How Do You Catch A Dragon?

Midnight approaches and instead of focusing on how to catch a dragon I am puttering around the house fixing broken toilets, worn out weather stripping and assorted odds and ends.

Two nights ago I found a sleeping teenage boy on the couch and decided I’d carry my boychik up two flights of stairs to bed.


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Why?

Because the face I saw on him was a combination of teenage boy and toddler and I thought it might be nice to carry a sleeping child one last time.

And maybe because in a week I’ll be 46 and carrying 120 some odd pounds of anyone or anything up the stairs is a simple way to make me feel like I can still hunt dragons and outrun the sun one more time.

My plan would have worked if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids, er kid.

He is far too big for me to hold like a football and his length is great enough to make it challenging to carry him up the stairs without banging his head.

So I slung him over a shoulder in a fireman’s carry and began to walk across the room.

We made it up a few stairs before the motion woke him and the now disoriented teen began to thrash around.

You can attribute his not being dropped upon his head upon a father’s instinct to protect his child.

Instead of looking like Captain America saving the day I looked more like Al Bundy flailing around the stairs.

How Do You Catch A Dragon?

My daughter asks me what it is like to spend so much of the day outside of the house for work and I laugh.

She knows there was a time when I went to an office each day but she barely remembers it because the majority of her life I have worked out of a home office.

I tell her I am very tired and she says that I look like it.

“It is always like this when I start a new job. It always takes a bit more energy to get into the swing of it and to figure out what needs to be done and how to do it.

Truth is I don’t know enough yet to ask the right questions.”

“Daddy, what does that mean? You always ask a million questions. How can you not know?”

I laugh and tell her when you are out hunting dragons it takes time to figure out the best way to capture one.

She draws herself up to her full height and stares me in the eyes, “If dragons were real I think you’d try to wrestle one. That is not very smart.”

That girl knows me well and I can’t say she is wrong.

I would wrestle a dragon but give me credit for having gained some sense in my old age.

When I was younger I would have relied on brute strength to beat that beast down and somehow I would have climbed upon its neck and choked it until it passed out but those days are past.

Since dragons can talk I would sit it down and work out a deal and the only way that dragon would get choked out is if he didn’t understand I had just made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Life Is Too Short

We saw The Avengers on Saturday afternoon.

Afterwards we talked about the movie and I got as much or more pleasure from listening to my son tell me about the superheroes that were in it.

He knew all of them and quite a bit of their individual mythologies.

In the midst of of our conversation I told him about how I remembered seeing Star Wars at a drive-in and he asked me which movie I was talking about.

After he asked me twice more and responded Star Wars both times I realized we had discovered a generation gap because if you ask people who are roughly my age they will always understand I am referring to the original movie and not one of the so-so prequels.

He made some crack about my age and I made one about his and thought about how we have 9-12th grade left to traverse together.

Even if he goes to a local college and lives at home these days are limited. It is a good thing.

But the other point is I know that my time in the workforce is not so short. Unless something changes there are many more to go and I am determined to do what I have to do to find a position that does more than help me earn a buck or pass the time.

I need to be somewhere where I don’t just imagine chasing dragons but can actively work upon catching them.

And I need to be somewhere that provides a different experience than that one I am used to and in some ways know best.

Why?

There is a section of the Mishnah called Pirkei Avot that you can translate as Ethics of Our Fathers. One of the sections within talks about a person receiving three names.

There is the name their parents give them at birth and the name their friends call them by. Finally there is the name they call themselves by and it is that third name that drives me here.

The name I call myself by is only meaningful to me if I make do more than provide lip service to chasing dragons.

Maybe I’ll catch one and maybe I won’t, but either way provides substance and proof that I deserve the name I wish to call myself.

And that is the lesson I want my children to take from all of it. Happiness and sense of self comes from within, our job is to figure it out and find it.

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