First, I will call your house to ask if you are home. You won’t be—in fact, I’ll be watching you just a few feet away from me. You’ll think I’m having a flirtatious conversation with a friend, which I will be. That friend will be your mother. We will discuss certain television shows that I know that she watches, because these are television shows you have mentioned watching with her. It will surprise her that we have common interests, but in fact I hate those television shows. No matter; I have arranged a date with your mother at a fancy California-Asian fusion restaurant, and the table I’ve reserved seats only two.

I will arrive in a chauffeured limousine, dressed in my finest casual wear. I will allow her to order anything on the menu, and I will compliment her on her choice. During our meal, I will have more compliments. They will be sincere, and they will highlight certain flattering aspects of her personality or appearance that none before have mentioned. I will motion for a group of musicians to play at our table, and they will be delighted when I suggest James Taylor’s version of “Something in the Way She Moves.”

During a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk, we’ll talk about our hopes and dreams, which will include vague references to our aspirations for true love.

I will purchase a flower from a nearby vendor, and I will explain why I chose that particular flower for her on this evening. Your mother will be amazed by this thoughtful gesture, which no man has performed, especially not with the extensive knowledge of flowers and uncanny ability to compare them to her virtues.

I will win her many prizes at carnival games, including a stuffed turtle I suggest she give to you because we both feel so sorry for you.

We will then visit a fortune teller, who will give a tarot card reading indicating that a mysterious force is about to enter her life, bringing her the excitement and joy that she has missed ever since she bore her dead-weight child (you). Will she open her heart to this mysterious force? Her eyes have answered that question already, and I can see a small tear forming.

I will then take her home, where she will invite me in for a game of Scrabble, a game for which we have discussed our enthusiasm earlier in the evening. I will astound her with my Scrabble abilities—not only will I lay down high-scoring words, but among these words will be “love” and “fortuitous.” It’s almost as if I had kept a set of Scrabble tiles in my pocket with those exact letters, bundled tightly in a small plastic bag to prevent them from rattling, and I had taken the opportunity to switch them with my original tiles when your mother excused herself to the powder room. When you enter to express your curiosity at us playing Scrabble, I’ll have just the right tiles left to spell out “loser,” at which your mother and I will enjoy a hearty laugh.

By then it’ll be getting late and I’ll have work in the morning. I will thank your mother for the lovely evening, before punching you in the arm and saying to you, in a fatherly tone, “Keep your head up, champ.”