Sunday, June 15, 2014


Although it is short, I've been sitting on this one for a few days...

Bill Strawderman's "Trouble with the Curve--Dad's Advice Bane" popped up on one of my social media feeds a few days back. The piece is a bit of a send-up of the ways in which (idealized) relationships between fathers and their children change as both fathers and children get older. It "charts" the relative wisdom of fathers and the appreciation of that wisdom by their children over time, plotting their ideal intersections and discussing the broad swaths of time during which the two are disparate as "the arc of attention," "the trough of delusion," "the rise of reason," and the "sea of sagacity." Overall, the piece comes across as a mildly amusing pseudo-application of elementary economics and motivational thinking to fatherhood, making it appropriate for the Father's Day piece Strawderman notes it as being.

The piece echoes quotations attributed to Mark Twain discussing how foolish fathers seem when we are in our teens and how much they seem to learn in the few short years between then and our presumed entries into adulthood. I am a fair bit away from that time on both sides of it; I have not been a teenager for some years, and Ms. 8 has a few years before she hits her teens. (Thank God for both!) Until this past February, however, I was not so much concerned with the matter as I now am; trying to live up to the best examples of fatherhood enforces some changes of perspective, and I have a hell of an example against which to measure myself, as I have noted. Now, as then, I am grateful for it. Now more than then, though, I hope to do half so well as my father has done for me these past thirty-one years. Ms. 8 deserves it, and I cannot help but think she does far more than her father did. (I was a little twerp. Now, I am at least a big twerp.)

I know that not all people are so fortunate as to have their fathers in their lives. I know also that not all are so fortunate as to have fathers worth having in their lives. I know that I am damned lucky to be in both positions as I write this--and, more, to have been able to be with my father on this Father's Day. I hope that it will happen again.

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