Hello from your favorite Zionist tool! It’s been a standard-issue day at Jasperwood, another installment in the Best Summer Ever (defined in narrow personal terms, not including larger geopolitical matters). Woke, checked the thermometer: 82 degrees. Oy. I took Gnat to her morning class – glorified babysitting, really. It’s called a “Camp,” like every other activity she has this summer, and that only debases the word. Camp, as I explained on the way, means old cabins and musty canvas and bonfires and crickets and snipe hunts.

“What’s a snipe,” she asked.

I couldn’t tell her “listen to this Friday’s Diner,” but maybe some day she will.

Back home; check the wires, hoover up the news both explosive and computational; lean over at 10 AM and aim the remote at the Water Feature. (Did I mention that they submitted a bill for the rest of the work? I fired off a reply with details and pictures, and they halved the bill. It’s a start.) I fixed the column I wrote yesterday, then wrote another, then went back to get Gnat. I have no idea what she thinks I do while she’s having Camp. Doesn’t enter her mind, probably. Daddys just stroll off into DadLand, where Dad-things are handled with brisk curt competence. If there’s such a thing as a Dad-thing these days. It’s not like I stroll through the picket fence at 6:30, half-crocked from the drink I had at the terminal, stinking of smoke from the train car where I play whist with the boys – whups, New Rochelle, my stop – then plant myself in the chair with the pipe and the paper while Wife saws the roast in the kitchen. Gnat grew up with Daddy making dinner, and Mommy coming home from the office at six. Half crocked and stinking of smoke! Just kidding.

My father went to the office, but he owned the office. It was a small shack next to the #2 fuel oil pumps, across the barrel field fro the station. He wore a uniform to the office, too. Had the company colors and the company logo and his name in red script over the breast pocket: Ralph. He always came home at 5:30, stinking of gas, but he never noticed. He stopped smelling gas around 1954. 

Anyway. I am so extraordinarily lucky to live here and do what I do, and sometimes it’s brought home in small particular ways. There’s a song that plays when Gnat is fighting Cogs in Toontown, her online persistent universe; I’ve internalized it like I’ve absorbed all the other anthems and ditties of her world. We were walking through Target today, and she started humming the song, and when I heard her hum I realized I’d been humming it first, and we’d both joined together without thinking.

Yes, Target. After class and lunch and the daily ceremonial Filing of the Columns, followed by the Celebretory Small Cigar, we went to Target, then  the grocery store. I made an important discovery:

The Goldfish Cracker goldfish has lifted his sunglasses.

This is no small thing. At some point the Goldfish went from the happy smiling cracker to a Cracker Wit Attitude, smirking behind his Ray-Bans. I was surprised to see this alteration, frankly – and later that day I saw a commercial with CGI Goldfish cavorting around winsomely, with individual character attributes ascribed to particular flavors. We are witnessing a Brand Retooling, people. An age of approachable, personality-rich flavor-blasted Goldfish are upon us. Downside: strong chance of heavy-lidded Bratz-style female goldfish with a hoochie ethos.

Not that Gnat cared. She was more interested in playing Toontown in real life. Fresh from defeating a Level Five cog, she wanted to prove her mettle. “How old are you again?” Forty seven, hon. “Okay, you’re a Level Forty-Seven Cog.” (How that would have stung if I'd been lower management.) So we fought in the aisles, miming the various attacks and strategies that characterize the age-old Cog Vs. Toon conflict, until she made me go red and explode at the checkout. There comes a point in your life where you don’t care whether you look stupid imitating a crude 3-D robot in a pin-stripe suit looking as though he has been stricken with combustible hemorrhoids, and that was one of them.

That’s all I have today; having written two columns, I'm tapped and ready for "Deadwood." Quirk aside, there’s the end of the motel site. Four states. Factus Est. See you tomorrow.