I get it; my kids are coming into their intellectual, athletic and know-it-all prime. But why does that have to be at my expense?
Last week I picked them up at our local field where they were watching a lacrosse tournament with their “we are da badasses” group of friends. In one corner of a field, they and their buddies were firing lacrosse balls into a net while another kid clocked their shots with a radar gun.
Routinely, these boys were zipping shots in the low to mid-sixties. Now, all six foot two inch, two-hundred pounds of a reasonably in shape forty-two year old should certainly be able to muster the energy to get something close to that. One would think. After I was told reluctantly that I could give it a shot, I cranked the lacrosse ball a whopping forty-eight miles per hour. I also managed to damn near need Tommy John surgery.
“Alright, “ I said, “Well, I will be at the refreshment stand.”
It was yet another example that the list of things I should be able to do better than a thirteen year old is diminishing faster than a co-ed’s inhibitions on a booze cruise.
Because of this continued depletion of self-worth, I have retreated to secret little pleasures that only I know about. Where I am my own competition – where success and failure are determined by my own hand. That is to say, I go to Apple’s App Store.
At Christmas, my ever thoughtful wife bought me an iPad, thus giving me access to thousands of apps of which I have absolutely no need for and largely do not understand.
Recently, I downloaded a game called “Rat On A Skateboard.” It is, so goes the cliché, what it is. You control a little rat with aviator sunglasses as he tools through a cartoonish urban setting. You tap the screen to make him do tricks, all the while avoiding the bouncing basketballs. Yes, it’s stupid – and also uncannily addictive. The point is, it was my game. I learned to grind some rails and flip the tiny skateboard to amass extra points.
When I broke a hundred points I was thrilled. When I scored a personal best 131, I was ecstatic. Then, one day my son Dylan was playing with my iPad and said, “Dad, what’s this skateboard game?”
“Nothing,” I said. “It’s a work application that I use to develop depreciation schedules for outside the box, going forward, value added capital appropriations.”
“Oh yeah?” he said, “Well I just scored 235 points.”
I considered deleting the game to avoid having to look at a score I will never beat prominently displayed at the top of the screen. My son tells me to use that as an incentive to get better. He doesn’t understand that the 131 was an anomaly – it is not unusual for me to score in the fifties.
I will never beat 235 and I will never shoot a lacrosse ball faster than my kids. On the other hand, I get to be their dad – beat that!