Insecurely teasing a teenager is a privilege of fatherhood. And I grew my second mustache for the same reason all your weird dads grew theirs: it is an evolutionary signal that says, “I’m all done.” A mustache sends a visual message to the mating population of Earth that says, “No thank you. I have procreated. My DNA is out in the world, and so I no longer deserve physical affection. Instead, it is time for me to turn away from sex and toward new pursuits, the classic weird dad hobbies such as puns, learning trivia about bridges and wars, and dreaming about societal collapse and global apocalypse.”
While I generally avoid featuring the same person twice in a Sunday Snippet, I just started reading Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman. And this book is filled with little nuggets of deranged hilarity like the excerpt above. Five years ago, I presented Hodgman’s perspective on inbox zero. Let’s just say it’s quite different from how I approach email.
For my part, I can’t grow a beard if my life depended on it. I know this for a fact, because I tried to do something for Movember one year. The result was akin to that of a wispy, angst-ridden teenager. It wasn’t a good look. I can agree with Hodgman about the whole “I’m done” mindset though. I once joked that I had no one left to impress now that I’m married. My cardiologist may disagree.
Oh, and if you were wondering about the “apocalypse” John Hodgman mentions at the end of that excerpt above, here’s an earlier section from the book.
Unlike the zombie apocalypse, global annihilation offered a different, better consolation: not that I could escape death, but that when I died, I got to take everyone else with me. I may not have been there at the beginning of creation, but I would be there to turn the lights off. It just felt right.
Because dads are the ones who feel compelled to turn off the lights and set the thermostat just so. It’s in our blood. Like busting out dad jokes, almost reflexively.
Vacationland is available now in your choice of paperback, hardcover, Kindle or audiobook. I’m only about halfway through, but I highly recommend it. I rifled through the first 50 pages without a second thought, which is completely out of the ordinary for me. Here’s a recent interview that John Hodgman had with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. He was there to promote his book, naturally. And to assert that a hot dog is not a sandwich.