HOW I FEED MY FAMILY WITH DAD DIRT - a guide to #DadDirt by me, Neil Mossey



Part 1:
INTRODUCTION - Daddanomics and How to be a Great British Dad

Daddanomics... the economics of being a Dad - works like this.

"Last week, I worked for over two hours...
...so that I can earn the money that we are now spending here in Caffe Nero
with my family for less than half an hour."


Dads do sums like this.

It's called Daddanomics.
The economics of being a tightwad dad.



I wish I could turn that part of my brain off.
But I can't.

I wish I could be earning more money.
But I'm not.

So when I'm spending time with my family - which is why I'm earning the money - I'm not actually earning the money.

Why can't I get paid, for just being with my family?
Or better, or worse... how can I get my family to spend less.

Or just embrace the fact that I might just possibly be... a tightwad dad.

I've long since given up trying to be the Alpha Male in this situation.

It's like, I'm at the helm of an organisation... and cuts can always be made.
And the organisation won't exist if it goes bust.

That's my only job.

No-one else thinks it's my only job.
But it's my only job.

The ironic twist is that I need to provide for them, but I can't provide for them if I spend too much time with them... or if they spend too much of what I am trying to provide for them.


Part 2:
THE GREAT BRITISH DAD GAMESHOW - What if you tried out some of these rounds?

So, you know you're a Great British Dad if you've played any of these games below.

I'm putting them together to see if I can get it off the ground as a TV Game show.




THE GREAT BRITISH DAD GAMESHOW ROUND 1:
The Bare-foot Living Room Danger Walk


You have to psych yourself up, to get yourself from one side of the room to the other.

Without injuring your feet.

With bonus points for every swear (but derivatives and soundalikes not included).

Choose your technique early...

Move quickly and get it over with...
(with a risk of treading on more Lego™ and upturned Mega Bloks™...)

Or... take the better planned route, that might take longer, and cause even more pain.

There's also always the added psychologial layer where deep down for all the swearing and stomping, you also don't want to break anything.

Because you know all this plastic has the same price per gramme as platinum
(and will become currency come the inevitable financial apocalypse)

You lose points for any breakages, with the killer Playmobil™ forfeits scattered in there.
(Die you swivel-headed dead-eyed thigh gap mutants).




THE GREAT BRITISH DAD GAMESHOW - ROUND 2:
Getting out toys jammed down the backs of radiators using only a strip of HotWheels™ track


You know you're a British Dad when...

...you find yourself lying down with a strip of HotWheels™ track,
trying to fish out toys that have been jammed down the back of the radiators.


Had a bit of a problem developing this round.

We threw out a load of the plastic stuff on the last plastic purge
- there should be a national holiday for that, with it's own character.

(He's going to be called the "Night-time Midnight Plastic, Crap Toy Bin Bag Man".
I've written a song and everything)

Tip: The trick with this round is that you spend 5 minutes with a single track before working out that you need a section bit of track to pincer and scissor out the toys from the bottom up, to get the bulkier ones like Big Jigs™ train carriages round the skirting...

Anyway, got the son to film this pilot and here it is.






THE GREAT BRITISH DAD GAMESHOW - ROUND 3:
SQUASHING DOWN THE WHEELIEBINS AFTER YOU'VE MISSED A WEEK


Here's the pilot for this round, shot by my boy.



I know.

We've got to have a talk about holding on a wide shot.

All sorts of teething problems with this pilot.

But the rules are you've got to see how much extra room you can create to get your family through to the next Biffo (or is it Biffa, Bifta? or Aviva, no, the other one) kerbside visit.

Viola. No, Vieleda!
Veolia. That's the shampoo.
Veeolia?

There's a 50/50 sudden death jeopardy to the round to pick normal or recycling.




THE GREAT BRITISH DAD GAMESHOW - ROUND 4:
DEADBEAT DAD DIRTY DISHES


This is a freestyle round.
It's difficult to work out a point scoring system for this.

Every Dad has within them a recipe.

Something they'll only throw together when they have the house to themselves.


It's a Deadbeat Dad Dirty Dish. Video pilot here.




My Deadbeat Dad Dirty Dish is more of a dessert.
"Orange Baileys Viennetta".

