Yup, I’m an Apathetic Dad. It’s awesome.

By Bobby McMahon

When our son was born about a year ago, I gave up a lot of things. Including pwning people.
For the uninitiated, “pwning” is a gamer term to describe removing your opponent from the field of battle with particular flair. For instance, if you’re playing Halo on Xbox and stick a plasma grenade to someone’s back, that person has been pwned once they go kablooey.
But, it’s been so long since I picked up a controller that I don’t actually know if they call it “pwning” anymore.
Faced with the time crunch that comes with a new baby, I purposefully stopped playing video games, riding the Metro and involving myself in similar time sucks. My goal was to squeeze additional minutes out of my day, but this first round of cuts wasn’t enough.
In search of more quality time, I’ve tried everything, and the most effective tactic I’ve found to gaining more time is targeted apathy.
I used to try to stay up on new music. Now? I recently learned I’ve been pronouncing Skrillex’s name “Skill-rex” this whole time, and I don’t really care if that’s not how you say it. I’m told he’s very popular. He makes music that sounds like a dial up modem, right? Wait. Don’t tell me. I’m just not going to make the time to care.
Also, I don’t know what a “Demi Lovato” is. I hear those two words together, but what are they? An Italian energy drink? A new dance move? Should I be concerned about a volcano erupting? Are villagers somewhere running in fear because Demi Lovato is smoldering? Unless it’s the volcano thing, I won’t devote time to learning more.
Same with politics, something I used to follow closely. I deeply care about issues, but I don’t have the time to figure out where each of the 194 presidential candidates stand or fact check claims that President Obama traveled through time and built the Leaning Tower of Pisa to contact 12-armed communist aliens (I’m guessing that one’s false).
I only get one vote, and even the presidential primaries are months away, much less the general election. Instead of caring about the election now, my wife and I are spending our time watching our son learn new things at lightning speed. Do you remember the scene from the original Jurassic Park where Dr. Grant says they’re safe unless the velociraptors figure out how to open doors, and then the raptors IMMEDIATELY open the door? That’s my son, except replace “opening doors” with “reaching the knobs on the stove” or “climbing up the stairs.”
Come to think of it, he’s probably a week away from opening doors. That’ll be fun.
No, I didn’t see that think piece on millennials. No, I don’t care if a hot dog is a sandwich, or if you can put peas in guacamole, or any of that. Yes, I did see your post on Facebook, but I quickly moved past it so I could see more adorable pictures of my son and his friends. Your pithy comments about your terrible football team are no match for my son and his friends in bear costumes on Halloween.
Sometimes I get frustrated, because at one time all of the things I cut brought value to my life. I enjoyed playing video games and following music and politics closely, and I appreciated hearing different views on the issues of the day. But choices have to be made, and the laws of time and space being what they are, something has to go on the chopping block.
For now, it’s reading “Moo Baa La La La” on the couch instead of getting lit up by some middle schoolers on Xbox. It’s getting lunches and sippies ready instead of watching the debates. It’s identifying my priorities and trying to move in that direction, rather than trying to do everything and missing out on much of it.
It’s being okay with moving at a slower speed. If this was a water park, I understand that I’m a lazy river person now. I’m hanging out in my tube, watching people ping pong between water slides and go to the deep end of the wave pool to see how long they can tread water.
You guys have fun. I’m gonna chill here. With this human I helped make. Just floating along.
Bobby McMahon is a writer and reporter in the Washington D.C. area. He writes about parenting, pop culture and other worthwhile endeavors. 


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