Four Reasons Why I’m a Shitty Dad

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Okay, I’m not the shittiest dad in the world. There are plenty of deadbeats out there that make me look good. I don’t beat my kids. I haven’t turned my basement into a meth lab. And not once have I ever seriously considered leaving one of my children at WalMart and just driving away. Not seriously. Nope. Never.

But I don’t deserve that World’s Greatest Dad mug, either. I screw up a lot. I forget to put mittens on my kids when it’s cold. I rely heavily on Disney Jr. for a few minutes of peace and quiet. And I’ve got a prison-style “notch in the wall” calendar running down the days until my angels start kindergarten. I’m not proud. I know I have room for improvement. I’m trying, honest, I am. And in the spirit of AA-style full disclosure, here’s a list of the top four reasons why I’m a shitty dad. Judge me if you will.

 

1)   I cooked an entire meal for my children using only the microwave.

The meal consisted solely of cheese-like products and a cornucopia of preservatives. It was like a science experiment–can children subsist entirely on ingredients no one can pronounce? Yes they can. They’ve stopped growing, but they’re still alive, so…

 

2) “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to drink beer.”

That’s a direct quote from my son. My beautiful, impressionable, 4 year old son. Yeah. That happened. It was like a fucking after-school special (I learned it from watching you, dad!). We were heading out for a walk with another family. It was a long walk, like 500 yards around the block, so I brought beers. My son looked at the cans in my hand and asked, “why do you have 10 beers, daddy?” First of all, I didn’t have 10 beers. I had three. But the impression on my kid was the same: beer=fun. More beer=more fun. Awesome.

 

3) I’m not good at teaching my kids stuff.

See the above anecdote about counting cans of beer. Yeah, they can’t really count. They don’t know their ABC’s either. They used to know their ABC’s, when my wife took care of them every day. But since I took over, they’ve been dropping knowledge like a punch-drunk boxer. They can name every character on Jake and the Neverland Pirates (even the obscure, one-episode mermaids), but ask them what state they live in and they’ll probably say, “Cheese.” Sometimes I try to teach them things, like new words, or how the earth rotates around the sun, but usually, my daughter just interrupts me and gives me the definition of some word she makes up on the spot. It typically goes like this:

“Daddy, do you know what Simisimiwanka means?”

“No, honey, what does simisimiwanka mean?”

“It means give me a cookie.”

 

4) You gonna eat that?

We’re sitting in a crowded restaurant and my son’s sandwich shows up and he looks at the plate with this puzzled expression, holds up a piece of celery like it’s a god-damned moon rock and says,  “Daddy, what is this?” He says it really loud, so everyone can hear.

Awesome. Vegetables are so foreign to my kids, they literally don’t recognize them.

An awkward exchanged ensued where I had to explain to him what celery is, how it’s a vegetable, and why it isn’t coated with sugar and processed into a substance that can be squeezed out of a tube—like the only other vegetables he’s ever had in his life.

Just another day in the life of a lazy, shitty dad.

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The Dirty Bird; what that rotisserie chicken says about you

The $4.50 rotisserie chicken. In my grocery store, it’s right up front next to the check out lanes. Up there with the impulse purchases like giant lollipops and knock off Matchbox cars. It’s an enticing item. An entire bird (minus the head) for under $5. Never mind the fact that it’s been sitting beneath the warming lights for 12 hours, that bird could feed a whole family of four. But make no mistake, buying a grocery store rotisserie chicken says more about you than, “I’m hungry, and I like chicken.” It says I’m too tired to cook, but too cheap to spring for a bucket of KFC. It’s like wearing Crocs in public–it signals to the world that you’ve given up.

Scoreboard: Life 1, You 0.

I’m ashamed to say I rely on the rotisserie chicken more often than I should. In the lean post-college years, the dirty bird and I were close friends. Five nights a week, my dinner was a rotisserie chicken, bag of salad, and sixer on Natty Light (cue nostalgic music). Now, about once every couple of weeks the kids will wear me down to the point where jumping off of our 30-foot-high deck is more appealing than dragging the pots out to cook dinner, so I’ll break down and buy the bird.

Warning: If you find yourself in the same situation, never contemplate the economics of that bird. How do they get a chicken on to your table for under $5? (It’s people. You’re eating people!) How non-organic is this chicken that they can raise it, feed it, kill it, ship it, cook it, and package it for for the same price as a two-piece dinner at Bojangles? If two-pieces of Bojangles chicken costs $5, then where did these fine rotisserie birds come from? Maybe they’re not chicken at all. Maybe they’re pigeon.

And don’t be fooled by the fact that there are three new flavors of chicken to choose from: lemon pepper, barbecue, and Cajun. They all taste the same: a carefully blended mix of room temperature bacteria and defeat.