When I die, bury me with four Duracell AAs in one hand and a tiny screwdriver in the other.
Thus shall I be in death, as I was in life.
I would love to think that my primary value to my kids lies in the nurturing care and affection I offer them on a daily basis. But I think they see me pretty much like a walking surge protector. I’m where you plug things in to get them running again.
This role is most acutely apparent during the Christmas aftermath. About 72 hours after Santa’s visit, my wife pries the miniature tools out of my hands and puts me to bed after a binge of blister pack opening and battery installation. But my work as Family Power Source Manager (or, more familiarly, Battery Boy) is a chronic condition.
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t have the opportunity to muse over how busy the teeny-tiny screw factory must be. Like a Marine disassembling his rifle, I can load a full clip of Energizers into a Bop It blindfolded, with only a dime for a tool. I can tell from the heft of the packaging, just how many batteries that RC helicopter will require (6 AAs, 1 9v).
Were I more of a Luddite, I might be tempted to ask, when did childhood begin requiring a charger? Why does even the teddy bear need voice recognition and servos? The answer is clear: because daddy can’t cook. And if he weren’t busy trying to match the plugs with the thing in need of plugging (does every dad have a dedicated plug drawer?) he might resort to dangerously untethered activities like tossing the Frisbee. Ouch!
But as I sort the recycling, I am comforted by the steady thrum coming from my house, generated by dozens of electronic devices charging and discharging, like waves lapping up against our digital domain. I feel needed. Like a good football requires 4 AAAs for authentic simulated crowd sounds when you make a good catch.