The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

How to Be the Best Dad Ever

Posted on | July 10, 2011 | 38 Comments

It’s not nearly as hard as you might think.

This afternoon a friend asked me to blog about some urgent political news, to which request I replied: “Remind me to talk to you some time when I’m not in a black pit of depression.”

My friend is not to blame for my dark mood, but neither is it within his power to lift it. Nothing so angers me as missed opportunities and wasted time. When my own failures become evident and self-reproach becomes too painful, there is an unfortunate urge to forget every blessing for which I should be grateful and instead to surrender to overwhelming despair. Such an urge — when the failures are so numerous and humiliating — requires effort to resist. Consider, dear reader:

  • June was our best traffic month ever, and on the Fourth of July we passed the 7-million-visitor mark.
  • Yet, despite this apparent success and the generosity of tip-jar hitters, I was so damned broke I couldn’t go to Alabama to shoot my traditional Fourth of July fireworks show at Lake Weiss.
  • This was the second year in a row that the Fourth has found me dead broke, without fireworks or the means to get to Alabama, so that I have been continuously (and quite publicly) humiliated in the eyes of my friends and family for the past 24 months.
  • Amongst the various other humiliations heaped upon me, one reason I was so broke on the Fourth is that I had to make a double car payment to prevent the finance company from re-possessing the KIA.
  • Yet the KIA is still not running, because my 18-year-old son says he needs to rent a welder to finish fixing it and I can’t afford that, either.
  • Newt Gingrich announced his presidential campaign raised $2 million in three months. Newt endorsed Scozzafava, went cruising the Aegean Sea, has a million-dollar line of credit at Tiffany, and Republican donors give him $2 million for a campaign that was doomed before it ever started. I fought the good fight for Doug Hoffman in NY-23, yet I can’t even get enough money for a trip to Alabama.
  • Herman Cain will open his Iowa campaign headquarters Monday, but I can’t afford to go to Des Moines, either.
  • When I woke up Saturday morning, there was a long list of things I intended to do, the first of which was to congratulate my daughter on her first anniversary. That was the only thing on the list I accomplished all day.
  • The reason for my failure to accomplish anything else on my to-do list was that a stranger sent me an e-mail soliciting my aid, with the result that I spent several hours working on a post I hadn’t previously intended to write.
  • In response to that post, at least three of my “friends” in the blogosphere accused me of mere traffic-baiting. Of course, Little Miss Attila’s malicious jest was to be expected, but the others surprised me.
  • And no sooner had I finished my first cup of coffee this morning than Smitty took sides against me!!! — thus requiring me to devote several hours to assure my stalwart colleague that I was once more 100% right. (As if there could ever be any doubt.)

All in all, then, the discouragement had piled itself into a mountain so high that I couldn’t even see the top of the pile, much less see over it. Everything I had done was a complete failure and for these failures, I alone was responsible.

So I put the kids in the car, went to the store and bought them Slushees.

I’m a winner, baby. Best Dad Ever.

And to hell with everything else in the world. It is at times like these that I consider heading down to the local temporary employment agency to seek work as a forklift driver, which was what I was doing for a living before I got into the news business 25 years ago.

Obviously, I chose the wrong profession.

Hell, I might have been loading dock foreman by now, had I stuck with driving that forklift. At least I earned $6.25 an hour with health insurance and two weeks annual vacation. Six-twenty-five an hour was good money in 1986, and just imagine what I’d be earning now!

Best of all, Little Miss Attila never would have heard of me, nor had any reason to question my competence at forklift driving.


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