A Father Story: Chapter 4

Hitting the Wall (and Pleading Temporary Inanity)

A straight line is the shortest distance between two points, math teachers tell us. Literature teachers tell us about the shortest distance between two pints. Since I can never tell one pint from two, and since I will not indulge your Fervent Desire for Hamlet (which covers the longest distance between Enter and Exeunt), I’m going to listen to the math teachers on this one. From this point forward, I’ll take the shortest distance I can to The End.

To recap, Papa initially had only his own saucepan, strainer, cup, and teaspoon, deigning to share the saucers with his family, and this was stressful for all four women in the family. I have told you what Mummy and the Favorite Daughter did to relieve their stress, and now I will tell you what the Third FD did.

The Third Favorite Daughter relieved her stress by putting up posters of punk rockers all along the passage outside the girls’ bedroom. The posters were life-size, and Papa, being absentminded at the best of times, invariably thought that some white boy with pink hair had taken up residence in his castle. It would have been bad enough had it been a brown boy with black hair, but white boys with pink hair made him see red.

Whenever Papa saw red, there was an altercation with some white boy with pink hair. Each ended with a badly bruised fist, Papa having hit the wall. His aim being poor when he was seeing red, his fist invariably landed on the chin. Had the pink-haired punk rocker been able to speak (and everyone knew he couldn’t sing), he would have said he’d taken it on the chin.

On the chinkYou’re right. I did skip the Second Favorite Daughter.

You’re wrong. I did not forget the Second FD. 

I will never forget the Second FD. For one thing, I have the memory of an elephant. For another, I don’t have the manners of a goat. I never forget myself in public.


Clever of you to so quickly figure out that I am the Second FD. It took me years to figure it out myself. For most of my life I thought I was the Third Favorite Daughter (of three), but I have realized that perhaps my perception was not reality. Perhaps we were all Favorite Daughters in our own way. So I will berth myself by my birth order.

Still, I refuse on principle to discuss my role in the dish soap opera. The principle being that while it’s inane to wash one’s dirty dishes in public, it’s insane to wash one’s dirty laundry in public. I can plead temporary inanity every now and then, but I can never plead temporary insanity. It’s insane how sane I am.Ch 4


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