This is a repost from a Tumblr series that I called “My perfect dad.” I’m preserving these older stories and continuing to write new ones available on this site first.

People have started to recognize me in public—at the grocery store, at the gym, even in the drive-thru. I used to enjoy the attention, and there’s a tiny part of me that still does, I guess. But ever since Son found out, it’s not been the same. 

It started with just some short videos on Instagram of me doing work around the house. I didn’t even know Son was recording me doing chores, raking leaves, and working out in the garage. When I started gaining a following, He had me do other stuff on camera. Embarrassing stuff. The most popular video so far was of me dropping a birthday cake on the floor and then falling face first into it. It was staged, but Son said I did a good job making it look real. 

Birthday cake smashed on the ground

At some point, companies started sending me stuff. Son made me make all kinds of videos testing food processors and trying gluten-free snacks. The worst was when W/we started getting shipments of underwear to the house.  

Everyone who recognizes me has been polite and complimentary, but it’s still humiliating. When it started happening, I didn’t say anything about it to Son. I didn’t want Him to find out because I knew it would only make things worse for me. And, well, it did. Son and I were at dinner together when He saw it happen for the first time. 

“Hey, you’re that dad on Instagram who makes all those funny videos!” 

I chuckled nervously and looked at Son. To the casual observer, His grin might be simple amusement, but I know my Son too well by now. The gears were turning in His mind. He was already thinking about how He could use this to His advantage. 

“Yeah,” I said to the couple who’d stopped in front of our table. “Thanks for watching.” 

The boyfriend pointed at Son. “Is that your Son?” I nodded, and the girlfriend let out a shriek-laugh. 

“Your dad is hilarious!” she said. I dared not look my Son in the eye. I could guess what He was planning. 

“Thanks,” Son grinned. “Hey, dad, why don’t you take a selfie with your fans?” 

I looked at Son and smiled. Of course. This was the absolute last thing I wanted to do, but Son commands, and dad obeys. Even appearing unenthusiastic about one of Son’s orders had been bred out of me a long time ago. I had been tamed. Housebroken. Controlled. 

I stood up and put my arms around the young couple, who were virtually jumping out of their skins with excitement. You’d think they’d just met a celebrity. 

“Hey, dad, say your catchphrase!” Son helpfully suggested, sending my humiliation out into orbit. My smile never wavered, and I made a double thumbs up. 

“I can’t get anything right, I’m just a dumb ole dad.”