The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

part 1
by Will Nuessle

Every occupation involving responsibility for other people, you gotta be trained, certified, notarized, background checked, etc. Police officer, firefighter, EMT, doctor, lawyer, teacher, you name it.

Except one.


To get in on the pinnacle of caregiving, having the welfare, education and moral authority over an initially helpless human being twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks every year only requires a bit of biological material and a Barry White album.[1]

Somehow that seems very wrong.

At least there are classes, books, personal instruction for those who will volunteer for training. And much like every Armed Forces recruit goes through Boot Camp but only the elite will survive SEAL or Ranger or Green Beret training, I am devising an Advanced Training Course for fathers. You want to call yourself a Real Dad? You want to know that you’re among the Best of the Best?

Welcome to hell, son.

Welcome to B.A.B.Y.[2]

Your training ground: a week of summer camp. The participants: you, your wife, one eighteen-month-old child. Hereafter referred to as Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, or Team BABY. Supplies: tent, food, clothing, pack ‘n play, enough Learn and Grow toys to choke a donkey.

Mission One: Forward Deployment

Congratulations on accepting your assignment! To reach your camping destination, hereafter known as Camp Zone, hereafter referred to as CZ, you will be required to spend several thousand miles in the car with Bravo and Charlie. Team BABY will fail in their mission if you leave any family member behind at a rest-stop, restaurant or hotel, regardless of provocation. It is acceptable for Bravo to drive; it is not acceptable for Alpha to give advice from the passenger seat.

It is important that Alpha and Bravo work together to deal with dirty diapers, thrown bottles, and proper safety gear for all participants. Bravo will expect to stop regularly at chain restaurants that feature “Playplace” areas. Be advised: nine of the ten restaurants who list these features will either not have them or they will be unavailable.

Mission Two: Establish the Perimeter

Having reached the CZ by early afternoon, Team BABY are now tasked with erecting a shelter. While both Alpha and Bravo may coordinate in assembling the tent, Charlie will be free to wander about and must be supervised. Team BABY will fail in their mission if Charlie is carted off by a bear, falls into the lake more than three times, or sets himself on fire. Team BABY will also fail in their mission if the tent is not properly assembled by nightfall. Halfway through tent assembly it will be discovered that tent stakes were not included when tent was previously disassembled; a substitute must be found.

Charlie is not an acceptable substitute.

Mission Three: Survey/Reconnoiter

Once shelter has been erected, Team BABY will recon the surrounding area, arriving at the mess hall by 1830 at the latest. Bravo will want Charlie to be free to “get some of that energy out”. Charlie, having no more sense of direction than a fifty-cent wind-up frog, will trot in whatever direction he fancies, fall down regularly, and refuse any help or guidance. Team BABY will fail in their mission if they are more than fifty minutes late for dinner.            

Mission Four: Replenishments

Having reached the mess hall, Team BABY will now attempt to eat the evening meal. This mission is considered successful if Charlie ingests any substance considered “solid food”, including but not limited to crackers, strained peas, chunks of fruit, chunks of hamburger, chunks of bread, chunks of pudding, napkin. Alpha and Bravo are not required to take in nourishment for mission to be considered successful.

Mission Five: Sacktime I

Team BABY will now sleep through the night. Alpha, having one of his “great ideas”, will veto putting the Pack ‘n Play in the tent, as Charlie will “sleep just fine.” Charlie will indeed sleep very well, though he will start rolling, punching and kicking Alpha and Bravo around 0230. Team BABY will fail in their mission if they toss Charlie out to be raised by bats. Team BABY will also fail in their mission if Charlie’s grandparents, camping nearby, hear any swear words they did not previously know.

(Missions to continue shortly!)

[1] Or Barry Manilow. You be you
[2] Building And Bettering Youth

go to part 2