May 12, 1905 [The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog]

My three children—my indulged, exuberant, free-willed, incorrigible children—have been saluting me lately with the chorus from a popular song; I believe Lew Dockstader's minstrels have initiated this musical outrage:

Everybody works but father,
He sits around all day,
Feet in front of the fireplace
Smoking his pipe of clay.
Mother takes in washing,
So does sister Ann.
Everybody works at our house
But my old man.

All I can offer is, if only it were so! In any case, they dutifully warble this satire as I arrive home, a pseudo-scornful greeting with sunny grins, as I thunder the final two lines with them.

And at the moving picture show more pleasant derision: the "Dam Family" postcard come to life. We are presented with animated portraits of each of the Dams—close-up busts of "I.B. Dam," "U.B. Dam," and so on, each enacting a miniature, tried-and-true gesture—sneezing, preening, smoking, crying (the baby)—until they sit at table—and the Dam dog pulls off the tablecloth and "all fall down." Nothing original here—excepting that the dog gets all the laughs, while it seems that the the family lines up simply to be ruined at meal-time.

It appears we Dam fathers have little to look forward to: jeering tunes at homecoming, soup on our laps at dinner. I wouldn't have it any other way.


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