The greatest contribution anyone can make to the rest of the world is to stay at home as often as possible.
Folks, this is extra true during a pandemic!
But many of our peers have noticed a specific challenge with quarantine efforts: America’s dads are too rambunctious to be contained. Our rowdy dads require non-stop monitoring, lest they sneak off to the PGA Tour superstore “just to wander around.”
The situation demands stern action. If our nation’s dads cannot park themselves in one spot for a while, despite parking in one spot being the only thing they actually enjoy doing, then it’s time to enact a protocol.
1. The Hardware Store Honeypot, by Ryan
Dads love a project, even if dads have extremely different levels of project competence. (As a dad, I can tell you I’m in the lowest quartile.) Stuck at home, this natural urge overwhelms the typical dad. We have to install crown molding! It’s time to finally put some topiaries in! Let’s change every light fixture in the house! And with hardware stores deemed essential businesses in most states, it’s even harder for dads to resist the siren song of PVC.
Rather than fight this impulse, I propose we use it to our advantage. Leave the hardware stores open and make two crucial changes. First, rig the stores to block cell phone signals. Second, once a dad enters the store, he is trapped there for two months.
“Dads will revolt! They’ll be furious that you’ve imprisoned them!” you claim. I disagree, for the following reasons.
- With their phones not getting service, most dads won’t notice they’ve been trapped for days, maybe weeks.
- Hardware stores have all the foods dads need – jerky, trail mix, Gatorade. We don’t have to worry about the dads going hungry.
- Once the dads realize they’ve been locked in the store, they’ll decide to make the best of it. Come on, fellow dads! We’re gonna build a gazebo because I saw Bob Vila do it on TV a few months ago. By the time quarantine’s been lifted, the dads will have created all sorts of handmade crafts, which we can then donate.
- Dads are gonna love sleeping in the hardware store. REALLY ROUGHIN’ IT OUT HERE, AREN’T WE FELLAS? ALWAYS KNEW I HAD THE SOUL OF A PIONEER.
2. Make dad become the grilling endurance champion he wants to be, by Spencer
Dad wants to grill. If he doesn’t, then deep inside, he secretly wants to learn to grill. This stereotype is true for many reasons, mostly because it is a legitimate form of usefully channeled arson, and because no one can talk to him if he is alone in a cloud of choking charcoal smoke.
Dad needs to provide for the family. Even the rowdiest dads acknowledge this, even if they are the variety of dad who believes picking up pizza represents “foraging for the tribe’s dinner.” This isn’t denigrating that, by the way. Our ancestors would approve of a Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready on deck, especially because, unlike an antelope, it cannot run for miles.
Dad likes fire. He probably does. If he doesn’t, as mentioned above, he will like the unbothered quiet of being next to it.
Dad therefore needs to channel all these needs by grilling every day for hours on end.
- Rowdy dads tend to believe they would be successful off-the-grid pioneers, so have them prove it. Know what’s not on the grid? Know what the man can’t charge anyone for? Fire, that’s what, because fire is like a Rowdy Dad. It’s free and untamed. ($1,000+ deluxe Big Green Egg, chimney starter, applewood smoker chips, $90 digital no-touch infrared surface thermometer, and $300 custom Japanese knife set not included.)
- Dad cooks all the things. This is where families can get creative with their Rowdy Dads. One might think Rowdy Dad only wants to cook meat. Incorrect! Rowdy Dad will throw anything onto the grill to validate the two months of mortgage payments spent on it. He’ll empty boxes of cereal and whole produce bins onto the fire as tribute to Hephaestus if he has to, and some if it might be even turn out to be good. (Grilled fruit: Actually good!) No one has to eat the smoked ice cream though. It is very bad, and not even he believes in his heart of hearts that it is good.
- Dad gets social interaction by posting grill pics on Instagram with other dads, creating an account with 40 pictures of food, three of the dog, and zero human faces. Captions include things like “whoa,” “did some business on the BGE,” and “beef time!”
- Dad goes to bed without unnecessary exposure to other people and smelling like smoke.
- Repeat until stay-at-home order is lifted.
P.S. Don’t tell him about making a wok burner with the proper BTUs by pointing a roaring box fan at a lit chimney starter, unless you trust you Rowdy Dad with a personal jet engine in his backyard.
3. Chill the Masters, by Holly
The hallowed dales and whatevers of Augusta National lie still and quiet this spring, unable to serve their primary function of making even the rough-housingest of Azalea Belt dads lie still and quiet in recliners. The Masters is the most reliable Dad Nap Save-The-Date in the sporting calendar, but fear not: The most expensive screensaver in sports is also the easiest to replicate.
What, after all, is the Masters truly about for most of its viewing audience, the overwhelming majority of which are either dads or dad-adjacent? It’s not the golf, not really. It’s the chance to nod off in one’s Good Chair for hours at a time, with intermittent squinting at acres of verdant lawn you did not have to mow and flowering bushes you will never be called upon to mulch.
The event itself is very close to immaterial, and solutions to spackle this pothole in the vernal nap agenda are as abundant as azalea blooms:
- Replay last year’s tournament.
- Send a drone whirring over the empty, rolling hills and beam the soothing footage into dens nationwide. Do it again in primetime, as a treat. Tomorrow, replay it again. The next day, the same. And the next, and the next, and the next
- Better still, go ahead and play the dang tournament, one lonesome golfer at a time. No spectators, no caddies, just a bunch of widely spaced gents in pastel brocades, alone with their thoughts and their special grass-bashing sticks.
They might even prefer it this way; lord knows the powers of Augusta National would. Time enough at last, eh fellas?
4a. Phase one: OPERATION AQUA-RANTINE, by Jason
Despite our best efforts, dads continue to break contain. They must be stashed. But it must be somewhere happy and safe.
And where are dads happier than on a body of water? Whether it’s a lake, ocean, creek, or pond, a quiet body of water is the only place our nation’s dads ever truly want to go.
There are about 70 million American dads, according to a government webpage called Dad Stats.
Meanwhile, the United States has 264,837 square miles of coastline, lakes, and rivers, according to a different government webpage.
If we place 264 dads within each square mile of American water, each water-bound dad will have ample room for dad stuff like floatin’, thinkin’, fishin’, reminiscin’, drinkin’, and hollerin’, all without breaching another dad’s quarantine space. This population density is less than that of 11 different states, including some with big ole stretches of nothing, such as Florida and Pennsylvania. Plenty of dad room.
This number doesn’t even count glaciers or marshes. Add those into our equation, and we could stow thousands of Alaskan and Gulf Coast dads, respectively, thus lessening the dad strain on our more liquid-y waterways.
But we’re not done.
4b. Phase two: OPERATION FIGHT FATHER WITH FATHER, by Jason
We can cut our Lake Dad Density in half and ensure these dads stay put by deputizing one half of dads, chosen via dad-approved randomization method (coin flip by Paul Tagliabue), as Lake Watchers. Their jobs will be to make sure no dads leave their water spots, neither for another dad’s water spot nor to encroach onto dry land.
We will also tell lake-bound dads that their jobs are to make sure the Lake Watchers do not enter any boats.
It’s like when you’re responsible for two toddlers for four hours, so you secretly tell each of them they’re in charge, and then they spend four hours canceling each other out in parliamentary scuffles.
Sure, this is kind of a Stanford Prison Experiment, which means we’re risking some of our Lake Watchers becoming Lake Tyrants and ordering their assigned dads to deliver them catfish tributes each day, and then there’s a big dad uprising, and then they all do some good hollerin’ about which of them is the new Lake Watcher. But so what? All of this is preferable to them disappearing to Best Buy “in case they got anything good.”