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I walked into Border’s Books & Music by the Dayton Mall as I had many times before. With barely a look as to where I was heading I walked directly to the rock music section, straight to the CD’s alphabetized under “G.” After scouring the section and looking around to see if my objective was possibly in another section, I boldly walked to the service counter, feeling as though I had either conquered new territory or was now a traitor to my fell broth-ers in the mystical men’s fraternity. A thirty seven year old man was actually asking for as-sistance! How many roads had I traveled over the years, miles away from my destination, but ever so determined to find it without stopping to ask for directions? How many aisles of the supermarket had I trod on an exhaustive search for an item, only to be redirected back to the area I had already combed? Not only was I about to launch my life into an entirely new direction as a father, but I was straying from my male heritage as well.

I offered my request to the associate. Her brow furrowed and she bit her lip. “Let me check. I have never heard of this group.” Her fingers tapped out a name on her computer keyboard and she began scrolling down a list. I opened the printed list sent me by my future son’s caseworker. He seemed to like most things you would expect of a twelve-year-old boy. In fact, he reminded me of my middle school students and what I had heard them discuss about what they do for fun.

She continued to scroll as I began looking around the department at the various posters. Since I taught choir and general music to middle school students, I was feeling pretty hip. I was up to date on all the slang terms so that I did not use one incorrectly (nothing is more embarrassing than to receive notes in your mailbox from colleagues – “Did you really say that in class?”). My “History Of Rock & Roll” unit was popular throughout the district and it was the thing all incoming 6th graders asked about the most.

“No, Sir, I do not see this group. Are you sure that is the name of the band?” she asked while still scrolling down the screen.

I double-checked the list. “Yes,” I nodded confidently. I figured the caseworker would have known what she was talking about having dealt with so many foster and adoptive chil-dren.

“Could it be a name of a song they perform?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Could I see it on your list? Maybe I am spelling it wrong.”

“How could you spell it incorrectly?” I wondered to my self, handing her the list.

The associate’s face reddened a bit and a smirk began to spread across her face. Her once furrowed brow relaxed to reveal a twinkling glimmer and the lip she had been biting during her search had broadened into a grin.

“Sir,” she chuckled, “this is an electronic hand held game, not a boy band. Game Boys are pretty popular these days.”

Having once asked a student in a general music class if he had a new family in his neighborhood because he mentioned “The New Kids On The Block,” I took this new infor-mation in stride.

I walked out of Border’s with newfound confidence. “I am a father!” I quietly exclaimed to myself. “I am as clueless as my own dad!”

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July 2005
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