Either an Engineer or a Hobo

When my daughter Katie was young she was either going to dress up for Career Day at school as “an Engineer or a Hobo”.

That, friends, describes Katie perfectly.

Every person is quiet singular and Katie even more so. My mom and dad had an entry sign for our home made by a friend at Christmas. It reads “This is us, our beautiful CHAOS”

It’s perfect. For us.

Perfect for Katie is a mix between looking like an engineer and a hobo. Not that she was making fun of hobos, but it’s important to remember she was in Grade 2 when she said it. And if you would ever see her in the morning she got it about right.

A compliment to Katie goes something like this: “You have a beautiful brain”. Some kids want beautiful faces, Katie wants a beautiful brain. Her face is often framed by long unkempt hair (whose grooming has definitely improved over time), but she is a thinker and respects smart people.

She once bought glasses with no prescription because she figured they would look smarter on her. Ladies and gentlemen, someone like me would never have had that thought. Heck, I’m probably wearing my shirts inside out right now.

I often say I should have married someone who wasn’t smart and had girls who weren’t smart because it would make me look better, but that ship has sailed. Katie is terrifyingly sharp at times.

We never could just make up something when she was little to avoid the million following questions and put her off. Whatever your answer for “Dad, why does the sun come up?” (“Because it gets hot and hot suns rise?”), she’d already considered and rejected several solutions based on actual data that I needed to be aware of. Her follow up questions were even more intelligent to the point where I now answer Neela’s queries with “Just ask Katie. She’s probably read about it.”

I only research things when I actually care about them, and I don’t share the researchers desperate desire to know all things about all things. My brain has limited space and is geared much more towards projects and results, and I tend to set aside things I don’t need. Much like Sherlock Holmes. Smart like that. Except I can’t even solve crime movies I’ve already seen because I’ve forgotten how they ended and like the surprise anyways. Erin’s always good for wrecking a perfectly good mystery with a “the butler did it” about five minutes in.

Katie was little when she said to me “Santa’s not real is he dad?”


I panicked and looked for mom to field the question that has crushed the dreams of millions of children growing up, crossed my fingers and said “I don’t know, what do you think Katie?”

“Well” she said, “We have no chimney”

Fair enough. We have no fireplace and no chimney.

She also knew the tooth fairy was mom waaaay before anyone else did, maybe including myself. Not sure how she figured that out. Perhaps it was mom stumbling around and making noise on the way towards her pillow? Perhaps the fiscal amount was less than her friend’s Tooth Fairies (always an indicator Erin Kope was involved. NOT a big spender)? I honestly suspect she set a trap to see who the tooth fairy was, and was surprised to see human footprints a lot like her mom’s versus a fairy’s wingbeat-per-minute count she was expecting from some iPod app only she knows about.

She would have ruled me out immediately because (A) Teeth gross me out, (B) Dad would never have tooth fairy money kicking around, and (C) Dad would never remember to put it under her pillow at the right time.

Each of our girls is special. Arwen has a people intelligence that is crazy mature. Ailish actually organizes my life for me and laughs at all my jokes. Neela will probably end up running our country and not being sure how it happened.

Katie might just look like a hobo and mastermind something amazing. I imagine we’ll all work for her one day, so here’s hoping she remembers who paid for her schooling even if he wasn’t “all that smart”…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I’m surrounded by smart people,

It makes me feel special in an unintelligent kind of way:)

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