Get a pen, the recipe is:
Some Vienetta
1x Orange
1x Bottle of Baileys





THE GREAT BRITISH DAD GAMESHOW - ROUND 5:
THE GRAND FINAL SLOW-MOTION BELLY WOBBLE


This will have you on the edge of your seats.

Some real jeopardy, and a good link from the last round -- it's a little disturbing, and the video below is probably Not Safe For Work.

Or home.

The rules are really simple: you've got to deliver the best and most dramatic slow-motion belly wobble.

The fathers flourish their fat and shake their stomachs...
...after which we get the full glory as an instant slow-mo replay
(Maybe with a compelling zoom and dramatic music bed).

There's an art to this round -- you're free to go for a top-down ripple, a side-to-side agitation, or perhaps even a jaunty jiggle.

To win, points are awarded by audience vote...
with sports-channel-style onscreen stats showing wobble length, average speed, contestant height/weight/BMI index
to decide the best and most dramatic wobble.

The strictest rule is that the judges can only accept one jiggle.

"Round" is probably the right word.

Some things cannot be unseen -- here is the pilot I made.





Part 3:
COMPANIES - What if you talked to them like you're the CEO of your own company, your family?


TROLLING GOES HERE



Our "Dirty" phone and email address...



My mate Rob grew up in Leytonstone, which meant he was cursed with a home number that started with the code "555".
And the next 4 digits were really easy too - 3525 - I remember them clearly 25 years on.

I saw girls literally roll their eyes, seeing the number when he gave it to them.

It's a real number - and it couldn't look more fake if you tried.

They never called.

A bit like the dirty phone number that we give out to companies.

Meet our dirty phone.



It only took me 18 years of having a mobile to work out that having a fake phone number that isn't so fake that you can't get in there to confirm that it's real... but not turned on long enough for all the spam calls and text messages to get annoying.

And it's a number that we've given out so many times, that it's very very very dirty.

When we turn the phone on, it's like an... explosion in a fireworks factory.

Garages, car insurance, any company that you're meeting for that very first time - the ones that you trust about as far as your kid can currently throw.
(which, ironically, is how the dirty phone got smashed and became our dirty phone in the first place.)

So, this is a lesson for my kids: Get yourself a fake phone number.
And make sure your real one looks real.



Zeroes or Oh-Oes - I don't know what to say when Im on the phone


(PS using a pic of my nectar card in case someone tries to put some points on it)

Do you ever do this - when you're on the phone, and you have to say your credit card number...

I never know whether to say Zero, or Oh.

And I start off by saying zero.

But then start losing faith in it and saying "oh's" for the rest.


Then I worry that I'm coming off as inconsistent.

Like I'm making it up or faking someone else's number, because I can't say my own number without stumbling on the zeroes and ohs.

So I tell the person on the other end of the phone why I'm flipping between the zeroes and "ohs".

And then I ask them which one they prefer.


And they say they have the same problem.

There is a third word, nought, which noone uses.

Only losers use the word "nought".

People who use the word "nought" for the number O should have a credit limit of nought.

I will suggest this to Experian.

This is a problem with the English language.

I love that we have too many words for nothing.





Part 4:
ALPHA MALE - What if you want to be a Dad AND an Alpha Male?
How do you deal with Authority?



How British Dads behave around Tradesmen in their house


(Redundant toolbox. A metaphor for the patsy that you know that you are.)

As the man of the house it's your job to sort the problem out.

But here is another man sorting your problem out.

You feel you should be sorting it out.

But they are on your turf.

They are on your territory.

And only weapon that you have right now

...is that they are drinking your tea.

So you are reduced to offering him hot drinks.

To get the chance to offer him a screwdriver.

Your entire kingdom - your entire Empire... is now limited to whatever that reach-around area is that's next to your kettle.

Yes, that area is yours.

You've adjusted to the new hierarchy.

And once again, you're back to being a fully functioning member of THE TEAM.

THE TEAM is something that men form without saying anything.

Back in hunter-gatherer times THE TEAM would've brought down a Wildebeest.

(Except now the Wildebeest is a dodgy diverter valve and plate heat exchanger in your clapped out, out-of-warranty Vaillant boiler).

But there I was - I would've been part of THE TEAM - working together.

Except I'd be over there.
By the river.

Waiting to see if I could get another drink out when THE TEAM were ready for it.
Awkwardly rinsing out some leaves.
"No no, it's okay, I'll get you a fresh one..."




