For what seems like the umpteenth time, I, Buck Crimshaw, 30-year veteran of news media and four-time New York Marathon spectator, find myself all friggin’ keyed up out in the garage, just pacing aimless because I’ve been too soft-boned with my youngest boy Crandley.

You’ll never guess what the hell I caught on my son’s left hand this morning. A damn thumb ring with a skull on it. Let me be clear: the only rings a man may wear are a pipe cut black tungsten wedding band and a New York Giants Super Bowl XXV championship ring. I saw that little dime store trinket wiggling on Crandley’s slender digit and just about lost my cheese on his goofy butt. First, he erased Octopussy off the DVR for that David Blaine malarkey, and now he thinks he can disgrace my breakfast table with an anime t-shirt and a mousy woman’s accessory on his finger?

Sorry, Sammy. Not damn likely.

I said, “Son, are you in a contemporary re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that I don’t know about, or are you actually a full-on candy bag?” He told me to stuff off. I said, “March.”

Next thing I knew we were in the dressing room at Eddie Bauer and he was fighting me about a pair of flannel-lined traditional fit denims that at least made him look like he had half a set.

Finally, I’d had enough. I faked a phone call with a guy I kept calling “Sergeant Headmaster” about a place called “Wempton Academy” until he agreed to wear the jeans and the MicroTherm StormDown Field Vest and we all got the hell on with our friggin’ day.

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I don’t know where I went wrong. Some nights I lie awake, wondering, is my son a nancy ass? Once, I believed that my Cran-man would wake up, burn his collection of Doc Martens, and pick up a lacrosse stick to fulfill his destiny, the way all Crimshaw men have. Now, I fear the worst?—?that my son, Crandley Thad Crimshaw, harbors dreams of a future in social work.

As a father, it is my duty to make sure that my son is properly trained to make a run on a blonde bombshell at any tailgate or First Communion. As a patriot and samurai of the American conservative thought movement, it is my civic duty to identify and publicly shame those that may tear a rift in the fabric of The American Way. These are my vocations in life. But what is a man to do when his family and his country are at odds?

Late last night, as I inspected Crandley’s book bag for glow sticks, Marxist literature, or other signs of undesirable behavior, I was shocked to find a folded-up photo of our family at the lake from several years back. As I traced the faces of my beloved offspring and held my thumb over the face of my ex Tamrantha, I realized that, no, my son is not like his siblings. He will probably never earn a full-tuition softball scholarship to Bucknell University like his sister Radison. He will not go viral for a forceful screed against the dangers of public radio like his brother Haylen. He will not be a titan of punditry and fact creation like his father, Buckley.

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But that’s okay.

Because, as I saw in the photo, he looks pretty much just like his mother and not at all like me or any of his seven siblings. It is more likely that he will be confused with an Icelandic prog-folk artist than recognized as a Crimshaw. I remain blessed.

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