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Published on December 12th, 2013 | by Richard Black


Concentration, Grooming and My Daughter’s First Memory

Darcy, my three year old, beat me at the card game Concentration today providing me equal measures of pride and horror at the same time. Pride in my daughter’s mental acuity and a lingering sense of depression regarding my own declining mental faculties.

For those of you unfamiliar with Concentration it is a memory game played with a standard deck of cards. The cards are all placed face down, generally in a square. One player begins a turn by turning over one card and then trying to find its match. If the player finds a mate for the card then they continue their turn until they fail to find a match at which point the other player begins their turn.

I used to play Concentration with my grandmother when I was a tyke.  Nana always enjoyed playing cards and when she took her meds I could count on winning any given game of Go Fish or War about 25% of the time, enough for me to remain interested in the game.

Later on however I came to loathe card games. My stepmother introduced me to Gin Rummy 500 and Canasta and played each game with a ruthless efficiency most Germans would envy. To make matters worse she would always end a winning hand with a satisfied shout, a resounding “Hahh”, as she put down her hand to tally up three billion points and leaving me with a numerical deficit mathematicians are still trying to express in whole numbers.

It only took a few weeks of resounding defeats that I lost all interest in card games or family functions of any sort.

It is almost certainly fitting that I should be bested in cards by a woman, again. I was just hoping that my adversary would be able to go tot he toilet by herself.

Upon my defeat I made a mental note to contact a neurologist, a note a subsequently forgot and moved upstairs to do some light dusting. Darcy was cheerfully engaged in some sort of toy related drama involving a quintet of hippos, a trice of unicorns and a mangy looking stuffed animal that looks like a cat riddled with leprosy.

…and that’s were things went south. Finding Darcy engaged in play I decided to take the rare opportunity to shower.

Living in a one bathroom home has always been something of a challenge and I like to think that I’ve become accustomed to its hazards. Not more than a day goes by when I’ve found myself happily seated on the toilet, hoping for my annual bowel movement, to find my daughter screaming into the bathroom to blow her nose or brush her teeth, use the potty or just catch the vibe.

As I shed my clothes and ran some water I noticed that I’d…I’m trying to think of how to phrase this properly…let some grooming issues go to seed. Call me crazy but in these topsy turvey times we need to keep up standards or else the Russians will win. I also like to keep a tidy front door.

Unfortunately the clippers I used attracted my daughter’s attention and as I was shearing my nether region Darcy busted into the bathroom with all of the grace of a coked up bull on acid.

“Mommies going to be mad,” she said, surveying the mass of hair on the floor and in the toilet.

You have no idea was my first thought.

I assured her that I would clean up the offending piles of hair and did my best to remain as nonchalant as possible, at least, as nonchalant as a man can be when hiding his privates with a buzzing set of clippers.

Given my daughter’s apparent aptitude for memory and my own my knack for creating uncomfortable memories in tandem with a family history of uncomfortable bathroom moments I’m fairly certain that this will be one of Darcy’s discussion with her therapist some twenty years hence.

One of my own first memories took place when I couldn’t have been more than four or five, and spent the bulk of a shower in an attempt to keep his clublike member from inadvertently slamming me in the face.

This memory is inevitably followed by another, some twelve years later, when my father had a few too many bourbons and bourbons, decided we needed to have a sit down talk about the size of genitalia.

“There are small vaginas and small penises ” he’d say.

I’m sure he meant well and, while I’ve gotten to know a few friends with a nine inch flaccid member or some with the girth of a coke can, I have trouble feeling their pain. Call me old school but I’d much rather have a woman be a bit overwhelmed upon seeing what I’ve got to give than the look of pity I’d become so used to in college.

Given my family history it’s almost inevitable that we’ll all, my wife, my daughter and myself, will end up in therapy. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a group rate.

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