Twin of the Day – Clementine: Mom recently went out with her friends for cocktails — her first night out since the girls were born. I insisted. It’s important for her mental health. I even encouraged her to flirt with other men to prove to herself that she’s still got it! So, after mom pumped enough breast milk to keep the girls satiated through the night, I gave her some words of encouragement, and pushed her out the door. I was excited to have some time alone with the girls — my first opportunity to start cultivating an alliance against mom.
“Girls! Who’s ready for a slumber party?!”
PENNY: “Isn’t it time for bed, daddy? Mom has us on a schedule.”
“Well, your mom’s a stickler for LAW & ORDER — Dad is all about FUN & GAMES!”
“You’ll have plenty of structure and routine when you commence your formal education.”
“Now, I know you’ve spent a lot more time with mom than dad. I probably don’t need to tell you this BUT — just because mom spends more time with you, doesn’t mean she loves you more. In fact, as I think you’ll see tonight — quality is better than quantity. ——— Penny, are you listening?”
—PENNY IS SNORING–
“You see, Clemmy, mom has the ability to feed you with her breasts — She’s biologically driven to care for you. It’s more of an evolutionary compulsion than a choice. On the other hand, dad’s biological utility was complete at the point of conception. I could’ve hit the road — but I stuck around to care for you out of pure love and altruism.”
“Daddy, what is a BREADWINNER?”
“Where did you hear that word sweetie?”
“Earlier today mommy was talking to the dog-walker. Mommy informed him that she’d be going back to work soon, and that you’d be taking over as the primary caregiver. The dog-walker laughed, and said, ‘I guess we know who wear’s the pants in this family’. Mommy chuckled, and said ‘I prefer the term breadwinner.’”
“Hmmm. Interesting. Well sweetie, breadwinner is the parent who makes more money. Your mom has her own psychology practice. Daddy used to make a good living as a trial attorney, but I gave it up to pursue standup comedy.”
“How much money do you make as a standup daddy?”
“Well, not much — It takes a long time to break into show-business.”
“So, if you don’t make money, isn’t it just a hobby?”
“Well, sweetie, a hobby is something you do purely for pleasure — I hope to eventually make a living as an author and touring comedian.”
“I’d like to believe you daddy, but you’ve been chasing that dragon for quite some time — without much progress.”
“It depends how you define PROGRESS, sweetie. — My fan base has been growing steadily the past few years.”
“Yes… hovering around zero for quite some time, daddy”
“Ha. Well, there’s a good chance that I’ll get my first book published later this year — then I’ll be able to get more publicity, do the talk show circuit, and use that momentum to tour and sell more books.”
“Daddy, I’m proud of you for writing a book — a very big accomplishment — whether or not it gets published.”
“However daddy… you shouldn’t stake your happiness on outcomes that are outside of your control.”
“Are you saying it’s bad to have goals?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying, dum dum. ——— I’d frame it this way — Let’s say I want to become an astronaut doctor on Mars.”
“WOW! That’d be neat!”
“It’d be the bee knees! — But it’s not within my control. I can apply for med school, work hard, and get some real life experience. At that point, I will have accomplished my goals. — If I actually get chosen to help colonize Mars, it’d be the icing on the cake.”
“In other words — goals are just what you end up achieving in life?”
“Well sweetie, that’s a nice philosophy — if you plan on being a loser!”
“Daddy, are you a religious man?”
“Just answer the question!”
“No, I’m afraid not”
“The operative word there is AFRAID. — I bet you don’t even know why you got into standup comedy.”
“Of course I do — It beats practicing law!
“WRONG! — According to cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, ‘artistic pursuits are nothing but ‘immortality projects,’ desperate efforts to break free of death’s gravitational pull.”
“That’s nonsense! — I certainly fear death, but that’s not why I do standup comedy.”
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of daddy. We all want to leave a legacy behind.”
“I’ll give you that. — So, then what’s wrong with pursuing cultural immortality?
“It doesn’t work! Even if you’re the next George Carlin, your conscious existence will still come to an abrupt ending. — How does that sound?”
“Terrifying! Thanks Clemmy! — But it’s still more noble than simply adding another mouth to feed.”
“Oh, you went there, huh! Tell me — Why did you even have me and Penny?!
“That’s easy! What else were we gonna do — 50 more years of Sunday Funday!?”
“Oh, this is good! — I guess the gloves are off now, daddy! I was trying to be nice. This whole pursuit of yours — IT’S RIDICULOUS! You’re pursuing everlasting life… when you can’t even afford health insurance. ——— AND NEWSFLASH: You’re not even the funniest person in this house!”
“Who? Mom? Give me one example!”
“No problem! – When we were walking Turk the other day, I asked mommy if she loved Turk as much as she loves me and Clemmy. She said YES, but it’s a different kind of love. Then she said ‘I wish I could shove him into my vagina, and then birth him, so that he could be ours.’
“Ok, I’ll concede. Mom’s funnier than dad — but only in person. — She doesn’t like being the center of attention.”
“But mom is such a bubbly presence!”
“Well, sweetie, there’s a lot that you don’t know about your mom.”
“Don’t treat me with kid gloves daddy. I can handle the truth.”
“Ok, but this is just between me and you. ——— Honey, did you know that your mom used to have a younger brother?”
“I know her older brother, Chris. He’s a real swell dude!”
“Yes, he certainly is! — But they used to have a younger brother. His name was Barry. Barry was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 13. After a year of treatment, they thought he was in remission. But on the day of his last scheduled treatment, the doctors discovered that it had spread to his lungs. Despite another year of treatment, he passed away at age 15, just a few weeks after his birthday. Your mom was a senior in high school — she was so distraught… the rest of the year was a blur. She has no idea how she graduated. It’s now been 20 years, and she still longs for her little brother.”
“That’s so sad daddy. — I’d fall apart if anything ever happened to Penny. ——— I didn’t think it was possible to love mommy more, but I do now! She’s such a ray of sunshine in this bleak world.
“Yes, indeed! I imagine her humor developed as a coping mechanism. Your mom displays a sensibility and wit that can only be forged from the depths of inconsolable sadness.”
“Does that mean you’ve had a life of privilege, daddy?”
“DAMN! Good burn, Clemmy. Maybe you’re king of comedy in this house.
“You know what, daddy? — I want you to continue doing standup — even if you never have anything to show for it.
“Gee, thanks. Why, sweetie?”
“Because I don’t think you’re pursuing fame or immortality. I think humor is the only way you can handle life itself — like mommy.
—PENNY WAKES UP—
“I can’t believe you guys are still awake. What’d I miss?”
“Oh not much — Daddy was just saying he wants us to be happy more than anything else in this world — And that we can get as many tattoos and piercings as our hearts desire — no matter what mommy says.
“OMG! — Daddy, you’re the best!”
—CLEMMY AND DAD EXCHANGE WINKS.—