Running for office requires a hardy hide. Detractors lob accusations as easily as jugglers hurling torches; politicians expect it. But Oklahoma judicial candidate John Mantooth is being pelted by a particularly painful source: his own grown daughter.
Jan Schill (formerly Mantooth) recently took out a newspaper ad that read, “Do Not Vote for My Dad!” on the grounds that he’s “NOT a good father, NOT a good grandfather,” and would make a lousy judge. She launched DoNotVoteForMyDad.com, linking to legal documents that call his integrity into question and describing a Christmas gift she once received from her pop — a box of chocolates infested with worms and weevils.
Eww. I don’t care if you vote for him, but do not under any circumstances invite this guy to a secret Santa swap.
The candidate claims his daughter is embittered by his ugly decades-gone-by divorce from her mother, which may be true. But it’s hard to ignore the shocking shriek of a child blowing the whistle on her own badly behaving begetter.
Cops heeded just such a shriek last week when a 13-year-old New York girl called 911 from the backseat of her mother’s swerving car to report that mom was driving drunk. The good news: Troopers hauled in the besotted mama before anyone was hurt. The bad: Dinnertime conversation at their house will be awkward for quite some time.
I’m sitting with some great old friends from high school, catching up on the last 20 years of our lives. There was a time when we had everything in common, from favorite teachers to lunchtime hangouts to homework due dates. And it’s fun — even comforting — to see how much we’re still alike politically, professionally, socially …
But then talk turns to the way we’re most different: My kids and their cats.
Often there’s judgment implicit when breeders and nonbreeders get to squawking about offspring. But not us. My pals seem genuinely charmed when I brag about my smarter-than-average spawn (whether they find my kids inspiring or my preening adorable, I can’t be sure). And I don’t question it when they tell me their cats are awesome, their life is good, and that they aren’t convinced procreating would improve it. I believe them.
Except … there’s something about the way they say that — is there a flicker of doubt on their faces? a subtle rise in intonation? — that makes it seem more like a question than a statement. It feels like they’re asking me outright: Starshine, why have kids?