White Coat Underground


I woke up early this morning. Rather than run out the door to the office, I showered, started some coffee, walked upstairs, and sat down on the bed next to my daughter. She turned, grunted, and said, “Too early!” I sat for a while and watched her drift in and out of sleep.

“Daddy, it’s too early!”

“Honey, do you know what day it is?”


“It’s graduation day!”

A hint of a smile. She started nudging around some of her stuffed animals that were tucked in next to her. Within a couple of minutes, she was awake and we were rolling around, overcome by laughter at absolutely nothing.

Graduation from pre-school was cute. They wore gowns and homemade mortar boards, sang some songs and ate cake. My pager only went off a couple of times, and I asked the service to hold all non-emergent calls. We went to lunch at her restaurant of choice, and I dropped her off at my folks house for her usual Friday visit. Then, off to flu-central.

At three p.m., my cell phone rang, which was a bit of a miracle. The clinic is underneath the old radiology department, and cell signals don’t get through that often. It was my dad.

“Hey, Pal, do you know how I can reach your wife?”

“I assume she’s making full use of the empty house and napping soundly,” I said.

“Um, well, maybe you can help.” (The husband is always second-best.)

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, your daughter decided to brush her hair, and, ah, now the brush is completely tangled up. We’ve been trying for over a half an hour to get it out, and I’m not cutting anything without MrsPal’s permission.”

“Jesus, Dad, don’t cut anything! Look, take her to the hair salon down the street and ask for Terry. He’ll fix it.”

When I got to my folks’ for dinner (lamb chops, nom!) PalKid’s long, beautiful hair was intact, the brushectomy having been performed by a professional without complication.

The day ended as it started, me and my kiddo lying in her bed, cuddling and laughing, until she was so tired that she’d lost the will to beg me to stay.

Morning, evening, a perfect day.


  1. #1 storkdok
    June 5, 2009

    Very sweet! Congrats on the graduation!

  2. #2 Ames
    June 6, 2009

    What a touching entry! Your daughter sounds wonderful, and she’s got a great dad 🙂

  3. #3 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 6, 2009

    Awwwwwww …..


  4. #4 Larry Ayers
    June 6, 2009

    What a touching post! My kids are grown and dispersed, but your account reminds me of the Good Old Days of raising children.

  5. #5 DebinOz
    June 6, 2009

    Kids are the bestest!

    I have two teenage girls, and a 22 yo Asperger’s blind son. The girls will still ask for a pony when we have to go to the supermarket!

    My two girls are totally cool, sympathetic, responsible, scholars, alternative…..

    It has been a pleasure and a privilege raising these human beings to contribute to an enlightened world!

  6. #6 Marilyn Mann
    June 6, 2009

    I have a 16-year-old daughter. Currently, her hair is blue, red and purple.

  7. #7 DebinOz
    June 6, 2009

    LOL at #6,

    My 16 yo has her nose and belly-button pierced, hasn’t combed her hair in eons, speaks Japanese, gets amazing grades at school, has a job, and tells me off for being cynical! Go figure.

  8. #8 AATFS
    June 6, 2009

    You really must stop ruining the stereotype of the cold, unfeeling, big pharma shill with all these heartfelt, loving glimpses into your family life. Really. Think of our “researchers” who depend on that particular stereotype so they can make a living off the fear and ignorance of the American people. It’s not fair.


    Dr. Ambrose J. Piecrust “M.D.”
    Executive Director
    The California Academy of Tooth Fairy Science
    Duesberg Hall, Samuel Hahnemann Campus

  9. #9 The Blind Watchmaker
    June 6, 2009

    What is the procedure code for “brushectomy”?

    Sounds lucrative.

  10. #10 Donna B.
    June 6, 2009

    What a sweet child you have, and she’s very lucky to have you.

    My youngest is 27 now, but she did the same thing with the hairbrush. But, she was in 2nd grade and decided to do the “brushectomy” herself with scissors on the morning of her first Nutcracker performance.

  11. #11 llewelly
    June 7, 2009

    … I asked the service to hold all non-emergent calls.

    ’emergent’? Did you mean calls generated by an a emergent AI in the phone system?

  12. #12 Danimal
    June 7, 2009

    Luv your fatherhood posts.

  13. #13 The Perky Skeptic
    June 8, 2009

    So far, none of my brushectomies have required surgery, for which I am thankful. 🙂

  14. #14 Ranson
    June 8, 2009

    Brushectomy reminds me of an old comic strip:

    Mom: “Comb your hair.”

    Son: “I can’t find the comb.”

    Mom: “We can’t keep buying combs, John L!”

    Son: “It’s in here somewhere!” *rubbing head*

    Less funny in purely textual form, but familiar to anyone having a kid with long/curly/wild hair.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    June 8, 2009

    I never had children.Three years ago, my brilliant cousin died suddenly,leaving a devastated wife, teenage daughter,and elderly father.I made real effort to be a positive force in this girl’s life: in a few years she had lost three grandparents,her father, and then,last year her surviving grandfather.I happened to talk to her yesterday- she’s wonderful!Living “downtown”(NYC),studying architecture,searching for “sustainable solutions”,loves Jane Jacobs and Bob Dylan,wants to travel cross-country.I can *so* see the influence of her father and grandfather in her.Research shows that fathers are extremely important in girls’ development(as I know personally from my own experience as well).Pal, you’re doing a great job with *la jeune fille*.

  16. #16 catgirl
    June 8, 2009

    I got so many things stuck in my hair as a child, including several combs. I remember that I managed to get the comb out somehow most of the time, but there were a few times that required scissors. I still don’t understand why parents didn’t just get my hair cut short from the very beginning.

  17. #17 PalMD
    June 8, 2009

    I still don’t understand why parents didn’t just get my hair cut short from the very beginning.

    Because that would make her more grown up and less our baby girl and we would cry.

  18. #18 Ranson
    June 9, 2009

    We recently cut a foot or so off my little girl’s hair. If she would let us brush it regularly, or even just put in hair bows and ponytail holders, we likely wouldn’t have. I thought it was cool to have a two-year-old with hair almost down to her bottom.

  19. #19 Strider
    June 10, 2009

    Lucky bastard…

New comments have been disabled.