#249 In which our hero writes another Father's Day letter to his dad.
It’s Father’s Day again. So far it’s been a pretty low-key event for me. My wife has to work, so I’m home with the girls. They gave me their gift early: a great t-shirt with the girls’ photo on it giving me the thumbs up. “Thumbs up for daddy!” they told me. They also made a gift in day care… a paper popsicle with “Your a great Pop!” written on the stick. I appreciate the gesture, if not the grammar. Wrapped up with it were three freezy-pops, which are now in the freezer. Macey asks every couple of minutes if they’re ready yet. When I tell her they aren’t, she says, “But I can’t wait!”
Y’know, when I write these Father’s Day letters, they always seem so sad. I mean, of course they are, I miss you still; even 15 years after your death. Actually, the sadness seems intensified lately when I think of how my children would have loved being around you, and the joy you would have taken in them. Because they are cute and well-mannered (and as a life-long teacher and principal, you would have especially appreciated that)… but most of all, they’re really funny. Like you were.
So, instead of letting this become another melancholy rumination on how I miss you, I think I’d relate some of the funny things I remember about you.
The first thing that comes to mind is something that now, looking back, I think is hilarious. Even if at the time it was nearly cruel.
We had just watched The Exorcist on TV. I must have been around 10-years-old or so, and really, what the hell were you doing letting me watch a movie like The Exorcist at 10? I remember sitting in your lap and hiding my eyes at the really scary parts. Good Lord, this movie scares me shitless as an adult, I was beside myself as a kid. Anyway, after it was over I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth. And most likely talking to myself, as I often did. So I didn’t hear you sneak up to the (closed) bathroom door, then you suddenly flung it open and screamed like a monster and grabbed me. I fell to the floor in hysterics (and not in a good way). I seem to remember you trying to comfort me afterward, as if you felt bad about scaring me so badly. Which I’m sure you did.
This may have been the defining moment in the evolution of my sense of humor. Because now, as twisted as it seems, I still think scarring a little kid after watching a horrifying movie absolutely hilarious. And, it seems, so did you.
Something else you used to do--and you used to do this all the time--was to come into the house and give me what I thought of as your “principal face.” It was the stern, unsmiling face that said, “Mister, you are in big trouble.” And sometimes, I was. But sometimes, I wasn’t and you were just messing with my mind. Which, again, I find really funny. You came in the door, zapped me with the principal face, and I had a momentary freak-out trying to remember exactly what I did that you found out about, and why I was about to get busted.
Of course, I tend to mess with my kids’ head too. But, I must admit, not with the finesse and skill that you employed.
But really, your sense of humor wasn’t about specific bits--it imbued everything you did. And this, more than anything, is certainly what influenced MY sense of humor. Because I’m funny.
And so are your grandkids.
Thanks for that, Dad.