The Coming of. . . FrankenDad!
Building the better dad requires more than six million dollars.
Finding the ingredients necessary to do all the things we dads do around the house, with the kids and uh. . . well. . . I mean. . . you know, um, other places? is a bit more difficult than it first appeared.
So far, we’ve managed to amass a creature with a robotic arm, the visual acuity of the Hubble Space Telescope and the legs of Marvel Comics’ Titanium Man (a communist bad guy who used to get slapped around by Iron Man). But is that enough? Shouldn’t I leave well-enough alone?* Hasn’t the world suffered enough by your forging ahead into things Man Was Not Meant To Know©®?
No. No it hasn’t
There still are more functions a dad needs every day if he’s going to function as a dad. The bionic dad even more so. Victor Frankenstein knew what I’m talking about. He tried to put the best of mankind together into one being and that worked out pretty well.**
So, let’s continue. Although, I warn you, this next one parts list for our FrankenDad might get a little bit dark.
One thing all dads have to do if they’re going to be around growing young ‘uns for more than a second or two is learn how to differentiate between the world as your child sees it and the world as it actually exists. By that, I mean that your daughter might consider it a fact that she definitely didn’t leave the fridge door open all night even though it was closed when the parents went to bed the night before, she was still awake and has been known to do exactly that in the past. After all, doors can just open on their own. It’s been known to happen.
As a parent, we have a special word for just this sort of situation. We call it lying. And kids do it. All. The Time. No, seriously. The best way to know when a kid is lying is to just assume they are whenever their mouths are moving. The problem with that is that they might actually be telling the truth a vanishingly small amount of the time and sometimes they communicate by writing or texting. So. Lying. If only there was some sort of way to detect when they do it.
Oh. Right. The lie detector. A mechanical contrivance that allows people to know when someone is lying. As long as that person is strapped up to the machine correctly and someone with actual knowledge is there to ask the questions and read those cool little squiggly read-out thingys. But if the FrankenDad is going to work, he’s going to need some way to tell the truth from what the kids say and, since he’ll be very, very young, he won’t have the years of experience necessary to do it right.
Other than sight, we’re going to need a few other senses and sensory byproducts. We’re going to need . . . an iPhone. Mostly because you can get most of what we need in that small, awesome package. We’ll need to borrow the iPhone’s digital assistant who speaks so fluently (my version speaks with an Australian accent) so our FrankenDad can read bedtime stories.
Of course, we’ll need a specialized case to hold the iPhone. One like . . . oh, this.
Because that way it will look like FrankenDad is listening to the constant stream of complaints issuing from young mouths about how the meal he just spent hours preparing is horrible, appalling, not fit for torturing their worst enemies. With the artificial ear, it looks like FrankenDad is actually paying attention to the ungrateful picky eaters, but is actually doing something worthwhile instead of listening to baseless complaints. Something worthwhile. You know. Like cooking an extra helping of brussel sprouts for each of the little ba. . . bananas.
Sometimes, being a dad means not having to see something to know it’s wrong. Yes, I’m talking about that favorite game we play in our house full of three growing boys: What is that appalling smell? And the ancillary game: Where’s it coming from?
Since artificial noses are, for the most part, pretty much just in the realm of fantasy (at least insofar as actually working like a human sniffer), I had to go a bit further afield and a bit off the guidelines for this one. Our FrankenDad is going to need something to help him find the open jar of mostly scraped out peanut butter that’s currently being colonized by an amazingly colorful species of lichen. Which is why I’ve decided to do a little grafting surgery and install a working bloodhound.
Yeah, one of these guys.He’s so cuuuuuuuttteeee! He’ll go perfectly sitting on the right shoulder of the FrankenDad, just above the robotic arm, don’t you think? Yeah, me, too.
The next thing might be a bit specific, but very, very necessary. FrankenDad will need some sort of lost plate/silverware finder to go with the smell detector. After all, it’s not enough to just find the source of the River Vile, you also need to do something to plug it. Usually this means taking the plate or peanut-butter-encrusted spoon that’s been lying unused under the bed or in the corner or in the couch cushions away. What I like to do with this sort of thing isn’t take it to the sink and spend hours working on it with a hammer and chisel to remove the caked-on former food. Nor will I throw it away.
No, this is the point at which my true genius shows through. This is the point where that purchase I made years ago, the purchase that my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Harshing My Buzz, derided me for making, finally pays off and I can (were I that type of person1) finally say, with complete conviction, “Neener neener neener. Told you so.”
Yes, these plates, items of silverware and other former instruments of food movement get put in one place on the driveway and I go at them with my fully empowered backpack flamethrower.
Why? Really? You ask that?
It’s a flamethrower! D’uh!
So, yeah. No way we can top that. Once you include the flamethrower, everything else is anticlimactic. Which means we’re going to stop here and pronounce FrankenDad ready for public viewing.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present . . . FrankenDad 0.8 (still in beta). Hey, FrankenDad, where are you going? Stand still, I need to take a picture. Why are you igniting your flamethrower?
Uh. . .
Nope. Looks like this is all going pear shaped in a hurry.
With any kind of luck, I’ll be back next week.
Footnotes & Errata
* If I only had a dollar for every time someone’s asked me that. . . Well, I’d have a lot of dollars, I’ll tell you that for free. Not for a dollar, though. That would be sort of silly. Or, I guess, sillier than usual, anyway.
** I’m assuming. I mean, I’ve never actually read Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus but I don’t see any way that it could go wrong. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, right?
1 Which I totally am.
2 Literally. See ya!