Why I Make Him Breakfast

“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!

7 thoughts on “Why I Make Him Breakfast

  1. Beautiful, just beautiful. I read that second to last sentence several times, letting it sink in. After much tragedy, you have gained amazing joy. And blessed us all, as usual, by sharing it so poetically. Makes me want to squint.

  2. “Dad’s don’t suffer fools, nor do they tolerate a lot of bull.”

    In December of 1980, my father decided that we had to visit my stepsister and her family in Atlanta. This meant that we would have a cross country drive of 2300 miles from Los Angeles. He wanted to spend the first night in Texas. Dad liked to travel far and fast.

    At 3 a.m. in Los Angeles, I turned on the engine and paraphrased Dan Ackroyd from the “Blues Brothers” movie: “it’s 1300 miles to El Paso, we’ve got a full tank of gas, it’s dark and I’m wearing sunglasses.”

    Dad then said:”Cut the crap and drive!”

    We arrived in El Paso at 5 p.m. and reached Atlanta in two and a half days.

  3. I know love when I read it, and her picture is worth the ten million words that will surely be written about her. How profoundly lovely, to be where you two are. One squints at the sun, you know. It’s so the mind can get closer, get a better view of the pro-genesis of life, which is most surely blinding to us all. Her innate beauty is reflected in the many kindnesses you cite, the seemingly abstract concerns that are a part of her consciousness; and yours, when she is around you. We all know what this is; and so do you; magma magnetism. All that is left is trust, and your words tell me you’re almost there, the remaining tensions leaving plenty of room for years of the fine writing of discovery; surprise. Spring is in mid rage, and madly going for the heat of Summer. This all sounds like the big wow! to me—sonorous and beautiful. Believe.

  4. “Half our nation is into bullets, the other into pronouns.” Holy cow ~ that’s it ! And my pronouns are: your majesty, your highness, or your ladyship. There.

  5. Can you believe Jethro Tull still isn’t in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame? Now that’s sad.

  6. She’s a lucky woman, and you a lucky man! I’ve talked about my politically incorrect dad over gin and tonics and it’s a great memory of him. He was a lovable version of Archie Bunker before that show existed. Hold your loved ones close Chris.

  7. Commish – you’ve got the fever – no doubt. Keep it burning – it will fuel your life. Good for you.

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