My existential crisis started after my wife and kids returned from a shopping trip to Target. Okay, I actually had to Google “existential crisis” to make sure I was having one. But, yes, “questioning one’s life meaning and purpose” landed with a thud. Well, not really a “thud” so much, but it did land in the form of a small Target bag and the kids excitedly saying…“Dad, open it! Open it! It’s a surprise for you!”
At first, I had this warm cozy Norman Rockwellian vision of my smiling home-schooled children presenting their Dad with a gift (not even on Father’s Day, OMG, blushing!!). I envisioned it being something very masculine and would certainly either smell like leather or be placed in a tool box. With joy bursting thru my face I opened the bag! And, then BOOM! Out came the existential crisis.
“It’s a scented candle, Dad!!!”, the kids squealed with delight. “We knew you would love it!”
I could instantly feel at least 14 hairs greying in my receding hairline and several new wrinkles cutting into my furrowed brow.
The kids explained further by saying, “Dad, the best part is that it smells like fresh laundry!!” – twisting the knife deeper into my 53-year old male ego. Yes, sure enough, there it was, printed in grey cursive font, right on the front: “Fresh Linen Breeze – Clean, Airy & Laundered – Hand Poured – Scented Candle”.
In that split second, I wondered “Who am I?” and “What have I become?!” What kind of man (who lifts weights in the garage every goshdarn morning!) gets a surprise scented candle with essence of fabric softener! If I actually asked these questions out loud my kids would certainly say, “You’re the Dad who does 10 loads of laundry every week including our bourgeoning collection of non-dryable Lululemon yoga pants that you hang up on the drying rack by hand! And, it smells so good!”
Okay, yes, yes, goddamnit, I admit it! I am THAT Dad! And, my laundry skills are “sick” now (that’s teen slang for amazing!) and my white loads do smell Spring Meadowy fresh (except that time when my dryer smelled like chocolate which is an entirely different crisis)!
So, with some lingering mid-life-who-the-hell-am-I angst, I graciously accepted their surprise fresh linen breeze scented candle gift. “A real man can do that!”, I muttered to myself and realized it might come in handy to light my cigars. Ah, cigar smoke and laundry scented candles… that’s the kind of mash-up that a real SAHD savors!