My in-laws gave our 3-year-old daughter an art easel for Christmas. Most every day that the temperature is above 20 degrees, she wants to go onto the patio under our deck–the area she refers to as “my yard” (since it had grass up until a few months ago)– to paint. That, or she wants to pick up her little lime green plastic bucket full of Easter-egg-colored chalk and draw pictures on our sidewalk: of herself, of me, of her siblings, of the dog, of the sun. Sometimes, she makes me lie down on the sidewalk, so she can trace me, like she did today. She colors, too. Sometimes on the walls. When we’re trying to sell our house. That makes the realtor and me happy.
I think all her artwork pretty much sucks. I’ve never thought myself artistically talented, and I assume my progeny will not be artistically talented. In fact, I’m not sure I want them to be. But Pretty Bride seems to think this shit is good for a three year old:
After she finished, she put her paintbrush into the little plastic cup of water and said, “Look, Daddy, it’s you!” and smiled like only an innocent, not-yet-jaded child can smile at her father.
Me: “Why am I hitch hiking? Don’t you think Daddy can afford his car insurance and gas? You think I’m a fucking deadbeat, don’t you Maddie?”
Maddie: “Look! You’re red and green, because Christmas is red and green, and Christmas makes me happy, Daddy!”
Me: “But if I’m walking around Atlanta hitch hiking, how the hell do you figure you’ll get anything for Christmas?”
Maddie: “Silly Daddy.”
I don’t particularly want Maddie to be artsy. I knew people growing up who were artsy, and they spent their twenties in art school and then rehab and then multi-level-marketing seminars and then the unemployment line before finally giving up and getting GMAT or LSAT study guides (often after an out-of-wedlock child).
Every time my daughter touches fake horsehair to butcher paper, I see her going off to Savannah College of Art and Design, leaving during her junior year for a semester abroad to study some obscure portion of the Renaissance, only to meet some hostel-hopping drifter named Lars living off a Russian oil tycoon’s trust fund and spending the night talking about dada on the Charles Bridge among patina-covered gargoyles and then emailing me to say how bad American coffee is and how much better “Super Bud” is than the horse piss we call “Budweiser.”
Fuck that. I need someone I can sell my practice to in 20 years. So I can sit among gargoyles and drink good coffee and beer.