I hate when I’m boorish.
It doesn’t happen often. But when it does … I mean, it’s lowkey. Well, okay. Not lowkey. But not extra, as the kids would say. Somewhere between lowkey and extra. Yes, it’s come to this. (But definitely closer to lowkey than extra.)
The funny thing – and it wasn’t really funny at the time – was that it all happened because of juicy Lucy cheeseburgers.
Juicy Lucies are Minnesota delights. Manna of Heaven. They’re huge burgers with a treasure trove of cheese inside. I made one for everyone, the biggest – the juiciest, cooked a beautiful shade of medium rare – for myself. So go the benefits of a dad with a skillet.
Only, somehow, in the bedlam that is dinner with my girls, dad’s big burger – Queen Lucy – wound up on someone else’s plate.
My Lucy. My Juicy Lucy. Where the hell is my burger? I didn’t go nuts – it wasn’t, you know, extra – but it wasn’t so lowkey. I thought my burger was on Camdyn’s plate. Only, it was already in Camdyn’s mouth. You can still have it, she said, but I didn’t want it.
The bear truth
Hell with it, I said, and I tossed a twice-baked potato on my plate and moved on.
It came with a good dose of passive-aggressive. Probably what you’d see from a papa bear when his cubs got the heartier chunk of salmon than he – if bears were as petty as me. It was stupid and ludicrous and lasted only a few moments. But still.
And I looked at my youngest who was enjoying – I thought – a delicious burger stuffed with cheese, perhaps God’s greatest invention since playoff football and Nancy Carell, crafted with love by her father because it really was. I love to cook for my family.
She should have enjoyed the game and a burger big as a snapping turtle and the comfort of home and her family’s love – instead, she was probably trying to figure out why her dad coveted that burger more than playoff football. And Nancy Carell.
Hayden’s more the stone-cold killa of the Pacheco girls.
Turns out, she had the Alpha Lucy. And didn’t even flinch. I settled in with my way adequate burger and tried to watch the Saints’ then the Vikings’ then the Saints’ and ultimately the Vikings’ historic comeback on the TV screen.
But I felt like shit because what if I just made my kid feel like crap?
We don’t get to choose our legacies. I think of myself as the benevolent dad, the fun father who supports and loves his family unconditionally. The guy who can cook and is patient and is that man the girls used to love to call coach.
Reality is these little outbursts – micro-outbursts, really, compared to what some men are capable of – define my legacy more than I’d like.
Camdyn’s a strong young woman. But she doesn’t need some man getting pissy because she might have wound up with his dinner. I offered some of my drink to her and tried to convey the apologetic vibe to her and I know she’s fine.
I am a calm person, but my girls take that serenity to an impressive level.
Saturday, Hayden’s and Madison’s team lost a tournament final to a hated rival. Camdyn’s team rolled, thanks to a huge day she turned in. It included a dad from the opposing team asking his daughter to hammer Camdyn.
I wanted to challenge him to a duel right after the game – Camdyn, though, kept playing, beat the girl, helped her team score, and then turned to find her dad in the crowd.
I might have flipped a bird. She did not. She jogged back to midfield and shrugged as she kept eye contact with him. He didn’t speak much after that. Such a cool, low-key response from a kid dealing with boorish behavior.
Kind of makes me want to make sure she gets the big burger next time.
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