I was doing my best Cinderella (Cinderelly. Cinderelly. Night and day, it’s Cinderelly Make the fire, fix the breakfast. Wash the dishes, do the mopping), ironing my work clothes (Yes. I iron my clothes. It’s the biggest pain in the ass. And if you tell me to just buy wrinkle free clothes…I tell you that wrinkle free/wrinkle resistant clothes are a total and complete farce. And dry cleaning? Please. If I had that kind of flow, do you think I’d be giving away my talent for free?) in the laundry room, when Jakob comes in, looking rather grim. “Dad. I gotta tell you something. But, you’re gonna get mad.”
Now let me tell you something. That is one of my favorite statements! How does this kid expect me to respond? Does he really think I’m gonna say: “It’s ok, Jakob. Just tell me. I won’t get mad.” Fucketh thateth! Why the hell would I forfeit my right to get angry ahead of time??? That’s like still paying for an expensive date after being told ahead of time you weren’t getting any action afterward. I never sign my right away to be angry. It’s my god given privilege as a parent! Besides, if I tell Jakob I won’t get mad, I either gotta pretend I’m not monumentally pissed by what he’s telling me, or I get monumentally pissed and I look like a fucking liar.
And I’m not good at pretending.
Seriously…if the kid thinks what he’s about to tell me is gonna make me mad, he’s probably right. So why play this game? My stance in times like these is: Be a man. Fess up and let the chips fall where they may. Cause if you’re willing to do the crime, you’ve got to be willing to…blah, blah, blah.
What I will do, though, is go lenient for truthtelling. If nothing else, I am a benevolent dictator. Tell me the truth and take your punishment. Maybe it’ll only be 50 hail Mary’s rather than the standard 75. Hey, it’s possible. I could be in a good mood that day. Believe you me, it’s way better to be upfront with me, than me finding out second hand…
I looked over at the kid. Who’s looking everywhere but at me. “What is it Jakob?”
“You’re gonna get mad.” He replied.
I set the iron upright. “Look. You might as well tell me. You came all the way down here. You’ve got my attention. So, you might as well make it easier on yourself.”
He considered the Solomon-like wisdom of my words. “I got two donuts from Dunkin Donuts…”
“Free!” He offered up. Like that was gonna save him from whatever impending doom was coming his way.
I watched Jakob watch me. He’s looking for a sign that the anger was coming. All’s I served up was confusion, though. Cause I’m still waiting for the punchline. So the kid got two free donuts at Dunkin? Good for him.
We look at each other for a long moment. That was it? That’s the crime of the century? “Alright.” I shrugged and went back to ironing.
Jakob hesitantly turned toward the kitchen steps, the anguish in his face easing. Whatever he thought he did wrong, he was now thinking he got away with. I guess he figured I’d be mad he got two donuts.
And that’s when it dawns on me. ..