The meetings are held in the basement of a church near an all-night donut shop. Although both are helpful, the location is more about the donuts than the man upstairs. The chairs are arranged in a circle. The donuts are placed on an end table in the middle. They are a focal point. The embers of a fire that never goes out. There are always more donuts.
“It’s time to start the group.” The host says. “Thank you all so much for coming today. I see a few new faces and many familiar ones. Who wants to begin today? Tyler? How about you start?”
Tyler was seated in the circle directly across from the host. Although he was a regular to the support group he was hard to remember. He had an unassuming disposition and talked in a hushed voice. The others leaned in when he spoke because he was barely heard over the buzz of the box fans. It’s not uncommon for the grown up kids of dad bloggers to shun the spotlight. Growing up online was enough. Tyler was the norm.
“Hi, I’m Tyler. You all may know me as “Little T” from the SometimesHePoopsInHisPants.com blog.”
“Hi Tyler.com” The group said in unison. Adding a dot com to their name was a joke that caught on. A way to mock their dads who’ve chronicled their lives online since birth.
“I’ve made some progress since last week when I told you I was ready to talk him about his blog and how it has always been the third wheel in my relationships. He acted surprised that employers ask about the site and that first dates do their research before we meet. Secretly, I think he was adding up the page views in his head. He suggested that I add his link to my resume to help with search engine optimisation. He even asked if he could make me a match.com profile and put it on his blog. But, he listened and was receptive but... I caught him recording me. I haven’t seen it pop up on any of his feeds yet. With our conversation recorded at least I know he may listen to it later. The last time I had a serious talk with him he spliced my words into a Beastie Boys song that went viral. “Whatcha Whatcha... Whatcha Want!” with me replying “No More Blog.”
“I like your optimism.” Said the host. “We’ve all learned that they will not change and unless you are ready to hack and delete their pages we’ve got to find a way to live in their world.”
“Thanks. I tried to vary my pitch and volume to give him little to work with. He’s always been pretty good at sound editing though.”
“I’d like to go next.” Said Rachel as she sat down with a fresh donut. “I’m Rachel from SheWillAlwaysBeMyLittleGirl.com”
“My dad wrote me a letter this week responding to an email I sent him. All I told him was that I wished I didn’t have pictures of me online from every awkward age growing up. To him they may be cute and at the time maybe they were but now I can’t hide from them. I told him that when I look in the mirror all I see is every flaw from childhood. He seemed genuinely sympathetic and wrote me a poem.”
“That is really great, Rachel. Would you like to read it to us.”
“What moon songs do you sing your baby?
What sunshine do you bring?
Who belongs? Who decides who's crazy?
Who rights wrongs where others cling?
I'll sing for you if you want me to
I'll give to you
And it's a chance I'll have to take.”
Tyler squirmed in his seat and spoke up. “Oh man, Rachel. Holy shit! Your dad’s passing a Smashing Pumpkins song off as his poem to you. Damn! That’s low! I’ve had damn near every 90’s alternative song used as the backdrop in my childhood home movies. I hate that shit.”
“I knew it was too good to be true. I bet he spent more time choosing the font. He’s always going on and on about fonts. I think he only speaks to me in headlines sometimes.”
“Sorry about that Rachel. That really sucks. To you all. I’m new to the group. My name is Mark from ItsGonnaLeaveAMark.com”
“I thought I was alone all these years in my feelings. I thought I was being too selfish and judgemental and then I realized that it was he who was being selfish and narcissistic. There isn’t a movie from my youth out there for me to enjoy because all I see is my face cropped into the movie posters. I think my dad must have taken every movie made during my childhood and spliced me into it somewhere. What gave him the right to take that from me?”
“Your anger is justified Mark.com and your feelings are valid.” The host said. “May I suggest you watch something that he didn’t use?”
“I have! All I can enjoy is Japanese Animation and I hate Japanese Animation! I don’t know what’s going on and I always think I’m gonna have a seizure.”
“Most of us have tuned out from the digital world.” Said Rachel. “We get together and play parcheesi. You should join us after group. We don’t take pictures and listen to vinyl so there is no digital record. God, my dad would love to stream my listening habits online."
"My dad blogger would love to write a post about that." Added Mark.com.