What if my kid doesn’t find me funny?

Jessica H. Johnson
Trying to pick up parenting skills from strangers at the park.

During my mom’s birthday celebration two years ago, she started talking to my wife’s stomach. Her caresses were directed at our future child. Her excitement to be a grandma again was undeniable. She told her future grandchild how excited she was to hold them and shower them with her love.

It was a sweet moment that would make anyone cry. Too bad Evelyn wasn’t pregnant.

My mom’s desperation to be a grandma to one of my kids can be described as thirsty. There is no birthday celebration, Mother’s Day fiesta, or an ordinary carne asada gathering that goes by where my mom doesn’t ask Evelyn and I when we’ll start to pop children out into the world.

It’s like she doesn’t even care about how we are doing unless we give her a child.

In September of this year, we will be celebrating our fifth year of marriage and the pestering has now entered uncharted threat levels. The comments have an undertone of kidnapper mixed with an anxious woman waiting for someone to get laid.


I hope my baby smells as good as this coffee. (Jessica H. Johnson)


“If you wait too long, I’ll be too old to care for it.”

“If you wait too long, you’re going to put your body in danger.”

“If you wait too long, you’re going to be too old to play with it and that’s child neglect. I will call Child Protective Services on you!”

Ok, fine. The last one is an exaggeration but the spirit of her threats is ingrained in that fabricated statement.

After two years of back-to-back Coachella trips, a three-week euro-vacation and a grad school graduation, Evelyn and I decided that it’s time to start trying. There’s just one small little, tiny hurdle to overcome–I’m scared as fuck.

I’ve brought up my fears to different fathers in my life and they all have the same response.

“No one’s ever ready to be a father.”

Great, so what you’re trying to say is that I have to fuck up in real time? Nice.

What now?

Well, when I was seeing a therapist, he recommended I write my anxieties on paper in order to help reduce my stress. Let’s give it a try.

Here we go. I am going to write down my fears of being a father for two reasons:

  1. To overcome my anxiety of becoming a dad by giving them tangible form that allows me to see how ridiculous they are.
  2. It’s cheaper than hiring a therapist.


Watching kids programing


Sliding into my new era like… (Jessica H. Johnson)


When my nephew was a toddler, he was obsessed with the song “Hickory Dickory Dock.” The song and video played on a loop. It felt like I was stuck in some sort of hell where I was being tortured for thinking the Easter bunny gave birth to Jesus Christ in a Walmart plastic egg.

As a person who spends 80% of his free time watching TV and calls himself a pretentious film critic, the idea of watching kids programming scares me. Think of all the bad shows I have to endure just because I want to feel like my life has meaning?

I don’t think I am ready to watch kids shows and only kids shows FOR-EV-ER. I love great media so much that switching over to shows like “Cocomelon” and “PAW Patrol” would feel like God is punishing me for all the years I used a condom.


Making my child my personality

When I do have kids, this coffee will come in handy. (Jessica H. Johnson)


I pride myself in having a personality. My family always wants me to sit at the front seat of an Uber drive because they know I can start a conversation about anything with anyone.

Whenever my sister-in-law finds herself in a silent moment of awkwardness, she remembers a motto my family coined “WWAA” or “What would Anthony ask?”

Ninety percent of parents in my life turn their children into their personality. The number is a rough estimate but I also think I’m being generous.

They only talk about their kids.

They only post about their kids on social media.

We could be talking about the constant war happening around the world and the conversation will always end with how their kids poop got out of their diaper and all over their back when they had milk for the first time.

I don’t want to be that parent.

Of course, I will talk about my kid. My life will revolve around raising an outstanding citizen of the world.

But if I stop getting invited to outings with my friends because they’re tired of me telling the story of how my child looks like me when he throws up, I will need to hire a therapist. As established before, I can’t afford therapy now, what makes you think I can afford it with an extra mouth to feed?


What if my kid doesn’t find me funny?

Here’s to a spirit of adventure. (Jessica H. Johnson)


When Evelyn and I got married, I made a promise to her. I promised her she would have pure comedy entertainment from me 24 hours of the day, seven days a week.

We’re in year four, going on 5 and the laughs just keep on coming. What if my child doesn’t find me funny?

All those character faces I have created…

All that money I’ve spent on comedy sketch writing class…

All that time I spent watching old Conan O’Brien clips at work…

All that time would go down the drain with my aspirations of not being a regular dad but a cool dad.

My confidence would be at the lowest it’ll ever be if my kid doesn’t find me funny. Being a funny father is the role I’ve been working for since the first time I laid eyes on that self-depricating red head named Conan O’Brien.

I’d rather be boo’ed by a crowd of strangers, get called the worst comedy writer of all time and go on the Joe Rogen podcast than my child saying, “What’s wrong with dad? Why doesn’t he make me laugh like you, mom?”

Quick FYI, just thinking my kids find Evelyn funnier than me makes me want to cry. No offense, Evelyn.


Messing them up

See? I’m going to need that coffee. (Jessica H. Johnson)


Yes, I am a very silly man. I thrive on clowning. I stay clowning. Hanging out with me can be joke, joke, joke and more jokes. Some find it fun, others may find it annoying.

What if my kids align themselves with the “others?” What if I turn my child into the butt of the joke too many times that they would need therapy to overcome their daddy issues?

What’s the point of saving all this money by writing down my fears to avoid therapy? I need to learn how to control my sense of humor.

Or, what if I turn my child into a comedian? I don’t know how I would deal with them being a poor artist. I don’t think I can afford to support them for the rest of their lives, I’M A POOR ARTIST MYSELF!

I need them to learn from my bad career choices and pick a job in science like their mom. Evelyn cannot withstand two annoying artists pitching her ideas all the time.


Kids like to tell teachers their business

Ok, maybe my kid will be more adventurous. (Jessica H. Johnson)


I work at an elementary school at an after school program where I’m in charge of signing the students out to their parents.

During my walk from the student’s class to the exit, they manage to spill the beans on all their family drama. They have no sensor. I’ve had kids tell me they have two houses, one owned by dad and the other by mom.

Can you imagine the kind of trauma dumping my kids will have?

“Daddy doesn’t let us talk to him while the Simpsons are on.”

“Daddy likes to pretend he lost me anytime he looks up because I’m so short.”

“My dad laughs at his own jokes so hard, he pees himself.”

The adults need to understand that I started working out my sphincter muscle very late into my adult life. No one told me that muscle existed until I got to college.


Did it help?

Jealous, future kids? (Jessica H. Johnson)


Most of these fears are ego-centric. They are fears that are fabricated by my pop-cultured-filled brain. If I follow the model my parents set for me, I will be perfectly fine. This exercise has helped kill the ego.

When Evelyn and I do end up having kids, they will be our world. They will dictate every decision we make. They will definitely be loved and I will make it my life mission to be a great dad–I just hope they don’t read this early in their lives.

But, since the internet is forever, I need to take the time to address them, they are definitely going to google me and find this article.

Kids, hi. It’s your dad talking to you from the year 2024. I don’t know how old you are (is?) Hopefully it’s not more than we could afford.
I hope I learned a lot from this exercise. I hope I am a good father. I hope I taught you what an IRA is early in your life because you need to start investing in Fortune 500 companies as soon as possible.

It’s the only way to own a house nowadays and I am sure nothing has changed.

I know how important it is to me to be a good father and I hope I haven’t disappointed you.

PS. Don’t worry, the bag of coffee in the picture isn’t in my will.

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