Fathers. Dads. Papas. San Diego Padres. All of us have or had a dad of some kind. Maybe he is tall. Maybe he was short. Maybe he’s like my dad and likes to watch Sanford and Sons on TV Land at 7:30pm and start snoring in the middle of The Jeffersons. Fish definitely don’t fry in the kitchen. All of our fathers have differently personalities. It’s what makes them human, I’m guessing, but I didn’t take any Freud type classes to make a distinction between humans and other worldly type creatures with psychotherapy that may or may not be accepted in the “new” world.
Not enough people are named Sigmund.
Last week, when I was visiting the place where I grew up and ate fruit by the foots I saw my dad and it was just like old times. That’s right. The old times when your dad tries to be hip and cool and instead makes a 35 minute trip to a nice restaurant awkward and reminds you of the time he asked your date why she has a “black type” name. What’s a black type name? You would probably have to ask my dad for the answer to that, but his response would be something along the lines of “You know. The names on those programs.” Right. The programs. You see, my dad wasn’t born in this country, but he has assimilated himself quite nicely into American culture the last 35 years. He has a slight, probably nonexistent, hint of an accent. He went to all of my baseball games growing up. He became President of the Little League for a year. He drinks Coors Light. He drank Coors Light at the Little League while watching my baseball games. Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey knows him by name. That’s right. In the pop quiz of American life, my dad has received at least a B+ because once you’ve become tight with the corrupt, married, former governor of New Jersey that had a homosexual affair with one of his advisers that forced him to come out of the closet then you are more American than Hulk Hogan.
Hulkamania shouldn’t run wild on anyone. Be more aware of your surroundings.
Since my brother and I are both first generation Americans my dad had to raise us in a different way than he was raised. We eat with utensils, while my dad likes devouring anything with his hands in a fashion that most resembles a gorilla eating, well, anything. I’ve always campaigned for a world fastest hand eating competition just to see where my dad would place. He has to be a top 5 competitor and we would be rich if such a thing existed. So, in conclusion, I blame the rest of the world and their “etiquette” for my family not being the masala kings of New Jersey.
Mahesh Masala. You have won this round.
My dad did the next best thing when it came to raising us. He watched TV. I’m pretty sure that he learned all of his parenting skills from Heathcliff Huxtable, the lovely doctor played by Bill Cosby on the hit NBC program, The Cosby Show. You may have heard of it and if you haven’t I suggest you quit your job right now, sit at home, and turn on the TV. You’ll be caught up in 3 weeks. I realized my dad was trying to be Bill Cosby when one of my friends was talking about how he was raised and I got to thinking how I was raised. My dad would always sit next to me on the bed and try to discuss life lessons. On TV, Bill Cosby would always sit on the bed next to Theo and talk about life lessons. It would always end with Cosby telling a joke to Theo or the studio audience saying “awww”. In real life, my dad would try to recollect these things he saw on TV and say things he thought Bill Cosby would say. I particularly remember this gem. “Remember, this is life. Sometimes lives of things don’t live like other lives. Remember.”
If there was a gong in my bedroom I would have hit it.
Many of these sayings he tried made zero sense at all. “Patience is something you must have.” “A bird in the hand is like two birds.” “Fill up my cup. Mazel tov!” Yeah, I don’t know either. We weren’t even Jewish. But bless my dad for continuing to try the Bill Cosby method of parenting. If he would say something serious to me about my report card or studying he immediately tried lightening the mood by asking me what kind of music I listened to and then butchering the names of every band. Weezer became Wheezing. Pearl Jam became Earl Jim. Snoop Dogg was Snoopy. “Hey honey, have you heard of this Wheezing?!?! It’s nice.” I would like to say things have changed on the front, but they haven’t. When I was home my dad asked me what I was listening to. Before I got to answer he remembered that I had a Fallout Boy CD. (I was emo, ok?!? I sat in my room and wondered why I was never her “number one with a bullet.” Then I bought a My Chemical Romance CD. And in my defense that one song is pretty good. I rest my case. I won’t be judged.) The only problem was that he couldn’t quite remember the name of the band. After 30 seconds of stumbling around for bands with “boy” in them he finally came up with it.
The Beach Boys.
I guess now should be the time where I mention that my dad also likes singing songs in the only way he knows how. Terribly. After finally pulling out The Beach Boys from the recesses of his brain he asked me, “Do they play the Beach Boys in California? You guys have a beach. I like that one song. You know it. I get around, around, around, around around around . I get around, around, around, around, around, around. (turns to my mom) Honey, you know that song? It’s nice.”
I just shook my head.
He must have seen that on Magnum P.I.