Day of the DaddyO

Not Lou Reed Yesterday was, of course, Father's Day. This could be good or bad, depending on the distance between you and your progenyphysically and otherwiseand whether or not the child units are bearing gifts when they arrive. Although I've been blessed with a daughter whose proximity isas it's always beenentirely positive, and even though I remain as proud of who she is as ever, yesterday was historic for a couple reasons.

She showed up with my favorite pizza and ice cream, and that would have been good enough. But when she handed me the bottle of yellow pills, I immediately knew I had reached the infamous stage of fatherhood that requires medication, and rest. The label described the contents as Happy Tabs Because Life Sucks, and one side of the bottle bore a brief description of symptoms that might be eased by ingesting these happy yellow tablets.

For those days when you need a little help. Turn that frown upside down without the help of a clown. Never be a grumpy bastard again. Other depression medications have nasty side effects. But Happy Tabs make you numb so you can't feel a thing, including your legs. Crash your car, lose your job, find a partner in bed with a group of strangers, nothing will bother you ever again.

Warning: Do not drive a car or try to speak in complete sentences while on this drug.

As you've probably already guessed, I slept like a baby and woke feeling refreshed, although I can't say I remember much of anything about my own childhood now. Evidently, the meds worked.

Yesterday's second historic point came in the form of a simple story. In a nutshell, the brother of one of my daughter's friends had somehow insinuated himself into the back seat of her carthe other front seat was occupied by a female friendand had apparently decided to entertain himself at the expense of the two helpless females. Anyone who knows my daughter is already smirking at my use of the helpless word. The poor guy just didn't understand.

Anyway, the perp began spewing demeaning sexist commentsthat was after the racist stuffand although he was warned, he didn't believe. His belief level increased a bit when the car came to an abrupt halt, and he was told to get out. He hesitated, partly because he's a lot bigger than my daughter, and partly because the neighborhood she'd stopped in isn't known for its kindness, especially toward arrogant young lads sporting the latest designer labels. But he got out and she drove away, leaving him alone to reflect on his words and his attitudes. Well, not really alone, but as alone as he could have been at night, under a bridge, on the wrong side of town.

She did come back, eventually, to pick him up. He was penitent, and spent the rest of the evening in a considerably quieter mood. What long-term effect the experience might have had on him is still uncertain, but if the past is any indication, his ingrained and malignant worldview has been altered, if only in a small way. But he's still young, and there's still hope. My daughter is young, too, and although hopeor fatherly pride for that matterhas never been an issue, yesterday reminded me that one person can change the world, and it's done one person at a time. Baby steps, and all that.

Maybe it's just parental prejudice, but if the past 19 years are any gauge, she'll continue to affect others' lives in much the same way she's affected mine. It's been a pleasure.


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