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A finer quintet of dad chic you will nowhere else find.

My closet contains a disproportionate amount of ratty clothes. T-shirts with giant holes. Worn out shoes that beg to be put out of their misery. Pants with mysterious stains that are too vicious to be eradicated by any earthly washing machine. On days when I don’t have work or any social obligations, I combine these tattered remnants of once-beautiful garments into something that (most of the time) matches. I’ll run errands or go for a walk dressed in these outfits, which usually leads people to wonder if I’m homeless or traveled back in time from the post apocalypse.

Being mistaken for a vagrant wasn’t a problem in my twenties. In fact, being young and wearing tattered clothing made me cool; a contrarian who shunned society’s materialistic brainwashing. Or at least, that’s how I justified my refusal to buy new clothes. It’s not that I don’t like fashion. I have strong opinions about what looks good and what doesn’t. It’s that I hate the physical act of shopping. The crowds. The browsing. The absolutely terrible mall parking structure where people don’t know how to park so there’s always a long line but you can’t do anything about it because you’re stuck in a one-way line of cars with nowhere to go except to your Happy Place and hope for the best. …


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Behold, the source of America’s greatness.

I can’t drink milk because I’m lactose intolerant. Well, I can drink it, but I will suffer dire consequences that are too gruesome to detail here. As a kid, the inability to drink milk gave me issues because all my friends consumed it in copious quantities. I envied them as they popped open their milk cartons at lunch and chugged that liquid gold. And gold it was. I learned very early on that milk lies at the heart of America’s strength. It’s what builds the brains and bodies of the next generation. …


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Last night, I looked at Dmitri and didn’t recognize him. He was noticeably larger than I’d remembered. His hair had changed, too. It wasn’t wispy baby hair, but manly curls; oily and shiny in the light. Most different was his face. It was as if in the span of 24 hours he’d become more alert. His eyes were intent. When he looked at me, he was interacting with me in a way he hadn’t before. He wasn’t just a mush, but a more active participant in the world. Scanning. Observing. Learning.

My wife credits Dmitri’s metamorphosis to a “leap,” the term we use for developmental milestones. This leap, happening right after he turned one year old, is a doozy. It’s taken him from baby to toddler. Dmitri can crawl to things and use them to come to a standing position. He babbles in more complicated patterns — da-ma-do instead of just day-day. Most importantly, he sees my wife and I. Like really sees. Not in the “I see mom and dad over there” but “I see mom and dad over there. I wonder what they’re doing. I’m going to observe what they do an emulate them or pass judgment because I am starting to develop judgment.” …


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Super Mario Brothers burst onto the scene in 1985 and quickly captured the hearts and minds of America. The franchise went on to sell over 262 million games, making it the most popular video game of all time. Central to its success is the titular character, Mario, a bumbling plumber from Brooklyn who gets caught up in an epic adventure in the Mushroom Kingdom. Everyone I know has warm, nostalgic thoughts about Mario. Not me! Here’s a quote from my 10 year-old self:

Mario is a coin-stealing, block-breaking, brother-hating jerk. I hope he never finds the Princess! He doesn’t deserve her. I hope he ends up back in Brooklyn as a fat, defeated slob of a man in his shabby, roach-infested apartment eating pizza in his boxers and wife-beater while sitting on the couch next to his baby mama who spends all his coins on lotto tickets and meth. …


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For medical reasons, my wife and I had to get rid of our two cats. Not forever, just until we get the all clear from the doctors. I felt bad about temporarily evicting the cats because I always wanted my child to be around animals. When my wife and I take Dmitri for a walk in the neighborhood, his face lights up whenever he sees a dog. Our place isn’t well suited for a dog, and I doubt the doctors would let us have a dog when cats aren’t okay. Fortunately, there’s Roomba.

Roomba lives in the corner of the dining room and comes out to play each day with a pleasant melody that chirps, “I’m ready to suck up all the gunk in your house and keep it in my garbage collection box until my red trashcan light starts flashing, which signals that if you wish for me to suck up anymore gunk, you will need to empty my garbage collection box!” It beeps three times, like a countdown timer at a swim meet, before whirring about and erratically bumping into things. I never feel like it’s doing anything, but lo and behold the house is always cleaner after it drunkenly stumbles around. …


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“All babies don’t develop at the same rate?!?!?! Mind. Blown.”

