Doofus Dads vs Competent Men?

My husband is a creature to be pitied. That is, if you believe the sympathetic comments he gets from readers who feel I expose him raw through my candid columns. So this one’s for him and all the other helpful, hands-on husbands who don’t view the dishwasher as an insult to their masculinity.

My husband, I am not ashamed to admit, can iron circles around me. Not only is he good at it, he’ll polish off an overflowing basket in about an hour while simultaneously watching cable TV and via his cell phone, smoothing out yet another television broadcast crisis at a sporting event half way across the country. Three hours of Christmas in July on Hallmark later, I’m still wrestling with the inbred crease marks on a cuffed pair of wrinkle-free khakis.

Scott can take three dishes of unidentified leftovers out the fridge and turn them into a gourmet one skillet wonder. We’ve had neighbor kids go home and ask their dads why they can’t cook like Mr. Rinehart. What they don’t realize is that there are days Mr. Rinehart would starve if he waited for Mrs. Rinehart to plan a meal.

Once upon a time, I said I married Scott because he knew the answers to all the obscure but burning questions like,

When will reruns end and the new television season begin?

What was the name of the paymaster on the USS Eldorado during Pearl Harbor?;

Who carried the ball on the 3rd down and 4 of the 1983 Alabama verses Penn State game?

And Why was film sold at 12, 24 and 36 exposures?

Truth be told, his temperment was far more stable than mine.  And he’s tall.   Being Italian, opinionated and short, I figured he’d give our children a fighting chance at normalcy.

Question– Is your husband’s like mine, or is he like the ones portrayed in television commercials? If you’re not hitting Pause to refill your wine, go to the bathroom or change out a load of laundry, you’d be watching advertisers painting American Dads as total Doofuses.

The Orange Juice commercial is one of the worst. Picture a typical chaotic school morning with three kids of all ages running in and out of the kitchen, causing cereal explosions, hanging upside down out of chairs, yelling Indian war cries, gulping down orange juice and generally creating all sorts of ruckus.  The mother, being a mother, smoothly hands out breakfasts, lunch boxes, shoes and forgotten books two beats before the kids know it’s forgotten. All the while, smack in the middle of the tornado-like chaos, Doofus Dad sits at the kitchen table reading the paper. After the kitchen is quiet (and the mom is undoubtedly searching for the vodka to put in her OJ) the father looks up from behind his paper and innocently drones, “Are the kids awake yet?”

Another favorite is the Kenmore Blue Commercial, the Sears brand of residential carpet cleaners. The announcer chirps, “You need the new Kenmore Blue if you have pets, kids or messy dads!” Can you just see the domestic scene with some Doofus Dad, after 40 years on earth, still unable to drink a coke without spilling it all over the family room floor? Kenmore Blue ranks dads right up there with two year olds and the family dog. No wonder they’re a financial failure.

Then there’s the Circuit City spot.   The cashier is ringing up an overflowing cart of swanky electronics for a daddish figure and says, “Some kids are going to be real happy this Christmas!” Doofus Dad looks frantic and replies, “Kids?? (nervous chuckle) I’ll be back!” He runs off into the store and the next thing you see is him back at the check out with a gajillion more items. Now the cashier says, “My wife loves this dvd.” Pan to panicked Doofus Dad: “Uh, wife?” Off he runs again.

Friends, if the dad in this household was that Doofus, I’d be the one running off in a panic.


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