Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On Being the Creepy Grandpa

I am too young to be old. My back has betrayed me. My daughter has made me a grandparent. When I was playing basketball and we split up into the old guys vs. the young guys, no one had even a fleeting thought that I should be with the young guys.

But I'm only 40, and every once in a while there is a moment that fools me into believing I'm not yet over the hill. You may recall my story about buying beer to celebrate my granddaughter's birth. The cashier asked to see my ID.

The fact that I am a young grandfather, however, has a creepier side to it.

On Monday, I went with The Daughter to re-enroll her in the high school. She had taken the Fall semester off in order to have the baby. (I am happy to say that due to some hard work on her part, she managed to make up the lost units and is ready to graduate on time.) She needed a parent to go along to sign the paperwork and, as it turned out, to carry the six tons of baby gear.

My 17-year-old daughter and I don't share any genes, so there is absolutely no family resemblance. There she is, merrily strolling down the hallway carrying her baby, and I am trudging behind carrying all the baby paraphernalia. To set the scene further, let me say that I was wearing blue jeans and an old flannel shirt. Since it was my day off and I had been sick, I just rolled out of bed without even bothering to comb my hair. I was looking very much like a first-class slacker. Though I am a 40-year-old slacker, I still sometimes have to show my ID to buy alcohol, mind you.

It may have been my imagination, but the looks I got--particularly from the adults--seemed designed to shame me into taking my own life. Particularly, they seemed to be communicating, "How dare you! How dare you corrupt such a young girl, you worthless SOB. You should be castrated on the spot."

Then we went into the dean's office. One of the deans came bustling by, and he saw my daughter. He had known about her pregnancy.

"Well hello," he said. "I was wondering how you were doing. Is this your baby?" I saw him casting glances my way, where I was sitting with the baby stuff.

And then he said, quietly, "Is this the baby daddy?"

My daughter responded even more quietly, and I couldn't make it out. I was hoping she was saying, "No, that's my dad, you imbecile."

Soon after, we got up to go into another office and the dean left. As he passed by me, he said, "You have a beautiful baby there."

I should have said, "Thank you. You do know I'm that girl's father, you imbecile." Instead, my powerful wit only works on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and so I just managed a weak smile. I had no idea what to say.

Later, I checked in with my daughter. She thought the dean was asking about the baby's father, and so she just said, "He's not involved."

I admitted that was the one part about her pregnancy that always made me uncomfortable. Whenever she and I went somewhere together, I had this feeling that people were looking at me as if I were some sort of monster for doing such a terrible thing to this young girl. She said I should get a shirt that says "I'm the grandpa."

It got me to wondering about whether I should start making an effort to look older. So today, I didn't shave. There are only a few gray hairs on my head, and it takes an effort to see them. My whiskers, though, are generously sprinkled with gray. Maybe that will work. Or, maybe I should just get over it. Why should I care whether or not people think I'm a lecherous monster?

I'm getting the damn tee-shirt.


Sizzle said...

People are quick to assume. That's why we're all a bunch of asses.


Even if you made yourself look older, they'd still wonder. Get the shirt! (JK)

Tink said...

It happens whether the girl has a baby or not. People used to give my Dad dirty looks all the time thinking he was WITH me. I would definitely invest in a "I'm The Grandpa" shirt... Possibly a few. ;)

Cate Subrosa said...

Yeah, I'd get the shirt.

Have the T-shirt said...

I'd just get over it.

My motto is, and has always been, f**k em'.

{Jodie} said...

Your writing is fantastically funny. :) Thanks for your recent comment on my blog - I always appreciate people taking the time to share their thoughts... that way I can know they were there, and then stalk them accordingly. ;)

Have a great day eating those delicious baby cheeks. It's so great that they regenerate every night just for your enjoyment. :)

PS - How in the world did you find my blog?

Gramps said...

{Jodie}--I found your blog via a comment you left on Eva's blog.

180|360 said...

That would be rather awkward. But if it makes you feel any better, I remember being out with my dad who is much older and even thinking - I sure hope no one thinks he's the childrens' father! :)