Saturday, June 02, 2007

Please save me robots from all the terrible things

The Prince of Macrocrania is now six weeks old and the queen thought it would be a good idea if I took a "new daddy class" they were having yesterday over at the base hospital. I showed up with the prince and there were two young Air Force guys there ready to take the class, too. One was an Airman First Class who was really young. He couldn't have been more than 22 and the other was a Staff Sergeant who didn't look older than 25. They both reminded me of myself when I was active duty all those years ago. Ah, those horrible horrible times when my hair was so short it exposed my pyramid shaped head. It seems like only yesterday that I was learning how to tell military time. Wait, it was yesterday that I was learning military time. That's one of the reasons I'm not in Air Force anymore. I sucked at it.

I was the only guy there with a baby and the prince slept on my chest the whole time as we talked about all the awful things that happen to babies when you shake them. Stuff like the optic nerve detaching and baby bones breaking and brain damage. It sucked but the psychiatrist guy who was teaching the class answered my question about what am I teaching my son by having an assload of toy robots collection. He said that children will pick up on the important values their parents hold dear by observing how their parents treat other people, not by seeing how many toy robots they own. He said my son would see me as more than a toy robots obsessed guy if I do nice things like give money to beggars and tip waitresses good (both of which I need to start working on right now). Then in my most perfect moment of clarity it all clicked and I blurted, "I understand. My Optimus Primes do not define me as a person. I am not my toy robots collection. I am the all-singing all-dancing crap of the world." I don't think the Air Force guys were old enough to have seen Fight Club and it kind of went over their heads. But for me it was CHUCK PALAHNIUK MOMENT OF THE WEEK.

So the class ends and since I was the only guy who brought a baby the other guys were helping me with the stroller and opening doors for me. Me and the youngest Air Force guy were walking down the hall together on our way out when he said, "I wish I could see my daughter." When I asked him what he meant, he said that his wife left him when he was deployed and when he went to Tennessee to track them down, she wouldn't let him see his daughter. He didn't even know for sure how old she was, but she was born in the past month. I was stunned. He was so obviously torn up by it. What could I say to this young man? He obviously wanted to be a dad and he was taking the daddy classes. I didn't know what to tell him. I was speechless. Why do things turn out this way? It was heartbreaking. What the heck could I do or say that would make it better? Nothing. So I gave him that sort of hollow advice that older people always give because they don't have a freakin' clue what you're going through. I told him to hang in there. (Although I must admit that Mick Aloha's "I can't promise it'll get better, but it'll get better" did cross my mind.)

I went home and held my son REALLY REALLY HARD.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...detaching his optic nerve in the process.


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.