Instead, I was taken to museums on weekends and given quizzes, written in big, block Dad font, about what I had learned from the exhibits. I got subscriptions to Stone Soup while my friends read Seventeen. And I sang in a professional children's choir while my peers played in rock bands.
So now, to make up for it all, I read chick lit. And memoir. And mainstream novels. And ad copy. And the back of cereal boxes. And yes, The New Yorker. Sometimes. The humor parts.
I've been quite content since I left college.
But recently I went to a writing class that was filled with people like my father. It was filled with Dads.
During the class, I quoted Bill Bryson because we were discussing grabbing a reader's attention and I love the way his book, The Lost Continent, begins: "I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to."
The Dads were offended that I would mention something so mainstream. Poor Bill Bryson. Where did he go wrong?
Then I said I liked how Augusten Burroughs writes in the present tense because it really brings you into the moment.
The Dads were not impressed. Augusten Burroughs? Please. Writing in the present is too affected; action always happens in the past.
Finally, someone else spoke up. "I've always liked Ayn Rand."
Ayn Rand? Now all the Dads turned their wrinkled noses from me to her.
"What?" she said. "What is wrong with Ayn Rand?"
"Nothing," I said. "If her books make you enjoy reading, that's great."
The Dads didn't agree.
What do you think?