The committed dad is a creature of efficiency, whose primary goal is to (1) use his God-given talents to maximize his economic potential in order to provide for his family, all while (2) maintaining the mental and physical strength to be “present” for his kid(s)/significant other and (3) finding at least some time to pursue the outside interests and hobbies that make him tick.
So, the last thing us dads need are unwanted roadblocks to achieving these goals. We want predictability. We want stability. And when we can get it, some uninterrupted fun and relaxation.
So what are THIS dad’s bugaboos?
1. Gym Bros: I get it. You want to be “huge”. You want to bench the most out of all of your friends (despite the fact you never do legs and can’t run a mile) and want all of them to see it. What’s more? You and your cadre of friends will occupy every flat bench in the gym during peak hours while snap chatting your posse on your 5 minute breaks between sets. Meanwhile, if I actually get a bench, you ask to “work in” while I’m busting my ass on a fast, efficient dumbbell circuit. Nah bro. I have a kid and a job to get to. Take a hike.
2. Gunner colleagues/bosses: I’ll admit it. Just a few years ago, I was probably what you would call a “gunner”. I studied hard and worked late. I sacrificed just about everything including my sanity to “get ahead”. What did this mean? Well, it meant I was pretty selfish and, when it came to relationships with those around me (coworkers, friends and significant others), deaf to their needs. Sure, it feels nice to crush an assignment, impress another gunner or even out-compete someone else for a coveted spot. But life is a marathon, and you won’t get very far if you piss off or annoy those around you and fail to foster the connections/relationships that make life worth living. So, when the sharks start circling when you leave work a little early to pick up your kid at day care or someone drops a merger agreement on you to review over the weekend, you know what you can tell them to do.
3. Reckless drivers: If I had a dime for every time some hot shot cut me off on the way to work in the morning just to get one car length/30 seconds closer to his/her destination, I’d be a millionaire (well, maybe I’d have like 10 bucks). I understand the impulse: humans are at the same time emotional and competitive beings. We don’t want to miss out, and in a fast-paced world where information flows like water, we are, by definition, always missing out on something. But the risk-reward calculation of these individuals is totally off (and this, BTW, is why we have Black Friday stampedes at Walmart): You run me off the road or I T-bone you and then what? One of us will either be dead or paying attorneys fees until retirement. Buckle up!
4. Self checkout lanes: At some point in the last 20 or so years in the smokiest of smoky back rooms, the captains of industry decided that Joe and Jane consumer are no longer entitled to human interaction in the checkout lane. “We need to cut costs; boost the bottom line!”, I can imagine a steely-eyed executive shouting at BigCo’s board meeting, as he or she unveils the plan to automate the whole checkout process. And maybe, many would argue, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a bad idea: It allows businesses to remain competitive and therefore supply the stuff we want, create jobs, pay taxes and make the pie bigger for all of us.
But it also, more often than not, screws up my checkout. Try placing a family pack of toilet paper on that 6×8 inch make-sure-he-isn’t-stealing scale that accompanies the standard checkout machine. Better yet, try getting more than a paint brush from Home Depot/Lowes and you’ll find yourself either waiting in the now miles-long manned checkout lane or awkwardly trying to balance your saw horse on that stupid little scale. Automated checkout? Check yo self!
5. $5 coffees: Now, this one, I have to admit, I am bringing upon myself. No one is forcing me at gunpoint to purchase a nearly $5 venti cold brew from Starbucks on a daily basis. But the stuff is just so damn good and it gets the trick done better than any other drink I know of in the AM. It’s hard to imagine, though, that 50 years ago, people were paying a comparative amount (in inflation-adjusted terms) for a good cup of joe. Maybe it’s a sign that we’ve just grown richer over time. Maybe it’s a newly discovered luxury niche. Either way, it’s setting me back close to $100 a month and I’m feeling the sting.
What’s your pet peeve?