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The Humbling Journey from a Dignified Life to Fatherhood

Jonathan Last, a writer for the Weekly Standard, claims, that he was once reasonably dignified. "I dressed like a gentleman and luxuriated in the cultural heritage of Western civilization," Last writes. "My three places of residence—my home, my office, and my mind—were free of clutter and arranged so as to allow me to make the most of my days …" But then something happened to disrupt his reasonable dignified life. Last writes, "I became a father."

In his essay titled "A Dad's Life," he writes:

One afternoon, I was changing my infant son's diaper when he began [peeing]. Not in a feeble stream, but in a great, turbo-charged geyser … So I reached over, cupped my hand above his manhood, and waited in quiet satisfaction as he peed on me. I was pleased … that my reflexes had prevented him from spraying the wall and nearby bookshelf. The dismantling of my dignity took three weeks, more or less.
This is about when I started to realize that the primary effect of children is to take things from you. It begins with sleep, time, and dignity and then expands over the years to include serenity, sanity, and a great deal of money. I am making an observation here, not complaining. It's just what they do …
I'm not going to lie to you. In fatherhood there is much—so much—to be lost. But there is much to be gained, too. For example, while it may seem diametrically opposed to the indignities of the job, fatherhood is the wellspring of a quality critically important to our culture: manliness.

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