Yeah, I know what you are thinking. This isn't one of those stories where I am going to sit here and tell you what a Rhodes Scholar my kid is because I get to put one of those puke inducing bumper stickers on my car telling you that she made the honor roll. You know the ones. “ My kid made honor roll at Cherry Long Elementary School for Future Strippers.” ( Kudos for those of you who catch the school reference. There's hope for man kind yet if you do.). And no.... I am not one of these mosquito-brained idiots who go totally the other way with those “ My kid beat up and shanked your honor roll student in juvenile hall.” ones either. I swear to all that is holy, I don't know which is worse.
No, what I am getting at is her sense of humor. Point blank, she's a friggin riot. And the best part is, she doesn't even know it. Maybe that's a good thing. Because I am getting tired of being schooled by an 11 year old.
I have been a single father for the last 7 1/2 years, and have had some challenges along the way. Early on I had to make some adjustments while taking my daughter out in public. The biggest issue being the bathroom. When your child is only 4 years old, you don't just send them in there on their own. So I would have to take her with me into the men's room and put her in a stall. That also goes for dressing rooms.
I had her with me in the store one day and I wanted to try on some clothes. But I wasn't about to leave my curious, quick witted, short attention spanned daughter outside the dressing room by herself. She would have taken off in a flash just as soon as I had my pants down around my ankles. I can just picture myself bolting out the door while tripping over my pants. So, I picked the biggest room and turned to her and said "Daddy is going to try on some clothes. Just stand in the corner near the door and turn around. I'll tell you when I am done, OK?" "OK, Daddy."..... So I turn my back to her as well as her having her back to me and start to change. No sooner do I take off my shirt and drop my pants ( I had shorts on underneath. Not underwear, not boxer shorts. But regular sweat shorts. This little piece of information is important in a minute.) and I hear "Ugh!!! Daddy. You're NAKED!!!!!!" And this wasn't some sweet, innocnet little voice. This was loud like a God damn bull horn. She may as well had said this over the store intercomm, I'm sure less people would have heard it. My heart sank and I immediately spun around half expecting to see Chris Hansen whip the door open and say "Why don't you come have a seat right over here."...... "No, honey Daddy isn't naked. I have shorts on. See?" as loud as I possibly could. As if that little bit of news would stop anyone from thinking the worst. "Oh, see Dear it's fine. No need to call the cops. Didn't you hear him? He has shorts on. It must be some mistake." " Hmmmm, why you are quite right Darling. Carry on. Nothing to worry about here."................
I quickly put my clothes back on grabbed her and left. The whole time I kept having visions of the cops chasing me as I scooped up my daughter like a football and took off yelling "But I had shorts on!!!!!!!!!" But you know what the worst part was? The fact that I had never before, or ever since, heard such a tone of absolute disgust and shame in my daughter's voice. She's more and more like her mother every day.
I had a friend who bought me some cologne for Christmas one year. It's not bad, actually. I put some on one morning and walked up to my daughter to give her a hug. “Ugh, what's that smell??!!” You would have thought I was wearing a sweaty necklace of old sardines the way she turned her head and wrinkled her nose. I told her it was my new cologne. “It stinks!! No wonder why no one wants to go out with you.” I canceled my E-Harmony subscription that very minute.
This year my ex wife and I took our daughter to lunch for her birthday. We were having a nice time when suddenly she looks at me and says “ You know what Dad? You're going to die alone. Because every woman you go out with breaks up with you.” Are you starting to see a pattern here? I canceled my Match.com subscription as soon as we got home.
Now, before I continue let me explain something about my daughter and the relationship we have. You see, she has no filter at all. Whatever pops into her head, she says it. Not to be mean, or spiteful. She's just being honest and expressing what she is thinking. She has the most amazing curiosity and sees the world in such grown up ways for someone so young. I was exactly the same way as a child. I am still that way now.
I took her to the batting cages one summer. She had never been. I walked her into the cage and showed her how to stand, where the softballs would be coming out from, the red light, etc. Easy, right? With my kid, nothing is easy.
The first couple of balls were sent through the machine, but none came out. It seemed to be empty. Suddenly, a loose ball rolled over to her from the cage next to her. She looked down at it, stepped in front of home plate, and tried to hit slap shots with it. “What the hell are you doing??? Get out of the box!!!!!!!” She looked up at me “What?” then SLAM!!! She got a softball right in the mouth. My heart shot out of my throat as I ran in and grabbed her and yanked her out of there. This all happened in the span of 5 seconds. My dreams of her making the majors as the first female baseball player were instantly shattered. After the shock wore off and she realized that she was still going to be able to eat with all her teeth, she looked at me and said “Hey Dad, is that what they mean by getting popped in the chops?” That's my girl.
My precious angel has no problem busting my balls, either. And it's my own fault. I teased her and joked with her from the time she was little. And she kept coming back for more. I knew I was onto something. She has that McGravey spirit. We never back down from getting our balls busted and will come back at you harder and faster until we make you cry in the shower with all of your clothes on while the water runs all over your pathetic, sniveling, face.
Not a day goes by that I don't hear “Hey Dad.” as I look over and she sticks her tongue out at me, or throws the big L across her forhead at me. She'll quote Family Guy word for word from some of the little clips I show her. We watch America's Funniest Videos and cackle at all the morons who let their kids use their hairy bean bags as pinatas as she yells “Oh, that's going to leave a mark.” And I cannot go a week without her saying at least once “Hey Dad, would you be mad if I pushed you down that hill?” and just smile and giggle when I look over at her and wonder why God's such an asshole.
But you know what? You can have your future Hall of Famers, and your little Harvard Professors, and your wanna be veterinarians. I'll take my little Don Rickles over all of those any day.
And if anyone knows of a good free dating site, can you let me know? I am running out of options. And cologne.