An anthology of minitales that couldn't be padded to full-column length--or sold to Reader's Digest on short notice.

If Uri Geller, What Am I?

As my wife walked our son home from kindergarten in the company of a new classmate and his mother, the kids got into a bitter argument. The battle concluded with the neighbor boy yelling, "Oh, yeah? Well, your father is a great big fat stupid!"

"Justin!" exclaimed his mom. "How would you know?"
("Maybe he's psychic," my wife quipped after telling me that story. Our lawyers are talking.)

Photographic Memory

Here's a post-holiday anecdote to chill the cockles of your heart. My son's Christmas booty included an Instamatic camera, complete with film. Naturally, I was flattered when he asked me to pose for his very first snapshot.

"This way," he explained, "when you get old and die, I'll be able to remember you when I look at the picture!"

How comforting to know that when I'm gone, I'll only be semiforgotten. Until he loses the picture.

Flirtus Interruptus

I can't help it. I like flirting with young, pretty hair stylists while getting my biannual trim. But almost always, we end up sharing notes about our children.

"And how many kids do you have?" asked my last barber babe.
"Two," said I in my deepest, sexiest voice.
"Oh," she chirped. "Are they still living at home?"
From now on, I'm cutting my own hair. As long as I have some.

Flop Sweat

Boy: Hey, Dad. I've got a joke. Why did the tiger jump on the giraffe?
Man: I give up. Why did the tiger jump on the giraffe?
Boy: Because he wanted to ask him if he's a giraffe! Here's another one. Why did the dog go, "Ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff"?

Man: I give up. Why did the dog go "Ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff"?
Boy: Because he wanted to be a bone!
Man: Okay. Now I've got a joke for you. What is a ghost's favorite amusement-park ride?

Boy: I give up.
Man: The roller GHOSTER!
Boy: Dad, that's not funny.

Snow Problem

At the peak of the local cold snap a couple of weeks ago, my wife stepped outside, sized up the prevailing weather condition, and told my son not to be surprised if it snowed. Then she left for work.

With visions of snowmen, snow forts, snowball fights, bobsled races and sleigh rides dancing in his head, the lad went wild: "Dad! Dad! It's gonna snow! Mom says it's gonna snow! Aren't we lucky? It's gonna snow!"

It killed me to have to tell him that if it snowed at all, it wouldn't snow much.

"Will I be able to build a snowman?" he asked.
No, honey.
"Not even a teensy one?"
Afraid not.
"How about a snowball?"

No . . . The poor kid's hopes were almost completely dashed when he asked, "What will I be able to do, then?"

"Well," I responded, groping, "you, um, ahh . . . maybe you'll be able to catch a snowflake with your tongue!"

I half-expected the boy to burst into tears. After all, what could be more disappointing than having all of your most exciting winter-wonderland fantasies instantly reduced to the 50 percent chance of a cold, unusually damp tongue? But my son didn't cry.

"Wow!" he said. "I've never done that! Let's go outside, Dad! We might miss a snowflake!"

For those who can't understand why anyone would bother having kids, there's the answer. You don't miss a snowflake.

And as an extra added bonus, you'll always be remembered. Provided they don't lose your picture.

"Let's go outside, Dad! We might miss a snowflake!

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Michael Burkett