This is one of those weeks, like many others that I had very different plans for this article. Then a seemingly meaningless conversation prompted what you are about to read…

I was speaking with one of my regulars over the bar when the conversation inevitably turned toward my children, which it pretty much always does. She asked me if I had any recent pictures of my girls. And of course, now that I’m a dumb guy with a smart phone, I always have in my possession photos of them which have been taken within the past 72 hours. So I grabbed my phone, brought up my photo album, and began scrolling through the most recent ones of my three lovely daughters with my friend. As she perused the plethora of images of Daddy’s angels, she was shaking her head the entire time as if conveying a negative response. But she did so with a mischievous, almost impish grin on her face. After which, she gazed at me over her glasses and said, “you’re in big trouble when these girls are teenagers.”

This was by no means and epiphany moment for me, and far from the first time I’d heard those words. The thought of these three cherubs one day being headstrong defiant teens who want to date has haunted my subconscious every single moment since the first second I laid eyes on each of them. Let me set up the remainder of the story by saying that I neither request, expect, nor deserve anything that resembles sympathy for my inevitable pending patriarchal doom. I wholeheartedly accept that I deserve all that is coming to me. So please don’t take any of this as a whining, woe is me piece. I’m simply serving a well deserved sentence.

During the 18 years I had between my marriages I didn’t spend any of that time as an altar boy. At no point during that spell was I ever what one might describe as lonely. So now I am accepting the fact that I am merely a cog in the wheel of a much larger machine which dictates everything, including karma. That being said, it stands to reason that of course I would spawn three gorgeous daughters after the age of 40. There have been a lot of people wishing this on me for a long time, my own brother included. I used to chuckle at him openly as he navigated through the treacherous waters of raising two teenage girls at the same time. This of course was when I was absolutely certain that I’d never be marrying again, let alone procreating with an AARP card in my not so distant future.

So it’s not just exes and friends of mine who are enjoying my predicament, it’s my own flesh and blood. Clearly my brother is now enjoying the last laugh as both of his daughters are grown, living in another state, and both have embarked on very successful careers. And since I’m almost positive that my saintly Mother has a permanent seat at the head table in Heaven, she’s high-fiving God while laughing hysterically at my expense. This is the same woman who put the Mother’s Curse on me when I was about 15. You know the one: I hope you have a child just like you one day. That is without a doubt, the most formidable, and guaranteed curse ever to be placed upon anyone. For many, many years I thought it was my son, and that I was now almost in the clear. Nope! There is a soon to be three year old little girl who is more me than I’ve ever been, and now every time I hear the sound of thunder, I just assume it’s my Mother’s laughter.

Being paranoid and borderline completely insane, I’m already mentally working up a game plan for when boys start knocking at the door to take my girls out. I’m already accepting the brutal realization that I will be staring down the barrel of 60 with three gorgeous teenage daughters. That’s not funny! I’m not exactly an intimidating or imposing figure now and I should imagine I’ll be even less so playing the back nine of my fifties. So I of course have to play the psychosis card. Not a problem. I can do that with the best of them. It’s going to be all about mental warfare at that point. I have several potential plans in the works already. It’s never too early to take a preemptive strike against some little pervert.

One of my more subtle plans is already in effect. I’ve been teaching my girls an appreciation for, and love of fine foods. Trust me when I say that mine is not a house where the children are being sustained solely on chicken tenders. Just last week for example, I took my nine-year-old out for a daddy/daughter date night. She had earned it by once again pulling straight A’s on her report card. Whenever she does that (which so far is every semester), I take her out to the place of her choice for whatever she wants for dinner. She gets super excited about it, and we both get dressed up.

As our waiter approached us, he looked at my Princess and said, “I’ve been told by my coworkers not to give you a kids menu”. She just smiled and shook her head. She glanced over the adult menu but she already knew what she was getting. As he returned to take our order she looked at him and said, “I’m going to start with a bowl of cream of crab soup. Next I’ll have the tomato and fresh mozzarella salad, and then the 12 ounce filet mignon, rare.” Yup, that’s Daddy’s little girl. She reticently offered me a bite of her brilliantly prepared steak, and was thoughtful enough to save a bite to take home for her Mother. Otherwise she housed everything that was placed before her including the raspberry cheesecake for desert.

Now the way this plan ultimately works is a brutal preemptive strike against potential unworthy suitors roughly a decade from now. If all goes as planned, the first sheet stain to knock on the door of the Nichols’ fortress and take my daughter out will be all it takes. They’ll go out to dinner, and he’ll be expecting her to have just a small salad and maybe a cup of soup or a slice of pizza. Then when my Princess belts out a four-course order including a $40 steak, he’s gonna crap his pants and immediately abandon any potential impure thought he may have had for later in the evening. And it only takes that one kid, and that one date and the word will spread like the bubonic plague to stay the hell away from the Nichols girls cause ya can’t afford em!

That’s just one of the many devious plans I’ve concocted for protecting my girls. There are many more which I’ll tell you all about another time. Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols

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