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The Son From Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” Responds to His Dad After First Hearing the Song (Humor)

Hello Dad,

So Mom just sent me the song I mean, first of all, the fact that you didn’t even send it to me yourself is just so *you.* You should make that the last verse of the song! But I digress. Let’s dive into some of these lyrics, shall we?

Okay, so right off the bat, there’s this: “He learned to walk while I was away.” Really, Dad? You’ve always told me you were there for my first steps! There’s even a picture with what you’ve said were your outstretched arms I was supposedly toddling into. I have it framed on my desk right in front of me! And now I have to learn - in song form - that it was all a lie? Whose arms are in this picture, Dad? 

Speaking of lies, let’s move on to that baseball anecdote in the second verse. Why yes, I do recall when you gave me a baseball for my tenth birthday and then - when you had literally just given me a ball as a gift - you suddenly had “a lot to do” and didn’t teach me how to throw it! On my birthday! What kind of sociopath does that?

I guess this is how you remember things unfolding after you crushed my ten-year-old heart: “And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed / It said, I'm gonna be like him.”, Dad. My smile dimmed. It dimmed all the way down to the ground where I dropped that ball like a bag of broken dreams. Do you realize I still don’t know how to throw a baseball? I tried teaching my own kids, and now we all throw underhanded. That’s on you, Dad. That’s on you.

While we’re talking about my kids, why don’t we skip ahead to the last verse where you bring them into this musical memory mindmelt. You have me rejecting you by saying (after you finally deign to hang out with me, mind you), “You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kids have the flu / But it's sure nice talking to you.”

Side note: It actually was nice talking to you - until you went and sung to everyone that my new job is a hassle! Now my boss is going to hear it and it’ll be a whole thing. Thanks for that, Dad. Thanks a lot.

But yes, Dad, I’m so very sorry for not abandoning my wife to handle our flu-sick kids alone now that you’re retired and have the time to hang. You clearly don’t understand what it’s like caring for one puking child, let alone multiple puking children. Back when I was a kid with the flu, you were off sipping happy hour Mai Tais at some airport bar on the way to Conferenceville, USA. Ask Mom about it - it’s not a good time!

I have to go take care of those sick kids - kids who I have a wonderful relationship with by the way. I’m not like you, Dad. The cat is not in the cradle. I don’t even know what that means!

Also, please tell Mom I’m calling her soon. I need to unpack why you even felt the need to say, “He came to the world in the usual way” in the first verse. That one line just bought my therapist a new beach house, let alone all the other little nuggets you dropped in these lyrics.  

Please don’t include this message in a new song. 

 - Your Boy 


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