It’s Father’s Day Weekend! Time to hike up your socks, fire up the grill, lean back in your favorite chair and say things like …”do I look like I’m made of money?” and “”My house, my rules!” shortly followed by “I don’t know… go ask your mother.”
With the popularity of Justin Halpern’s hilarious book Shit My Dad Says to the emergence of the soft and lovable physical physique known as the “dad bod” pop culture has declared being a dad cool and hip.
And you know what, on this rare occasion, I agree with pop culture. Being a dad is cool.
We carry pocket knives. We clog then unclog toilets. We treat wounds with dirt and spit. We pride ourselves on knowing where things are located in Home Depot. We watch Texas Hold’em tournaments on TV and consider it a declaration of war when we spot a field mouse scurrying across our kitchen floor.
We’ve got high white socks, jorts, white belts, Hawaiian shirts and cabana hats. We play golf, smoke cigars and believe that Superbowl Sunday should be an official national holiday.
But of course with this “coolness” comes great responsibility.
It has occurred to me that my children are seeing me through the same lens in which I saw my dad when I was their age. In their young eyes I’m all powerful, all knowing. My words, my actions are seared into their little brains and one day (God forbid) may serve as good fodder for a blog post about fathers.
So to highlight the power (and coolness) of being “dad”, I wanted to share 5 things my dad said to me many years ago that now stand as monuments in my memory…
1. On eating a big breakfast every morning–My father has always championed the need for a hearty breakfast. Dad scoffed when those FDA “nitwits” claimed that eating highly processed foods–loaded with sodium and saturated fat could be deadly.
My dad (like a lot of dads) has a signature dish. .A culinary cuisine that he describes in with great pride to the other dads at the CYO meetings. My dad’s Spam and Egg sandwich is one of the reasons I had friends as a kid. His signature sandwich is a 900 calorie heart-stopper made with only the finest pasteurized cheeses and slaughterhouse scraps.
I remember once asking him why he needed to eat such a big breakfast every morning. He looked down at me with serious eyes and said “Who knows if or when I’ll have the opportunity to eat again today.” Which seemed a bit dramatic –like something Lewis said to Clark on the first morning of their Continental Divide expedition. But it was also funny too– because as he said this dad was packing his work lunch box/cooler with a week’s worth of food.
*I should also mention that at this time dad was working as a truck driver and passed a Burger King every 8oo feet.
2.On boosting confidence–In grade school, for some school project , I was forced to work with the smartest kid in the class who openly teased me– claiming that he was smarter than me. Upon hearing my complaint, dad looked at me, smiled and said, “But can this Einstein hit a curve ball?”
3. On medical care– Once when mom wasn’t home, I threw my younger brother Kyle into a wall joint leaving him with a gash in his head and blood streaming down his face. Dad, who was outwardly annoyed that Kyle’s melon had dented the drywall, carried Kyle into the bathroom, dropped him in the tub, offered him a roll of paper towels and said, “Wait here until mom gets home.”
4. On eating expired food– “Do you think the early pioneers had expiration dates on their ground beef?”
5. On love– When I was in my early 20’s I begin thinking about proposing to Cindy. But naturally I was hesitant. I wanted to know how to know someone was “the one”. Dad met mom when he was 17 and seemed to have the whole love-thing mastered. So I sought council in dad. I was certain that he had some sage advice to offer on the matter of love.
So one day I ask him how did he know mom was the one. And after a long, thoughtful pause dad looked at me and said “I just knew.” End of conversation.
Be well and Happy Father’s Day,
Checkout my story The Wink. A true story that details a pivotal moment in my young life and how my father’s simple gesture many years ago inspired me to create this website.