The Man Your Father Is (Rejected Short Story)

This is a short story I submitted to a humor site (which will remain unnamed) and it was rejected.  I don’t really know of any other sites that publish pieces in this style so I decided to put it up here.
Dear Harold,
I know that you wanted to go to the park today, but we had to go to Lowes instead. I thought you would have been happy about it, I put you in the shopping cart with the little steering wheel so that you could pretend that you were driving— that steering wheel looks just as much fun as watching you sit in the swing at the park with your head and arms all floppy. But I guess—just like your mother— nothing I do for you is good enough.

Speaking of Mom, she’s the real reason we had to go to Lowes in the first place. She likes her paintings to be hung on the wall, and her closet to be ‘organized.’ I have to do these little projects, and go buy her flowers—ones that I’m allergic to by the way— in order to keep her. Don’t worry, this is just to keep her with me, I’m pretty sure if she ever leaves me she’ll take you.

Here’s the deal Harry, I know I complain about her a lot, but I don’t exactly have many options, and for some reason she thought I was good enough for her. I can’t go back to before her, I was a bit creepy and weird, and when you’re a married man with a baby, all those creepy and weird traits, and lame-jokes become quaint. It’s like how if someone’s old enough they can get away with slight forms of racism and we all just shrug it off.

So I do what I can to keep Mom around. First we had you, and you’re doing a great job, because you look like me, and yet she’s incredibly attached to you. Second I do things for her, most women tell her how great or romantic I am when she talks about how I built her a set of shelves, or made her an adorable photo-album. This is great because if she thinks about leaving me, other women won’t necessarily encourage that.  

You’re probably wondering why I worry about her leaving, right? I don’t do anything too bad to your her, I’m not a monster, but I’m nothing special either. It’s not false-modesty, I have a lumpy face (you seem to have got that from me too, but it works at your age), I’m overweight, and I’m not particularly smart or charming, being unemployed certainly doesn’t help. Worst of all, I’m not very talented at… um… anyway, the reason I have you is more a matter of fool-proof design than prowess. If I had to do anything with any skill level what-so-ever, you wouldn’t even be around.

If you’re lucky, when you grow up you’ll be handsome, intelligent, and have a big… erm… appeal—don’t count on inheriting those genes— but what I have has done well for me. I have determination, basic life skills, and a complete lack of pride. These traits will do you no good in wooing a woman in the first place, (to this day I have no idea how I managed that part) but once you’ve managed to convince her that you’re worthy, you just have to work yourself to death before she realizes her mistake.

I know you think that you’re cute, and you won’t need to travel the road I have. Unfortunately, this cute thing, it isn’t going to last. I was cute too, but once you’ve had a couple of birthdays, it’ll go away. It starts with the perpetual snot at the end of your nose, and continues even after you learn basic hygiene.

Don’t worry son, I’ll teach you how to pick flowers, and how to do basic handy-man stuff, and how to select songs for a mixed-tape (retro is romantic), and whatever other basic skills you’ll need in order to be successful when a woman settles for you!

Anyway, at some point, doing things for you will count towards making me look good, but right now, if I bring you to the park and we have a great time, Mom won’t know because she doesn’t speak your gibberish, and God-forbid you get injured, she’ll assume it’s my fault, and you won’t be able to defend me. So, for now, we’re stuck going to the boring wastelands that are home-improvement stores. I love you more, but I’m not as worried about keeping you around.
Love,

Dad

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