Spare time leads to columnist being banished to the backseat

Brady C. Mallory

Brady C. Mallory

When I woke up on Sunday at three in the afternoon next to an empty pint of Ben and Jerry’s, it dawned on me that I may be in need of a hobby. As I stumbled out of my makeshift bed of pillows, wrinkled clothing and old tabloids, I started pondering what I could do with my spare time. Visions of electric guitars, break-dancing, rock climbing and juggling swirled amidst the haze of too much sleep and Americone Dream flavored ice cream. To my dismay, all of those fields require talent, and that led me to easily deduce that talent requires one to be talented.

Another thought dawned on me: I could have a child. I would surely find fulfillment in teaching this little nugget all of the things that I have forgotten over the years. My thoughts of fatherhood were then quickly dashed when I realized that I am not financially capable of paying someone to raise and care for this imaginary baby. I am not willing to forego my life for 24 hours of focusing efforts on someone else. Left to my own devices, I turned to the efforts of my own family. My late Grandma Mallory used to like to smoke cigarettes and yell at her neighbors. I don’t think I could ever be the multi-tasker that she was, nor would I want to sully her memory by trying.

The next Mallory I thought of was my dad, Bob. Bob has enjoyed a lucrative career in a printing/advertising agency, and along the way he developed an interest in yellow Labradors. In 1996 he purchased his first lab, Murphy, whose numerous litters of illegitimate puppies spiraled out of control into an obsession. Yes, my dad is one of those people who buys his dogs their own hamburgers during a McDonalds run. Yes, my dad has given his dogs the front seat, thus banishing me to the back seat. Yes, my dad is, what I like to call, a dog person.

Eleven years later, my dad’s hobby consists of driving across the nation to enter two of his dogs in competitions where they jump off of docks into water for distance. He has actually done very well for himself, and has become a well-respected man in the industry. His prodigy, Sir Jackson, is ranked fourth in the nation in the DockDogs circuit. I am quite proud of him and his dogs ? those dogs that he loves so much. This summer he even bought them an air conditioner for the comfortable garage they sleep in. While visiting home in May and August, I often meditated about his generosity while I tried to sleep in my stifling room that was immune to our central air because it is upstairs.

I can succinctly say that I am ecstatic that my dad has a hobby, because I clearly have not found my forte. I have no jealousy towards the four, five, ten or however many yellow labs that we own. While I am sure that my dad loves me as much as he says he does, I am growing increasingly concerned that “Jackson,” is not short for Brady, which is what he tells me when he addresses me as such. Now that I think of it, it is rather aberrant of my sisters to go into fits of profanity-laced rants every time they see those puppies in the Dirt Devil commercials, not to mention my mom’s growing propensity towards skeet shooting. Apparently the aforementioned activities are their hobbies, which do not make me feel good about a life without a hobby.

Hours later I was no closer to the end of my hallowed quest, and Desperate Housewives was about to begin. I found the lack of fruition for my efforts to be quite disappointing, and made me desire something to ease the ache of my lonely existence. I hypothesized retrieving yet another pint of Ben and Jerry’s as a reward for my long day of circumventing. I immediately snapped out of my craving for my sweet enabler upon the sad realization that I had done the same thing the day before. Suddenly darkness turned into light when wave of genius struck me. To avoid falling into a rut, I would simply purchase the Karmal Sutra flavor! Perhaps eating ice cream in order to avoid my feelings could be parlayed into a hobby.