Friday, June 6, 2008

Character Flaw

I'm in the middle of Dutch's essay in Dooce's book Things I Learned About My Dad (in therapy), and he talks about the "deeply ingrained cultural imperative" for men to work and to provide. He says that "[m]en have ambition. They seek power." But I have ever ignored that imperative. I have never wanted to work. I have no ambition. I crave no power. My greatest workplace skills are a high threshold for monotony and an ability to tolerate crazy people. They're not skills that showcase well on a résumé. Oddly enough, though, they're excellent qualifications for a SAHD.

This, then, is the flaw in my character that made me want to be a stay-at-home dad. Since cleaning the fryer at Burger King when I was sixteen, I have thought that work pretty much sucks. No, even worse, the dining room at the end of the night. Why do you people insist on squirting ketchup packets everywhere? Why? Oh, worst of all: the restrooms. Cleaning the restrooms while that horrible soundtrack looped over and over. I still get an involuntary shudder whenever I hear "Crocodile Rock." And even during those years before Burger King, while pushing a mower across my parents' dusty Texas-summer lawn, with bits of rock and sticks clanking off the blade and slamming into my shins, I've thought that work pretty much sucks. So staying home and playing all day? I was made for it!

But when the baby's diapers have leaked horrible, toxic goo for the fourth time in two days because it seemed like a good idea to let him eat all the grapes and blueberries he wanted? Cleaning up the crib, and the carseat, and the clothes, and that Tom Selleck mustache he was suddenly sporting when he got up from his nap? It really, really starts to look a lot like work, too. I've changed clothes, I've showered. I still smell it. It's in my nose. It's in my nose!

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Oof. Erika had to call me once to distract her from the smell of baby vomit everywhere as she drove home from a failed attempt at dinner.

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