance oriented tasks such as making his bed, vacuuming, cleaning dishes etc. The logic from your son will be something like .. "why do I have to make my bed - it will just get messed up again?" The answer - "why do you have to wipe your ass, it will just get dirty again." If your son looks at you like you are a genius and that he never thought of saving time and effort at that level - you will have to refer him to your wife for remedial instruction regarding hygiene

Den, of Earth said...

I knew it was a trap, and I don't even have kids...