Leave it to my pre-teen daughter to make me feel like a caricature. Or more accurately, the dad on whom the caricature could be based.
We were at the dinner table earlier this week when she took one look at the rapture on my face and said, “Geez, you’re the dad on “Johnny Test.”
I’m not totally unfamiliar with “Johnny Test.” It’s a cartoon the kids watch. But since it’s not “Pawn Stars,” “Ink Master” or ”Duck Dynasty,” I didn’t get the reference.
My daughter picked up on my confusion because then she said, “He’s obsessed with meatloaf.”
She was clearly not impressed with our meal.
We were having meatloaf for the second night in a row. Specifically, meatloaf sandwiches that anyone but my daughter would walk a mile for.
I had carefully (lovingly?) reheated the left-overs in a skillet with a little olive oil and then served each slice on lightly buttered toast. Add some cheese on top and the resulting sandwich melts in your mouth.
As with the characters on “Johnny Test,” my daughter, however, remains openly disgusted with anything having to do with meatloaf.
Still, her reference to Johnny’s hapless dad piqued my curiosity, so I conducted a little research. Netflix readily turned up the show. I watched a few episodes, paying particular attention to the bits that include Hubert Test. I then found a profile of Hugh on the Internet.
My daughter may have sought to use her comparison as a way to get me to stop making meatloaf, but now I sort of identify with Johnny’s dad.
After all, we have meatloaf in common.
Plus, he’s a house husband.
My wife would probably dispute my self-proclaimed house husband status. But the thing is, that’s what I am for at least a few days each week.
It’s the result of my schedule.
I work nights and weekends.
That means I’m often home alone during the day.
Which means there is trouble if I don’t show enough gumption to at least pick up here and there when no one’s around to get in the way.
Believe me, I’d rather nap while the kids are in school and my wife is at work. But between bathrooms that need to be scrubbed, dishes that need to be cleaned and put away and grimy floors that need to be mopped, a nice little siesta in the middle of the day is not going to happen.
Which probably explains why Hugh Test is, well … a little testy. He’s always threatening to ground Johnny and his brilliant twin sisters, who use Johnny as an often-willing guinea pig in their science experiments.
Hugh’s Internet profile also says he relishes ruining Johnny’s day. Given that Johnny always seems to be on the verge of destroying everything around him, I can’t blame dear old dad.
Besides, show me a dad who doesn’t at least secretly delight in annoying his kids, and I’ll show you a meatloaf even my daughter can sink her teeth into.