Monday, June 5, 2023

Bluey’s Dad Thinks He’s So Great

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Well, there he is again, Mr. Perfect Dad. The best father ever to grace a television screen. That’s what everyone says, anyway, including my wife and children, which doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. I definitely didn’t mind when my daughter asked me to “pretend to be Bluey’s dad,” even though she wasn’t pretending to be Bluey. I think she was being one of the My Little Ponies—Twilight? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that for the past week I’ve had to talk in an Australian accent—oh, and also, could I make it less nasally? Sure, I’ll change my voice completely, and how about my entire personality while I’m at it?

Whatever, it’s fine. I don’t care. It’s just that in every single episode Bluey’s dad is engaging his kids with some really fun, imaginative activity. How does he have that kind of time? I mean, what does he even do? I read in one of the Bluey books that my wife bought for the kids despite knowing how I feel about the show that he’s supposed to be an archeologist. Isn’t that, like, a demanding job? Shouldn’t he be at some sort of dig site, away from his family for weeks on end? I wouldn’t know—I guess I’m not good enough at science or whatever to get a supercool job where apparently you get as much time off as you want and which pays enough to be able to afford a huge three-bedroom house at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Even his name is cool. If my parents had had the foresight to name me Bandit I would be President by now, or at least have some more friends.

Life just comes easy for him. You know what would happen if I took my kids to the creek? I’ll tell you right now, it wouldn’t be some gorgeously animated life lesson about overcoming fears and appreciating the natural beauty of the world. There would be a lot more trash, and I would have to make sure that my kids didn’t put the trash in their mouths, which makes me the bad guy, so now they’re in a bad mood, and I cave and just let them play with my phone.

Can we get one thing out of the way? It is much harder raising two human children than it is raising two cartoon dogs. To begin with, kids have to exist 24/7, not just in little five-minute segments. That means that I have to exist 24/7, unlike a certain cartoon Blue Heeler I know who everyone thinks is just, like, the paragon of perfect fathering. Yeah, I would be a perfect father, too, if I only had to be present two hundred and fifty minutes a year, plus holiday specials.

Oh, and also? His kids are four and six. Everyone knows that those are the easy ages. My kids are three and one. Much harder! I would like to see Bandit deal with a toddler crying because she can’t find a toy, while he’s holding a baby that’s pulling his hair and screaming in his ear. Who am I kidding, he would probably maintain his saintlike patience and make some sort of hilarious quip and my wife would laugh and so would my daughter even though I’m almost positive that she didn’t get the joke.

Also, I actually feel the effects of time. I have back problems, and not in some cartoony way that’s mentioned offhand as a joke. I mean real problems that involve going to the doctor. Not to mention needing to go to the dentist, dermatologist, couples therapy, and all the other health stuff adults have to do. Simply put, my body is aging, which is something that all humans need to deal with. What’s the worst thing Bandit has to deal with? The show being cancelled? That doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, despite my letters.

Now, if you’re anything like my wife, I’m sure you’ll tell me, “Bandit gets beat up all the time, so can we please drop this and go to bed?” Yeah, well, he’s incapable of feeling pain. If he could feel pain, he wouldn’t be so affable every time he falls or gets hit. Maybe you-all wouldn’t be laughing at it so much, even though people still laugh at the very real pain that I felt when I tripped on that escalator and fell into the mall fountain.

At the end of the day, I simply do not have the bandwidth to pretend to be a robot, or a pirate, or one of the million bits that Bandit can somehow fully commit to. I’m sorry that I don’t have a team of writers making sure that everything I say is charming and witty, or a musical virtuoso composing gorgeous melodies to heighten each and every wonderful moment of my life. I guess you’ll just have to accept the fact that I’m an irritable, imperfect father who lets his kids use the phone too much. But you know what? I try my best. So where’s my goddam Thanksgiving-parade balloon? ♦

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