Hoping for a Reaction

As a childless woman, I have to work extra hard to make a good dad-joke. In deferring to research for the proper silly science joke to open with here, I learned two things: 1) Chemists are not funny. 2) Schrodinger, as a pet-sitter, would get zero Yelp stars.

I would just come up with my own zingers, but I am so dense, my head is just a black hole. Maybe that is why Katie Bouman is the only person who comments on my selfies. We bonded over a mutual love of Tyra Banks’s seminal film, Life Size, which is why Bouman often tells me to “Shine bright, shine far; don’t be shy–be a star”.

In my never-yielding quest for the perfect nerdy dad-joke, I’m constantly seeking ways to be funnier and more fatherly. If Jeff Dunham can trick society into thinking he’s funny, and allegedly convince a woman to have sex with him, surely I too have what it takes to make some top-shelf wise cracks.

Eat Your Heart Out, Michael Keaton

Who needs a Mr. Mom when you can have a Mrs. Dad? Arguably, the first step in becoming a dad is having a kid.

Well…see, this is where we are at an impasse. Worry not, my friends, because I know exactly where to find kids. McWane Science Center!

At the risk of ending up on a watch-list, allow me to explain. This is not an encouragement or endorsement of kidnapping; prison sounds awful, and kids magically transcend the laws of natural science and are somehow simultaneously sticky and crusty. Seriously, children–pick a texture.

Instead, find a child in your family or friend group, and take them on an adventure to my favorite Birmingham playground.

Charles Entertainment Cheese has some clever means of entertaining tykes, but the wonders of science and the natural world far surpass the titilations of furry animatronics.

What sounds more fun? Scavenging for dinosaur bones like Sam Neill or fully submerging in a ball pit?

Side-note: Not to overstep, but I gotta wonder if parents and guardians fretting online about ballpit safety should be less preoccupied with whether your kids could go in the ballpit and consider if they should.

Besides, as any Five Nights at Freddy’s fan knows, those robotic rodents are demonic incarnations. I’m thinking that’s something better  reserved for someone’s first marriage, not their first year of primary school.

In my efforts to be the best Mrs. Dad this side of town, I’d opt for something that promotes creative thinking, education, and intellectual exploration.

Thirteen Going on Ninety-Three

Before I became a writer/grad student, my full-time job was entertaining older adults with dementia. This, my friends, was ideal training for becoming the Mrs. Dad I strive to become.

Largely because these older gents set a very high standard for some quality jokes. For example, I once told them we are going to spend our afternoon doing art, and a man responded, “I prefer my wife–I don’t even know Art.”


Over the course of my three years in Memory Care, I took several bus loads of my older adult friends to McWane Center, and every time I was thrilled with how friendly, responsible, and considerate the staff and management were. They made sure we were comfortable, tended to, and having fun. We were even able to eat in a private area at the center and privately explore the aquarium.

Everyone there was working to see my groups had exceptional experiences, and I witnessed other amazing stuff afoot too. Science mixed with humanity. It’s a good balance.

For example, with families who have special needs children, public options such as summer camps–or even just brief outings–can seem overwhelming. It’s amazing what the right fit and the right staff can provide a burgeoning little scientist, when the people there work hard to have something for everyone.

They Mostly Come Out at Day…Mostly

In my pursuit to become the perfect Mrs. Dad, I should also take some time out for my partner and me, right?

Sure, family trips are fun, but if the kids have chances to explore the amazement of STEM on their own at camps–the adults should have the same opportunity, right?


 …Yes. The answer is yes.

Take McWane After Dark, for instance. These are adults-only events where anyone old enough to understand my pop culture references gets access to the games and attractions of McWane Center, but with a more mature twist. The events are normally themed, much like any other museum, and we get to fiddle and experiment to our hearts’ content.

Like any good scientists, we found that a little liquid musing via cash bars and local brewery sampling didn’t. After all, if penicillin can be discovered thanks to a mistake, consider the discoveries that Mrs. Dad could stumble across after an Old Fashioned and access to lasers.

When I win a Nobel Peace Prize for science, I’ll be sure to remember the little people that helped me along the way.

Thank you, Jim Beam.

Luke, Am I Your Father?

In my quest to become the best dad, I’ve noted areas for self-improvement. Despite my numerous hours watching “Tool Time” reruns, I’m not up to par with 1990s-Tim-Allen levels of jokes, a mystical balancing of elements: equal parts cringe and wholesomeness.

Even after playing Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit on SNES (which is Super Nintendo, for those who actually had friends growing up), I’m unsure if I have what it takes to claim the title so many Father’s Day mugs proclaim.

Do I really have it in me to become the best dad in the world? Only time will tell us.

Even if my puns are currently lack-luster, this local resource has figured out how to offer programming for kids’ summer camps and zesty adult adventures, while teaching you something about at the same time about astronomy, engineering, or more terrestrial sciences. They have show us that anything is possible if you don’t limit yourself or your imagination.

Now, adorn your safety goggles, and prepare to hit 88 MPH in a DeLorean.

Let’s find out if I earned my mug.