fiction: awesome amazing whatever

January 31, 2021

in blowg

Summary: 1200 words, fiction, a stay-at-home dad finds a way to escape the internet.

Note: This story was written using the entire list of ‘banished’ words, phrases and overused terms that many publications would like to see banned, retired and avoided from 2008–2014. The list once could be read at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banished_words_and_phrases but even Wikipedia didn’t care for these words and deleted the page. Originally published in Broke Journal but that shut down, too.

Czar of the carbon offset, Mister Mom was t-boned on some random street by this ginormous Hummer. Mister Mom’s brand new little hybrid was just decimated, you see? His dumbass exit strategy to reduce his carbon footprint was thrown this helluva game changer: road rage, slipped brakes, a kinda perfect storm, and next thing Mister Mom knew, he was in the hospital.

Ah, the backstory. Just a moment. Mister Mom is still bleeding from a number of creative places. He’s lying on the sidewalk across from the abandoned artisan warehouse those green hipsters used to occupy, but his live audience isn’t pulling out their cell phones to call 9–11 — instead, they wanna get a good selfie next to him. LOL OMG WTF

OK, so before Mister Mom’s smashed-in mug starts trending, #hashtag #deadmotherfucker, before his mama grizzly of a wife starts down her emotional rollercoaster when she sees her husband’s face go viral, before we take a moment of silence to remember how much of an awesome amazing whatever Mister Mom was, let’s get to the teachable moment that turned our maverick into mashed potatoes.

So yeah, it was Black Friday, just that time of the year again when Main Street and Wall Street overlap in their violent, morally bankrupt version of a stimulus package. Eight people trampled in the surge this year, but that’s still less than the year before. That’s absolutely how corporate America likes to give back. Anyway, this is the new normal and it is what it is, so Mister Mom was out on a desperate search for cheap deals on diapers and maybe a crib or something because his wife, Julie, was showing her fourth baby bump. Just good ol’ American people, like yourself.

The truthiness of the situation is only two of those former baby bumps belonged to Mister Mom. Yeah, not so much. But we already know he’s never gonna find that out, not after his organic memory doubled down, squished into nothing. Not to be callous, I’m just sayin’. Spoiler alert: at the end of the day, it’s gonna happen to all of us. Live life to the fullest, YOLO and all that bullshit, yuh know? Best to forgo the wow factor, stop kicking the can down the road and just say it like it is, if you will.

Back in the day, before his epic fail, Mister Mom was the guru of organizational living, world-class in transparent 24/7 child-rearing. A stay-at-home dad on steroids, winner of four nominations for house husband of the year, one effective motherfucker with a minivan. In these economic times, he wasn’t finding work wordsmithing, but his wife was, so he decided to man up, offered himself as a viable alternative, volunteered to be his own boss for the first time ever. Well, at least until the Great Recession blowback settled. Plus, look, it’s trendy. Dad is the new mom and that really makes this family pop.

Thus, Mister Mom became First Dude of his three-bedroom ranch in the suburbs. His shovel-ready man cave was remodeled into a nursery, a shared sacrifice if his marriage ever saw one. At least he got a few blowjobs out of it as a thank you in advance. Plus, this historic opportunity would get Mister Mom started on checking off his bucket list, all that downtime spent chillaxin’ on a permanent staycation, time to like maybe author a novel or learn to crochet or something.

Fuck that morally bankrupt fiscal cliff, fuck that intellectually bankrupt Obamacare, fuck adversity, Mister Mom thought. I won’t wait for green shoots or job creators, I’ll create my own — being the best dad in the universe, something far more important (really), something that wouldn’t need a bailout. Brilliant trickeration here! Totally gonna win the future now!

Mister Mom didn’t count on the unprecedented track record of his eldest daughter, Barb, who wasn’t really his daughter anyway (you could tell if you saw her in the right crepuscular light). You can only stay motivated so long when you discover your kid, barely ready for middle school, has more of an online fan base than you do. Despite extensive experience as a netizen (Usenet OG, yo), Mister Mom wasn’t prepared for a daughter so steeped in the twittersphere. Snapchat this, Instagram that. How can anyone keep up? Sweet post-9/11 adolescence, it’s a disease and personally, I myself would prefer waterboarding over catching my daughter sexting the neighbor.

There should be an app or webinar on effective online parenting or something. She says she’s your BFF, says she’s daddy’s little monkey, but when you friend her, she refudiates you? Where’s the ❤? And what the fuck does meep mean and why does my daughter keep saying it?

So basically, despite all his best practices, irregardless of his attempts to feed his kids nothing but superfoods, protect them from the H1N1 aporkalypse and share his passion for gluten-free boneless wings and hatred of conflict minerals, Mister Mom’s kids threw him under the bus. He couldn’t understand it. He would’ve been better off as a pet parent, raising chihuahuas rather than these brats.

His aha-moment came when he saw Barb trying to learn how to twerk in the mirror — that’s when he took away all his kids’ cellular devices, unplugged the router and chucked it in the pool. No more internet! We’ll live like The Amish, like a real family!

Julie looked at him like he was a birther. She tried to protest, but he said, “I’mma let you finish but I’m on a roll here! This is a very unique idea! Our kids could get the exact same experiences as us! A classic childhood!” But the bottom line was Julie’s need to tweet was too big to fail and she didn’t dig her husband’s bromance with the 19th Century.

So look, all these toxic assets were on Mister Mom’s mind a lot, not to mention the added anxiety about his carbon offset. You can’t blame him for ignoring that yellow light, driving right into that iconic crashageddon and not ever knowing what hit him.

All these incidences led to Mister Mom being confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life, sometimes being able to communicate to his family if he drools just right. But if you could burrow into his smashed skull and see what it’s really like in there for him, you’d find Mister Mom as happy as a clam because now he never has to Google anything ever again.

Troy Farah is a journalist and documentary film producer living in the Southwest. His writing has appeared in WIRED, The Guardian, Tin House Open Blog, Terraform, VICE and others. More info at troyfarah.com

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