At the weekend, we went to the cinema and bought some sweets in the supermarket round the corner.

They make it feel like it's wrong - taking in food and drink that you didn't buy in the cinema.

But, weirdly, this store had every treat imaginable... every brand and flavour of sweets, chocolate, crisps and snacks... except popcorn.
Innocently, I asked a shelf-stacker where it was.

SHELF STACKER:
Oh sorry, they banned us from selling it.

ME:
(SMIRK) You're kidding.

SHELF STACKER:
No - the cinema's the only place allowed to sell popcorn on the whole complex.

ME:
(DEADPAN) You're kidding.

SHELF STACKER:
Sorry.

Now, I don't know if any of that is actually true.
But I want it to be.

(The retail park, supermarket and cinema chains all declined to comment.
And I'm not a journalist.)

Time was spent on this. Counsel was sought.
There are large organisations, involving contracts and lawyers... negotiating the exclusivity rights over a bag of popcorn.

They are The Man.

But I'm The Daddy.

And it gives me hope.
Because it means there are other Dads out there - like me - who are at it.



Part 5:
MONEY - What if money were no object?

Our tax on being over 30



Sky, Virgin Media and BT all have a tax on being over 30.

It's called a landline phone.

They're called land lines because old man lines is too many words.

They use land lines because it's the fastest way of getting money out of your house and into their bank account.

And yet we've got to have one.

To call all the other over 30 year olds we know who've still got them.



Part 6:
HERITAGE - What if you want your kids to learn and respect your Heritage?

So this is a completely cleaned up account of my life.
For my kids.
If they are curious in the future about everything I have done and thought, there'd be at least some kind of clue to see where I come from and what I've seen along the way.
I'm putting it in this guide, because you'll have your own Heritage things to share... that for some reason you'll want them to know about.


It's all... Up the pictures

(pic source)

I love Dad's phrase "up the pictures".
As in broken.

As in, it has given up and gone to the cinema for the evening.

It's all... "up the pictures".

On the cultural note, I also love his word "Orchestras".

As it "Orchestra Halls".


Telephone Code T-shirts from the 1990's



We have thrown out so much stuff.



We have bare shelves. And empty drawers.



But we used the Marie Kondo method where you hold every item you own,
and if it "sparks joy inside you", you keep it.

If it doesn't. You let it go.

This is one of the items I wanted to keep.

I could not throw or give this away.

Take a deep breath, and let your eyes drink this.



It's an advert from the Clothes Show Magazine c.1990, for telephone code T-shirts.
(The codes themselves date this between 1990-1995).

I don't know why I can't let this go.



I think it's maybe a reminder of how barren we were for new cultural references,
that, what?
A new telephone code?
For my city?
I've gotta wear me some of that.



I've not got enough time on my hands to wonder if anyone from "towns and cities not listed" ever did phone their Hotline number. And if they did if they ever saw their STD code immortalised in baggy casualwear.

It does remind me that it would have been the era when as a teen I died a death chatting up (aka reality: trying to talk to) a nice girl on holiday. She told me she came from Manchester.
I cannot type the next sentences.
I will try.

ME:
Ah, Manchester?
(LONG PAUSE) So, urm, your... telephone code is 061?

NICE GIRL:
(LONGER PAUSE) Yes.

ME:
Huh.

Kids, if you're reading this now, in the future - because these blog posts are my legacy - you have no idea how lucky you are that my DNA made it there.
It was touch and go for many decades, it really was.
Touch and go.
The wrongest phrase to describe it.



Part 7:
FASHION - What if you actually spent any time to think about what you wear?


My Bolognese Top

You know you've let yourself go in a relationship.
However diligent you are with the obvious stuff, tics start to creep in.
Tells.
And they're just there, uncommented upon.
Behold.



My Bolognese Top

I guess having comfort-wear around the house is normal.
But this is purely practical.
It's called My Bolognese Top - for the obvious.

And sometimes while eating other stuff too.
Like curries.
It means my good stuff doesn't get stained, but man... I know deep down this is completely right there with the slightly-off-trend shirts, torn pants and holey socks.

"If you wouldn't wear it outside the house... you shouldn't be wearing it in it."

Is what my other half says. But this is my must-have for this season. For every season.
For the list...
This is my Bolognese Top.



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I'm changing this over time, and in the meantime...

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