The Burdens of Fatherhood

I never really understood why it was of the utmost importance to all four of my children that I become fluent in native Japanese, but despite both my confusion and better judgment, I went along with the whole thing anyway. My wife told me that I should do it as a means of keeping my kids from losing faith in me, but I’m still grappling with why they had faith in me to begin with. In all honesty, I would trade any one of them for a decent riding mower, and I had assumed- wrongly apparently- that there was a silent understanding between all of us on that. Nonetheless, I learned the blasted language, and it was the most tedious, awful process that I have ever been involved in.

Finally, six years after their initial request of me, I felt that I had fully mastered the entire language and was ready to present them with the fruit of all of my arduous labor. I called the whole family together in the living room, and I’ll admit that as they were filing in, I began to feel pretty good about the ordeal. I finally understood why my wife was so adamant about me doing this for them. I mean, a person devoting so much time, so much effort just for the sake of a loved one’s half-baked request- if that’s not a display of unparalleled love, then I don’t know what love is.

Once all were present, I ascended the coffee table and proceeded to recite a lengthy piece of Japanese prose while dressed in full-on Harajuku garb, which I had borrowed from the local historic society. When I had finished, I smiled and stretched out my arms while still atop the coffee table, ready to receive the accolades and affection that such a selfless action should naturally render from small, weak-willed children. The kids just laughed though, and then they said I was a “butthole” and asked for twenty dollars to go see a movie.

I beat each one of them for no less than forty minutes apiece.

Reflecting on the incident, I’m convinced that was the day that they completely lost faith in me. However, reflecting on the incident further reminds me that it was also that day that I emptied their college funds on the most unsightly, feature-laden riding mower to ever grace the lawns of suburbia. My wife said that doing so showed her that I didn’t know what love is. It occurred to me that she might be right, but it also occurred to me that she was not the dimwitted fool who used up six years of his life learning a language that he doesn’t give a lick about. Upon mental confirmation of these truths, I just silently stared at her until she was either angry or creeped-out enough to leave the room.

To this day I occasionally feel bad about it all, but then at dinner one of them will bring up how they got me to waste six years just to laugh about it, and suddenly I don’t feel so bad about my actions. So yeah, my wife has lost respect for me, and yeah, my kids have no faith in me, but you know what? None of that bothers me one bit when I’m coasting on my riding mower and spouting obscenities at those mongrels in spot-on Japanese.

6 thoughts on “The Burdens of Fatherhood

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