“True affluence is not needing anything,” a poet once said, an idealistic notion to be sure and probably produced under the influence of peyote or gin, or one of those other social crutches I generally steer clear of, though not completely. I mean, come on. I’m no nun. And as Dr. Steve is always saying, “You gotta live a little. Especially you.”
As it turns out, the suburbs may be too hedonistic for me. Ours is full of tiger moms, tiger dads, prodigies, deadbeats, wunderkinds, batting coaches, day-care centers and bars. Even the cops drive too fast. And the stoplights are merely decorative. You know, to give our struggling little town a splash of color.
Hellava place to raise a son, though I try to remain positive. In truth, “true affluence” is having a child or two, annoying and expensive as they may be.
Meanwhile, you gotta live a little – doctor’s orders. So I spend my days mixing mulch and finishing a book (basically the same process). The book is due out in October, season of bonfires and ghosts…the Druid Christmas. You think that’s an accident? Probably.
As I noted, my granddaughter’s recent birthday bash was mostly a coronation, but also a deep dive into the state of modern parenthood, which I’m happy to report appears to be very strong.
For centuries now, wiping noses and washing dishes has made better people out of all of us. I don’t see that ever changing. Not now, anyway.
Newspapers may die. Society too. But, always and forever, there will be a certain poetry to the way a mother or father looks after a child.
Look at me. I still make Smartacus breakfast, scraping traces of yesterday’s egg off the pan with a thumb nail. Why? So we can have 20 minutes together at the start of the day to mull the headlines and the box scores.
What’s wrong with the Phillies? What’s next for Trump? Has Bernie Sanders lost his freakin’ mind?
The other day, the old coot was demanding – in his trademark sandpaper patois – that Americans reduce their work week to 32 hours.
Hey, good thought, Bernie. That ought to fix the recession.
“Maybe Bernie should move to France,” I told Smartacus.
This is what keeps me out of politics. I’ve been bummed by the whole process since Lisa Patience didn’t win class president in the 6th grade. What a sham that was.
Plus, I have no feel for mainstream values anymore, or whether there’s any sort of consensus. Insanity runs rampant these days – it’s almost a gallop. As a country, we mock the British monarchy, yet celebrate the Kardashians. Half our nation is into bullets, the other into pronouns.
I don’t even get Taylor Swift, which I think technically makes me a moron. But, boy, those legs. Is that OK to say?
Tell you this: I miss the men who could speak the God’s honest truth and get away with it: Marlon Brando. Truman Capote. Anthony Bourdain. My dad. Heck, your dad too.
Dads don’t suffer fools, nor do they tolerate a lot of bull. They don’t sugar coat or equivocate. They don’t duck or weave or follow the latest fads
To be honest, this woman I’m seeing is kind of a dad. Suzanne handles life with more honesty than any politician, with a deft paternal flair.
She’s decent and respectful but fearless too. She takes care of business. She doesn’t lean on others to finish her work.
Her thoughtfulness seems a form of intelligence, and she has mastered that as well.
Has she mastered me? Well….
After a year and a half, I still find myself thinking about her. I like the way she glides from the kitchen to the den – pneumatically – or lunges for the toaster when she smells stuff start to burn.
The only time I find myself squinting is when she enters the room.
Wow. Is she for real?
Far as I can tell, yeah. But I’m squinting, you know. As you do at Slurpee sunsets, or a young deer at the edge of a mountain stream.
So, yeah. Pretty real.
For some reason, she has taken me on almost as a hobby – a certified moron who can’t tell a cat from a canary, a man who sings along to train whistles and still listens to Jethro Tull.
Tenderly and thoughtfully, she has tried to father this damaged father.
Hmmmm. Could be working.
For past columns, or really nifty gin glasses, please go to ChrisErskineLA.com. Cheers!