The Right Coast

March 09, 2005
Family life update
By Tom Smith

I think it is an important part of being a father of boys not to get hysterical when you discover they have built a man-trap on your property. The pit in question is about four feet deep and the same across, and because of our wet weather recently largely filled with muddy rainwater. Across the top the children have placed brush, presumably to obscure the pit. I am looking on the bright side: they seem not to have planted sharpened stakes at the bottom. In truth, the hole was not very well hidden, so there was not much danger anyone walking around in daylight would fall into it. Night would be another story, but no one has any business out there at night. Of course, you lawyers know this would not be a defense. The smaller one foot wide, two feet deep holes that surrounded the larger pit, however, were well hidden. I said to Patrick, their designer, "These things are dangerous! You could break your ankle in one of these holes!"

He looked at me and said, "That's kind of the point, isn't it?" It is kind of silly to complain that a man-trap is dangerous. I must try to remember to tell our garderner about the hazard.

On another front, I am trying to put together a kind of compendium of do's and don'ts, mostly don't's, to improve manners out here in East County. So far I only have two entries, based on real events: One: if you are walking down the sidewalk with your girlfriend, do not spit immediately after kissing her. Two: No watching TV on your driveway. If you must, do not do so in your underwear.

The other night I was sitting eating dinner when my lovely wife Jeanne said, "Get away from me you fat tub! Ughh! You smell!" I was able to determine after a few moments, fortunately, that she was not addressing me but Denali, whom I now call Great-Hearted Denali, after his heroic but very expensive survival of heat stroke a couple of years ago. He is, it is true, fat, and produces odors that defy veterinary science, or at any rate, meets with indifference from it. To my complaints that he smells, veternarians uniformly reply "he's a lab." Still, I am back on the Atkins diet. You can't be too careful about these things. For breakfast, steak and eggs. For lunch, steak, eggs, and a salad, and I seem to be losing weight. The really sobering thing is realizing how much I must have been eating before. By limiting myself to three large meals a day, I am making the pounds just fall off. I ignore all that nonsense about avoiding caffiene and alcohol.