If you’re not careful, you’ll suddenly wake up in your 30s and wonder just exactly when your conversations started to become more about paint schemes and landscape design and less about what happened after that seventh bottle of Icehouse during the post-concert party at your friend’s apartment.
Fear not. This is all well and good. We’re not meant to keep raging until all hours of the night. And besides, Icehouse (for those who recall it) sucked. Few of us now would trade something blessed by Trappist monks for a few bottles of something brewed from corn and tears and the dregs of old Miller Genuine Draft cans.
Anyway. This “responsible living” thing is especially true if you’ve found a lovely equal and managed to sire an heir to your fortune. An heir who will one day proudly bear your name, and prompt the givers of the Nobel prize to remark “you musta had a great father” as they slip a medal over your heir’s neck. But who now, in their first few years of existence, do almost everything in their power to call attention to what a sleep-deprived, short-tempered jerkhole you can be.
We could go on.
But today, let’s focus on aspect of child-rearing: the vortex of child birthday parties. For every one you give, expect to attend another tenfold. So you go. And go. And go again.
Of course, there’s something heart-warming at the sight of 16 three-year olds running amuck with such unbridled zeal and joy for life. A zeal that will be extinguished by the time they start diagramming sentences in the 7th grade.
That heart-warmth lasts for approximately three minutes.
And, God help you, there’s two more hours. Two. Slow. Slooooow. Hours.
Unless you’re at some sort of party where there’s grizzly bear jousting, six-story high pyrotechnics and Led Zeppelin performing, you know what you’re in for. Sugar-fueled psychopaths, shrieking and running around like little Lords of the Flies.
Time to find the 19th hole.
It’s easy enough to do. First, find the cool dads. Repeat, FIND THE COOL DADS.
They’re the ones sequestered in a semi-circle off to the side, whilst the women and wives chat and laugh and secretly judge each other’s parenting skills
If the ringleader (i.e. party host) of this cool dad cadre is prepared, the semi-circle will be gathered around a cooler. A cooler not filled with Icehouse.
Step in. Introduce yourself. Point out which rugrat is yours. And grab something from the ice. The others will nod and make room. You are not the first here, or the last.
Look, when you join the ranks of dadhood, a transition takes place. You start staying in on Friday nights. You think about 529 plans. You receive an official dad’s membership card in the mail, along with an honorary pair of dark socks and sandals. It just happens.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek out the 19th hole wherever and whenever possible.
And do remember that when you host these annual sugar-guzzling, piñata-beating, childhood rites of passage, make sure you provide an oasis for the men. The men who will be there, looking for the 19th hole and its ringleader.
We’re all counting on you.
Be the ball,