Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


The most clichéd image of our century, the one that is the foundation of more television commercials than any other, is the Family Welcoming Dad Home. The image of 2.3 kids under 7 years of age rushing out the door, crying “Daddy! Daddy!” is about as standard-issue American suburbia folklore as it can possible get. I have seen it used to sell absolutely everything: cars, houses, financial products – Jesus, is there a life insurance advertisement that doesn’t have it?

The observation that this image is ubiquitous is nothing new. But how many people stop to wonder: why? Part of the answer, but only part, is because it is true: my kids really do come running up screaming “Daddy! Daddy!” So I suppose some of it you can chalk up to the image resonating with people’s experience. But what the advertisers know, and not enough others acknowledge, is how much men want it to be true. Men (and I am speaking only and specifically about men here) have a deep-seated longing to be enthusiastically received. I believe this to be the primary reason men have dogs. Dogs are the undisputed champions of the enthusiastic welcome home; I sometimes thing they specifically evolved the behavior to take advantage of us.

So why is this so important? I think it is one measure of the authenticity of the sentiment. Of course our family’s value the things we do for them materially, in the role of provider, father, husband, etc. But that’s just the role, and it’s a role that could be more-or-less filled by so many others. What we’re looking for is some spontaneous demonstration that these people love me for me – for merely me, not the role.


Post a Comment

<< Home