The storm is upon us as time runs out to unmask an alluring image of our divorce and family courts
Tonight’s college basketball game between Syracuse and Villanova harkens back to an incident twelve years ago when a member of the National League of Fathers, Inc. called in requesting a postponement of a meeting so that he could experience the same rivalry at the Carrier Dome.
Tonight’s game at 9 pm EST will be played at Madison Square Garden as part of the Jimmy V (Valvano) Classic, so it is unlikely that a similar request will be made. However, the phone conversation, as recalled today, helps explain why fathers continue to be discriminated in our nation’s divorce and family courts.
Unlike the hard-hitting advocates for special interests and women’s rights, many fathers or men’s rights groups continue to be misguided in their priorities. Some assume that fathers are inherently incapable of being parents and require education of some kind. Others feed the stereotype by recommending therapy and inspirational guidance (reimagination).
Still others cannot see the forest for the trees, providing no lobbying effort to secure meaningful reform. They view public protests as a gesture in futility, something beneath their high status, when laziness or depression is the true explanation. Finally, there are the self-appointed, voodoo lawyers giving useless advice while contributing nothing to the cause (keyboard warriors in the comfort of their homes).
The long-ago conversation mirrors what continues today, and it went something like this:
“Hey, this is Adam, and I’m wondering if you could postpone tonight’s meeting because Syracuse is playing Villanova at the Dome, and a lot of guys are going.”
“Well it’s too late for that, maybe you should’ve called sooner because too many dads are already attending our meeting. We can’t just cancel for a basketball game.”
“Too bad, ’cause more of us would be at your meeting if it could be changed. That’s just common sense.”
“Alright, let’s look at common sense. You’re asking us to postpone a long-scheduled meeting of concerned citizens so that you could attend a game which goes something like this: a group of five guys runs down a shiny wooden floor to throw an orange ball into the air with the hope it falls through a white net. When that happens, the scoreboard lights up and a bunch of people jump up and down with applause. That routine goes on until the group with the highest points finishes in time. Have I got this right?”
“No need to break my balls, I was just making a suggestion.”
“Break your balls? Seriously? Because while you’re playing with your balls, orange, white or brown, your opponents in the real world are getting bills passed and lobbying to preserve a gold mine with this antiquated, lucrative and incendiary child custody system. You were insulting all the hard work we do with that lame request, sacrifices that you take for granted. This is why you keep getting your butts kicked in divorce and family courts.”
“So how’s your meeting going to help me?”
“This is not all about you, and we can’t do much for you anyway while you’re at some ball game. Beyond that, without donations to rival the millions used to protect a gold mine, we can only do what we can. Our meeting seeks to turn the tide of a fatherless society that is causing suicides among veterans, escalating violence in our schools, crime in the neighborhoods and a total breakdown of moral fiber. You do understand this, don’t you?”
“Oh go screw yourself, you guys don’t know what you’re doing anyway. I may only have a GED, but I can do better.”
“Where, at tonight’s bleachers, jumping and yelling to no one who cares?”
DIAL TONE …