I’ve written before how I was worried my son Dmitri would never be able to sit up on his own, let alone crawl. No matter how hard my wife and I tried to motivate him to sit up or crawl, he’d just sit there and stare at us. “You want this toy, Dmitri? Come get it!” He’d give us a look that said, “No, I’m fine without that toy. …


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My first exposure to clubbing came in college shortly after a large enough group of my friends turned 21 (or were at least able to secure IDs stating they were 21). I remember fretting over not having the proper attire. Where my friends looked like they stepped out of Asian-American GQ, I looked like I stepped out of a Van Heusen commercial as the guy who sorely needs fashion rescuing by Steve Young. I was tempted to stay home, but it was someone’s birthday, and his wish was my command.

As we stood outside some nondescript brick building in San Francisco, I hoped and prayed that the bouncer would approve of my attire and allow me entry. But more than that, I hoped he wouldn’t give my ID too much scrutiny since that night I was Eric K. I fantasized about what my interaction would be like with the bouncer. Would he ask me a bunch of questions to make me prove I was in fact Eric K? If he did, I’d be ready — “My birthday? Januay 24, 1981. My sign? Aquarius. My address? Trick question, right? I live in Oakland, but the address on my ID is 20451 Cherry Lane in Irvine. You want the zip code, too? It’s 91782. …


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It surprises most people (including myself) when I tell them I began college as an engineering major. An Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, to be exact. Before arriving on campus, I thought I was pretty good at formulas and proofs and crap like that, having aced all of my high school math and science classes. It was all an illusion, though.

College is really humbling. You can be the big man on campus at Taft High School, but there’s nothing like being in a lecture hall filled with certified math and science geniuses to show you just how small your pond really was. I toughed it out for a bit, but after receiving a whopping 17 out of 100 on my applied mathematics midterm, I decided it was probably time to move into Liberal Arts with all my free-spirited and techno-challenged brethren. Midway through my second semester, I dropped a bunch of engineering classes, but by that time it was too late to pick up any other classes. The result was an unusually light course load that semester. …


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[Author’s note: This is a piece of fan fiction exploring what life might be like for Hermione, Harry, and Ron twenty years after the events in the novels. It should e noted J.K. Rowling had no part in the creation of this piece. Although, if she were to read it, she might enjoy it. I think?]

Hermione couldn’t remember the last time she saw the surface of her desk. The stacks of papers crowding her work space never seemed to dwindle no matter how many late nights or weekends she worked. At one point, she suspected someone had placed a never-rending hex on the papers, but that was just wishful thinking. If there were a hex, it’d be an easy fix. She knew how to counter every hex, charm, and curse in the book, even the exotic ones from far off lands. That’s why she was the senior supervisory consultant at Bumblebottom Magical Consultancy. …


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“I won’t make you throw up. Not at all.”

My wife and I thought we had a scare when baby had an allergic reaction to nuts. Turns out there’s something scarier than hives and red welts on his face — vomiting! Last night, Dmitri projectile vomited a good portion of his dinner right onto the floor. I got down on my hands and knees to wipe it up, examining it like a scientist. It had this weird mucus-like consistency that wasn’t your normal spit up. Regular illness or demonic possession? Since his head wasn’t spinning round and round, we decided to call the pediatrician instead of the priest.

The pediatrician asked if Dmitri had eaten anything new. Funny you should ask, doc! We’d given him cherries earlier in the day. Come to think of it, he puked right after that meal, too, but just a little bit such that my wife and I didn’t think it was a big deal. I worried our baby was going to be bubble boy, allergic to everything in the world. I mean, cherries? There’re cherries in all kinds of delicious foods. Our baby would never know the joys of cherries jubilee or cherry cobbler. That made me a bit sad. …

About

Ronan Takagi

father. husband. writer.

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