Like most boys, I wanted to grow up to become a superhero. I wished for the ability to fly like Superman, pop Adamantium claws out of my knuckles like Wolverine, or have the power to smash things when I became enraged like the Hulk. I had no interest in running as fast as The Flash because it seemed like too much effort and as much as I liked Batman – he was not a superhero. (Being rich, having gadgets, and dealing with mommy/daddy issues does not make you a superhero. If Superman can easily kill you with a fart, you are not “Super.”)
However, when I was growing up, my favorite superhero was Green Lantern. Hal Jordan was just a normal guy who flew jets and had no personal demons. But, when he put on his ring, he became a superhero who defended the Universe. With that ring, he had power, strength, the ability to fly, move objects, read minds, and create different states of matter. Because of that ring, Green Lantern could do virtually anything.
While thinking about the Green Lantern this morning, it dawned on me that I too have a ring that grants me special powers. It may not be green and the powers may not be as exciting, but my gold wedding band grants me the power to make major medical decisions, file a joint tax return, and it gives me visitation rights to my wife or children in either a hospital or jail. Because of this ring, I will most likely live longer, be less likely to commit suicide, and (according to many women’s magazines) I’ll have better sex more often.
I also realized that this ring gave me the opportunity to create life (without a social stigma). And, upon further investigation, it bestowed upon me one very specific super power in order to keep those two life forms safe and in line. It’s called, “The Dad Voice.”
I discovered it three years ago – the night after our house was broken into. One of the local alarm companies took advantage of the break-in (without knowing which house it was) and decided that it would be a good idea to have their salesmen go door-to-door making sales calls at 9:30pm…thereby scaring the crap out of people.
The first time they knocked on our door, I told them to go away. Ten minutes later they returned and knocked again. And, once again, I told them to go away. Twenty minutes later, they returned again – and this time my instinct to protect my family kicked in. I turned toward GWE and told her to take Justin into the other room. Once they were safely away, I placed myself four feet away from the front door and opened my mouth. A deep, booming, window and shutter rattling, ear-cracking, attention getting sound erupted from the pit of my stomach.
I saw two salesmen through the shade covering the small window in our front door. They became startled, turned around quickly, and hurried off into the darkness. When GWE came out of the bedroom, she told me that she wasn’t sure where that sound had come from, but it had clearly gotten Justin’s attention as well.
There are only two times I have had to use “The Dad Voice” with Justin. The first was when he was about to stick his finger into an electrical socket. The second time I used “The Dad Voice” it was paired up with the less successful, “Daddy’s Crazy Eyes.” The sound was effective; the visual was not. It was mocked for the days and weeks that followed.
In summary, I’d like to take a moment to thank my wife and boys for turning me into the superhero I always wanted to become. Unlike those other heroes, you won’t have to worry about keeping my “real” identity a secret. I will continue to fight for you, protect you, and embarrass you only when absolutely necessary.