Welcome to “Daddy Food,” a column in which writer Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) explores the (often hilarious) realities of eating when you have small humans to feed as well as yourself.

When I was in the eleventh grade, I was given the opportunity to attend this out-of-city field trip through my high school. It was a college prep thing, so it was just a group of book kids and two or three pre-AP English teachers. They were going to take us to visit the University of Texas in Austin and show us what it was like to not drop out of school and work at a tire shop, which is the future most of the kids at my school had in store for them.

I remember being very proud to be invited, in part because I mostly underachieved in school, but more so because it was going to afford me the chance to spend several hours with a girl that I liked without fear of her very large boyfriend materializing. I went home and told my parents. My dad: “No. You’re not going.”

“It’s for school,” I told him. “It’s free,” I told him. “They’re taking me to see a real college,” I told him. “You don’t have to do anything at all,” I told him. “This is only a good thing,” I told him. “No,” is all he growled back. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t understand how he could say no and he definitely didn’t give an explanation (Mexican dads don’t explain things to their sons except unless you count explaining how to not be a pussy—they explain the shit out of that). He’d said no to a lot of stuff I’d asked for before, but it was always like, “Dad, do you think I should get a Ninja Turtle tattoo?” or “Dad, how do you feel about me maybe becoming a professional breakdancer?” This school field trip seemed all good. His no completely flummoxed me. Until I had my own sons.

Mexican dads don’t explain things to their sons except unless you count explaining how to not be a pussy.

You know what dads do to sons? They say “no.” That’s just a thing you do. It’s a compulsion. I say no to shit all day. Unreasonable requests, reasonable requests; it doesn’t matter. I just say no. “Daddy, can I go outside and play?” No. “Daddy, can I watch a TV show?” No. “Daddy, wanna see how good I am at hugging?” What? No. Get the fuck away from me, chump. Sometimes I don’t even let them ask. They walk up like, “Daddy…” and I’m like, “Nope. Whatever you’re about to say or ask or do; nope. Nope. Not interested.” That’s why Halloween is so dope for me and so shitty for them.

Yes, we’ll go trick or treating this coming Thursday. And they’ll have a good time. They’ll run from house to house while wife and me and baby walk behind them making sure nobody tries to touch their penises or stab them or whatever. They’ll collect a bunch of candy. And then we’ll all go home. They’ll ask me to eat a couple pieces of candy before they go to bed and that’s the one time I’ll say “yes.”

(NOTE: This, of course, is always prefaced with an, “Okay, sure. But let me check it for poison or razor blades first.” No dad has ever actually examined Halloween candy though. What we do is just glance at it for less than a second and if there isn’t something immediately and obviously wrong, like a severed finger or an old broken glass crack pipe mixed in, then we’re like, “Looks good. Go nuts.” They’ve probably eaten all sorts of rat pellets tucked inside tiny Snickers bars or whatever. It builds character.)

A Halloween drawing by the twins.

A Halloween drawing by the twins.

Anyway, so that’ll be the one time I say yes. After that, all that their bags of Halloween candy serve as are hostages and torture devices. “Oh, you didn’t finish your school work yet? Okay. I see. Here, sit down right here and watch me eat three of your most favorite candies in this bag.” “Oh, you were disrespectful to your mother. Watch me eat all your Whoppers now.” “Oh, you’re asking me to take you to the doctor because your stupid baby arm is broken? Cool. Sure, I’ll take you. But first sit there and watch me gobble down these Sixlets. Are you watching this? ARE YOU WATCHING THIS, SON? SIXLETS ARE SO FUCKING DELICIOUS. DON’T YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE ONE? HERE. TAKE THIS ONE!” And then I throw a single Sixlet at my son and shout, “EAT IT OFF THE FLOOR LIKE THE ANIMAL YOU ARE.”

Ugh. Halloween is the worst. Kids are stupid. Don’t have kids. Have sex but don’t have kids. Bye.