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High Sobriety

Memories of a Drunk Dad, Gone Dry

When I was a little girl, my dad was more fun than anyone I knew.

He’d pick me up from grade school on his chopper and let me start up the growling beast all by myself — and rev it — as my friends watched in awe. Then he’d talk like Donald Duck and take me for ice cream right before dinner.

He loved roller coasters and food fights and making me laugh. He penned a ditty called “Turdballs on Parade,” and we’d wail it in public places, or break into a scripted repartee (“May I have a tissue?” “Kiss you?! I hardly know you!”). If I asked to wear his hat, he’d hoist me onto his shoulders and flip his black Stetson onto my noggin.

Dad was not what you’d call “a responsible adult.” I was the grown-up in our relationship—the one always saying, “Come on, cut it out. You’re gonna get hurt. We’re gonna get in trouble.” But that was okay; one of us had to be the parent, and I liked him as the lunatic.

Continue reading High Sobriety

That’s No Hurricane; It’s a Him-icane

The Gender Saga Behind Naming Storms

Hazel killed hundreds in 1954. Camille flattened cities in 1969. And Agnes cost billions in 1972. These twister-sisters weren’t messing around.

For more than a quarter century, hurricanes in the Atlantic basin — the area that recently brought us Harvey, Irma, Jose, and pals — were only given women’s names: Alma. Betsy. Cleo. Delia. Ethel. Fifi. Gladys. Hilda …

While apologists say the practice took its cue from the time-honored tradition of seamen referring to the ocean as female, more experts guess it was an inside joke by those in the male-dominated meteorology field. Some even say the scientists named storms after their girlfriends.

Continue reading That’s No Hurricane; It’s a Him-icane

Exes Co-Parenting in Peace?

Starshine Surveys the Pros and Cons of Sharing Kids

I like to think of myself as fairly magnanimous. Generous of spirit. Warm hearted and welcoming when need be. But I’m going to be honest with you: If I had to walk my precious toddler to his first day of preschool alongside his father’s girlfriend — and my child was calling us both “Mommy” — it would be hard for me not to hurt the hag with my fingernails. And, depending how quickly I could get it off my foot, maybe also the heel of my right shoe.

Continue reading Exes Co-Parenting in Peace?

Thank You, President Trump

#45’s Frequent Failings Take my Mind off my Tween

It’s a phrase you don’t hear often. His chiefs of staff don’t say it. The terrified people of Guam don’t say it. You’re unlikely to catch any endangered species cooing it. But I’m gonna say it, and I’m gonna say it loud: Thank you, President Donald J. Trump! You’ve done me a solid, and I’ll bet you don’t even know it.

Continue reading Thank You, President Trump

What Makes Dads So … Non-Mom?

A group of young dudes in Spokane, Washington, recently put an ad on Craigslist for a “BBQ Dad” who’d be willing to man the grill at their Father’s Day backyard burger roast. They told the local news station their own dads don’t live nearby and they aren’t up to the challenge of filling their shoes. Duties would include flipping patties while drinking beer, talking about lawnmowers, and referring to the hosts as Big Guy, Chief, Sport, and Champ. They got a few takers.

I’m learning there’s nothing quite like the bond between a boy and his dad. Moms get a lot of reverence lobbed our way, mostly because of the way people just spring to life right there between our hips. The truth is that when my kids need comfort — or, alternately, a taloned and shrieky advocate on their behalf — there’s really no substitute for mom. Also, I keep them alive by cramming the occasional wad of produce down their protesting pieholes.

However, when my sons get talking about their dad, their words reveal less a reverence than a rapport. Less a biological tenderness than an utterly rational fondness. Continue reading What Makes Dads So … Non-Mom?

My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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