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A Father’s Diary #1

by Lucky Garvin

Although my dear boy is now twenty-seven years old, he was once much younger; at which time the following  observations were recorded.

He tries.  There is no question about it.  He tries.

Cailan, my youngest son.

Example: the laundry.

I asked him to do a load of clothes.  He considers calling the `battered child’ hotline, shrugs his shoulders and decides to throw me a crumb.  He packs whites and colors together.  “White’s a color too, Dad,” he mumbles irritably as I protest.  The washing machine is humming along.  I check it.  I look inside.  Clothes going round and round; soap powder being slung all over the place.

And no water.

Dry clothes; dry soap powder; round and round.

“How did you do that, son?” I asked, more mystified than angry.  He answers without turning his head, deeply engrossed in his seventh viewing of the same Daffy Duck cartoon that morning.

“Dunno.  Pushed a coupla buttons.”

I think the reason he hates to do laundry is that there’s no TV near the dryer.  He thinks we’re a poor family.

If I were a good parent, I would not reveal the following to you.  Instead, I would sit down and have a heart to heart with him.  But, since I know I can trust you to hold this in confidence, I confess that deep within me, I harbor the misgiving that Cailan has no true bent or talent for cleaning . . . anything.

To say there are times when I suspect his heart is not truly in his work, would qualify me for the “Understatement of the Century Award.”

It is not mete, you might chide, for a parent to make such conclusions of incapacity about his offspring, but I sincerely believe, examining the facts as they exist, that he will ever care one in the least about the mechanisms of cleanliness.

The other morning I faltered down the stairs in a state of profound caffeine deficiency.  I think I made it to the counter and peered closely.  “Yo, Garvin,” said I, “Who put the asphalt in the pitcher?”

“It’s coffee.”

“What is?”

“The stuff in the pitcher.”

“Isn’t light supposed to penetrate coffee?  Shouldn’t it pour?”

“Dunno.  Never drink the stuff.  Made it for you.”

I felt like a heel.

Note his use of very short sentences.  In the morning he watches cartoons [and at noon, eventide and well into the wee hours] and the less he speaks, the more cartoon he is able to hear. Not wishing to miss one nuance of animation, he rations his words with an impressive husbandry.

Another thing: he seems to be under the illusion that drawers and doors can only be closed by (that they are only responsive to) parental pressure; that the same one who opened them is not required by any proddings of obligation, to close them.

He also believes, with the same fervor and dedication which energizes those of us who believe that the earth is round, that there exists in some distant, but readily accessible land, a Carrot Fairy.  Cailan has developed what will probably prove to be an immoderate taste for carrots.  He scrapes them and walks off.  He NEVER cleans up his mess; but when he comes back, the heap of carrot shavings is gone.  Conclusion to the 9 yr old mind?

Carrot Fairy.

“Cailan, I’m the one who cleans up your mess.”

“What mess?”

“The one you leave in the sink.”

“In the what?”


I get a blank stare.  This is understandable.  Given the fact that the sink is principally a place where things are cleaned, it is clear why he would have never heard of it.

“It’s the white hole in the counter near the refrigerator.”

Always orient a child with a point of reference he can, because of multiple visits understand. Basic rule of parenting, really.

All prayers welcome.

Look for Lucky’s books locally and on-line: The Oath of Hippocrates; The Cotillian; A Journey Long Delayed.

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