Dinosaur Dads

June 17, 1994|By DICK GEORGE

I am a dinosaur, teetering precariously on the steep slopes of extinction. One more Ice Age, one more inter-galactic superevent, one more Newsweek cover story, and it's all over for me and the handful of others like me.

Yes, I am a father, a father who married a woman, had children with very same woman, and then hung around.

According to the media, people like me get closer to extinction every day. Families like ours are described with a word that suggests catastrophic annihilation. They say we are . . . nuclear.

I don't know why I haven't left. A genetic defect, probably, passed from generation to generation. My father has it, still married to my mother, 50 years now. How could he bring me into the world, knowing that I, too, would probably become a father in a nuclear family, consigned to a life of media invisibility while the deadbeat dads and child-support evaders get all the attention?

But I can't blame him. My own son probably has the curse, too. Some day I'll have to deal with his anger.

We are few, and we are dwindling but we are not alone. Together, we can ask the important questions: Why are we treated as if we don't exist? Why does the spotted owl get more sympathy than we do? What's wrong with Ozzie Nelson and Ward Cleaver? So they didn't do housework, is that so awful? Of course it is. Sorry, I lost my head there for a minute.

Let's call for an Endangered Father's Act.

Let's put millions of acres aside where fathers can gather in communal affirmation, talk sports, and teach our kids what only a father can teach: with two out, run on anything. Never draw to an inside straight. When a girl says no, believe it. But stay in touch.

And dads, let's resolve to improve ourselves for the sake of our own survival. Let's leave the lid down. Let's learn to fold laundry their way, and for crying out loud, fellas, let's ask for directions now and then, even if we know where we're going. This step alone will blunt 90 percent of the anti-dad hysteria sweeping America.

Working together, we can create an environment where fathers can thrive once again.

Dick George writes from Baldwin.

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