Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Politics of Poop

Ah, let's see. Blueberries, oranges, definitely tomatoes and the remnants of last night's Mexican take out, I think to myself. The dry heaves and held breath long replaced with a smile and idle conversation as this father and his offspring ritual repeats itself for the untold time. I don't even flinch as a stray tomato seed ends up tangled in forearm hair as I set her down, the urge to swear and bathe in Clorox.

Just another Saturday morning. Or a Tuesday night.

I change diapers. Lots of them. I've changed them in restaurants, cars, airports, indoors and out. I've seen every kind of load possible. It's gotten on me. Sometimes in me, as her motor skills development occasionally takes me by surprise. Now it's a reflexive action with no thought or judgments. A fluid motion of toddler wrangling, wiping and diaper affixing. If I had kept score, I would be in the lead for most changes in our household.

Do I still yearn for a pat on the head or a cookie (read: beer) from the wife for an especially wicked blow-out she avoided? Sure.

Have I texted my wife a photo of a dirty diaper after she sent me pic of the steak she was eating at a swanky business dinner? Check.

Do I care when a major diaper factory ** cough, Huggies, cough ** - assumes dads wouldn't touch a dirty diaper unless there wasn't a woman within 50 miles as a gimmick to sell more diapers? Yea…no. Not really.

Is it stereotyping, a tad insensitive and a way beyond inaccurate portrayal of me and a whole mess of other dads? Sure. You're dang right it gets my competitive juices going when someone assumes I don't know that difference between formula and butt cream. But offended at diaper commercials I am not. Sorry, I just can't get there. As a long time proponent for full disarmament of the PC Police, spare me the cries of foul.

I'm guessing little care about the pick-up truck commercials with dude-only drivers in dirty jeans, hauling something heavy, meeting up with other dudes, to do dude stuff, with a country song sung by a dude. No? Don't women buy trucks too? Or do they just sit in the passenger's seat? I'm so confused.

Digging back to the few classes of Bisiness 101 I made it to, I can remember one tidbit that seems to come into play here. I recall that businesses use advertising and marketing gimmicks to entice consumers to purchase goods and services. They spend mucho dinero on shiny logos, focus groups, and catchy jingles that all serve to produce a dollar more than they put into it. That's called making a profit. If you piss off a few to get to the many, and their Master Cards, then screw it. Look, my lemonade stand was foreclosed on as a kid, but even I know using your brand and advertising dollars to make everyone happy and impact social change along the way isn't profitable, unless, you know, it makes you a bigger profit.

The Big Diaper industry is recession-proof. It's probably near nuclear armageddon-proof. It will likely prove to be good-dads-take-to-social-media-uproar-for-justice-proof as well. Just saying.

Yeah, it chafes my sleep deprived, toddler lovin' hide to no end when I see some dad drop his jaw as I break out the diaper bag at Home Depot. Yes, I want to challenge the nosy lady in the parking lot at Target to a Diaper-Off when she offers unsolicited advice. Shut your hole. I know what I'm doing.

I do what I do for my family. My wife. My daughter. Occasionally our my stupid dog. Little else matters or than playing the roles I need to make sure everyone wins. I want my wife to have the best job she can while knowing her husband isn't going to complain about diapers. I want my daughter to grow up knowing right from wrong and what a good man is supposed to be. She won't likely find that on TV or from some corporation's ad campaign and if she does, then I've failed. She'll have to learn from the best role model I can find. Me.

Disclosure: We are a Pampers family and I don't actually buy the diapers.

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