As a kid, I remember my Dad always being a huge fan of naps. He would cut the lawn on a Sunday afternoon and delegate the job of raking the clippings to me. Evidently the old man didn’t believe in replacing the catch-bag on the mower after it had worn out.
As a junior landscape manager, I let the shit run downhill. I would rake the grass and then force my brother, Eric, to collect and bag the clippings even though it was widely known that he was the king of ragweed fever. Much like Milhouse from ‘The Simpsons’, Eric was basically allergic to everything outside of the house.
Yard work was tiring, and after a few hours of it, a solid nap on the living room sofa was always warranted. With no regard for our viewing needs, my Dad would put on the PGA golf tour and let his eyeballs disappear like a ball buried deep within a sand trap on the back nine. Me and my brothers would break out the Matchbox cars, driving them up and down his sleepy legs, using his crotch as a switchback where we would kick out the ass end of the General Lee, with Rosco P. Coltrane in hot pursuit, using the old mans gold toe sock as a jump, taking both cars to a mid-air freeze and commercial break.
Parents are entitled to naps. Normally, I’m not a napper, however, a few weeks ago, I was bitten by the bug. Sure, it may have been attributed to chasing a rapid toddler around during the morning hours, cleaning out snack-traps, doing laundry, telling cold-calling cabinet refacing companies to fuck off on the phone, but it was most likely the fact that I stayed up until 3am playing ‘Red Dead Redemption’ on XBOX.
I laid Ava down and set the video monitor on my chest while I watched Paula Dean smother something else in butter on the Food Network. My eyelids got heavy, my appendages went limp and I went comatose. Full-on snoring and epileptic seizure drooling with the occasional party-foul gagging on my own air.
Then……I heard a noise. The monitor on my chest screamed ‘wake up dickhead’, you have a tiny kid in the other room. As I parted the saliva sea from my chin and chest, this is what I saw…
My first thoughts were, holy shit, how long have I been out?
The video screen indicated several things. Was I now the proud owner of a malnourished plastic baby? Did Ava take notes the one time we watched ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and escape to a Cubs game with Cameron while hitting me with the door-activated trophy-trigger synthesizer cough?
I sprung to my feet like it was a 5-alarm fire. I scrambled from my bunk, but instead of wielding an axe and oxygen canister, it was a baby monitor and bottle. I kicked her bedroom door ala Kirk Douglas in ‘Backdraft’ and crawled into the room beneath the burping flames.
I rose to my feet, ready to extinguish the fire or knock out a black market baby smuggler. Turns out she was awake, standing in the corner of the crib off-camera, smiling.
Dad needs a Xanax.