The Lie: I can do it.
The Truth: I usually can’t, but it’s crucial that they think that I can. If my frustration attempting to assemble or repair something is so evident that my kids are actually offering their help, the odds are pretty good that it’s a lost cause, and a clandestine visit to a specialist – the Genius Bar, their uncle Shawn, etc. – will ultimately be necessary. (This is increasingly the case these days, as the number of electronic devices in my household goes up and the amount of space in my brain allocated for the mastery of new technologies goes down.)
However, it’s vitally important to my veneer of fatherly relevance that my children remain unaware of how diminished their old man’s mechanical acuity has become. I’ll never forget what a game-changing moment of disillusionment it was when I realized that I was better at programming the VCR than my father, who I’d thought until then to be all-knowing and infallible. The inevitable point when my kids come to understand that their minds are more acclimated to today’s world than mine will be when I’ll need to actively begin checking out nursing homes.