Of course, this piece of wisdom only applies to real quicksand. If you’re in metaphorical quicksand and you raise your legs, you’ll just land on your back like an idiot. Thanks a lot, Gravity.
However, there is another kind of quicksand you might find yourself avoiding: imaginary quicksand. That’s right, imaginary. And I’m not talking about the stuff that glops up your imagination; I’m talking about the stuff that pools in the carpet of your living room. You know, the stuff that’s spreading across the carpet, making it harder and harder to get around, so you have to climb up on the couch, then jump from chair to chair, possibly climb on the table, hang from a door frame and eventually land on the tile entry only to realize you’ve left the crystal skull under the computer desk? Yeah, that quicksand.
What do you mean you don’t know what I’m talking about? Were you never a child? Please. Everyone was a child, as evidenced by the pubescent amnesia some of us have. Even if your childhood sucked (and, really, how could it?), I’m sure you have some memories of living in created spaces.
Fortunately, my childhood existed almost exclusively in the landscapes of my imagination. And, now that I’m an adult, I’m capitalizing on it. Yes, as a fiction writer, I use my imagination every day. I can’t help it. But, right now I’m still talking about the quicksand in my living room.
In the land of Dad, there’s no shortage of danger, adventure, heroism or the unknown. The real world is a difficult place for grown men to live wild. Work, stress, poor sleep habits, poor diet habits, financial uncertainty and inevitable, irreversible, untenable responsibility rip into the grown man and go after the stabilizing blocks of his identity. The world commands provision, protection, and masculinity. These things are so ridiculously, inconsistently defined. Just because I have testosterone, I’m supposed to be (fill in the blank)? Awesome. What about my choice?
I never claim to speak for anyone but me. My choice included fatherhood. Parenthood is not for everyone. Some people should be moms, some should be dads, and some should just be content going after whatever drives them. My imagination drives me. My insatiable need to create, to teach, to lead, to go after the unknown.
Nothing is more unknown to the new father like fatherhood.
I’ve never been a macho man, never a man’s man, never the big guy, the fighter, the bully, or the jock. I’ve always been the creative, the artist, the sensitive, understanding, easily offended and forgiving (but probably never forgetting) guy. Sure, I have testosterone, but not as much as “The Dude.”
Fortunately, I produce limitless amounts of Dad-osterone. Yep. I said it. It’s a lame play on the word. Is there actually a hormone my body produces that makes me a fun, engaging, eager and exceptional father? I don’t know. Does it matter how it works? It just works. For me. For my wife. For my son.
And, especially for our living room. Brighton and his future siblings will always have forts with Dad. They’ll have unnamed games, invisible worlds, monsters they can beat, and missions they can accomplish.
And, as long as they need it, they’ll always have a ride across the quicksand.