FROM wikimedia commons/Evan-Amos/

Raisin Bran Alfresco

It’s where you eat it.

It’s become painfully evident that bad dads are better at some things than others. We are challenged by our own aptitude, betrayed by our poor training and judged by our crappy performance. It’s important to remind the bad dad that nutrition takes a passenger seat to the one thing he can do well: “set the scene”.

The next generation is prone to multi-tasking. Why should you impose mealtime upon them as some arbitrary constraint to sit in one place and eat? A bad dad has rarely gotten into a deep or educational conversation with his own father at the table. If you have, you should know better than to talk with your mouth full.

With that in mind, the build on this meal is simple:

Prep and Cook Time:

0 to 2 minutes



  1. Open the new box of Raisin Bran. Be sure to heed the safety advice provided in Peanut Butter & Cracker Magic. There is no mercy on the weak, and the strong are equally punished. The evidence of this is product packaging.
  2. Pour into a large cereal bowl. Feel free to improvise with old Tupperware®, a wok, basically anything short of a hubcap.
  3. Add sugar. Just look at that picture on the box. There is clearly not enough sugar. You see it, the kid says it. It must be so.
  4. You have a spoon somewhere. It came with the napkin and nuts from that McDonalds sundae. How did I manage to eat a sundae without that spoon? Anyway, it’s wrapped in plastic and clean, here you go.
  5. Encourage your child to roam free! Odds are, they have their own definition of alfresco, which was intended to mean “out of doors”, but usually settles in front of a television.

There’s a host of dire warnings against “mindless eating” contributing to obesity rates and falling test scores in our next generation. The bad dad knows no other way to eat. In his formative years, he wouldn’t care what he was eating, or how much, but somehow where he was became indelibly etched in memory.

This recalls the airport terminal wisdom of Jack Kornfield, because the Buddha never said this:

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.

This is where I was: settled in front of a Magnavox Console, with a turntable, tube amplifiers and a television. It weighed a ton, because it was hewed from oak panels and hardware to diguise it as a desk when closed. People were very ashamed of their entertainment devices back then, and wanted all living rooms to look like a study, so in case anyone resembling intelligent came by, they would slam the panels shut and crack open a book. We never closed the console.

Below me and behind me was a thick, rich veldt of red shag carpet. This was the first and last place we lived in that offered a sunken den. The way I remember it, the only thing that qualified it as a den was the couch and TV console. It was more of a pit, kind of an amphitheater by my small scale, really. I had to climb down four steps, balancing a bowl of Raisin Bran to get to the TV. If I toppled, no harm, because the shag would absorb both the fall and the milk.

There were only three channels, due to us living in a metropolitan area that had public television. It’s hard to fathom now, but we had very little control over what we saw, or when we saw it. If I overslept on a Saturday morning, there wasn’t even a VCR to rewind to watch cartoons. I learned a lot about bowling and golf.

At the same time, this window was where I was allowed to marvel at our boundless potential as humanity. Sometimes, even in color. Imagine: Two men, one a slob, one incredibly fastidious, could live together under the same roof… and not kill each other! You could be enchanted by the haunting science fiction ballads of David Gates and Bread! We had just gone to the moon, and just to show everyone, we were going to go back again and again, and never stop! Who knew how far we’d go? I was raised on optimism and wonder.

And sugar.

Next time: Bully-proof Fudge Stripes

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