The headbanger swim teacher

David White, my daughters swim teacher

David White, my daughter's swim teacher

You’ll need a healthy sense of irony and the surreal and quirky to enjoy this one. It’s a brief multimedia rumination on 1) fatherhood, 2) authorship and 3) the clash of the two.

Background information:

1) I took this past week off, ostensibly for vacation, but really to work on the book, because I feel so close to finishing it. Yeah, right.

2) I had agreed, for the entire week, to drop off and pick up my daughter from pre-school, while my wife stays with the baby, and then to drive my daughter to a sweltering suburban valley where a fantastic swim school is giving her a crash course. After all, I’m on vacation, right? And I can still blog and write my book, right?

Well, here is a “day in the life” of the aspiring young author:

  • Wake up by being kicked out of bed by daughter, who was not supposed to be in this particular bed to begin with, then discovering that she peed on the bed just out of spite.
  • Gulp down coffee while discovering that there is no muesli or other acceptable breakfast, because nobody in the family has had time to go shopping for weeks.
  • Kiss wife and baby goodbye while wrestling rebellious daughter into car and turning on, for first of many times on this day, the CD of Die Maus.
  • Drop off daughter, hurry back to “write book”, but only after clearing out email inbox of 634 new messages and RSS reader full of 131 new posts, checking 8 new voice mails…
  • Give up after 23 emails, without having written a sentence of the book, to pick up daughter and drive to swim school
  • Sit by eerily placid poolside in suburban California watching David White play with daughter in the pool, succeeding skillfully at getting her to dip her cheeks and nose in the water.
  • Discover that David White, gifted swim teacher and cool guy, is actually lead singer of heavy-metal band Heathen.
  • Drive back, listening to CD of Die Maus again, having memorized all two hours of it by now.
  • Arrive back to discover that dishes need to be done, and that the day is over
  • Repeat five times, until “vacation” is over…

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3 thoughts on “The headbanger swim teacher

  1. I can so relate to this. A week off to write book? In that case, can you go to the butcher? And look after the kids for a bit? I tried taking a week off without telling my wife, and then camping out in the library. But I can’t lie to her, so I ended up telling her after the first day.

  2. I knew you’d understand. Your phrase, “the vertical day”, has entered our permanent vocabulary here. First we were using it aspirationally (Wife: “We’ll make sure you get a vertical day on Saturday to make progress on the book”). Now we’re using it sardonically (Me: “Oh, another beautiful vertical day.”)
    Note to others: Tom uses “vertical” days to write his books, which are days entirely devoted to book-writing without distractions (since you can’t write a book in ten-minute increments)

  3. 1. It is a vacation, sort of, if you’re not doing the same thing you were doing the week before.
    b. What good are children if you can’t blame them for the life not lived?
    III. re: tomstandage; I’ve been thru that, too. Is there a difference between lying about spending your day on a barstool vs. spending the day at the library? A different color of lie (not white). Wait, no, maybe it’s very white.

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