Admit it. It’s OK. You are in a safe place, among friends. You read the title of this post and immediately started cracking up.

Dan Cortese. Heh.

Dads have a lot of tricks at their disposal, items or words or even thoughts that they draw upon to help them work through the daily challenges of parenting. The time out. The allowance. Dessert. I’ve added Dan Cortese to my Utility Belt.

I’ve always been a bit of a hothead, and over the past few months I’ve struggled with keeping my cool when my kids are not. Lucas is a fantastic kid 90% of the time, but he’s “pushing boundaries” and that translates into tantrums, yelling, sulking, ignoring, etc. Everything we tell Lucas to do to avoid blowing his top, I do to avoid blowing mine. Deep breaths. Taking a minute to think about what I am going to say. Even giving myself timeouts. But a random comment that I made on Twitter hit me like a shook-up can of Mountain Dew to the forehead, and I think I’ve found the perfect mantra.

Dan Cortese.

Now, when Lucas throws a fit over, say, not being allowed to have s’mores for dinner, I will calmly say “Dan Cortese” and allow his bandana’ed, artificially tanned, Gotcha t-shirt wearing visage to fill my thoughts. I will think of Dan bungee-jumping with Kip Winger on MTV Sports. I will think of Dan serving up Whoppers With Cheese to unsuspecting diners. I will of Dan as Elaine Benes’ “mimbo”. And I will laugh. And laugh. And laugh some more. And having achieve inner peace and balance, I will then calmly and rationally address my son, free from anger.

(I was a bit reluctant to post this, as I’m betting that Dan Cortese Googles himself at least once a week. Hopefully, if he does, he’ll see that it’s all in fun. I really don’t want to piss him off, and have him show up at my house. He’ll be all “Hey motherfucker! You pissed off the wrong guy when you talked shit about Dan Cortese!” and I’ll say “Dan Cortese!” and start laughing hysterically and it’ll just be awkward for everyone.)