Thursday, June 24, 2010


written March 17, 2010

Dads like to read books about politics and history. Dads smoke cigars, and play chess, and take their golf clubs to the driving range. Dads tuck their shirts in, wear dad shoes. Dads drink light beers with their buddies and watch football, and live to come home after work on a weekday and watch their favorite team play on TV. They read the box scores, play the pool at work, and might have a fantasy league team or two online. They contribute to their political party. They sit in the sauna and "talk" with other men. Dads smell like cologne or aftershave, some just smell like cheap deodorant. They wear loafers, they play cards, they coach little league, and even if they don't then they still might curse out the ump or ref if he makes even a questionable call against his kid.

Dads tease and laugh, they give short and unexpected nuggets of wisdom, they tell stories that might not make sense to you at the time but will amuse you or teach you something later when you think back on it. Dads win at arm wrestling, cheat at backyard basketball, and love to be the boss of the barbecue.

They mow the lawn, they build things that may not be necessary, they fix and wash cars, they're proud, they're strong, and as much as you love them, as much as you try to know the man your dad is, he is always a little bit mysterious, and in reality both a little bit more and a little bit less than we think he is.

Dads work hard. Dads get tired. Dads snore. Dads will take you to the movie you want to see, then, not on purpose, fall asleep in the theater. Dads will eat anything, they eat a lot, and they eat fast; they might even make a little bit of noise while they do it.

Dads wake up early, they listen to corny music. They have boring haircuts. They either have a Harley or wish they could have one. They have a favorite chair and a favorite baseball cap. They like to hold the remote. Don't sit in his chair. Don't touch his stereo. Dads like movies starring people like Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris, Russell Crowe and George Clooney, Mel Gibson and Tom Hanks. Dads like talk radio, they even call in every once in a while. Dads swear only when its necessary, though that may be more often than you'd like it to be; sometimes it may be never. Dads teach you the right way to use a buzz saw, or shoot a free throw, how to write a check, how to shave, how to play poker, or how to change your oil, the Pythagorean Theorem or how to fish.

We think dads can do anything. We think dads know everything. We think our dads can beat up everyone else's dad. We've learned that we're wrong most of the time, but sometimes we're right. We forget that dads forget, that dads aren't perfect, that dads can be small, and weak, lonely and sad. Dads give up, dads make mistakes, dads get frustrated, sometimes some dads even cry. Dads can be sick, and mean, dads can even disappear. But dads are still, after all, always our dads.

Dads say I love you without saying it, without any words, or sometimes they'll just say it. Dads are proud of us. Dads revel in being dads. Dads live for dadhood. Dads do their damnedest to protect us. Dads are predictable. Dads repeat themselves. Dads are full of surprises. Dads come out of left field with things you never imagined they would. Dads change as they get older, as we get older.

Dads infuriate us. Dads make us laugh. Dads keep us down, and dads lift us up. Dads carry us. Dads let us down. We want to be just like our dad sometimes, other times we want to be everything our dad isn't.

Dads know magic tricks. Dads tell elaborate stupid jokes that makes us laugh maybe because they aren't funny. Dads are especially funny when they aren't trying to be, when they don't even know how hilarious they are.

Dads inspire us, set an example, forge a path, pass the torch, pass down traditions. Dads sacrifice for us, dads give and give and give to us because it makes them happy to do it. Dads do things, hard things, just so we won't have to do them. Dads are heroic. Dads are tragic. Dads are saints and sinners, martyrs and murderers. Dads wear funny clothes and dated hairstyles or questionable mustaches in old pictures. Dads will never look happier than they did when they held us in their arms.

No comments: