Fatherhood has turned me into a pussy.
Mind you, I’ve never been any kind of grease-and-blood splattered manly man. My automotive knowledge begins and ends with changing the oil and the windshield wipers (and the windshield wipers are a dicey proposition).
I’ve never been hunting. I find camping ridiculous. Millions of years of human evolution allow us to live indoors with electricity, hot water and the NFL Network. Why the hell would anyone ever want to sleep outside in the dirt like some kind of goddamn caveman when I can enjoy hot waffles made in my Powerpuff Girls waffle iron?
Oh, sure. I played sports and I’ve got a healthy lust for sex and violence as befitting any red-blooded American man. And I firmly believe crying is only acceptable when watching “Brian’s Song,” when one’s favorite team wins (or loses) a championship and maybe, maybe, at select funerals.
And I was perfectly comfortable being dead inside until I had a kid. Now? I have feelings. Now? This commercial reduces me to tears.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! IT’S A COMMERCIAL. It’s supposed to be emotionally manipulative. I know it’s supposed to be emotionally manipulative AND I STILL LET MY EMOTIONS BE MANIPULATED.
But she doesn’t want her daddy to be lonely on his trip and she’s so excited when he gets home and …
I have allergies and my eyes are watering.
Oh, fuck you.
It’s not just commercials. I was in Walgreens a few days ago and a little girl was there with her parents. The girl’s mother was speaking Spanish to an employee and my Spanish is terrible so I had no idea what they were talking about. It’s possible they were looking for the nearest crackhouse because the kid had to check on her product and keep her soldiers in check.
But the girl was fidgeting, rolling and unrolling the tail of her coat while looking at the adults with that big-eyed stare little kids get when they’re trying desperately to hold on to some sliver of hope that their dreams aren’t about to be shattered.
And I, I found my heart swelling. It didn’t help that the girl was about the same age as my own crotch fruit. I wanted to give the kid whatever she wanted just so that single tear wouldn’t fall. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her it would be all right.
What the hell is wrong with me? I ain’t rich. Shit, I’d been walking around with no cash for two days at that point (a fine way to get out of paying cabbies who won’t take a credit card). That girl always looks like she’s about to cry as far as I know. And look at me - ready, anxious even, to play the sap.
The day before I nearly embarrassed myself in a drug store, I saw a mother and her daughter crossing the street and the girl was bawling. They both looked a little bedraggled and I was ready to take them into the restaurant I’d just left and let them eat their fill. Until they got into a Cadillac. Dammit, I can’t even distinguish between the truly destitute and merely tacky any more.
I can’t live this way, people. I need to hate. Hate sustains me. It nurtures me and keeps me warm on cold nights.
But look at how adorable that little monkey is and he probably snuggled with it on his trip, enjoying a tiny memory of home while his little girl waited anxiously for her daddy to come back and …
WHAT? I’m just remembering the end of “Brian’s Song.”
Oh, fuck you.
Jason Harris owns 47 AT&T phones despite getting cel service from Verizon. Hide a stuffed monkey in his luggage he’ll probably buy you a Winnebago.