Mike Dariano


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The First Snickers Bar (book excerpt)

Being a stay at home father I get to do a lot of things with my kids. We visit the playground and library, family and friends. We take day trips and clean our house and we get to go to the grocery store.

Getting to go to the grocery store with small children is like getting to fly on a plane with them or getting to get peed on, it’s not actually that much fun. I've managed to find a middle ground where I mostly ignore my kids and walk just fast enough through the store that if they’re walking they need to pay attention to keep up and if they’re riding in the cart, the scenery changes enough to keep them entertained.

I don’t mind going to the store with just them, because going with their mother isn't much more helpful. Yes, she’s another set of hands and eyes to keep our kids from wandering down the candy aisle (happened once) or getting stuck in a freezer door (partially happened once) or walking out holding something they've begun eating but haven’t paid for (take a guess). Her presence means that our cart magically gets twenty percent more expensive thanks to colored corn products - chips - and whatever snack du jour the aisle endcaps are promoting. She’s also a sucker for suckers, sweets, and candy bars.

Imagine there’s a line in the sand and if you cross that line you make a choice about your life. It’s portrayed literally and metaphorically in movies all the time and on our trips to the store it’s similar. I warm them going in, “if you cross that line, no treats for you.” Then, around the section of eggs and milk I say, “if you can still see that line from where you are, then you can have a treat.” By the time we get to check-out I’ll say in an exhausted voice “If anyone can remember what the line looked like they can pick out one, okay, two pieces of candy.”

One day, after staying near enough to the line, my wife decided to reward our children with candy bars at the checkout line and our five year old daughter selects a Snickers bar and I stupidly ask:

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