Captain’s Log. Diaper Date 2505. Daddy Chronicles.
A beetle dies at the end of this post.
In last week’s Great Adventures as Dad we had an epic episode. I’m hyperbolizing a bit (a lot), but anytime I can make my life sound grand (it is) then I will.
Anyhow, it was a unique week in that The Eldest attended camp for the first time. Two of the days I painted my house, one day she was sick, and the other two the Potty Trainer (formerly known as the Diaper Dweller) and I found ourselves adventuring about the city.
On the last day of our male bonding, we decided to take in the local park. Early. It was beautiful. Though there was ample litter scattered around the park to show people <em>had</em> been there, there was no one there. We ran in the grass. We kicked a ball. We threw the ball. I would throw the ball and he would run after it (does that mean that I was playing catch with my son?!?). And then we decided to hit the playground.
On the playground the Potty Trainer had a blast. He ran. He climbed. He slid. He ran some more. He climbed some more. The he decided he wanted to swing.
On our way to the swing, I saw a beetle. Now, Poop Deck Community, you have to understand that I hate bugs. Not quite a phobia, but pretty close. I once wouldn’t drive my car for several hours because there was a bug that I couldn’t find, a spider I think, and I refused to get in the car until I saw the dead carcass of the beast. I hate bugs. I hate camping because of bugs. I don’t like the outdoors unless there is a fire. I despise nature walks, woods, and natural “stuff”. Why? Because I can’t handle bugs.
I tell you all of that to make what I did sound more heroic. I spied the beetle on the slide on the way to the swing. Since I became a dad, I have tried to conquer my bug anxiety, so my children don’t develop the same bug bias with which I live. Anywho,
I spied the beetle which was as big as my dog, as big as my son , the size of the spider from Lord of the Rings about 3 inches in length and as thick as 3 sticks of wintergreen gum (sorry if that’s what you are chewing). I called my son over and bent down and point to the beetle.
“Dats Cool, Daddy!” my son declared. He was watching it carefully. The beetle had pinchers on it and was probably trying to crawl away. I didn’t blame it.
I picked up a stick.
…and coerced the beetle to climb onto the stick and I held it close to my son. My skin was crawling but he was loving it.
I have really been trying to teach my kids not to freak out when they encounter bugs outside because “it’s their home – not ours”. And so with much constraint and consideration, I carefully placed Mr. Beetle down on the wooden mulch, under the slide, out of harm’s way. I think he flexed his pinchers to show his gratitude – the bug version of truckers flashing their lights.
And so we continued on to the swing. The swing is 30 yards from the slide. As we were swinging, a young dad and his two children (a boy and a girl) emerged and invaded our tranquil scene. The dad was talking on his phone, but was still very involved in what his kids were doing.
The kids, if they weren’t twins, had to be less than a year apart, and seemed to be about three years old. They were having fun. They zipped from one section of the playground to the next, at times causing their dad fits as he tried to keep them safe. I don’t know what the girl’s name was, but he called the boy “Man Man” – a common nickname that I have heard many times before. I’m still not sure why Man is repeated, maybe to solidify the ideal, but as I said, I have heard it used many times.
At any rate, Man Man and his sister finally settled on the slide that we hand just departed. They were having fun, the dad was drifting deeper into his phone call when it happened.
“Hold on. Come here,” and he motioned to both kids, the phone still wedged between his shoulder and cheek. He knelt down for closer inspection. I realized what he saw and I smiled thinking he was doing what I just did. Apparently, Mr. Beetle had overcome his fear of people and crawled out from underneath the slide apparatus.
“Man Man! Look at how big that thing is.” Man Man was not impressed. He responded the same way I would have at his age. His sister was intrigued. His father stood up.
I should have known what was coming next. I should have seen it coming.
The father stood up, still holding his phone, and ordered the execution of Mr. Beetle. No trial, no extradition. Just death.
Man Man was reserved. He seemed unsure that his foot would break Mr. Beetle’s shell. Man Man’s sister had no such reservations and I witnessed her strike the first blow. Her action unleashed a rage in Man Man that is unparalleled. He began to rain down blows upon Mr. Beetle beyond his demise. All the while, his father watched, narrated the scene, and laughed with pride.
I felt cold. This man had authorized a lethal act of war on sovereign bug land. Make no mistake about it – his sister may have fired the first shot, but Man Man killed Mr. Beetle.
After the tasteless act of violence, I could not condone my child playing with such rebels. I also could not bring myself to view the carcass of Mr. Beetle, though I doubt one remained – and if it did it surely was constrained to the tread on the bottom of Man Man’s shoe.
Man Man now played like a rejuvenated child. He climbed higher, faster, swung higher. He played without fear of being persecuted by the peaceful Mr. Beetle who was now dead and one with the mulch.
I hung my head in sorrow, took our ball, and we want home.
I’m sorry, Mr. Beetle. You were the nicest Beetle I have ever met. And my son liked you too. I wish Man Man had taken the time to get to know you.
R.I.P. Mr. Beetle 2014-2014
For now…Captain Out.
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