Me [throwing open the front door of my apartment as it rebounds off the opposing wall into my face]: Welcome home, Rhiannon!!!
Rhiannon: Daddy, you’re drunk.
Me [protesting and rubbing my face from the impact of the door]: How dare you?!
Rhiannon [dryly]: You advertised the fact on Facebook, remember?
Me [sheepishly]: Oh, yeah. Quite right. Note to self: unfriend Rhiannon on Facebook…
Me [dismissively]: Besides, I’m not drunk – I’m just a little tipsy.
Rhiannon: Oh, yeah?! Then why did you just put one of my bags in the fridge?!!
Me: Damnation! Alright, I forgot. It should go in the fish tank. Let me rectify that.
Rhiannon: Oh, man…
Me [collapsing on the couch in resignation]: Okay, I admit it. I’m wasted.
Rhiannon [firmly]: Good, accepting responsibility is the first step… Hey! Don’t touch yourself when I’m talking to you!
Me [outraged]: I’m not touching myself!!! I’m simply rearranging my bits. They have somehow gotten out of order over the course of the day.
Rhiannon [making a praying gesture and looking skyward]: Thank you, God, for not making me a boy. And explain to me how getting wasted on a Thursday, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY, helps poor kids in Montreal.
Me [proudly]: It’s $60 a head to go, there’s an auction and all kinds of illegal gambling on the NFL football games. All of the proceeds go to charity. Thanks to me and a mob of filthy Irishmen getting loaded, more than 100 Christmas baskets will be going out to needy families with kids over the holidays. Rather than harassing me, you should be praising me.
Rhiannon [warily]: What’s in the Christmas baskets?
Me: Well, what every needy family with kids MUST have over the holidays, of course: 6 cans of Guinness and a bottle of Jameson’s. Oh, and a pair of hockey tickets!
Rhiannon: That’s it. I’m going to bed. Don’t forget to take off your shoes BEFORE your pants whenever you decide to pass out.
Me [left alone in the living room scratching my chin]: Wait a minute… there is NO hockey this season. I’ll have to call the Erin Club tomorrow and advise them to replace the hockey tickets with a second bottle of Jameson’s.
Rhiannon [a muffled call from inside her bedroom]: You’re going to burn in hell one day, Daddy!
Me [calling back]: Um, Rhiannon – do you know why there is a head of lettuce in the aquarium?
Me [2 nights later coming into my home office at 10:30 PM]: Rhiannon!!!!!!!!
Rhiannon [looking up]: Huh?
Me: Pause that show and take those damn head phones out of your ears!!!
Rhiannon [exasperated]: What?!
Me: Just look at you! How can you possibly watch TV on my laptop while, AT THE SAME TIME, play a game on your iPod in one hand and text on your Blackberry in the other?! It’s insane!!!
Rhiannon [protesting]: You just bought me the iPod, Daddy. Remember?!
Me: You know, when I was a lad there were NO home computers, there was NO Internet, there were NO fancy smart phones or other gadgets! I–
Me: Don’t interrupt. When I was a kid – you know what I did when I needed entertainment? I went out with a gang of friends and we threw rocks and crab apples at each other out in the streets and vomited on girls. When I got too bloody, I’d go home to let Nana bandage me up. She’d then chuck me back out the door to continue playing in traffic. THAT is what childhood is ALL about!!! I –
Me: Don’t interrupt. And you know what else? The only thing to “watch” was a cruddy old black-and-white TV set with a coat hanger jammed down the back for an antenna so the picture was more than just a blur of bouncy white dots. And get this – I was allowed exactly a half an hour of TV per day and I had only 2 choices: Superman or Gilligan’s Island! How do you like that?! I –
Me: Don’t interrupt. And email and texting!!! When I was growing up, if I wanted to send a message I had to actually sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and actually write a letter by hand. Imagine that!!! THEN you had to fold up the letter and put it in an envelope. THEN you had to write out the mailing address and return mailing address on the envelope. THEN you had to lick a stamp, which coated your tongue with this gross-tasting glue, and stick it to the envelope. THEN you had to actually get up, GO OUTSIDE, walk five blocks and put the envelope in this big, red metal contraption called a mailbox. If you were lucky, you’d get a hand-written response sometime over the next 4 years. I –
Me: Don’t interrupt. And the Internet!!! That Blackberry in your hand is a computer that can instantly download pornography. I mean, I have to admit, that’s pretty awesome – but when I was a boy, you had to work damn hard for your porn. You had to find a friend whose Dad was a porn addict and then raid his secret stash of Playboy magazines. However, this was totally frustrating because you can’t exactly pleasure yourself in front of your friend now can you? I mean, you kids these days have everything so bloody easy!!! I –
Me: Don’t interrupt. And music!!! If you wanted to listen to music, you had to convince your parents to combine 2 Birthday and 2 Christmas presents to buy you a “stereo unit” – a piece of equipment so big it filled up half your bedroom. THEN, if you wanted to actually listen to some music on this monstrosity, you had to save up your allowance and go to this place called a “record store” where you would buy this thing called an “album” that contained a big vinyl disc called a “record”. To listen to it, you had to place the needle of your “turntable” on the edge of this rotating big vinyl disc and then crank up the volume until your framed poster of Jim Morrison crashed to the floor off your bedroom wall. I –
Me: Don’t interrupt. And heaven help you if you got stoned with your friends and brought them back to your place to listen to the latest Pink Floyd album because, ultimately, one of those little assholes would drag the needle of your turntable across the surface of your record and scratch it to hell. That meant you had to save up your allowance all over again to buy the exact same album. I’m telling you, back then it wasn’t all ‘download this’ and ‘Google that’ and ‘Wiki this’ just to slake your ever-increasing thirst for instantaneous gratification. I’ll say it here and I’ll say it now: gratification should be earned, goddamn it!!! I –
Me: What?! Why do you keep interrupting me? I’m trying to showcase my skills as a diligent parent here!!!
Rhiannon [clearing her throat and pointing at my iPhone on my desk]: Because, each time I interrupted, your phone was lighting up as you got text messages. FROM DIFFERENT PEOPLE!!!
Me [anxiously]: Really? Give it here!
Rhiannon [shoving the iPhone deep in her pocket]: No way! Ha!
Me [collapsing onto the floor in the fetal position and whimpering]: Please!!! Give it to me!!! I need it!!!
Rhiannon [crouching over me]: Only if I can watch 3 more episodes of iCarly…
Me: Anything! Anything you want!
Rhiannon: AND no lectures about what time you went to bed at my age – got it?
Me: I’ll be good. Promise.
Rhiannon [handing me the phone]: Here, then.
Me [stalking from the room and muttering]: Kids these days…