I’d gotten through about half of my emails when the smell hit me – dirty socks soaked in sour milk. I looked over at Zoe; she was thumbing through her latest book, something about Barbie having a Halloween party. “Is that you?”, I asked. “Huh?”, she asked back. I raised my left arm and sniffed. “How long’s it been since I took a shower?” She giggled. “I dunno! You funny, Daddy!” She hugged me in spite of myself.

When was that? Today? Yesterday? Last week? No idea. The reel’s been unspooling at a frenetic rate. Everything’s been tossed into the back seat. Groceries: the freezer’s only occupants are a forlorn box of fish sticks and a package of pork chops that have turned gray from neglect. Exercise: on hold, following a jumping side kick that ended with my right calf making a loud POP and the rest of me collapsing in a heap on the do-jon floor. Personal hygiene: three days without a shave or a shower, and what timing – we were in the grip of a heat wave, temperatures hitting 104 at one point. Down time: my latest consulting gig requires the utmost focus, as does my two-year-old daughter. Every dad who stays at home to take care of the kids is a work-at-home-dad; sometimes, you pull double duty. Writing: whatever I have to say has been limited to 140-character bursts. I’m tapped out.

This afternoon: I’m appearing as a guest on DadLabs. The show is live. I’ve showered. I’m wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with a picture of a cartoon squirrel holding a hand grenade. It seems appropriate. The topic: “Do Dad Blogs Suck?” I don’t know. Do they? Objectively speaking, I suppose some of them do. Empathetically speaking, there’s value in everyone’s story. I don’t really answer the question. I say something about voice and impact and blah blah blah blah bullshit bullshit bullshit.

Later: more work. I’m mining a database, Zoe is sitting next to me. She has a couple of dolls, and the three of them are engaged in conversation. I think: my son is dazzled by the way the world is: here be volcanos, lightning, wolves, and meteors. My daughter brings life to the fallow: ordinary rocks become flawless gemstones, plastic toys become boon companions. Science is magic is science. Really, what else is there?

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