Two months ago, positively overflowing with self-satisfaction, I made the following announcement via the usual social media outlets:
Late last night I mended a model train using screwdrivers and oil and Dadly cleverness. In eight years and two weeks of Dadding I have never felt more Daddish. BEHOLD THE DAD.
Hubris (n.) – 1. Excessive pride or self-confidence. 2. (In Greek tragedy) Excessive pride towards or in defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.
Nemesis always gets her man. She is the Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman of the Ancient Greek mythological goddesses.
Accordingly, today the moment came. The once-repaired train found its way back to me as surely as a homing pigeon clutching a satnav-powered bad penny in its beak.
Adopting the same approach as last time, I set about my task with vim, gusto, and just that little bit too much oil.
Primary result achieved: the loco is restored to full working order. I am clearly so good at silencing horrible squeaking sounds that I should repackage myself as a judge on The Voice.
Secondary, unforeseen, and wholly tiresome result also achieved: oil on the wheels, and therefore on the track. The little train who could have, but who was sabotaged by an over-confident Dad with little sense of how to regulate oil flow.
Hubris, you see.
And with that, my Dadly credentials are blown out of the water.
Tough work, this Daddery. It’s a story of interminable toil and strife. Whether it’s the mending of a train, the retrieval of a treasured cricket ball from the jaws of a slavering Staffordshire Terrier, or the demonstration of how to make a really effective farting sound with just a hand and an armpit, the challenges thrown up by Dad-dom are myriad and perplexing.
But then you’re on the receiving end of the delighted smile and the “thanks Dad, you’re the best!”, and somehow it all seems worth it.
It’s a strange equation. Never mind world peace, the eradication of third world poverty or the dramatic halting of climate change. These mighty achievements would pass unacknowledged. I aspire merely to a small act of domestic ingenuity and the heartfelt thanks of a small child.