Father’s Day Sentimentality!
As I write this letter, you are nearly one week old and sound asleep at your mother’s side. It’s going to be a few years before you can read this, and even longer before you understand exactly what I’m feeling―which is good, because then you’ll need even more time to forgive.
This letter is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write, since I’m only a journalist and not a real writer. No words I know―not even the ones I looked up in the neighbor’s dictionary―can describe the sublime joy and wonder I have felt since watching your mother do the equivalent of passing Andre the Giant’s bowling ball and realizing that I could never take her place.
And let me say right now, thank God for that as well.
When they told me you were a girl, I felt so excited my heart could have burst―for when you hit adolescence, you’re mostly your mother’s problem, not mine.
We took your name from Lara Croft, the main character of the video game “Tomb Raider” and a new movie that features Angelina Jolie playing far below her talent. Croft, you one day will discover, has gazongas large enough to sink battleships and has reduced many teenage boys to the level of drooling idiocy. So, while it’s anatomically impossible for you to share that gift, at least you’ll have the name going for you, which can’t hurt in job interviews.
The best way to describe what I’m feeling right now is “surreal,” which means I should lay off the after-dinner cocktails. I’ve long wanted to be a father but somehow never believed it would happen, in light of my lousy dating history and penchants for watching “Star Trek” and reading comic books.
But now you’re here, and a week after your birth, I still sit for minutes watching your chest rise and fall―if for no other reason than it’s more interesting than the other reality shows on TV. I still feel a sense of wonder as you kick and squirm upon waking―as you stretch your teeny-tiny limbs, wrinkle your little face, and cry. And then I feel guilty for practicing the accordion while you were trying to sleep.
Over the years to come, I’m sure I will let you down, and there’ll be times you’ll wish you had someone different for a father. Your cousins Mario and Luigi have been wishing that about their father since Day One.
But I want you to know that I’m always going to be there for you―no matter where you shop, how you park, or how much time you spend on our phone. It’s not obsessive, I’m your FATHER, and I even promise to be unobtrusive when I’m with you on dates. (However, if the guy lays as much as a finger on you, he’s a dead man.)
In life, there’s a few important things to know:
Maintain a good credit rating. Successful superheroes never let it slide. That’s how Batman, Iron Man, the Wasp, and the Golden Age Sandman all retain their millionaire status, even when they do the costume thing full-time. Spider-man and Green Lantern never made even the minimum monthly payment, and they’re always struggling just to pay the rent.
Also, if Dr. Dingle ever calls from George Wood University in Texas about my pledge to the Alumni Dance Fund, tell the old goat I refuse to donate a single penny.
That’s about it right now. Later on, we’ll get into the specifics of getting dressed―underwear first, then your shoes―avoiding trademark lawsuits, guarding against government conspiracies, and what to look for in rodents when you’re preparing that delicious dish of “potato au raton.”
Right now, I’m happy just to watch your mother change the diaper when it’s dirty, then listen to you breathe quietly as you slumber against my shoulder―which means that, soon, I too will get to hit the sack.
Right now, I just want to treasure that moment by shooting it with my digital camera, then forwarding it to everyone I know until they put me on their spam-blockers list. Thank God one more time, for modern technology.