“Father’s Day: Dad Readiness”

I had my dad readiness tested the other day. Hannah, who will turn 8 next month, and her 6-year-old brother, Daniel, were outside playing. I was in the parsonage with the other five while the Mrs. was at a meeting. Suddenly, Hannah burst through the door with wailing and gnashing of teeth. Daniel was on her heels, and he too was crying, shrieking “accident” over and over. Hannah was in full-force tattling mode, crying, pointing at Daniel and speaking in tongues. At this point, Daniel demanded a lawyer.

I began to look Hannah over. She was holding her hand on her head. When she pulled it away, blood like I’ve never seen outside an MMA cage began to pour down the side of her face. When she saw those scarlet billows start to spread, Hannah screamed and insisted that I kill Daniel. Daniel screamed and committed interstate flight to avoid prosecution. Gracie, who just turned 12, screamed and gave Hannah the Heimlich maneuver. Jamie, my 10-year-old namesake, screamed and began running around in circles. Mary, who is 4, screamed and began running around Jamie as he ran around in circles. Three-year-old Mercy screamed and dashed outside to start a signal fire for the rescue team. Sam, my 2-year-old, screamed and began beseeching the Lord for a miraculous healing.

While the Bennett Circus of Mayhem raged on around me, I located Hannah’s small scalp wound. A block of wood, which Daniel had carelessly tossed over his shoulder, had conked her cranium. I alerted the Mrs., who took the patient to the clinic. Three stitches and an ice cream cone later, she was fine. Once I sedated the other children with veterinary tranquilizers and tucked them in for the night, they were fine too. As for Daniel, a federal joint-agency task force caught up with him the next day, holed-up in a Toys-R-Us on the Arkansas-Missouri border. He surrendered peacefully and is now back home, awaiting trial.

With Father’s Day approaching, I’m thinking of Todd Palin. Sexagenarian David Letterman cracked a perverse sex joke about Palin’s 14-year-old daughter. When the Palins dared to respond, the ever-effete MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann opened fire, calling the girl’s mother “sanctimonious, holier than thou, exploitative, undignified, pedantic, childish, self-inflicting, insipid, backwards, embarrassing, over-reactive, overreaching” as well as a “delusional lunatic.” Then, in a statement that defies both logic and decency, he actually characterized Letterman as “the victim” and praised him for continuing “to take the high road in the face of repeated attacks by a politician.”

Huh?! How could he possibly think … oh, wait. A quick check of Keith Olbermann’s online bio page is enlightening. It states, “has never been married and has no children.” ‘Nuff said.

Regardless of your politics or how you feel about Sarah Palin, honest moms and dads will agree that a twisted sex joke about their little girl is fightin’ words. Leave it to a blow-dried, Botox-ified, metrosexual, non-dad like Keith Olbermann to miss that.

What kind of dad would Olbermann be? One can only guess, but it’s safe to assume that his son, should he ever have one, will never lack for quality time with pops. Every Saturday, after a hearty breakfast of gluten-free scones, it’s athletic father-son bonding time as Keith and Keith Jr. hit the Equinox gym in matching leotards, ready to get their Dynamic Pilates Fusion on. Next, it’s straight down to Devachan’s for self-heating sea algae facial masques and hand massages. Top it all off back at the condo with the Kathy Griffin marathon on the Bravo Network, and the patriarch’s work is done.

Letterman, who was a mildly amusing chap as recently as 1994, doesn’t have Olbermann’s excuse. Employing the ultimate stupid human trick, he actually has fathered a son. And the geriatric jokester finally condescended to marry his baby-mama a mere five years after the boy’s birth. There’s a profile in old-school paternal manhood if I’ve ever seen one.     

Is there a media double standard? Of course. I mean, if Bill O’Reilly were to so much as hint that Sasha and Malia cheated at “Candyland,” Olbermann and the rest of the liberal press would crucify him. But the real point here is that it is possible to go too far, no matter who you might be, when it comes to making sex jokes about a man’s little girl or calling his wife names. Todd Palin has exercised admirable restraint so far, but if I were Letterman and Olbermann, I’d keep an ear out for the approaching roar of an Arctic Cat F6 600.

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