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Smoking Charges Ignite
By Seth Kabala
Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently wound around their little fingers–all of them–cinched tightly, creating an unbreakable bond–nay!–an unbreakable, shoddily-rhymed oath, which goes like this:
I, Dad, when alone with the kids
Will do just as each of them bids
I’ll think not of the ways this is crappy
But think only of how to make them happy
It matters not that the TV is smoking
Or that it’s in danger of being permanently broken
If it keeps them happy, occupied, and content
I’m afraid I must, to survive, relent
For you see, I have lots of work to do
Lots of old stuff, lots of new
Unless I can give it my full attention
You might find me locked away in solitary detention
That would be bad, no money for bills
And all my entertainment would be cheap inmate thrills
I’d have lost my freedom, my fortitude, my power
It would be, I daresay, not my finest hour
So to avoid this bleak and depressing fate
I must endeavor to win the rat race
And it all starts with reducing the pile
Of stuff in my in-box, and the width of my crazed smile
With one thing whipped, my work on an in-progress course
The kids have yet another demand to enforce
They want carte blanche on the cupboards and fridge
They want large portions, not a tasty little smidge’
Oh, you say, are they after the fruits and greens?
Ha, I laugh, wouldn’t that be a scene
It’s much more likely to find them hovering
With salivating mouths over ice-cream they’re uncovering
They have this strategy that avoids talk
If they’re halfway to serving, I’m unlikely to balk
I’ll see that disrupting their process with “Say, what?! How?!”
Is a sure-fire path to a fiery row
So for the short-term, I give up all intentions
Of managing their growth into healthy dimensions
They’re young and pudge is unlikely to appear
Despite eating, in one night, their sugar quota for a year
So now we’ve managed to take care of the essentials
Entertainment and food–what else is monumental?
I’ll tell you, here it is, the thing on my mind
It’s how much I read to them at bedtime
Berenstain stories, Dr. Seuss, now YA novels
My voice faces a Herculean task, so I grovels
I know that’s improper grammar
But the alternative is to be left with a permanent stammer
I do my best to soldier through the copy
Though my phrasing is stilted, and my diction is choppy
It’s amazing how I, this man of business prattle
Gets tripped up on “muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle”
That last phrase completely screwed the rhyme
But, oh, well, I’m out of time
The kids are passed out, I’ve carried them to bed
Now it’s my turn to sleep the sleep of the dead
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Tags: alone, Amy, Anna, Berenstain, bills, carte blanche, cheap thrills, columnist, crazed smile, cupboards, dad, diction, dimensions, Dr. Seuss, Ella, enforce, entertainment, fate, finest hour, food, fridge, fruits, full attention, grammar, greens, healthy, Herculean, humor writer, humorist, ice-cream, inmate, left in charge, money, oath, pile, power, quota, rat race, relent, rhyme, row, sleep of the dead, smoking, solitary detention, TFF Issue #6, TV, Will, work
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