My daughter, Tammi, once said, “Dad must have saved our family about a million dollars in household repairs.” I admit that I can fix many things and enjoy working around the house but a million dollars in savings is an exaggeration. However, the importance of my skills and the resulting value to our family was made quite clear one Sunday afternoon.
When Tammi married, she and her husband frequently called on me to help with home improvements and maintenance in their household. Her three girls—six year old Brady, and two year old twins Courtney and Whitney—have grown up watching “Papa fix” many of the broken objects that they have seen during their short lives.
Just a week earlier, the girls had stood patiently by my side as I disassembled, spliced, and reassembled The Great Mouse Detective videocassette. They then hugged me happily while telling their mother, “Papa fixed it, Papa fixed it,” as the video began playing.
On this special Sunday afternoon, I was resting comfortably on the sofa, my mind drifting back and forth between the NASCAR race on television and bream fishing on Bashi Creek, when the telephone rang.
Tammi said, “I want you to know these girls insisted that I call you.”
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“They were watching The Little Mermaid when the power on our street went off,” Tammi continued.
I could hear the twins in the background saying, “Papa fix it, Papa fix it.”
Tammi continued, “I told them that you couldn’t fix this problem but they wouldn’t hear me. They kept insisting that I call you, that you could fix it. What do you want me to tell them?” I could hear the concern in her voice. This event could make me human to her children. I would no longer be superman.
My analytical mind raced. What do I say? Will I have to admit to the girls that I can’t walk on water, that there are some things that I can’t fix? What would I say if this were the plant supervisor calling with a similar problem? I can’t say that. Words formed in my mind and I was about to speak when I heard Courtney and Whitney shouting in the background, “Papa fixed it, Papa fixed it.”
Tammi said, “I want you to know the power just came back on. The girls took off to get back to Ariel. Somehow, you have just been saved. They believe you fixed it.”
“I’m certainly not going to tell them anything different,” I said. “Some days I would rather be lucky than good.”
“I guess you are,” Tammi said. “Let me go start the video.”
“Okay, bye. We’ll talk later,” I said.
I hung up the telephone just in time to watch Dale Earnhart win the race. I lay back on the sofa and thought; I am lucky, so very lucky. It is a wonderful feeling to have someone who believes in me. Super Papa for little while longer.
Written by Wayne Brady on August 1, 2002 about about ten years after it happened.