Chris Erskine: Organizing the estate is easy. But this fantasy football draft …


By Chris Erskine - Los Angeles Times



The other day, we were fondly remembering the time when one of our daughters used to blow-torch all the food. For Christmas, the lovely and patient older daughter had received a creme brûlee torch, and for the next two weeks all our meals were singed a little on top: sandwiches, soups, sushi, salads — didn’t matter.

At the end of the two weeks, my daughter got her Class A welder’s license, which of course made her mother and me very proud. Our daughter almost burned down the house, but we were still very proud.

Hey, we’re all addicted to something.

Point is, kids are going to latch on to things, just as we latch on to them. It’s a latchy world, full of grateful hugs, and we should be happy for that.

This is America, where having children is just another form of positive thinking — it’s almost a cult. You wouldn’t have children if you didn’t believe in the future and their long-term well-being.

In that regard, I updated the family will the other day. I was very clear with the kids on this: Whoever is nicest to me gets the most. That seems fair and transparent and makes it easier on the probate judge when they all show up with their attorneys waving injunctions.

So far our new wolf-dog White Fang may get the entire wad. Every time I walk by her, White Fang car-washes my ankles and knees … lick-lick-lick-lick-lick. It’s like a lobster festival. It’s like a mini-honeymoon.

Meanwhile, the kids have taken to calling me “Money,” as per the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. It’s clear that this is a mocking gesture, and I am taking that into account as I update this family will or “living trust” … I haven’t decided which.

Frankly, I’ll be dead, so what do I care?

The other day, Posh and I met with a new financial advisor who happened to be seriously pregnant, so right away I dismissed any opinion she might offer. Ask any parent: Having a baby is absolutely the worst financial move you can ever make.

So this pregnant financial guru — whose belly was even bigger than mine, as if she had just beer-chugged an entire turkey — had no credibility as far as I was concerned. And listening to my wife discuss saving money is like listening to Genghis Khan discuss knitting. It’s just not something she’s familiar with.

“Which one of you handles the finances?” the advisor asked.

From Posh, a sideways glance.

“Money does,” Posh said.

“Who’s Money? the advisor asked.

“We call my husband ‘Money,’” Posh explained, “but he’s sooooo not.”

At which point my right eye started twitching — couldn’t make it stop. Then my brain flipped a little in my skull, like the stomach of a hound dog when things don’t go down just right.

“I’m so glad we’re getting this opportunity to finally discuss our finances,” I lied.

To be honest, things have been a little tense at home since I twice flubbed the fantasy football draft. The first time, Posh understood, but the second time I could tell she was pretty disappointed.

See, Posh was very excited about the online fantasy draft, even dressed up for it — heels, bikini top, a large yet tasteful tiara (like on our wedding day). I have to think she misunderstood the draft and thought she was actually meeting the NFL players personally.

Anyway, I flubbed the online fantasy setup because I rushed it a little, and I’m the kind of guy who shouldn’t rush anything. I should take my time, screw it up, then slowly do it all over again. That’s been my secret to success for decades.

Now Posh is bummed that we didn’t have a fantasy draft. Our daughter Rapunzel said that one of her boyfriends — “the really smart one, the one who finished college” — would be glad to set up another league. And the boyfriend is such a mensch that he deferred, in fear of stepping on my toes.

That isn’t an issue, really. People bash my toes all the time, particularly the people I love the most.

So I told Rapunzel: “Seriously, I don’t want to dump this all on Alan.”

“His name is Alex. Alex!!!” Rapunzel said.

“It is?”

“We’ve been dating for SIX years!!!” she said.

“I don’t want to dump this all on Alex-Alex,” I said.

“He doesn’t mind, Dad,” she said.

Alex minds; he just won’t admit that he minds. That’s a very impressive trait these days.

So, Alex is in the will now too. It’s White Fang, then him.

Like I said, it’s a latchy world, full of grateful hugs.

By Chris Erskine

Los Angeles Times

Chris Erskine is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Reach him at chris.erskine@latimes.com or on Twitter @erskinetimes.

Chris Erskine is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Reach him at chris.erskine@latimes.com or on Twitter @erskinetimes.