step away from the easel

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.

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  1. Listen up Jackass, I was an artsy kid.

    And I did just fine.

    I married well.

    You know, after a few out of wedlock children.

    .-= Redneck Mommy´s last blog ..The BEST day EVER =-.

  2. Well, at least she’s not into dancing ……
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Memories in the mail ….. =-.

  3. Artsy people are overrated.

  4. You too, huh? NukeGirl got an easel for Christmas also. It sits near the master bedroom door along the wall in the den. It is 5 inches too wide for the space, which means every morning I stub my pinkie toe on it walking out of my room. You’d think that after 2 months I’d have found a better place for it, but you’d be wrong. Your last paragraph scared the crap out of me. There’s no way I’m letting her go to Europe before me and I knew a guy named Lars once. He was a dick. I’m tossing the easel tomorrow. While she’s at school.
    .-= NukeDad´s last blog ..What Fits Into Mother Russia? =-.

  5. What? You want her to become a hedge-fund manager?
    .-= always home and uncool´s last blog ..Rare Disease Day: Alone We Are Rare; Together We Are Strong =-.

  6. I was going to slag you off for being a typical redneck, proto-fascist Philistine, but then I thought about it. And you’re right. Especially as the father of a girl. If I had girls, I would totally not let them get into art. I’ve known art school girls, if you catch my drift. Known them. And if I had a daughter I certainly wouldn’t want her knowing someone like me.
    .-= A Free Man´s last blog ..Good morning, how are you? =-.

  7. I don’t actually know what proto-fascist means, but it sounded cool.
    .-= A Free Man´s last blog ..Good morning, how are you? =-.

  8. Drawing chalk outlines on the sidewalk? Sounds like she’s planning on a career as a crime scene technician. Those people get benefits, so not such a bad gig. Granted, she’s pretending you’re dead when she’s only three years old, but it’s good that she’s working through her daddy issues early…

  9. Dude, my daughter wanted to be a grocery bagger at that age. A few months later she upgraded her dreams to being the cashier.

    Take the artistic dream and RUN WITH IT!

  10. Silly daddy. Only a true curmudgeon can take a happy picture of Christmas and see gasoline and car insurance. Silly, silly, silly daddy.
    .-= headbang8´s last blog ..Two C’s of Chuckie D. =-.

  11. I feel like an idiot… all this time I thought she was picking up a valuable backup skilled trade in house painting.
    .-= SciFi Dad´s last blog ..Pick The Lies: Volume 3 Results =-.

  12. “I think all her artwork pretty much sucks”.

    That right there is one of the most honest statements I have ever read on a blog.

    I have three boys. They can become artists. Artists attract chicks. Like lars.
    .-= William´s last blog ..Never Have =-.

    • @william, Sometimes honesty is not the best policy, but I keep it anyway. If your son becomes Lars, I’m going to hide roofies in his absinthe and put him on a train toward Spain (where the rain falls on the plain), away from Prague.

  13. My daughter is artsy, but I’m cool with that.

    Because my oldest is a fucking genius. He’s much easier to guilt trip anyway, so it’s much wiser for me to plan on him supporting me when I get older anyway.
    .-= Miss Britt´s last blog ..Miss Britt And Emma Play Hookie: A Photo Essay =-.

  14. I got tricked into buying some makeup yesterday because it said it was “age-defying” but I got it home and realized it’s just regular makeup that you apply with a paintbrush. Maybe your kid can help me figure out how using a paintbrush is supposed to make me look younger. Because I’m at a loss.
    .-= Bejewell´s last blog ..I Don’t Know Why It’s So Hard for Me to Just Say Congratulations on Your New Boobs =-.

  15. So, have you seen this?


    “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 …”

    I really don’t appreciate having my slightly altered biography posted for the public to read. It’s kind of RUDE and if you weren’t a lawyer, which I feel is punishment enough, I’d tell you to go to hell. 🙂

    • @faiqa, Ha! Yes, I got that as an email forward about 10 years ago. At least my girl’s art isn’t THAT bad. Sorry I “outed” you. There’s still love, though.

  16. Tell me about it. My parents dumped tens of thousands of dollars into my brother’s Cal State education so he could get an art degree and then two weeks later decide he wanted to teach ESL overseas. This pretty much drained the family’s higher ed account and I had to stay in-state for a poli sci degree from a school known for a Hotel Management program.

    If my brother wasn’t such a nice guy, I’d call him a bastard.
    .-= Nancy at Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas´s last blog ..Head in the Sand =-.

  17. Not all hitchers are losers. Probably. Well, I’m not. Probably.

    I found this whole thing very offensive. I had a car once. You don’t know me.
    .-= MayoPie´s last blog ..I told you the aliens were here. I’m like Randy Quaid in Independence Day but more drunk. =-.

  18. Pretty Bride


    Just: (Sigh.)

  19. See, this is why I had *three* kids. Odds are much more in my favor that at least one of them will be responsible and successful enough that they’ll eventually take care of me. If they still like me then. Otherwise they’ll just be wealthy enough to stick me in a halfway decent home so they don’t have to deal with me.


  20. I have to agree with your wife. Your daughter’s art is “advanced” for a three year-old. Seriously. I also have to agree with A Free Man. My artsy friends in college were also a little loosey, but they were very cooley.
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..The Zen Of My Sons On A Beach =-.

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