Father Outsources Best


Father Outsources Best

Published: June 20, 2004

ear A., J., B. & H.:

Thank you for the book, DVD and James Gandolfini beach blanket, but I will forward them to Mr. Gupta, your new father, who lives in Bangalore, India (see attached map).

Please don't cry or throw tantrums — I don't want Mr. Gupta to take over the family under the wrong paradigm. I will always love each of you with all my heart, but it just isn't practical for me to continue the work of being your daddy in today's global economy.

Every organization must adapt to changes in the marketplace, and our family is no exception. To remove the unfair tax burden on Daddy's domestic middle-class income, I will be generating offshore revenue streams that will provide all of you a higher standard of living. This is not to say that I expect you to grow up and sidestep any of your economic responsibilities, only that hard work does not always yield the intended reward.

Many Daddy-intensive activities, like jumping on the bed, disgusting-noise marathons and string-cheese spitting won't be possible anymore. On the other hand, Mr. Gupta and his staff will be available 24/7 for technical and moral support.

I know you'll miss the cuddling and snuggling, but recent studies have shown that too much hugging can lead children to join organized- crime families, and I'd rather you develop eating and sexual disorders like everyone else. Sure, the next 10 to 15 years will be rough, but they will go by pretty quickly if you sleep a lot.

Please believe me when I say that these awkward circumstances are unrelated to your actions — despite the bickering, tattling, back talk and ghastly disregard for personal property, you are the most wonderful children imaginable. But even the net total of our familial happiness cannot overcome the aggregate inertia of global labor demands.

Mr. Gupta will read bedtime stories over the family intranet. Even though you will be sitting alone in your beds, listening to the disembodied voice of a near total stranger, remember that you are lucky to live in America, home of Ben Franklin and Willie Mays and Hilary Duff, and that you could be growing up in France, where you'd have no father either, and be forced to listen to Édith Piaf, smoke cigarettes and make excuses for terrorism. So bedtime won't be the same, but, then again, you always complained that bedtime was boring.

Please remember to set the burglar alarm if Mommy has been drinking her special pink soda and hide her car keys in the frog basket. Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays will be disappointing, but I want the four of you to pull together. Abraham Lincoln said that a house divided cannot stand, and, even though this may feel like a textbook example of a divided house, that's not true. We are a house reconfigured. Studies have shown such houses may stand up to 46 percent longer than regular old houses, so keep up the good thoughts.

This Father's Day will be hard, given that you are waking up to find an incomprehensible letter in lieu of your actual daddy, but remember that most children see their dads only a few hours a week anyway, time usually spent yelling and screaming about where the power tools went. Given the extraordinary quality time we have already enjoyed, you've accrued gross hours of paternal affection equal to that of the average 24-year-old. Sure, you can't hug a statistical model, but Mr. Gupta can e-mail you relevant links, and information is more valuable than hugs. When all else fails, Google "Daddy" and I'll know you're thinking of me, because I pull down all the latest data from the 100-Gbit satellite in my refurbished trailer, perched on the edge of a cliff.


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