“Home Game”

Sat down last night with Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by┬áMichael Lewis, and didn’t get up to go to bed ’til I’d turned the last page. (I first heard about it when Lewis talked with Bob Edwards.)

Hilarious! His kids say the darnedest things. Like the time his 3-year old younger daughter called out the older boys who were menacing her older sister at the pool: “TEASING BOYS! YOU JUST SHUT UP YOU STUPID MOTHER(bleeping) ASS****!” (It’s p.13, if you want to confirm that the little girl really said what you’re sure she couldn’t have.) And who knew a detailed first-hand account of one’s own vasectomy could be so much fun? The spousal acknowledgement on the last page is sweet: “The first reaction of many readers to the original series was to pity the woman who was married to its author… incubator of the source material.”

At one time I, too, aspired to write a Daddy memoir. I, too, kept notes of our girls’ early years. But I didn’t follow through. Yet.

This isn’t the book I’d have written anyway, even if I could rise to Lewis’s level of narrative and wit. He begins from a very different emotional place than I did, he not having felt particularly sentimental about what he calls “the dirty work” of hands-on parenting where I was totally into it. He says he inherited his Dad’s parenting style, who “didn’t even talk to you until you went away to college.” I self-consciously set out to do it differently, to what end only time will show.

michael lewisBut maybe there’s room on the shelves for one more of these Daddyographies. I’ve also noted a gap “between the idea of fatherhood and a man’s actual experience of it.” Lewis has inspired me to hunt up those notes. But it might be better to just start scribbling some fresh observations, with the kids on the respective cusps of Middle and High School. They’ll love me for that!

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