Backpacking Dad to the O.R….Backpacking Dad to the O.R….

05/29/2008 By Shawn Burns

In grade 8 (that’s how we said it in Ontario: we didn’t know what "junior high" was, except that the kids on Degrassi eventually went to one) I failed my first class. In each of the previous years I had been great at school. And, I don’t want to brag (I have a wife to brag for me) but I was smart.

That fall, though, I went into the school year a little distracted. My parents were divorcing, we were moving around a lot, and I just stopped caring about school entirely. For a couple of weeks I stopped going, and a member of the school board came to my apartment to check up on me and bring me in.

One of the classes that I really neglected was Family Studies (home economics to my American friends). I liked the cooking part, and I still do, but I couldn’t get excited about the sewing kit project we had to do. I had a Siamese cat kit, but I didn’t turn it in.

So I failed. It was only a mid-term report card, but still, I failed that class. I have never been excited about sewing.


Over the weekend while I was away Erin started walking everywhere. She also started going baby-crazy, mauling other kids to kiss them and hug them, and carrying a little baby doll with her wherever she went.


If you look closely you might be able to see that a seam has popped on the baby doll’s left ankle.

"Does Daddy need to do surgery on your baby doll?" Emily asked Erin this morning.

Daddy? Daddy failed sewing. He wasn’t enthusiastic about it at 13, and he’s not enthusiastic about it at 30.

And the wound looked substantial enough that I was probably going to just have to amputate the foot.


But I sucked it up, got out one of those little sewing kits that Emily stole from a hotel somewhere because it was small and looked like it was made for kitties, and I performed my first doll surgery.


I didn’t do a great job. There’s some fluff sticking out, and the edges are raggedy. But in all fairness to me it was sewed on the inside in the first place, before being stuffed, and there was no way I was going to unstuff it to do it the right way.

This would be reason number 14 that you don’t want me as your doctor.