Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Kirk Baird


Sometimes, 2 dads are better than 1

Sunday is all about dads. Certainly in my house.

Like many sons and daughters in the era of the unconventional, nontraditional family, I'll be calling two dads on Father's Day: my biological father, who divorced my mom when I was young and whom I later became close to as I grew out of my teens; and my father -- technically my stepfather -- who married my mom when I was a boy and raised me as his own son.

Each dad is different, and each has had a significant, lasting influence on me. I consider myself lucky to have grown up with two positive role models. So I can't even imagine what it will be like Sunday in the home of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For starters, do his four teenagers even make an attempt to see or talk to him on Father's Day? And if so, what would they say: "Gee, Dad, thanks for screwing up our family?"

Schwarzenegger, as everyone knows, recently revealed he not only cheated on his wife, Maria Shriver, 14 years ago with the family's housekeeper, but also fathered a son, now 13, with her. Of course, he didn't bother to tell Shriver about his indiscretion; the truth came out after his political career ended and his term as California governor expired. It was also after Shriver had defended her husband for years over accusations of him being a womanizer.

Then there's the Tiger Woods drama, when he admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, Elin Nordegren, in a confessional televised media event. She divorced him and has custody of their children. I wonder how Woods will handle that awkward moment when his young children confront him years from now about what he did and why he did it.

Perhaps he should call and ask former President Bill Clinton for advice. Or, if Clinton won't take the call, there's England's Prince Charles, talk-show host David Letterman, billionaire Donald Trump, actors Ryan Phillippe and Ethan Hawke, evangelical ministers Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker, and fellow politicians John Ensign, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Sanford, and John Edwards. They all were husbands, fathers, and unfaithful. No "Father of the Year" here.

Even Michael Jordan cheated on his wife, which drastically alters the "Be Like Mike" Gatorade marketing campaign, and not in a good way.

Then there's the new kind of infidelity via social media, like Rep. Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.) sexting women behind his pregnant wife's back. It's probably just as well his child isn't around yet to see pictures of Weiner's privates tucked in underwear and broadcast over the airwaves to millions on the evening news. I'm not sure how Weiner could and would explain that to his son or daughter. Perhaps someone at the professional treatment facility where he's staying will offer some suggestions, other than to lie about someone hacking into Weiner's Twitter account.

Looking back, I can say that having two dads wasn't always easy growing up; it certainly wasn't considered a traditional situation. But seeing what happened to "conventional" families like the Schwarzeneggers, and the Woods, and the Weiners, I'm happy to say my family was never the norm.

Contact Kirk Baird at or 419-724-6734. Read more from the Culture Shock blog at, or follow Kirk on Twitter @bladepopculture.

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