Sometimes men can be so stubborn. Profound, no?
Or, maybe just fathers, who fashion themselves superheroes, generally don’t know when or how to cede defeat.
Or, could it just be that this particular father never met a challenge he could willingly back down from and acknowledge he simply wasn’t equipped to manhandle?
Call it bull-headedness, or hyper-optimism, whichever the stripes, no task performed at the request of my offspring goes down without a manly fight.
Take, for example, my latest conquest to find the world’s smallest screwdriver to extract the world’s smallest but world’s most difficult to extract screw, from the world’s most schlocky, crappily-fashioned, plasticky piece of made-in-China animal-shaped coin repository AKA piggy bank.
**I truly believe it is the tiniest of tasks that regularly become the most complex, time-guzzling, spirit-depleting challenges, often pushing levels of patience to new limits and testing one’s ability to Keep It Together and not completely go apeshit.**
After much kid urging, they recently
broke my will convinced me to shlep them over to the Home Depot on a quest to locate the perfect tool for extracting the top portions of their newly acquired piggy banks and inserting batteries which power small, onboard calculators that keep track of coin deposits. Pig-shaped, electronic savings account passbooks, if you will.
So there we are in Tools Aisle 13, the kids having a grand old time affixing clamps to each others’ noses, and I at battle with THE SCREW THAT WOULD NOT TURN DESPITE INCREASING APPLICATIONS OF FORCE AND WEIGHT AND CURSING, THEREBY CAUSING PLASTIC TO CRACK, AND BOY TO ASK WHERE THAT NEW HOLE CAME FROM.
Half an hour, nay, an hour and a half later, after exhausting pure adrenaline mashed with unbridled belief that such a small screw poses no threat to my unyielding determination and stick-to-itevness, I begrudgingly accept defeat. As the kids graduate from rolling around on the dusty warehouse floor to maniacally taking turns caroming each other off i-beam shelf supports in a tool cart, I realize my nemesis, that stubborn little screw, is stripped beyond repair. No tool in the Home Depot’s arsenal, short of a single swipe of a sledge hammer, is sufficient to extract that little bugger.
And what does this superhero do when exposed to kryptonite? He withers, transforms into villain, and unleashes a tirade on all innocent bystanders, including his kids, blaming them for what he classifies as a supreme waste of time and potential business earnings, and grumbles “I can’t believe we killed nearly two hours on this $5 piece of junk!! ARGHHHHH!!”
At home, temper cooled, the villain transforms back into superhero, assesses the situation, and realizes he belittled his kids’ excitement over their new, prized possessions for no good reason other than he couldn’t man up to accepting and apologizing for his failure.
And he feels guilty.
And he takes his son into his lap, caresses his hair, and explains to him through pictures and words what happens when a screw becomes stripped and how a Phillips head screwdriver differs from a flat head, and he sums up all of his superhero strength and apologizes for letting him down and for not acknowledging how important that little piggy is to him.
And his son tells him “It’s not really that important.”