For Father’s Day this year, I want a ‘dad bod’

Los Angeles Times - - HOME & DESIGN - CHRIS ERSK­INE chris.ersk­ine@la­times.com Twit­ter: @er­sk­ine­times

I had chil­dren for the same rea­sons most guys do, so I’d have some­one to play catch with for the rest of my life.

The other day, I asked our youngest daugh­ter, Ra­pun­zel, if she wanted to play a lit­tle catch. She’s 26 now, so she just as­sumed I was jok­ing.

Come to think of it, I am al­ways jok­ing.

But I wasn’t kid­ding when I asked her to play a lit­tle catch in the park. I coached her a long time, from age 4 to age 14, taught her the finer points of soft­ball and soc­cer.

To my knowl­edge, I only brought her to tears once, when from the side­lines of a soc­cer field, I screamed, “Hey, No. 5, don’t be a statue. Move a lit­tle!” She still hasn’t got­ten over that ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment.

Maybe that’s why she blew off my re­quest to play a lit­tle catch the other day, the only rea­son I be­came a father. I re­ally miss play­ing catch with her: “El­bow up, kid. Step into your throws. Fin­ish.”

Yet, not all my kids want to play catch any­more. Life moves on.

When I last saw Ra­pun­zel, she was head­ing off to have kim­chi que­sadil­las with her friend Taylor, two L.A. girls chas­ing trendy morsels, when what they should be chas­ing is ground balls in the long spring grass.

Hon­estly, I like kim­chi and I like que­sadil­las, but I’d never dream of blend­ing the two. They seem an odd combo. Like Posh and I, for ex­am­ple.

As I feared, my wife didn’t laugh at my R-rated pickle joke, which I told her dur­ing six long hours of baseball last week­end. No kid­ding, we were in the stands for six hours, for the lit­tle guy’s dou­ble-header. Be­tween the third and fourth in­nings of the sec­ond game, I’m pretty sure time ac­tu­ally stopped.

The young pitcher took the sign from the catcher, stared down the bat­ter, then just froze. From kids to par­ents, even the ump and coaches, ev­ery­body be­gan to won­der, in a si­mul­ta­ne­ous thought bub­ble: “What in God’s name are we do­ing play­ing baseball for six straight hours?”

Af­ter a pause of maybe seven sec­onds, the game pro­ceeded. And by 10 p.m., the lit­tle guy and I were drag­ging a damp tarp across the pitcher’s mound and call­ing it a night.

Point is, even a guy who jokes about ev­ery­thing is stressed to fill six hours in the stands.

It might be the old­est joke in the world, and some women don’t like it. (Email me, and I’ll share). Al­legedly, Adam told it to Eve, and she didn’t even gig­gle. When Genghis Khan told it to Mrs. Khan, she merely rolled her eyes. And Genghis could be a very funny guy.

I mean, our daugh­ter Ra­pun­zel was there in the stands with us, and she laughed. But she’s al­ways been an easy gig­gle.

“Daaaaaaad,” she said while comb­ing her hair with her hands. “That’s such a dad joke.”

Let me just say that the en­tire dad brand is very hot these days. Dad jokes. Dad dance moves. Even Da­di­tude, a cer­tain way of ap­proach­ing the world.

Be­fore ex­er­cis­ing the other day, Ra­pun­zel com­plained that she was get­ting a “dad bod,” which from the sneery tone, was not some­thing she re­ally de­sired.

“So what’s wrong with a dad bod?” I asked.

Ac­cord­ing to Ra­pun­zel, a “dad bod” is sort of amor­phous, of­ten thick in the mid­dle in the man­ner of live­stock, list­less and a lit­tle pasty.

I al­ways ad­mired those things about my­self. But I have sim­pler stan­dards — for bods, for butts, for food, for hu­mor.

For ex­am­ple, I still think it’s funny that, when I kill a poi­sonous spi­der in the house, I wait a beat or two, then while fold­ing the tis­sue, scream as if the spi­der came back to life and bit me.

Trust me, I have been do­ing that par­tic­u­lar shtick for 150 years, and it still slays. (For bonus laughs, pre­tend the spi­der just bit you, then get woozy and drop to your knees.)

I will try to do that old joke Sun­day too, be­cause an­tic­i­pa­tion is part of hu­mor, as is rep­e­ti­tion and sur­prise.

Char­ac­ter and warmth fac­tor in there too, which is why on one day a year, we cel­e­brate dads, whose bods are thick, and jokes a lit­tle dated. Our sense of style can maybe be musty too, as are all our wants and needs.

And some­times all we re­ally want for Father’s Day is to play a lit­tle catch in the park, or maybe wet a fish­ing line with you, or go for a mod­est hike.

We’re sim­ple crea­tures, dads are. All we re­ally want is you.

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