1. DISPLEASED DESCENDANT. I know I’m in trouble with my youngest when she calls me “Father” instead of “Dad.” She’s too young to get the reference, but when she addresses me that way, I can’t help but hear the voice of Sylvester Jr. from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. I half expect her to begin her explanations of how I’ve let her down with, “Oh father, oh father, the shame of it …”
2. CONSTANT WINTER. As a younger man, I eagerly welcomed the lighter clothing young ladies would break out in springtime. As the father of two daughters, I’ve realized I might be perfectly content if we had 52 weeks of winter.
3. SLOWED DOWN. I’ve conceded my youthful vigor is gone because my wife no longer has to complain about me walking too fast.
4. VIRAL TRANSMISSIONS. My kids live in a Mac world and I reside in a PC one, and I should have remembered those are two entirely different planets whose orbits must never be allowed to intersect. When I saw my girls laughing uproariously at some new Web site they discovered, I foolishly asked them to send me the link. Opening it, of course, forced me to spend hours trying to rid my computer of a host of new viruses, a futile effort which led to the inevitable — a call halfway around the world to the Indian call centers to spend a few more hours with the friendly, helpful techs with whom I am now on a first-name basis.
5. CAN I DRIVE? Funny how the same question elicits entirely different reactions depending on the circumstances and the asker. Whenever my wife, who does not particularly care for how abruptly I brake at stop signs, turns to me from the passenger seat to ask, “Can I drive?” I resist turning over the wheel and go on high alert for every opportunity to prove what a skilled driver I am. But when I’m on the phone with my PC-repair call-center friends and they ask the exact same question after I’ve downloaded, at their direction, that nifty software that lets them navigate my computer themselves, I immediately lift my fingers off the keyboard, push my chair back from the desk and gleefully shout into the phone, “Have at it!”