Esquire

“Can’t they have a childhood?”

Continuing my vacation by reflecting on the minds of others–this one from an interview with comedian Patton Oswalt. Oswalt is an everyman, a guy-next-door type. Very funny. In a recent interview with Scott Raab in Esquire, Oswalt reflects on how becoming a father has changed his outlook:

Patton Oswalt: I’ve gotten very cynical and kind of anhedonic about all the things I have to do to get to do comedy: all the travel, hotels, and airports. Louis C.K. has that great bit about how everything’s amazing and no one’s happy…I wanna get away from travel for a while. And I cannot tolerate being away from my daughter.

Scott Raab: How old is she?

PO: Three. I just… It really…

SR: I get that.

PO: Drives me crazy.

SR: You can’t buy back a day.

PO: She’s gonna have plenty of time to think life sucks, so I want her to think life is great. I get so bummed out when I see a lot of these archconservatives saying, “They give these kids trophies just for playing. Those are loser trophies! You gotta teach ’em!” If it makes you feel any better, they will end up an asshole, hard and cynical like you, trust me. Just give ’em a few years. I’m sorry that no one gave you a childhood, but can’t they have a childhood? I don’t want more people like me. I want happier people that are more optimistic.

Amen, Brother Oswalt. Amen.

PS Readers: I had to look up the word “anhedonic”. It is the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable.
Read more: Patton Oswalt Interview – Patton Oswalt Comedian Quotes – Esquire
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Why Fatherhood Matters

Excellent essay from Stephen Marche in latest Esquire. What really captivated me was this insight:

As the patriarchy is slowly dying, as masculinity continues to undergo a constant process of redefinition, fatherhood has never mattered more. Having children has always been a major life marker, of course, but the demise of other markers of masculine identity has given fatherhood outsize importance. The old religious rituals gave way long ago. The post-dynamic-capitalism of the moment has taken away the replacement methods of proving yourself. Making a living is principally a sign of good luck. Owning property is a sign of your parents’ status more than it is your own. Combat itself is now gender-neutral. Only fatherhood is indisputably masculine, which is why when you ask men when they became men, they usually answer when they became a father or lost a father.

Do yourself a favor, and read the rest of the article. Ladies, don’t skip this one–it really conveys so much of what men are thinking and struggling with, particularly in the modern world.

Read more: Why Fatherhood Matters – Fathers Day – Esquire

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