by Captain Jon the Brave
I love to take my kids to the zoo. The San Francisco Zoo is only 45 minutes away and our vision fills with exotic animals and our imagination soars to far of lands.

Unfortunately, today I miss my exit. I blow right past it without even thinking and chastise myself with a carefully mumbled but appropriately under-my-breath sort of "Dumbass". I hear a voice from the backseat tell me in equally measured tones "Dad, you're not a dumbass."

For a brief moment, forever frozen in my dad scrapbook, my heart had wings. My five year old daughter, who I love more than my next breath, doesn't think I'm a dumbass! And while it's hard to give yourself a "high five" I allowed myself an inward and imagined celebration. She doesn't think I'm a dumbass! I must not be screwing this dad thing up too badly. Besides, I know another way to the zoo. Hooray for me. I allowed a small smile to slowly spread across my face as I basked in the glow of not being a dumbass in my daughter's eyes.

My silent warm fuzzy burst with the realization that my young and lovely bride's eyes were drilling into mine. Like lasers, no kidding. I swear it was as if someone had visegripped my ears to a drill press and spun that baby up to High. The heat was amazing and, quite frankly, it hurt. So I retreated, realizing I might have caused permanent scarring on this otherwise small but otherwise perfect person, sheepishly (a state I'm becoming more and more familiar with as my children grow older) into a feeble attempt at one of those "teachable moments" I keep hearing about.

"Oh Emily", says I, "That's actually not a nice word and I shouldn't have used it. I was wrong.".

"Right Dad", says this cherubic voice, considering my mistake and storing the information for her teenage years, "Its not nice to call people Dumb."

I laughed until it hurt.

Email: artofbeinghuman@yahoo.com