As the day was winding down, a co-worker friend called me to shoot the breeze until it was time to clock out for another Wednesday. She talked. I joked. She asked about my upcoming vacation. We commiserated about similar work and extended family issues. Y'know, usual "killing time until it's time to leave work for the day" talk.
I checked my watch and began shutting down several programs still glowing on my computer monitor. Suddenly, the conversation turned to her young daughter, Elle. She began to explain, in clinical precision and statistical terms, Elle's growth pattern and where she ranked in comparison to national averages for girls her own age in both height and weight.
Now, I went to art school for a reason — and that was to never have to deal with percentages and charts and statistics and all things number-y. Also, as a Dad for over twenty-five years and a qualified spokesman for Dads everywhere, I told my friend that, frankly, Dads don't care about shit like that. She seemed surprised.
"You mean you didn't know these things about your son?," she inquired, somewhat shocked by my cavalier attitude.
"No.," I replied, "Dads don't care about that."
Trying to trap me, she countered with, "I'll bet Mrs. Pincus knew all about this. All the growth information, national percentiles and such."
"I'll bet she did.," I said, praising my spouse's motherly concern,"I'll bet she knew all that stuff. I'm sure she asked our son's pediatrician all the pertinent questions that a doting parent should be asking. But Dads.... Dads just don't care. She may have told me about our son's progress in that stuff, but I either forgot or wasn't listening at the time... 'cause that's what Dads do."
Then, as an example, I told her that my niece — a new mother — recently informed my wife that her ten-month-old son just began taking his first steps.
I asked, "Didn't our son begin walking around the same age?"
My wife stared back at me and said, "No, he was much later than that."
I thought for a second, then stated, "Well, he can walk now."