“Man! This dude.”. It’s suppose to be empty here. Just me and my girl. Like the title to a Lifetime movie based on a father’s journal. Yet, here he his. Looking like an American Ninja (playground edition) in his tight rash guard shirt, and FiveFinger-shoes. “Err-Err!”, as in (Oh! Oh!), I dubbed him. He’s the stay-at-home fathERR who’s a parental know-it-all-ERR. A royal pain-in-the-ass-ERR, and the type of person who says “hatchtag-humble-brag”-ERR. “What we do…in our house…is reward them for reading through chapters. It’ll work for your kids. Trust me.”, he said. “You mean, like the way you trust a mirror?”, I muttered about his attire. His go-to outfit had to be engraved into the insides of his eyelids. Which meant he closed his eyes to get dressed. Not only that, but it was his third piece of parental advice within ten minutes. Err-Err was on a roll. Convertible cruising down LetMeShareMyDadHacks Boulevard. And if I didn’t put a stop to it, I might as well be riding shotgun.
Enter Chapter 6 part 4: No Holmes!
To the stay-at-home fathers, stay-and-learn fathers, stay-and-represent fathers, we recognize all the tea parties attended, and the steadfast missions fought behind a sheet fort. We could propose a toast for every shared dad experience, and be Kahlua-latte buzzed by mid-morning. Our kids are the same age, and share the same interest in pink ponies and thunder farts. Coworkers of Fatherhood Incorporated are we. Yet somehow, like Jermaine Dupree and Janet Jackson as a couple…we just don’t match! And although there aren’t many of us out here, and despite the fact that we share so much in common…we’ll never do lunch, schedule playdates, nor have beers together. And that’s okay! Dads don’t have to be friends.
I’m holding Quinn’s half eaten apple, and pieces of a smushed string cheese. It’s nothing new to me. Err-Err’s mouth is on cruise control yapping away. “Bro! Like…hashtag-humble-brag…my kids put their leftover snacks in the extra sandwich bags I bring. You should do that too so you’re not holding icky stuff!”, he tells me. This was the last straw. Err-Err didn’t know anything about my dad style, and I’d be damned if I let him think he was influencing it in any way. “Extra what? Sandwich bags? Ha!”, I said to him as I stuffed the entire apple core into my mouth; grinding on the seeds and stems. Err-Err and I locked eyes. He watched me chew, and then chase the floral-nutty flavor down with the left over gooey string cheese. Err-Err’s face went from fake smile to a prostate exam face; anxious and concerned. It was then that I sensed he thought I was a real wierdo, a real Hannibal Lecter of dads who didn’t give a shit about what he has to say, and whose sole purpose was to study him so that I can eat him. That’s also when I knew I successfully ended Err-Err’s relationship with me. And that the next time we’d meet again he’d be covered with lime and Tapatio.