Admittedly I am a flabby, gangly, shy, bespectacled, excessively polite, floppy haired nerd. But I’m also highly emotional. It’s not that hard to trigger me. Injustice makes me grind my teeth. I can barely listen to the news anymore in case my head explodes. If you harm my children. Mmmm. Mmmmmmmm. You may not be able to stop yourself laughing as I gangle towards you, crying behind my glasses and apologising profusely for what I am about to do, but it will be your last laugh.
“Bad day again today, Daddy.” My daughter sighs.
“Oh no. What happened?”
“It was a hitty day, Daddy. And a kicky day.”
“Come here. Give me a cuddle. Who hit you? Who kicked you?” I can feel myself triggering. My blood pressure is rising. I’m grinding my teeth. I dole out the hugs. She likes to tell me about anything bad that’s happened at school straight away to get some extra attention.
“It was Attila again.” According to my daughter Attila is the “king of the baddies”. She did have a brief period of thinking that she might be in love with him, but that passed, thankfully. I should mention at this point that my daughter is a very imaginative person. She has, in her head, several parallel universes, all creepily similar to ours.
I spend a sleepless night grinding my teeth and fantasising about kicking doors down. My wife tries to tell me not to worry so much, but it’s too late. I’ve turned into Liam Neeson.
“I’m going to see your teacher today. Tell me everything Attila has done to you. Everything. Leave no detail out, however small or insignificant you might think it is.”
My daughter looks confused for a moment, then laughs. “Oh Daddy, you are silly. That was just a Joke.”