Scattered thoughts on how to answer the questions of fatherhood

Wondering what I would say if somebody asked me how it is to be a father I had two thoughts. My answers are found in two quotes below. The first I have used the second has as yet remained unused publicly.

The first:

“The cliché and hyperbole [of new parents] are all true.”

Let me explain. Somebody I look up to in literature is Martin Amis who has written about cliché. Disparaging the practice of what he says is lazy writing or speaking he seeks for original ways of saying how things are, or feel. Following Orwell he fights against the lack of creativity in language and does so well in his prose, even in interviews where he might not have thought to pre-prepare an answer. He does so in such a way that lets you appreciate the value he places on language.

“He is so cute. It’s tiring. Our lives have changed. I love him so much.” parents boast.

When my child farts, or burps, or what we endearingly call does a pukkie (emits spittle and reflux with a little more involuntary gusto than adults muster) as parents we at once chuckle, are delighted, and cannot contain our pride, while whipping the moist and often curdled white stuff off his lips and more often than not, our clothing. I know it might be a bore to others, but ours is a different world now, for a short time.

Amis uses hyperbole, as do many comedians and commentators often seeking to shock, or create an incongruity that builds tension into the meaning they are trying to put forward in their description and argument. Many of us enjoy this practice when we read. We sometimes—most of the time even—understand it as a valued way of making a point with rhetorical flourish.

The second answer I have thought about giving, but have never given, is a little more controversial:

“When we crucified Jesus, God died.”

It might not conform to an orthodox theological understanding of what happened ontologically to God [and the trinity] at the crucifixion. Yet, it is the thought which permeates my imagination (my rather morbid imagination in this instance ill admit), and it is what would be if my son died.

It is not meant as hyperbole. Nor can anybody describe it as a cliché. Death is never a cliché, and neither is life. However much you value language. Language is not big enough for that.

The idea is built into the life that we know, however much we detest it, or find solace in it.

Jesus died. He now sits at the right hand of his father. How ever much you love language. Or dislike hyperbole.

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