Cleaned the garage as a sort of pre-apology for all my misdeeds this coming holiday weekend: the drinking, the lousy jokes, the stupidities at the beach.
I still possess a sense of Midwestern puritanism that triggers remorse, even before I do something inadvisable. That remaining puritanism, a spinning moral compass, is the bedrock of America, if you ask me, which you didn’t. But it is.
Anyway, threw out some dinged-up batting helmets, some old lacrosse sticks, all tokens of my son’s fading boyhood. I didn’t toss all of his toys — I’m not that strong. It was tough enough Saturday, in managing my bookmarks, to delete the parent portal bookmark for his high school.
Change is rotten, isn’t it? But what are you gonna do?
Got a clean garage out of the effort, so that’s a plus. Then I drank too much Chardonnay to ease my bum knee – and repair my drippy heart.
Lately, I’ve also been sneaking Posh’s leftover Ibuprofen. That helps a little too. The stuff doesn’t expire till 2022 so I thought: “Why not? Dr. Steve recommended Ibuprofen, and I have Posh Erskine’s painkillers right here.
Look, I live one day at a time, like butterflies and bank robbers, sipping Chardonnay in the summer heat, keeping an eye out for the authorities.
A Chardonnay-sipping bank robber seems unlikely, which would make him a good character in a crime novel. A Chardonnay-sipping columnist seems even more far-fetched, though a lot less interesting.
Columnists aren’t real outlaws, though they have outlaw tendencies. In the end, we’re kind of bashful.
Think of my progression — from a shot-and-a-beer Chicago dude to an LA ironist/deist who drinks buttery non-oaked white wine. The sense of confusion I feel right now is immeasurable. Hope I don’t run into any friends from high school. Fact is, if most of my California friends caught me drinking Chardonnay, I’d probably hear about it.
There are still things real men shouldn’t do.
So what? I don’t care. I like the Chardonnay in the June heat. It’s crisp and refreshing and doesn’t stay in the food pipe too long, the way a Cab does.
It also helps me empathize with the Chardonnay Moms who run our little town (it’s a choppy mom-ocracy but largely effective).
In fact, a reader gave me an idea the other day. I have this Cubs flag, with a giant W, which I fly on the days the Cubs win, a Chicago tradition. On the days the Cubs lose, I should turn the flag upside down — a giant M to salute the moms.
There goes my Y chromosome. What a weird time to be a man.
As a practicing ironist, I’ve always found it ironic that a woman discovered the Y chromosome — that little flap of the alpha alphabet that distinguishes a guy from a gal.
Nettie Stevens was her name, and just as Marie Currie and Julia Morgan were pioneers in their respective fields, Stevens proved that women are every bit as capable as men in the lab.
Any dad with a daughter knows that. Women don’t need coddling. Cleopatra certainly never needed a “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” nor did my own Cleopatra (Posh), nor my older daughter.
Yet I took her to work with me anyway.
Back then, you could make a decent argument that girls lagged in business settings, though as an “oppressed” demographic, middle-class American girls rank somewhere between violinists and doctors.
Yet, since “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” American females have been killing it, outnumbering males in law and medical schools.
Think of that: One silly, token gesture and we started a revolution.
Or maybe they never needed a career boost in the first place. I happen to believe that American girls would’ve found their way on their own, just as Stevens, Currie and Morgan did.
Take Your Daughter to Work day was preposterous.
The lovely and patient older daughter turns 38 today, which seems sort of impossible – wasn’t she just born?
My older daughter is kind of old school. She appreciates it when someone holds a door for her. She doesn’t get bent out of shape when someone sends her flowers.
What she doesn’t need (or want) is special career treatment. Just the notion of that implies some sort of inferiority, hints that she has shortcomings – or lacks the very same opportunities her two brothers had.
She’d laugh at that, call it hogwash (or something stronger).
Was Nettie Stevens a feminist? Was Cleopatra? Dorothy Parker? Yes, finest kind.
They didn’t wait around for handouts. They just did what greats of any gender have always needed to do: They went for it, steamrolling their way over obstacles and doubters.
So, happy birthday, Jess.
I’m proud of you in every possible way, but especially for the fact that you went for it — an alpha woman in a choppy world. You didn’t need permission, you never needed a hand, though that new husband of yours will always be there.
Just think of the daughter you’ll raise.
For past columns and coming events, please go to ChrisErskineLA.com