Have you ever had an idea that in your head seemed absolutely amazing? The kind of idea that would make people want to erect statues in your honor and require school children to learn about your idea before they would be allowed to graduate from high school? Then when you actually implement your idea you get into more trouble than Pablo Sandoval at an all-you-can-eat buffet? That could pretty much describe every idea I have ever had in my entire life.
Normally at the conclusion of my epic idea meltdowns I stand before my wife and children with my Diamondbacks hat in my hand and beg for their forgiveness then go upstairs to retrieve my pillow and blanket to begin my exile to the couch for whatever time period my family feels I need to never suggest another idea like the one that caused the mushroom cloud in the family.
Most of the time these ideas are quickly forgotten (well they are quickly forgotten by me, I think the children are still carrying several mental scars as a result of me attempting to be a responsible parent). I have no doubt that the mental health profession could have a field day following me around and jotting down notes for case studies.
The thing about my “epic ideas” is that they all seem to occur at the most inopportune time. Take for example the day I thought it would be a great idea to tweak my daughter’s wedding.
What I’ve learned from having four daughters is that from the day they are born, most girls dream about their wedding day. They keep scrapbooks of colors, pictures of floral arrangements, and list of characteristics they want in the perfect husband. When they finally do get engaged, the wedding scrapbooks emerge. As best as I can tell, opening a wedding scrapbook is akin to opening Pandora’s box. You never quite know what is going to come from within.
I’ve learned that for the most part the father of the bride’s role is to lovingly pat their daughter on the head, give her a kiss on the cheek and write the checks. Just because I learned that doesn’t mean that I adhered to that rule. Instead I attempted to introduce a few “enhancements” into the planning.
For example, my daughter wanted purple as one of her colors. In 2006 I would have wholeheartedly agreed but since 2007 the color purple has been banished from our house except for special occasions that we call “throwback days”. I instantly jumped in and suggested we should instead use a palette of Sedona Red and Sonoran Sand. I offered my hat and jersey as examples that could be taken to the various vendors to make sure we had a perfect match (I know how hard it is to explain the exact shade of Sedona Red and the last thing I wanted was my daughter crying because some idiot sent over Houston Astros brick red by mistake).
Despite my best attempts to assist in the planning I found myself shut out of all further conversations. In fact, I believe their exact words were, “you’re checkbook is welcome but you need to send it with mom” followed by, “isn’t there a baseball game somewhere that you would rather be to than helping us plan a wedding?” Ok, the second statement actually made sense.
So while the women folk busied themselves with planning, I just kind of laid low or at least that is what they thought I was doing. Instead, I had what I thought was one of my greatest ideas in the history of ideas.
I was left in charge of the wedding music. I was given a list of songs and the order they were to be played. This included “The First Dance”, the “Daddy Daughter Dance”, as well as others. To say my daughter and I have different music tastes would be an understatement. She had selected “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill as the song she would like played for her and I to dance. That’s country music. I hate country music. In fact when country music comes on the radio in my car I take the car to the dealership to be repaired. I had a much better idea.
Much like a Folger’s coffee crystals commercial, it kind of went like this. Unbeknownst to the guests I secretly switched the regularly scheduled music with Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers Dbacks Swing. Let’s see if anyone notices.
It wasn’t just the song though. If you are going to sing Dbacks Swing you have to be wearing a Diamondbacks hat and you have to have signs that say “I Back”, “You Back”, “We Back”, “the Dbacks”. And you can’t wear just have any Diamondbacks hat, you need to wear ”the Lucky Hat”. After all, with the number of failed marriages reaching an all-time high you need every bit of luck you can get.
So as the reception began and people gathered around the dance floor waiting for the beginning of the “Daddy Daughter” dance, I gave the cue and the place went crazy. My younger daughter rushed onto the floor with two hats including “the Lucky Hat”. My youngest daughter and her friends unfurled Diamondbacks signs, and the speakers began blaring perhaps the greatest song to ever be written.
In a brief moment, time seemed to stand still. Looking around the ballroom the looks on people’s faces ranged from confusion, to shock, to horror, to one distant uncle looking constipated but I don’t think that had anything to do with the music. In my head this seemed like a brilliant idea. From the reaction, maybe brilliant was the wrong adjective.
I’ll give my daughter credit, she went with the flow, put the neon orange Lucky Hat on her head and danced with her dad. The photographers were having a heyday shooting pictures of the mayhem that suddenly engulfed this formal event. At the conclusion of the song, I had the DJ play the real music and danced with my daughter and thanked her for not killing me in public. During that dance we talked about how proud I was of her and how great she looked in the Lucky Hat.
In the aftermath I faced the wrath of two families as I tried to explain the unanticipated insanity. Things began to calm down until we got the wedding pictures back and “the dance” as it has become known in our house was back in the forefront of our conversations and I once again faced exile to the couch.
I thought that was all behind me but recently I was reminded of this event again. The Arizona Diamondbacks held a contest called Dbacks Crasher. They wanted pictures of someone crashing an event wearing Diamondbacks gear. I didn’t think much about the contest. After all, to me wearing Diamondbacks gear at any event isn’t called crashing, it’s called normal.
My son-in-law thought differently. He went back through their wedding pictures and found the time his father-in-law pulled the ultimate crash. I mean who in their right mind would crash their own daughter’s wedding? It was a question that many people had based on the comments I saw. Perhaps the most scathing comment was from my wife who questioned “who ever said you were in your right mind?” In the end his entry was judged the best Dbacks Crash and for his efforts he won. Finally after all of these years of sleeping on the couch and begging forgiveness, one of my ideas really did pan out even if it was in a completely unexpected way.
It’s like I always tell my kids, “Life is like baseball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained out.” I have no idea what that means. I am hoping that one of the psychotherapists that my kids will undoubtedly go to will understand and explain it to them in a way that makes the chaos of their childhood seem ok. For now I am going to bask in the glow that one time in my life I had an idea that ended well for someone even if it did mean I would be camping out on the couch.