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Monday, November 17, 2003
 
The Wood-Villains
If you, like me, were going to Woodville for an afternoon to visit your estranged father, here are some tips for making things go more smoothly:

-- Take your baby daughter. Showing up by yourself is really pointless. Because, then, your father will want you to help him do something that will almost certainly involve manual labor. And you don’t want that.

-- Now that you have your baby daughter to fend off your father’s “projects” and pangs of disappointment, you don’t have to worry as much about your unconventionally long hair.* Unless you put it in a ponytail. (Yeah, don’t do that.)

-- Pray that your baby daughter doesn’t cry when she’s alone with either your father or his wife. Because then your infrequent visits will become an issue.

-- Avoid any talk of politics. Talking about your job is fine. Talking about his lack of a job . . . better.

-- Don’t bring up your father’s emphysema, his excessive drinking, or that his weight loss could have anything to do with cancer.

-- Save discussions about holiday plans for your father’s wife, who is in charge of those things.

-- No matter how much you feel like a beer, don’t go with the Busch (in a can, no less) . . . supposedly, it’s a step up from Old Milwaukee, but whatever. It’s dinner time, so drink the last Mic Ultra. Still have a thirst / feeling of inadequacy as a son? How about that last Natural Lite (in a bottle, thank God)? Really, if you’re gonna drink redneck-ghetto beer for free, your estranged father’s house is the place to do it. Besides, I think those two beers pair well with vegetable soup, chicken pot pie, and a hot dog on a slice of white bread with store-brand American cheese, mustard, and ketchup. Your daughter would agree.

So, I negotiated the visit pretty well. And, because I followed my own helpful tips, everyone involved had a pleasantly emotions-repressed afternoon.

* I got my hair cut today. Yeah, not really. It's still long and floppy . . . just not quite as long. There was a handy flat-iron to keep things from getting too floppy, too.