One of the more enjoyable aspects of parenting is teaching your children how cold and despairing the world around them is.

Joy and sharing are all good for the first year or so, but once they can walk and dress themselves, I strongly believe in casting them out to make their own way.

Similar to as in the Animal Kingdom, proper preparation for this begins disguised as play. Lions and bears will wrestle to build their killing skills, while Sharks and crocodiles often swim up waterfalls to build their swimming endurance. In my house, on this fateful day, we were playing checkers, and I was beating the pants off my kids.

“Stop jumping my guy, dad!”

“You can’t do double jumps any more!”

“Don’t laugh at us!”

As adorable as they are in defeat, I had had enough of their precocious pleas for mercy.

“THERE IS NO MERCY IN THE MURDERDOME” I bellowed, as I completed a sweet triple jump, landing on the far edge and earning myself a king. I looked up from the scorch marks that had shot out from my piece and gazed into the eyes of my terrified children. “NO MERCY” I repeated. I was drawing a breath to begin lamenting their fates further when they began giggling.

“What’s a murderdome, daddy?” They asked.

“A murderdome,” I began patiently, “is where we are and there IS NO MERCY IN THIS MURDERDOME!” I stood up and pounded my fist on the table. “The MURDERRRRRRRRDOOOOOOOOOME!”

They caught on, the little darlings, and began banging their own tiny fists against the table, scattering our checkers hence and yonder.

“NO MERCY!”

“MURDERDOME!”

“RRAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!”

We yelled in unison, tearing the board apart and throwing the pieces to the four corners of the Earth. across the room my wife told me to stop being stupid. Outside a single eagle cried in the night.

My children will be strong.


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