Saturday, February 12, 2005


Daddies, if you haven’t figured this out already, hear me now: No matter how old your girl-children get, you will always be Daddy – and they will always be your little girls.

This past week, the Mistress of Sarcasm was going through all kinds of minor trials and tribulations. “Minor” to me, that is, from my vantage point 265 miles away. To the Mistress, 22 years old and in the home stretch of her college career, these issues loomed large and immediate.

When I get phone calls from the Mistress, I always say a silent prayer that they fall into the “just wanted to see how you were doing” category, rather than the less desirable “I need some money” category. Or the even less desirable “ my car broke down category” – really the same as the previous category, only more expensive. There are other phone calls that we parents dread even more – there’s a whole list of ’em – but I will not name them here. Last week, however, I got several calls – and they all turned out to be in yet a tricky new category: “I have a technical problem, can you help me?”

One day, it was “Dad, I’m trying to print an image in Photoshop and I keep getting a border. I don’t want a border. What do I do?” I offered whatever lame-ass suggestions I could, but this was the kind of problem that I’m ill equipped to solve from a distance. Niggling issues: 1 - Dad: 0.

Two days later, it was “I just installed a new ink cartridge in my printer, and it still won’t print. What do I do?” Again, I proffered a few useless, unhelpful ideas, the last one being to take her document over to Kinko’s on a memory stick. The Mistress was frustrated; I felt impotent. But what could I tell her about dealing with those days when nothing seems to go right? Suck it up? This too, shall pass? Niggling issues: 2 – Mr. Helpful: 0.

After a few of these calls, I was feeling put-upon and incompetent…but She Who Must Be Obeyed helped me find my perspective.

“She’s asking you for help on all these things because you are the All-Knowing, All-Wise Daddy. She thinks you know everything because you’re the Dad. To her, you’re the Ultimate Authority. So do the best you can.”

The next call from the Mistress came the following afternoon as I was leaving the Great Corporate Salt Mine. She was calling to say things were getting better, and that she was sorry for bending my ear about all her problems earlier that week.

And I told her, “Sweetie, don’t ever be sorry about asking your Dad for help. You can always tell your ol’ Dad about your problems. Whether I’m able to help you solve ’em or not, I will always listen…because I will always be your Daddy.”

The Mistress: still my little girl.

And for that, Dear Readers, I am thankful - every single day.

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