Birthday parties. The playground. Dance class. School. These are places you’ll find parents socializing, laughing, exchanging war stories, and setting up play dates.
Then you’ll see me off to the side looking like I’m one of the boys at a school dance scared shitless to ask anything to dance.
When it comes to socializing with other parents, Stone Cold is a walking, talking, fail. The slides and monkey bars have more social skills in parent land than Stone Cold. When another parent initiates a conversation, I black out in a cloud of awkward before I can actively participate. All I can do is nod and speak just enough English to appear fit to be around children. Otherwise, it’s a straight-to-video horror show.
You’d think 5 years in the daddy game would have given way to Stone Cold stepping up his social game. Unfortunately, you’ll see Stone Cold on that Molly before you see me initiate a conversation with another parent. Here’s why:
1) Confidence in My Self-Image Has Gone South: When you look good , you feel good. Well….Stone Cold wears sweat pants and t-shirts 90% of the time, and 50% of the time, I have or will have slept in them. And by 50%, I mean 80%. Showering would help, but like, fuck that shit.
This is all to say, I look like a dude who doesn’t give a shit about what he looks like. Stone Cold looks that way
because he does not give a shit what he looks like. Stone Cold is aware that he looks like he asks for spare change after he drops his kid off at school. Given that if one looks good, he feels good, Stone Cold usually isn’t feeling up for shooting the shit.
2) I haven’t figured out a polite way to say I want to fight my kids: If you haven’t noticed, I let shit fly sans filter when it comes to getting my ass kicked by this daddy gig. I’m Stone Cold Daddy, so if I’m at a point of frustration, I have no problem articulating:
a) Sometimes I want to throw my kids in the river wrapped in chains.
b) I flip my kids off more often than I shower.
c) That I provoke tantrums to manufacture a reason to send them to bed early.
I’m aware that full disclosure of my life as a parent might rub some people the wrong way……not that I give a crap, but keeping my distance from other parents most of the time is necessary because:
3) I really do want to fight my kids sometimes: Not hyperbole. If you’re a parent and you don’t understand, it’s time for you to return from that 16 year quick trip to get cigarettes.
If I’m “I want to fight my kids angry,” I’m visualizing a chalkboard on which I’m writing “I will not kill my fucking kids” over and over. I don’t have the mental capacity to socialize.
4) I’m Fucking Awkward: Unless I’m hopped up on caffeine, I have a hard time with small talk. If you initiate a conversation with me, chances are you’re gonna run into a brick wall like a fucking crash test dummy.
I die on the inside when I hear canned responses come out of my mouth. Stone Cold doesn’t get down with normal. I’m weird, I like weird shit, and I tell weird jokes. There have been times when my anecdotes have either horrified and/or left another party speechless. Thus, I try my best to keep that shit from flying out of my mouth.
What I’m left with is next to nothing. Thus, the struggle [to converse] is real….for real.
5) Fear of Getting Sucked Into Something: If you’ve been paying attention, Stone Cold is a train wreck when he’s around other parents. I try to keep my distance because of reasons 1, 2, 3, and 4.
As irony would have it, this shit makes me feel guilty. Guilt shuts down whatever section of the brain that pushes the ‘NO’ button. So I’ll hear something like,
“Would you like to volunteer at the bake sale?”
As soon as I anticipate a “sorry, I can’t” rolling off my tongue, Jiminy Cricket shoves his foot in my ass and forces out an “I would love to.”
So if I see someone going around with a sign up form, the cloud of vapor and or tire tracks were left by yours truly.
6) Chances Are I’m All Done: Stone Cold Daddy loves his kids and I do everything I can to make sure they know that. That said, I am Stone Cold Daddy, which is Latin for parenting has made me a fucking lunatic.
If I appear to be antisocial, chances are I’m an “I want mommy!” away from killing a few dozen people or so. This shit is real, I’m legitimately insane, and at times Stone Cold needs to do silent affirmations to himself to stay frosty.
Apologies in advance.