Elite Dad Force

For some time now I’ve been pretty thinky. In touch with my feminine side. Is feminine the right word? Because I’m not “Let’s make a friends’ date, we all need a reason to feel pretty! Don’t you love when all of us friends get together!” Perhaps non-masculine side, or non-macho side.

A deer vigilantly scans for danger.
A deer vigilantly scans for danger. Photo by https://unsplash.com/@albuszheng

For some time now I’ve been pretty thinky. In touch with my feminine side. Is feminine the right word? Because I’m not “Let’s make a friends’ date, we all need a reason to feel pretty! Don’t you love when all of us friends get together!”

Perhaps non-masculine side, or non-macho side. Because if I’m really honest I’ve said things like “I love being able to dance, it makes your body come to life!” How many men say that? And further, I might even think to myself “If I pause and counter-rotate my hands it creates more of the frozen-in-time visual interest and feels more energized.” I cringe, but I’ve thought that.

Ok, let’s be brutally truthful. When hanging out with friends I have said things like “I love it when we get together! Guys, this is literally an important part of life we need to make sure we keep up!” Which, for men for whatever reason, ensures that I don’t continue to have friends to get together with. But I’ve never worn makeup. Ok, unless occasion called for it..

The machismo just doesn’t pour out of me. If I stayed casual and nonchalant it might help - if I indifferently nodded “Yo, good seeing y’all, let’s do this again,” as I do a round of daps and arm-hugs. That’s a more James Bondish exit than my default setting - the 007 division of MI-6 isn’t on the lookout for aptitudes of vocalizing one’s glee. I wish I were pure gangsta pimp, but I started realizing I have very little gangsta pimp in me.

On top of this, I’ve always been pretty anti-mess. Getting that motor oil and dirt on you can be rewarding for a minute, but I’d like to return to washed. Very soon. Rough, gnarled manliness has not been the core of my self identity.

But lately, after becoming a father - taking care of a human, as the protector of life - defending and educating for the navigation of this jungle of a world…how to operate, stand up for yourself and others, grow strong! This makes a man powerful. You can indeed do anything. You’re tough. And your big, swinging cojones are Maldivian coconuts!

No. Does this happen to anyone? Because I’ve become more of a pussy. So while I’ve long had some machismo-fluidity, I’ve got to be careful now or I’ll become a neurotic baby deer.

And here’s the thing, if I don’t take time to get centered I’ll find myself behaving more like a nervous, skittishy ground squirrel than a tough cowboy. I’ve learned I need time every day I can work out, ideally in the morning, and visualize clashing with the enemy in a fight to the death, calling myself out to battle, running to cadence with the Marine Corps unit in my earphones. Its strange, maybe make-believe, but I need to lose it into this and be sure to do it consistently. It keeps me sane, helps sleep, and most of all keeps me from morphing into an empty-nesting mother.

A ground squirrel peers from a burrow.
The ground squirrel, or prarie dog, is not actually a dog.

I’m not sure if this is normal. I wanted testosterone pills like some behemoths at my gym swear by. Turns out my levels were too high to prescribe them. Great. Digging in more.

With a child, as a single parent, you’re not just a protector and provider, you’re often the sole company of a child - , whose average age over the last 4 years has been four point something. And further, he’s been your sole company. What does this do? An example from my extensive research might shed some light.

Let’s use our imaginations for a moment. Before reading any further, think of any word that comes to your mind. Is it ‘zoink’? That would be great if it was! But if it was anything else, pair it with zoink. We’ve invented a new game. If your word was pineapple, say, we can combine them to create pineapple zoinks, a delightful new pastry. Now we can create a song that sells these treats to customers. We’re using our imaginations! “Come on everybody, get a flaky, cream-filled pineapple zoink!”

That’s me, all the time now.

If I were in the elite Air Force Special Tactics Squadron going on a mission in the desert, I’d be saying with my men, “Hooyah, we’re ready!” Then in my thoughts I ponder: Holy shit, we’re going to need to reapply our sunscreen every 80 minutes. But I don’t say it. Definitely wouldn’t be hoo-yah.

Then I can’t help it: “Make sure you have enough water everyone!” I ground myself and breathe. Ok. We’re good.

Then I think to myself: Ramirez never brings enough water.

“Ramirez, is your water full? You filled it?”


“All the way up, right? Ok. Good job. Great.”

“Let me just see it real quick..it’s the lid part, I just want to make sure the top nozzle thing is working, if I could just check it?”

I would be voted as most helpful if not physically accompanying the mission. They’d say “Christ, we need a stand-by-the-phone-guy for this mission. If that phone rings, YOU count how many times it rings.” Whatever the least important part of a clandestine airfield takeover is.

A man thinks about a partially filled canteen.
Ramirez never brings enough water.

But every morning, for just a little, here I go: “We will not give up, you will not match the force of our sheer will and dedication!” Dave Goggins forges profanity-laced willpower into my iron soul. My testosterone-sufficient body hurts and sweat pours off my tortured face.

That’s all because a minute later it’s “Let’s put our shoes on, eat your sandwich today, if you don’t eat the sandwich don’t have the cookies ok? Yesterday you only took one bite of sandwich.”

And it’s time for this, it’s almost time for that. Time. Time. Time. And laundry.

Or else nothing will get done. By the end of the day, kid goes out, I’ve got no mind left in my head. And that’s how things happen, like me social-sharing a gender non-binary pantomime where I become music.

It’s that bad. And to everyone who can’t imagine, it must be a mystery. You can watch the perplexed instagram followers drop. But surely not as much as the actual friends.

Topless man points a weapon.
30 Minutes a day.

And I’m as confused as anyone. It’s a mystery that would puzzle physicists - they couldn’t even let their minds go there. It’s a riddle that somehow has actually replaced the classic chicken-or-egg paradox in Tibetan monk temples - you can read about it. They now say “Does he dance rike this because he has no friends, or does he have no friends because he dances rike this? Ohhmmmm. There is no answer. This shows the frailty of thinking.

But in all reality, this is the Elite Dad Force. And Mom Force. This is hopefully a letter to someone who feels like they’re unloading dishes, vacuuming, and barely staying on schedule when the Tony Starks and Beyonces and Youtube badasses of the world are running ten companies and writing their fifth book from a beach cabana.The hero with the cojones can focus on their own plan and do the best they can. And if you can’t find 20 minutes to take a walk, then get that on your agenda. The world needs you.

Ohmm. Thank you for reading. Namaste.