A Chicago dad’s open letter to sand

This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 5-year old daughter, Viva, who is moving the beach into the house, one swimsuit and backpack load at a time.

“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere.” – Winston Churchill, World War II (Or maybe Anakin Skywalker, Episode II — I’m not a historian.)

Dear Sand,

How I loathe you. For the hot, hot second that it is summer in Chicago, you become a major, unwelcome factor in my life. My daughter, you see, loves the beaches. When I am not at the beach, I think I love the beach. When I am at the beach, I am kind of bored. And when I come home from the beach, you take over and everything goes to hell.

You’re bothersome enough at the beach itself, where you are perpetually stuck in my contact lenses, preventing me from seeing if my daughter is floating off to Saugatuck. You also provide camouflage for the profound filthiness of the beach — dusting over the cigarette butts and seagull parts.* At home, though, you are a menace. You scratch the finish of my floors, you fill my washer and dryer and you seem to be impervious to vacuum cleaners. A day after I’ve left the beach, I’ll still feel you crunch between my teeth, reminding me that I’m probably about to get symptoms of E. coli infection and dysentery … and get my veneers screwed up.

It’s astounding how much sand one small 5-year-old can smuggle home in her Shimmer and Shine sandals and bikini bottom. I should probably pull her out of preschool and use her to mule drugs across the border. We’d have college paid for in no time.

It’s the bikini bottom part that’s the biggest challenge. After being buried in sand a few times, making sand angels and low crawling through the sand all afternoon, there are no regions too nether for you, Sand, to have colonized. Then my daughter, horrified upon finding and feeling your presence in her anatomical hinterlands, wants my help in evicting you. This is a task for which I am poorly equipped. Behold our nightly exchanges:

“Daddy, there’s sand in my vagina!”

“Your vagina?”

“Everywhere! I think maybe the baby hole and the cap and everywhere.”

“The cap? What’s ‘the cap’? Where is Mommy? Melissa?!”

“Dad, where does the pee come out? Why do they call it a Volvo? Can you Q-tip me? What’s the Aretha?”

Sand, don’t you understand that the female private parts are a mysterious and shameful province? Don’t you know that I was playing kickball when they showed the filmstrip on all this? You are forcing me to manage something that should be well outside my bailiwick, and I resent you for this.

I doubt, Sand, that you are indigenous to Chicago beaches. Perhaps you are naturally occurring, but I’m guessing that an untouched Chicago beach would be a muddy field with clay, gravel and a few broken giardiniera bottles. Presumably you are an invasive species of dirt, brought here by Daniel Burnham, Louis H. Sullivan or H.H Holmes, or someone in an effort to create traditional beaches and give Chicagoans something to do in the summertime besides complain about road construction and the Taste. You don’t belong here, and you should return from whence you came.

So, please, Sand, give a dad a break. Stay on the beach where you can be scooped into small castle shapes and don’t hitch a ride in my daughter’s Volvo to haunt my house. I look forward to being rid of you, even though I know your throne of villainy will just be claimed by your dastardly seasonal cousin … Snow.

Yours in spite,

Matt Boresi

*The seagull is the pigeon of the sea. Pigeons are rats with wings. Thus, by the transitive property, the pigeon is the rat of the sea.**

**”Rat of the Sea” is Aldi’s house brand tuna.

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Matt fathers 5-year-old Viva, Chicago’s favorite pint-sized diva, and is the author of “Viva Daddy!” – a monthly column in Chicago Parent Magazine.

See more of Matt’s stories here.

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