by Brian K. Pinaire
I guess it went okay. The whole thing was God’s idea—or maybe it was my idea with His help. Still not sure how this free will stuff works. He, or we, or whatever, decided to create a day for honoring fathers in our land of exile. I pointed out there were still no other fathers around this place, but He just said, “Do it.” You know how He gets sometimes.
The day began like any other: I was roused from sleep by my increasingly hefty sons, Cain and Abel. As usual, they jumped on me and landed in a spot that generally needs a little extra time waking up in the morning. (If there were any other men in this land, we’d do a fist bump right now.) Anyhow, the boys were really excited for the day and kept telling me I was the “best” dad in the world. Which was nice, I guess, but again, I’m the only dad in the world.
After that, the little ones served me breakfast in bed and promised to behave themselves the entire day—a promise they broke before they even finished making it. It seems like those two are always fighting over something. Abel doesn’t think it’s fair that Cain gets to wear a sheath over his man-snake, and Cain is still mad that Abel even exists. He’s always giving Abel that creepy thousand-yard stare that says, I’m not your keeper. Eve says it’s just a phase, that Cain would never really hurt his brother. But then again, Eve doesn’t exactly have the best judgment. I mean, come on: Who’s the one who cost us all paradise on earth? Amirite?
While Little Adam continued to recover from the trauma of his early morning assault, I thought about how I might enjoy this inaugural day for honoring fathers. Since I’d had a rough week doing the Lord’s work, I wanted to relax. So, I went out to a field to hit some little white rocks with a bag of sticks. I like doing this, because it gets me a few hours away from the family, but as usual I lost all the little white rocks right away.
After that, I went home to see what Eve had prepared for my mid-day meal and was disappointed to find yet another apple and serpent casserole. It’s not a bad recipe—I mean, for something made of snakes—but for whatever reason, I was really craving a big plate of ribs. I think Eve could tell I was unhappy, because she started crying, muttering something about how we don’t appreciate her, and then wondering aloud why God hadn’t declared a special day for mothers. The boys and I laughed at that because, duh, every day is a special day for mothers! Plus, as I reminded Eve, technically she was still on probation for causing the fall of man. Sometimes she forgets that part.
After dinner, Cain gave me a rock that he’d hollowed out during home school. He called it a “mug.” I didn’t know what to do with a mug, so I just spit some fig pits into it. Then Abel braided some vines and told me to wear them around my neck. My neck isn’t the body part that needs covering up, but I appreciated the thought. It was a nice tradition to get going—giving me gifts for which I have no use—so I thanked the boys. But then Cain thought I liked the vines more than the mug and started giving his brother that thousand-yard stare again.
By nightfall, Eve and I finally had some time to ourselves. We talked about the future, whatever that is, and reminisced about how I always used to call her “Woman.” We decided that, if we had another boy, we might name him “Seth.” And as she pressed herself against me in that way she does on the nights when she doesn’t hate me, I started to get that feeling I get when her fig leaves don’t stay in place. I whispered something romantic, like how she still looked great for a mother of two, but then she just rolled away, annoyed, and said I was “emotionally unavailable.” And also an asshole.
Making things even worse, this is when Abel started calling out from his room and insisting that I come in there right away. As he explained in a series of terrified screams, Cain wouldn’t stop looking at him. I yelled back and told him to just ignore his brother, but he said he couldn’t because now Cain was standing right over him and muttering something about hating sheep. Really, Eve? I wondered. Just a phase?
Because I didn’t know what else to do, I ran into Abel’s room, glowered at Cain, told Abel he was my favorite son, and then went back to bed. Not bad fathering, I thought, as I reflected on the day’s events and realized I was, in fact, the best dad in the world. I wanted to give Eve another chance to acknowledge my greatness, so I started tugging at her fig leaves. But by then she was already asleep. Like I said, every day is a special day for mothers.
Brian K. Pinaire is a writer, researcher, and editor living in Portland, Oregon. A former college professor, Pinaire is the author of over seventy articles and two books, including the recently published comic memoir This Is Not Your Father's Fatherhood. You can follow him on Twitter at @brianpinaire.