Going from a single, postgrad guy to a dad is a terrible and mystifying transformation. I’m pretty sure that metamorphosis is what Nietzsche was referring to when he said, “Be careful when you stare into the abyss, for sometimes the abyss stares back.” The abyss is definitely the long future of monogamy and driving kids to soccer practice. It changes you, for better or worse.
Everyone knows about the seven deadly sins, but I want to do my part in raising awareness for another equally important set of sins: the seven dadly sins. “But, Whiskey,” you say, “I’ve never heard of the seven dadly sins, and I’m a guy who may eventually make the choice to become a father and sign away my freedom.” It’s already too late, my friend. The seven dadly sins are a thing you must be aware of in order to escape. They are similar to the seven deadly sins, but they’re entirely related to the struggle of being trapped in that thing some people like to refer to as a committed, legally binding, monogamous relationship.
Pride: It’s A Participation Trophy, Not A Heisman
Pride cometh before the fall, they say. That’s because, traditionally, the fall is when most sports that people care about have youth leagues. At the beginning of the season, dad pride is at an all-time high. Once September rolls around, his hopes that his son will one day be on “SportsCenter” getting a blow job from whatever hot blonde is doing sideline interviews in 2045 start to fade away. The kid can’t even run a slant route without tripping over his feet and smacking himself in the face with a ball. Chances of catching said ball and running for a touchdown? You may as well bet on the Lions having a perfect season this year.
Every year, when your kid receives his trophy at the annual team banquet, you’ll feel a resurgence of pride. Slow your roll, chief–it’s only a participation trophy. Unless you have Alabama scouts hiding outside of your house trying to slip scholarships under the door like those assholes from Publishers Clearing House, it’s probably best to keep expectations grounded. This will lead to less kids’ sporting events where you are ejected from the crowd for getting in a fistfight with the ref, who is also the grandpa of one of those kids.
Wrath: Becoming The “Bad Cop”
In my house, my dad was always the one doling out sentences for the many crimes against the house we committed. When my sister dropped an Etch A Sketch on my head, inevitably leading to the writing skills I have now? My dad put her in time out. When I got caught with a fake ID my freshman year? My dad took the car for a few weeks. When I, in my infinite wisdom, told my dad to fuck off my junior year when we fought about the amount of partying I did? That was a suspension of all funds coming from my parents’ bank account.
Sure, many of those punishments were 100 percent deserved. My dad, maybe because he is legitimately a cop, is actually pretty good at the bad cop shtick. According to my friends, it’s a pretty common theme, but it’s also a sign to maybe pump the brakes a bit. There’s a difference between a paragon of good behavior and becoming your kids’ personal Judge Dredd. Much like Batman, you have to walk a thin and dangerous line. Unlike Batman, this won’t require martial arts training, a Ferrari, or serious abandonment issues.
Lust: Hitting On The Babysitter
Our popular culture, media, and my dad’s jokes pretty much all say the same thing: when you get married, you may as well chop off your dick, because you’re pretty much out of good reasons to use it. Sex, we’re told, becomes rarer than a virgin in a brothel on half-price Wednesday (don’t go half-price on a hooker–you get what you pay for). Thus, when it comes to lust, a dad may take his chances when he gets them. Out of experience, out of touch, and out of shape, he may make the mistake of hitting on the babysitter. Dads of America, don’t hit on the babysitter.
There’s no personal experience here, thank God, but I’m certain it goes down something like the cellar standoff in “Inglourious Basterds.” No one will leave without some kind of lasting scar, emotional or otherwise, and the woman in your life will probably be wanted for murder. Likely your own. The relationship between the mom and the babysitter is already tense enough without introducing crippling insecurity about the younger, attractive babysitter. Do yourself a favor and get an ugly babysitter. Problem solved.
Gluttony: Perfecting The Dad Body
The dad body is more or less exceptional. It embraces three core tenants: bigger, bolder, dadlier. You see, the bulging gut, flabby muscle tone, and amorphous line between chest, neck, and head are a symbol of power in modern day America, but like power itself, the indulgence and cultivation of a proper dad body is the highest act of gluttony. It takes true dedication to skip out on exercising in order to create the kind of dad body every red-blooded American male can be proud of.
The dad body can get out of control, though. It must be managed and kept in check, lest you slowly turn into Pappa, The Pizza Hutt. If you can no longer define something on your face as a chin, you have gone too far and should probably join a gym and get a personal trainer.
Greed: Making Ebeneezer Scrooge Look Like Saint Nick
From what I hear, being a dad is expensive, especially if you happen to kick in $5K on your 24-year-old son’s brand new Dodge Charger, but some dads embrace Scrooge’s lifestyle and don’t do anything for their kids beyond the day they kick them out of the house.
Now, those dads are well within their rights, but as my dad and grandfather always say, “Be nice to your kids. They get to pick your nursing home.”
Envy: His Boat Is Bigger And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It
Going along with avarice, we’ve got envy, and nothing says “envy” like the most American of pastimes. No, not baseball, football, or eating blue crabs by the water on a warm, summer day. I’m talking about keeping up with the neighbors. The neighbor buys a new car, so you buy a boat, causing him to buy a yacht, and it ends with both of you buried under $3.5 million worth of debt, trying to figure out what to do with the small, corporate jet you just charged to your AmEx black card.
When it comes to neighbor envy, just say no. This goes double for the dude’s wife. The potential threesome is not worth turning your life into “Desperate Housewives And Some Dads Who Make Poor Life Choices.”
Sloth: The Dad Nap
The final dadly sin is also one of the gravest. As a dad ages, his ability to nap doubles every two years–it’s a phenomenon I’ve termed Snore’s Law. As time goes on, a dad will reach a theoretical “nap critical mass,” at which point, time spent working and time spent napping on the couch pretending to watch “Deadliest Catch” while your mom is at the store will approach an equal value. Theoretically, this equation is upset by a dad retiring, but studying that phenomenon is difficult, as dads are notoriously difficult to observe in their natural habitat without generating chores for the observer.
The first sign of early onset dad napping is the desire to jump in bed for a quick 30- or 40-minute nap after work. If not kept in check, dadly sloth will set in and you’ll soon find yourself asking your girlfriend when dinner will be ready between bouts of napping and episodes of “Duck Dynasty.”
If you’re a postgrad finding that the dadly sins are beginning to creep into your lifestyle, seek help from the only kind of professional who can help you through your spiritual journey: that buddy from college who hasn’t had a stable relationship since he was with the girl he fingered under the bleachers in high school. While unstable and generally unreliable, he is nearly immune to the effects of the dadly sins. He’ll know how to bring out the old you in a terrifyingly short amount of time.