Friday, 11 December 2009
One of the ridiculous side effects of being a daddy is how unprepared I am for my heart strings to be plucked. These days I seem to cry and just about everything. I'm like a woman from a 1950s Hollywood B movie who needs to be slapped in the face by a tough grizzled chap and told to pull myself together.
This is not good.
I am most vulnerable while watching a film or TV show (usually X factor but not exclusively) or listening to the radio. It doesn’t have to be something tragic that gets me going, often it can be something really uplifting or corny. Recently, I found myself reading a Sunday supplement and was marvelling at the opportunity afforded to me to buy a hand-painted, ceramic wall plate with a rendition of the poem Footprints on it. Before I knew what had happened I had read the words on the plate and was found by Mrs B in the foetal position sobbing “it was then that I carried you” over and over.
Nowhere do the tears flow more though than during a movie, especially a kids’ movie, particularly a movie made by those bastards at Pixar. One of my eldest son’s favourite films is Cars, a film about a cocky, brash racing car called Lightning McQueen who, after meeting a group of salt-of-the-earth country folk, sees the error of his ways and becomes a kind and honest racing car. The film’s denouement centres on a race that McQueen has to win to become the greatest racing car in the world. Everything is going perfectly for him until the last lap of the big race when ***SPOILER ALERT*** he spurns his opportunity to win (and win the prizes that our society values most i.e. money and fame) in order to help an old car to cross the finish line with a bit of dignity (and win the prize that really counts for the most i.e. respecting and valuing another person/talking car).
I watched this film with my son sitting on my lap and thank God he wasn’t looking at me because any shred of respect that he still has for me would have been wiped out in an instant. The tears were streaming down my cheeks and at the end of the film I had to pretend to go to the loo so I could sob in private and throw some water on my face.
‘Daddy, why are your eyes all puffy and red Daddy..?’
‘Oh, er, it’s just my er hay fever son.’
‘Hay fever in November Daddy..? Really Daddy..? Or are you stupid cry-baby Daddy. I have lost all my respect for you and I’m only four. You make me sick Daddy, in fact, I’m going to stop calling you Daddy from now on and will henceforth only refer to you by your first name You’re dead to me now.’