Some people seem to have a talent for this: Asking one to make an argument he does not wish to make. A couple of brief examples: • It's not that I don't want to spend extra time with my daughter, but the first time I picked up for her mother for a dart tournament, it was a one-time thing. But, apparently, while she was out that night, she enrolled in the league, and surely enough I've found myself called upon regularly to pick up that period, as it was presumed that I agreed to it permanently when I agreed to the one-time occasion. And, really, what, am I going to say, "No"? • As I depart for the evening to hang with my kid, I don't really have any objections, although after all these years trying and failing to communicate with Mama J, I just wish that she could for once lay an excuse on me that isn't problematic. Okay, I understand that an old friend is in town. Indeed, I talked to the old friend about why she couldn't get hold of J. Fifteen minutes later, J called. Now here's the deal: I would do it anyway, but J offered me a sweet deal, so I took that. But ... well, the thing is that the babysitter fell through, but the babysitter is also the one J is going to see later to get the, uh, bribe she offered me. So the babysitter couldn't make it over to babysit, but can make it out to drink. Like I said, I don't mind hanging with my kid for a few hours tonight, especially since I'm going to see her tomorrow, anyway, but I just wish the story I was given would be straight. After all these years, I haven't set lawyers after J; I'm not about to start. What is so goddamn hard about the simplest explanation, e.g., the truth? What is so hard about saying, "The babysitter wants to come along and is offering you a treat if you can do it"? Especially when the answer to that is, "Um, well, duh. What time do I need to be where?" I don't like having to nitpick when the subject is my daughter. But at the same time, I am uncomfortable with the fact that even when there is nothing at stake, J can't seem to give me a straight story. Anyway, it's probably nothing, and in a little while I won't care, anyway, and I'll think of this all again the next time it comes up, so you can ignore this minor rant or actually try to find something useful in it. I'm out.