I’ve been a stay at home dad for just about three years. I like to think I’ve taken to it pretty well, considering. Both of my boys still have all the fingers and toes they started with, are free from scurvy and, to the best of my knowledge, don’t yet know about the wondrous pixies who live, waiting only to play with children, inside matchbooks. I’ve grown so fond of them during our time together that I will now put my name at the top of the waiting list when I give them up for adoption.
Now my oldest son is starting school, which is not the same as it was “in my day.” Kindergarten in Omaha, Nebraska, when I was young, was a half-day exercise in socialization through napping and regimentation by graham cracker. Now it is a career. My son’s school day starts 45 minutes later than my wife’s workday and ends just over an hour sooner. I’m turning my progeny over to complete strangers for well on 40 hours a week. And, if they don’t like him, there isn’t even biological imperative to fall back on. They don’t care whether his genes get passed on. They don’t teach middle school.
And he gets twenty minutes for lunch.
Which is where I can sneak back into his day.
The first one I sent with him was a Batman bust made from a turkey and cream cheese on pumpernickel sandwich with white American cheese for the jaw and eyes, grapes and licorice bites for the night sky and hard-boiled egg with sushi nori for the Bat-Signal.
I confess I was a bit let down when I asked him how his lunch was, as his first response was that he hadn’t eaten it all. “I ate the grapes, and the candy, and the egg,” he continued, opening his lunchbox in the car and removing the sandwich box that houses his lunches. I thought to myself that maybe he didn’t like the pumpernickel, or worse, he didn’t want to eat Batman, which would really pretty much defeat the purpose of making these things. But then he took his sandwich out and said “and then we had to get up because the bell rang,” and took a big bite out of Bruce Wayne’s lantern jaw. I was relieved, happy, and not really at all surprised when he asked whether all of his lunches were going to be Batman.
No, son, they aren't all going to be Batman. But they are all probably going to violate copyright to some extent. And, when you're lucky, infringe on trademark.