There comes a time in your daughter's life when you really can't tell her stuff and have to use your guile when giving advice.
Therefore, when my twenty-three year old drives up to the house in her Beetle and the front grill is half-way off and the parking lights are dragging under the car by their electrical cords I nicely say, "Ann, honey, scotch tape may not be the best material to hold up a front bumper."
Unfortunately, my daughter realizes that these are code words for "What's the matter with you, you idiot!!!!" and we get into a fight about boundaries (which is her code word for, "Leave me alone, you overbearing control freak!!!").
As a father you want to continue protecting your daughter, even after the time when you're supposed to let go. I desperately wanted to do something to help her without being too intrusive. My first thought was a simple one. I would buy her a husband.
Okay, I know you think this may be nuts but I'm talking about $5,000. And I would have to do better than the jerks she was dating (the last guy thought Kuwait was a citrus fruit). Ann would never have to find out because I would have her future husband sign a confidentiality clause in the contract. And you thought I was nuts.
I was thinking of someone like Ben Affleck or Prince William. Unfortunately, Affleck is too fickle and five grand may not be enough for a Prince. I'm also afraid William or his butler might eventually tell my daughter. The Royal Family is a bunch of blabbermouths. Maybe Matt Damon. He seems nice although Eddie Haskell also seemed nice.
I was also thinking about some kind of professional athlete. They make a good living and get free shoes. Tracy McGrady and I could play pick up games in my driveway during family gatherings. It would be me and Tracy against my Uncle Mo and Aunt Gussy. I think we would win.
I also considered some accountants, lawyers, doctors, and auto mechanics. But to tell you the truth, I'm having a little trouble thinking of any of these guys being intimate with my daughter (it was even hard for me to type the word "intimate"). The best thing would be a rich, bright gay guy but I think that would hurt my chances for grandchildren.
I told my wife (who happens to be a psychologist) about my plan and she said I was insane and had to stop immediately. I asked her if she knew any young psychologists.
Taking my wife's advice (okay warning) I decided to give up my search for a husband. However, I still wanted to do something to protect Ann, something tangible and life affirming. I decided to install a new lock on her apartment door.
I went to the hardware store where they had surface bolts, barrel bolts, and dead bolts with a chain. I chose the chain lock because it said it was hardened steel. I don't know what hardened steel is but it sounds safer than softened steel. I got the most expensive one for $13.95. I figured I was still saving $4,986.05.
When I got to Ann's apartment I was surprised to find her sanding a coffee table with a power tool. Next to her was a good looking guy also with a power tool. I think he was good looking but I wasn't sure because they were both wearing protective goggles.
They looked very professional and I thought maybe I should go back to the hardware store and buy myself some goggles. However, since I was just using a screwdriver, I didn't think it was justified.
Three tries and several holes in the door jam later, I finally installed the hardened steel chain lock. Satisfied that I was doing my best to protect my daughter, I yelled goodbye over the power tools. Ann waved back as I left, the kind of wave that said, "I know you're nuts Dad, but I love you anyway and I'll putty the door jam later."
On the way home it finally occurred to me that maybe Ann doesn't need that much help from me. She probably doesn't even need the goggle guy. She's a competent young woman who can take care of herself.
And maybe, just maybe, I can breathe a little easier and stop worrying about her. Nah.
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