About the hits and the missus
BY Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer
This might be a good place to publicly thank my family for not killing me in my sleep.
Thank you for putting up with all those About Men columns I wrote that poked fun at you. Thank you for allowing me to wrap your milestones inside humorous anecdotes. And thank you for being patient with the media exposure. At least there were no paparazzi chasing you to Safeway.
But I always felt that readers could relate to my stories about life with Mrs. G. and the Little Darlings.
You know, I miss that column. For seven years, it took me on an amazing and very public journey of self-discovery. About Men ran each Monday in the Island Life section and I was a regular, monthly contributor from the beginning in the summer of 2002. It ended last August.
I was supposed to write about the male perspective from the vantage point of being a middle-aged husband and father. Other contributors, each of them different, had similar assignments as did a stable of women whose columns would appear on Tuesdays.
In the beginning, I wrote about manly man stuff: my endless tool lust, the time I surfed with a shark, the garage-as-a-refuge, watching the Super Bowl with my old college roommates.
Once I argued that I should be allowed to trade in my old car for a new truck and blamed my wife for the hold-up. Readers supported my cause. One actually suggested I trade in Mrs. G.
One day — I don't really know when — I realized that men of my demographic have a lot in common when the topic of conversation is family. We are all struggling to maintain our identity in the face of responsibilities, honey-do chores and children whose actions perplex us.
At that point, the column often became a family affair. Mrs. G. and the Little Darlings became central characters in the drama of my life.
My daughters grew up in the columns. Our little adventures together rolled out in column format.
The time we walked through our neighborhood in a blackout. The time I realized adolescence was upon them, but they still held my hand to cross a street. The time I didn't hear the boys and their wolf whistles. The time my oldest daughter drove off with her new license. The time my youngest asked me to stop being her coach and just be her father.
Often, I turned to Mrs. G. for inspiration. Not only was she a willing muse, but she became another voice in the conversation. Whether we were talking about how we were too busy to go on a date or why I always said the wrong things to my daughters, she always had something to say.
She once told me that romance changes over time and that doing the dishes without being asked would be more well-received than roses. Another time, she told me honesty is best kept to yourself when the topic was aging.
In the end, what I liked about the column is the fact that it captured some of my family's story. My hope is that when the Little Darlings are older, they will read them and smile.
And if I'm lucky, my muse will smile as well. Honey, I wrote them out of love — and I don't care if I ever get the truck.