Chapter 5: It’s the government’s fault

As my son and I are driving to pick up a pizza while on a recent family trip to the coast, he suddenly accuses me of being a flake. Knowing my son, this sort of accusation is usually caused by a blood sugar crash, exhaustion from a long day or is simply a cry for attention. The fact is, we’d had a day of disappointments for him—all of the card readers were broken at the arcade, the bumper cars were closed—the kind of stuff that all adds up to a crestfallen kid on a beach town vacation. I’d vote for the cause being a combination of the above factors.

“Daddy, you never keep your promises to me. You always say you’re going to do things with me and then you don’t do them,” he says, with a tone of frustration riding atop his stream of consciousness.

“That’s not true, Dylan. I try to keep all of my promises to you and take that very seriously,” I say in my best compassionate father voice. “Sometimes there are circumstances beyond my control, however, that get in the way of promises being kept.”

“Like… the government?”

I laugh out loud, purely amused and proud at the same time, wondering where this delightful spike of insight and wisdom came from. “Yes, like the government. I think from now on, when anything goes wrong, we should just blame it on the government.”

He laughs too and says, “Okay, daddy.”

Later that night, after we pick up our pizza, we’re walking out the door (after the video games at the pizza joint have stolen no less than four of our quarters). “Sorry they ate our quarters bud, at least you got to play a few video games,” I offer.

Without missing a beat, he grabs my hand as we start to cross the street, simultaneously offering up a sage piece of insightful wisdom. “It’s okay. I think it’s the government’s fault anyway.”



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