some pretty hard lumber decisions

August 24th, 2007

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Dear Ben,

I’ve been to Loews Home Improvement about 3 times in the past 3 days. I was in the fine woods section buying some oak planks for the coffee table, and down the aisle a ways there was a guy and his, oh, maybe 8-year-old daughter. Here’s a rough transcript of their conversation:

daughter: and you know the other thing that happened?
father: (examining a pine board for warps) no, what?
daughter: well, cookie monster had to go on a diet.
father: no way (not turning away from the wood selection).
daughter: yeah! because he was eating just cookies all the time and kids saw it and just ate cookies too.
father: you’re kidding (picks up another board)
daughter: yeah, can you believe it? so they fired him.
father: they fired him?
daughter: yeah, and now he has to go on a diet. and he was my favorite character!
father: i think you’re pulling my leg. i’m gonna tell mom. (scratching his beard, probably calculating measurements in his head)
daughter: no, it’s true! they fired the cookie monster for eating junk food. can you believe it?
father: no, i can’t.

So this is the exchange, the father’s responses interested but utterly automatic. Some fathering part of his brain handling it while the other half of his brain was making some pretty hard lumber decisions. This is a good father. This guy’s got all the tools necessary. He’s seamlessly balancing what’s important to his daughter with what’s important for his daughter: a house in good repair, something she cares about far less than cookie monster, at least until she grows up.

Also, I’m going to tell you this, and I really want you to believe me. William Shatner’s album “Has Been” is really good. Like, very touching. Totally not a joke. You should listen to it.

The End,
Charlie

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