insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

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...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child

Mimicry

Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]

ad-sample

Advertise Here

I’ve never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats …...

[ Swap Article ]

Re-gifting

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

1

Filed Under on September 29th, 2009

When Did I Become a Pushover?

By Seth Kabala

I’ve never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to rue the day. And surprisingly enough, it usually was. I can still count on one hand the number of times I was emasculated by a bully.

Save for the week’s worth of karate lessons I won in a contest when I was, I think, twelve, I haven’t had any formal training in fighting. Still, I believe I would have the courage to throw a few punches if it came down to it. I could stand up for what I believe in. Could tell someone, “This is the way it is, and you’ll just have to deal with it.”

Case in point: driving. For the first few years I had a license, I was timid. This doesn’t mean I didn’t floor it whenever I could (think I got six speeding tickets within the first few years–hope the insurance company isn’t reading this). What I mean is I only had a cavalier attitude as long as no one else saw me as a threat. On the … rare occasion I cut someone off or ran a red light and was issued the one-fingered upright salute, I cowered in my seat, blood cold, and wound up driving through unfamiliar neighborhoods just to get away from the horror of narrowly escaping death by road rage.

Through the years, this has lessened. Now if someone honks at me or flashes their brights, I respond in kind and offer my own middle finger. Hey, I’m not perfect. I guess time has emboldened me as a driver, consumer, general inter-actor with the public–as long as I’m safely inside my car driving seventy miles-per-hour.

But this newly acquired bravado seems to have ended when it comes to the youngest female member of my household. With my daughter, I think I could be a blackbelt, Ultimate Fighting, jujitsu master and still fall prey to the dulcet tones of her voice when she starts a sentence, “Daddy?” And follows with a request of some kind.

Right now, we’re undertaking a major overhaul of our finances–buying a cheaper house, reducing expenses, living smaller. If I thought I was a pennypincher before, I’m now compressing minted metal to the point I have trouble recognizing the emblems. That is, of course, unless it involves my daughter.

To get to the point, I’m broke. Well, that’s being dramatic. What I mean is I have enough money to pay for all expenses and debt service, but that’s it. Everything else is discretionary and, ultimately, unnecessary. Unless it’s my daughter’s birthday.

“So when are you going to Wal-mart to pick up that tricycle?” Amy asked.

“What tricycle?” I said.

“The one you took a picture of a few months back and said you thought it would be a good birthday present for Anna.”

“Oh, right. That tricycle.” Before responding, I took a few moments to collect my thoughts, which consisted of That thing is crazy expensive. If I buy it I’ll blow the discretionary fund for the month. Does she really need it? I mean, come on. She’ll probably play with it for a few days and then it’ll join the ranks of the rest of the toys that are performing admirably as space-filling paperweights in the sunroom. If we’re going to spend money, we should buy her a nice, sensible savings bond or start a 529 or something that will last longer than it takes to get rid of the stomach ache from over-consumption of goodies.

“I’m not sure we can afford it right now,” I said.

“Oh,” Amy said, her hushed tone betraying disappointment. “Well, you decide what’s best, then.”

Guilt come hither and cover me with the weight of your presence. My wife has conjured you with her magical powers of persuasion, and I cannot resist your influence.

Come the party … she had a less expensive version, but she had her tricycle. And I confirmed my ever degenerating status as the father of a little girl who will always have the ability to render me a pushover.

God save me from the pony question!

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditTwittertumblrEmail



One Response to “When Did I Become a Pushover?”

  1. Shalom says:

    The delight on her face that day was undeniable. She may not remember that moment later on in life, but you always will. =)


Leave a Reply





Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

1 Comments Load Comments


Pop Art Businessman Sweating in Warm Office with Fan. Vector illustration

Sweat, Inc.

I sweat at night when we're sitting on the couch. It's like I'm afraid that at any minute, some black-ops interrogator is going to burst through the door and start waterboarding me. Black Ops Dude: "We know you broke those candy bars in half while they were still in the wrappers when you were six,...

[ Swap Article ]

wysiwyg, 3D rendering, metal text on rust background

Editor's Note--TFF Issue 22

I'm convinced that budget cuts are the reason for the delays between fireworks during the Fourth of July show. Likely conversation if I were industrious enough to plant bugs: "Hey, if we only light one every 30 seconds to a minute, they won't notice. They'll have a chance to discuss the color...

[ Swap Article ]

Old Camper or Crystal Meth Lab

Little Meth Lab on the Back 40

I told a colleague that you could buy 12 acres in rural Iowa, plus a private lake, forest, and a decent house for $325K. He mentioned something about using all the extra savings to catch the backwoods economic wave in Iowa and start up a meth lab operation. This colleague has lived his whole life in...

[ Swap Article ]

Children, not, allowed, sign

Barn Kids

Amy and I have been looking at properties with land, something on the order of 1-5 acres. One of these properties had several out-buildings (or outhouses, as Amy continues to misidentify them. Never at a loss for where to drop your drawers on our property!). These out-buildings weren't run-down,...

[ Swap Article ]

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Accidental Smellfungus

Toki has been our cat since 2012. He's a ragdoll breed, which means he's docile to the extreme. You know when cowboys ride bulls in the rodeo? Our kids used to treat Toki as their bull, and he dutifully complied, although in recent years, I've spotted him crawling toward the edge of the ring, if we...

[ Swap Article ]

Open and closed recycle brown carton delivery packaging box.

The Unboxing

Shortly after moving to Portland, I asked our office administrative specialist to order me a footrest. I asked for the footrest for a practical reason: lower back pressure relief. I have a stand-up desk. This works well to get my stand hours in during the day--Apple faithful, you know what I'm...

[ Swap Article ]

God character working on telemarketing vector illustration. Telemarketing, sales, business, marketing design concept

Let there Be Devices

We have over a dozen devices now, and the number is only going to grow from here. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Money eye bottle soda water isolated on mascot

Hydrating Water

Phil wasn't sure what caused his muscles to dehydrate and shrivel up into jerky encased in skin, but he understood the aftermath. His career was over. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Einstein - Think

You're Smart

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you're smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you're smart. Anna, 11,...

[ Swap Article ]

Madre Greater than Padre

Madre > Padre

A couple weeks ago, Amy diagnosed and changed out all three fuses that controlled electrical flow to the outlets in our car. Super sexy. Super cool. When I say that Amy did it, I don't mean that I was standing on the sidelines, guiding hands and helping words coaching her to a successful solution. I...

[ Swap Article ]

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]