Posts Tagged ‘fatherhood’


His creative outlet is quite literal.

June 12, 2014

creative outlet

I have talked about my brother before on this blog.  He is a wonderful and very artistic young man.

He also experiences autism.

His creativity and his strong literal sense combine to form a very interesting outlook on life.  Although he has many strengths in his personality, spontaneous humor is not among them.  Because of this, my Father was determined to teach Joe how to tell a joke.  He started with the old classic, “What’s black and white and read all over?”  When the punchline of, “newspaper” was given, Joe would act confused.  Dad would explain the wordplay involved and why it was funny.  Joe would then agree newspapers were read all over the world, but would never break even the slightest smile during the exchange.

As time went on, they went through the same routine repeatedly.

Most men would have admitted defeat.  Most men would have simply accepted that some battles were not worth fighting.  My Father was not most men.  Again and again he would patiently march once more unto the breach – continuing to practice the same joke with the same results.

Every.  Single.  Time.

In fact, it went on for years.  As time passed, the explanation of the punchline and Joe’s expressionless reaction became a tradition that proved far more entertaining than the original joke ever was.  It played out more times then I can possibly count.  It gradually became an in-joke for our family.

My Father passed away six years ago.  Although I tried to continue the tradition, it just wasn’t the same.  We still joked about the exchanges, but it was relegated to category of fond memory.

During dinner a few months ago, Joe surprised everyone by asking, “What’s black and white and read all over?”  We all sat in stunned silence for a moment until my oldest daughter finally asked, “what?”

Joe replied with, “A newspaper…”

And after a heartbeat’s hesitation added “… that’s read all over,” while breaking into an uncontrollable fit of the giggles.




Inconvenience store.

October 12, 2011

When our older daughter was born, I left her and my wife sleeping peacefully at the hospital for a few hours so that I could run home and clean up our (then) apartment.  With some help from my Mom we cleaned, replaced bathroom mats, cleaned, changed sheets, cleaned, wrapped a couple surprise presents, and cleaned some more.  When it was time to bring the baby home the next day, my wife was excited to see everything ready for the baby.

I was happy.  She was happy.  The baby was happy.

We were all happy…

…until we discovered that in my cleaning frenzy I had managed to throw away the breast pump.  Other than the baby herself, this was the worst thing I could have lost that day.

Oh, and we didn’t notice this until about 2:00 AM.

I made a mad dash to Walmart for a replacement.  If you were interested, it turns out that Walmart stocks about 10 thousand types of breast pumps.  Not one of them looked remotely like the one we had owned earlier that day.  Dazed with sleeplessness, overwhelmed by the idea of fatherhood, and desperately trying to make amends for losing the breast pump, I made my choice.

Our original pump was manual, simple, and very non-threatening.

The pump I chose at 2:00 AM that fateful night was electric, complicated, and looked like an angry Texas Longhorn.  It was the most unnatural/uncomfortable/unholy double-barreled contraption I have ever seen.  Yet I chose it out of the myriad of others.


I have no clue.  All I know for sure is that it has been almost 5 years since that day and I’m happy to say I can laugh about it now.

Maybe in a few more years my wife will too.