A Father’s Life – It Is to Weep

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by Lucky Garvin

Cailan tries to avoid practicing the saxophone.  This is the same child who, for weeks, threatened a hunger strike if he could not have one.  [Given his appetite for tacos, we did not view this threat with especial alarm.] He is supposed to practice one hour per day; and he does, if his mother coerces him by every means short of slow roasting over an open charcoal pit. You’d have thought she was inserting slivers under his fingernails.

Cailan packed his own lunch the other day: 94 fat free cookies, Trix Beebleberry-flavored yogurt, a 12 pound bag of chips. Taking care to avoid strenuous logic, he argued persuasively that this meal contained all the saturated fat necessary for a growing child.

Sons Chester and Cailan, a union of drought and famine, are instinctively drawn to foods which have fewer nutrients that the Styrofoam containers they come in.  Maybe I should try to get them to eat the wrappers.

Chester is one young man who never ceases to amaze me. He feels a wider claim to leisure than is seemly for a young person.  He laid in bed all day a while back, playing eleven hours of computer games while watching TV, eclipsing a personal record for technologic endurance.  At one point he had to answer the phone. I was fearful the exertion, so much more than he is used to, would cause his heart to give out.  But these are the trials and sacrifices which wannabe professional Sega players must steel themselves for.

He did get a bit of exercise though – I speculate it was accidental – he came downstairs to get some licorice whips and a Moon Pie, convinced that proper training is pointless in the absence of a nutritious diet.

Chester the Lion-Hearted. There are few men on earth as courageous as he.  He informed his mother – somewhat airily – that it was her duty to fix him supper.

As memory serves, he had stale Nachos and skim milk that night.

Chester egged a car across the street. Apparently the opportunity to sin struck Chester directly upon a moral fault line, and caused a shifting. But then, he got caught.  Always a contrary wind! Why did he do it? With a breathlessness suggesting astonishment, he confessed, “I thought it would be cool.” The cost of `cool,’ at last accounting, was 1- to wash the neighbor’s car, 2- pay ten dollars towards a professional car cleaning, 3-grounded for a week [or life, whichever came first], and 4-another punishment not yet decided upon.  Like everything else, the cost of `cool’ is inflating. He viewed his mother’s response to this trifling misdemeanor as a prime example of Neolithic severity.

Sabrina was less disappointed that Chester had committed the sin, than that he had showed no ingenuity in covering his tracks. You see, we buy range eggs from a farmer.  Range eggs are from chickens which feed off natural things; and they have very distinctive colors.  The same colors as the shell found by the car and noted to be missing from the family larder by the ever-vigilant Herself.

“Yunno, Garv, Chester acts like a dog, not like a cat.”

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”

“A dog will break a vase and lie down beside it. If a cat breaks a vase, it will run to the opposite side of the house; away from the scene of the crime.  The dog comes in to see what the racket is, and lies down beside it. So he gets blamed. If he’s going to mess up, I wish Chester would act more like a cat.”

“I’ll mention it to him, dear. Let me make a note, ‘Act more like a cat…’  Got it.”

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