Tuesday, June 16, 2015

10 Things Dads are and are not.

Fathers day.  I've never been a fan.  Of course I've never thought much of Mothers day either.  The reason I don't think much of fathers day is that's not what fathers are about.  We don't care about do nothing holidays like that.  Just a waste of time.  We care a bit about mothers day, but personally I think it's a real rip off.  'Here mom, I bought you some flowers, and maybe a framed picture of me or something'.  That, against mom's lifetime of selfless service to me, so that makes us about even.  Before I start on this I will give the bit of lip service to all the single moms out there.  You have to be dad as well and you know better than anyone that it's not an easy job or maybe it is and you are Wonder Woman, good for you.  This list is not about you, pro or con.  It's about Dads.  It's a list of things Dads are or aren't.  For me if a family is a play then mom is the actors.  Kids are the audience and Dads are the stage crew.

-- Are constantly trying to grow hair on your chest/Build your character/Knows what's good for you - Dads get you to try and do new things.  These things aren't usually planned, but rather are lessons of opportunity when you sour your face at the new dish or don't want to get your hands dirty in the garden.  Dads first line of encouragement is always to tell you 'Eat it!  it'll grow hair on your chest'  He may even tell his daughters that, but it's more for the joke teller side of Dad at that point.  If nothing else, Dads know that doing what you must do even though you might not want to is something that DOES build character and IS good for you.

-- The money - Often we are told it's a Man's world.  To the extent that is true, Dad is the money. There was a time when this was much more true than it is today, but it still carries some water.  Dad goes to work every day and struggles with being told what to do in exchange for the fuel that keeps the family engine running.  Dad will do the bidding of 'the man' to keep his family secure.  Often Dads will do this in silence.  As a result, the sacrifice is not apparent and therefore not really appreciated.  Often kids think that money is some kind of stroke of luck that picks some and avoids others and long for the day that they are lucky.  Dads know better.  Money happens to people with patient persistence.  Sometimes the money can also be the source of distance between Dad and his family.  The problem is, the money becomes more of a part of his life than he had first assumed it would be.  A job was there to help you live the life you wanted.  This turns to the life you live is contained within your job.  That's why some Dads are not very good at retirement.  They have become their job.

-- Dads try to make as much 'privilege' as possible for their kids - We are starting to hear more and more about peoples 'privilege'.  Boiled down, it means that life is not fair and some are born with more than others.  The answer to this problem for some people is by trying to take away the things that are an advantage for some, not necessarily by giving help to advantage those less fortunate.  Dads see one of their jobs as trying very hard to make his family one of privilege.  He is vested in making life as unfair in your favor as possible.

-- Bad joke teller - Every Dad has an opportunity to play the authority figure.  But because Dad doesn't want to be a total authoritarian he has to temper his laying down of the law with some kind of love.  That is usually in the form of bad jokes.  Dad jokes.  Remember those jokes that were told when you were in about the 4th grade?  How do you catch a squirrel?  Climb in a tree and act like a nut!  Yeah, those are all dad jokes.  The problem of course is that Dad doesn't know when you've outgrown those jokes.  The bigger problem is he doesn't care.  Moms some times take this role, but usually they are heard to say things like 'don't encourage him' because the second dad thinks the jokes are getting to you, he will unleash the floodgates.

-- The Official Embarrass-er - Along with joke telling Dads are always quick with a story about how you would watch Barney for days on end and how you did this funny dance for your Grandma but ended up breaking wind but Grandma pretended not to notice.  Those stories are Dad gold!  No audience is immune, no situation exempt from these tales of woe.  Dads have an internal sense of when exactly that timing is perfect.

-- Field commander - Often at home Mom will wear the pants.  Outside often the Dad will become the field commander.  This is usually evident on vacation.  Dad will wear somewhat loud clothing so he can easily be seen by the local natives and his tribe alike.  Dad is always on the look out for the bad side of the street and will often, without alarm, guide you to the other side where he hopes things will be safer and not as exposed.  Dads don't raise a ruckus or cause the troops to be rattled.  Dads keep a watchful eye while simultaneously pointing out that being a Street Performer is not a legitimate career.

-- Not stupid - Take a look at nearly any commercial that is on TV today.  If the male figure in that ad is a Husband or a Dad, chances are he is stupid.  Not just stupid in an unintelligent way, but culturally stupid as well as painfully naive.  Dads will watch these commercials and laugh along with everyone else.  Why?  Because they (dads) aren't stupid.  They know that being Dad means sometimes being a target.  Dads have bigger things to worry about instead of being offended by every little slight that is leveled at them from TV.

-- Least politically correct - Dads are the last to know what things are socially acceptable anymore.  Why?  Because they live in a bubble that is split between work and home.  Neither of which has a lot of cultural exposure.  So when kids come home and Dad is ready to pull out another chestnut from his treasure trove of jokes and bon mots, often those jokes can rub against what school is teaching his kids.  That's ok.  That's one of the many thing Dads are for.  To show you that the world will not change to make anyone feel more comfortable.

-- Dads let you know how things are - Moms let you know how they want you to be.  Dads will let you know how things are.  What the real world has in store for you.  What people might be thinking.  What the word on the street is.  Sometimes he'll just say 'Yeah, that guy had it coming'  and sometimes he will go to great lengths to explain why something that is wrong is simultaneously understandable.  Dads are the ones that are usually the first to tell you that life isn't fair.  Dads can explain the world you really live in.

-- Still just a guy - By all means Dads are not perfect.  This is of course no revelation, but there is a fair amount of time where kids think their Dads are pretty great.  Over time that can fade as kids come to realize that Dad is just like they are, just a person.  Still it's hard to not be the hero or the funny guy anymore and just be that dumpy guy that makes weird rules.  Dads will largely not complain about their lot in life or throw up their hands and say why me when things don't work out right, but it doesn't mean that a lot of life's slings and arrows don't still sting.  One secret is that Dads still kind of remember you as the kid that liked them.

I write this in memory of my own Dad he was all of the above.  Happy Fathers day to all you Dads out there.  I hope you can enjoy it in peace and quiet or a riot and ruckus, whatever strikes your fancy.

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