Years ago, when my daughter was five, I took her to a local Festival, an event that we never miss. She loves all the rides and games. I am a soft touch when it comes to my daughter, and she knows it.
One attraction offered at this event was a bungee/trampoline combo that looked as if it would be great fun. Picture a bungee harness attached to cables, and an electric hoist supported by a framework of steel that rose about twenty feet in the air. Below this was a small air-filled trampoline about six feet in diameter and two feet high. My Princess had to experience this! I purchased a ticket and off went my little angel. The nice lady strapped her in and my daughter began bouncing on the trampoline, the bungee cables keeping her centered and allowing her to go high up in the air. So far, so good. The nice lady who had strapped my daughter in gave me a big smile — correction, a big toothless smile!
Then it hit me. I had entrusted the life of all I hold precious to someone who could not even take care of her own teeth! What was I thinking? As my daughter continued to bounce gleefully up and down, I took mental notes of the apparatus, trying to determine the weak spots. Where would it break? In what direction will my daughter be sailing through the air? I made my best guess and moved into an area where I felt it would only be a matter of time before I would be rescuing my daughter like Superman. Why has fatherhood turned me into such a neurotic? A few more bounces and then they raised her up to the top of the unit. Annabella was now suspended about twenty feet in the air. If something broke, she would shoot straight up in the air like a human bottle rocket!
The nice lady pushed a button, and my daughter slowly descended, the harness was removed and off we went, my daughter fearless and elated, and dad needing a Xanax.
Then we played a game of tossing ping-pong balls into bowls floating in a pool. I’d like to meet the cruel genius who invented this game. Twenty dollars later, we won a fish in a plastic bag. When I arrived home, my wife asked me if I would go buy a fish bowl with a cover (so the cats couldn’t get at the fish). I headed to the pet store, where I was informed that they did not have covers for their fish bowls. So they showed me an aquarium — a very small, cheap-looking aquarium that made the plastic bag seem like Buckingham Palace. So I looked at the better aquariums. One hour later, I left with a 29-gallon aquarium, a stand, a filter, a light, gravel, and so on.
After three more trips to the pet store, I’d spent about $400 on the aquarium and all of the necessary components to make our fish a happy fish. My daughter named the fish “Princess.” I called it “Princess Lucky.” After three days, we determined that the water was now suitable for Princess Lucky to enter the aquarium. Amid much fanfare, Princess Lucky was escorted to her new quarters. As she investigated her new digs, she looked very happy. And I could swear, at one point, she looked back at me and smiled…
…a big toothless smile!