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On the Bookshelf: Jim Gaffigan's "Dad Is Fat"

alec vanderboom

Jim Gaffigan is a comedian who has a comedy routine "Mr. Universe" available for downloading at a family friendly price of only $5. His older shows are available on Netflix and You Tube. My kids and I love him! One typical joke that my child who adores camping loves to quote is this:

"My wife likes to go camping. She says its a tradition in her family. It was a tradition in everyone's family before they invented houses!"

Gaffigan's book Dad is Fat is funny! Yet even more than his comedic monologues, this book is tender and sweet and real. Gaffigan and his wife are comedians/theater geeks raising 5 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment in New York City. In terms of being the Odd Family Out, the Gaffigan family of 7 face social judgments in the extreme. All this friction has produced a deep feeling of peace in Gaffigan's soul that is super reassuring for the rest of us Catholic laity.

Here is a quote I love that can so apply to my experience as a blogger.

 "Occasionally I receive comments that associate my musings with being anti-family or somehow dissuading people from having kids.... This could not be further from the truth. I love being a parent and enjoy finding the humor in parenting. If you complain about how you spend your Saturdays taking your kids to birthday parties, that means you are taking your kid to birthday parties. If you complain about how hard it is to get your kid to read, it means you are trying to get your kind to read. If you are complaining about your kid not helping around the house, that means you have a fat, lazy kid. You joke about it. That's how you deal. If parents don't like being a parent, they don't talk about being a parent. They are absent. And probably out having a great time somewhere... Failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent." (pg 24-25. bold type is my addition)

I'm so stealing that line as my defense against the mean thought police who patrol the Catholic blogosphere-- "Failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent." It's not my job to sell NFP or gain new recruits by painting a picture perfect world of Motherhood inside a large Catholic family. My job is to stay sane--which I define as staying connected to the God of Truth and Mercy. Failure and laughter are the signs of a sane parent!

Thank you Gaffigan for writing a great book about Fatherhood that I I swallowed whole in one sitting!