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I write about masculinity, fatherhood, family, and relationships.

I gave him a good life, but I also give him a hard time. It’s a balance.

There’s been a meme floating around for a month or two that shows a row of five numbered chicken wings, each one a little more stripped of meat than the last. Number one has a single small bite taken out of it; number five looks like it’s been dug up by a paleontologist. The punchline is that you can tell a lot about someone’s upbringing based on the amount of meat left on the bone.

My 11-year-old son and I both love wings, but we are on opposite ends of this chart. On the cleaned chicken bone scale, I’m…

When You’re a Decent Writer, But an Amazing Backseat Driver

Went on a road trip with a friend last week. He manned the wheel as I finished up a piece that was coming due. Every time he changed lanes, I would look up from my work, body tensed, prepared to save us from certain death.

His driving was a great distraction from the thorny structural problems of my essay.

I can’t remember how many times I shouted, “You change lanes more often than I change perspectives in this article!” or “If only my writing was as exciting as your driving!”

He somehow found it annoying. But each time I saved us, I found myself ready to tackle my problem anew, my competence in the area of backseat drivery fueling my writing.

I can’t wait to go on another road trip with him. As soon as he starts returning my calls.

Just save me the big piece of chicken, tbh

Father’s Day is almost here, and you know what that means: Prepare to unwrap another pair of socks!

Sure, you might get lucky and get something good — some cigars, that broadsword you’ve wanted since you were a kid — but I wouldn’t count on it. These are, after all, gifts usually given to you by your children filtered through your significant other.

But you love them, so you’ll smile and say thank you for the house slippers or the drink coaster set that the many rings on your coffee table prove you never use. …

The pros and cons of raising a preteen

I was trolling TikTok for laughs one day when I stumbled upon a video of a guy doing a “review” of his newborn baby boy. This dude was visibly delighted with his two-month-old offspring — he said the boy only cost him a few “grown-up transactions” — and encouraged others to get one, too.

Now, I got a good chuckle from the breakdown, which played like an unboxing video. That’s a shiny new baby, fresh out of the box. What’s not to like?

Of course, he’s cute. A baby alligator is cute. And like a baby alligator, a baby…

When a hiking trip goes wrong, assuming the worst about people does no one any good

A sign on the Centennial trail that reads: Do Not Enter, Dangerous Overlook.
A sign on the Centennial trail that reads: Do Not Enter, Dangerous Overlook.

I’d loaded my pack and set out on a hike into the Black Hills to clear my head. I was 955 miles into that spiritual journey when I got lost.

Granted, I’d spent 950 of those miles driving from Chicago to South Dakota, but it certainly sounds better than admitting that I managed to get lost five miles into a 100-mile hike.

The plan had been to spend two weeks backpacking alone on the Centennial Trail — one of many trails nationwide of the same name. …

This is great, Franklin. I'm trying to build up to 20 mile a day. Last year I averaged 12 miles a day on a week-long trip. But that was largely dictated by time and campsites, although I was tired at the end of every day. I'm going to do better this year. Love tying it to Stoic philosophy.

I saw your tweet thread. Was happy to see this here. Much respect to you. I'm one of those men that believe it is up to men to convince each other that we need to do better.

In the midst of a pandemic, alcohol was an all-too accessible coping mechanism. But putting down the bottle brought about a newfound clarity.

Earlier this year, I went on a 30-day run without drinking. It was supposed to start when the ball dropped — a dry January to match the ritual that kicked off my 2020. Yet several factors, including the stress of quarantine and the aftermath of the 2020 election, led me to postponing my dry run by one week. Naturally, I started the day that insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. Here’s how I got there.

I was one of millions of people who transitioned to remote work during the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m fortunate that I was able to do so, but that…

I am grateful that I can weather the storm.

And the snow just keeps falling. It’s nothing that I haven’t seen before, but we’re in that phase where new snow covers the old, this layer as soft as down — Hollywood snow — but beneath it is packed and crusty, interspersed with road grime and salt and ice.

What seems new to me is the cold and the snow coming together. I don’t think it has been above thirty degrees in two weeks, but the snow just keeps on falling. “Too cold to snow” has been a hope that at least gives a respite from one or the other…

Reminiscing about the bad old days.

For the last couple of years, I’ve found myself visiting the neighborhood of my youth. I didn’t like it there, I don’t have a lot of fond memories of being there, and I was glad to get out of there.

So why do I seem to miss the place?

This week I visited the library. I’ve been there several times over the years and I actually do have fond memories of it, having spent a lot of hours there as a kid, reading books and magazines and keeping cool when it was hot outside. …

Chris L. Robinson

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