Today is Fathers’ Day, and today I’m going all old-school, playground talk on you, far-away friends. I can do this because my dad is cooler than your dad.
Prove it, you say? You bet I can.
My dad is cool because he loves babies. It might not be a macho, tough guy thing, but my dad is a sucker for a baby. The fresher and squishier, the better. At the most recent family baby shower, Dad stole the baby from his sister (the wee one’s grandma) and kept the child snuggled up in his elbow until it was time to eat. As soon as the baby finished at the milk bar, Dad took the kid back. Nevermind that the baby had filled his pants: Dad refers to the very small babies as “mustard makers,” and can change a smelly diaper like nobody’s business.
My dad is cool because he knows everything about cars. Not only can he fix just about anything to do with an automobile, which is awesome, but he can also tell you everything about that car. The smell of automotive repairs, that greasy, metallic scent, has always reminded me of my dad, because he never wears cologne but often smells like cars and oil.
Riding in a car with my dad is the best way to witness the magic. He can see a car parked at the side of the road, tell you exactly what model, make, and year it is, as well as the size of the engine and other random facts, like that particular car’s available paint colours or the length of the windshield wipers. If this doesn’t impress you, what if I told you Dad provide the same information for a car parked in an alley, 97% covered up by a snow drift or a tarp. True story.
My dad is cool because he’s a Ford man. Our garage has housed a steady stream of classic Fords, the growlier the better. I grew up drooling over muscle cars, dreaming of owning a 1965 Mustang notchback while my friends wanted Sunfires and Corvettes.
My dad is cool because he owns, maintains, and runs a race car. It’s a Ford Fairlane, and I’m not going to lie to you about the year. I’ll confess that I can’t remember when the thing rolled off the assembly line, but that’s because Dad owns three Fairlanes at the moment and I can’t keep them straight. What I do know is how much Dad looks forward to running that car every summer. He invests much of the winter in improving his racecar and organizing a racing event in our small Alberta town.
My dad is cool because he did his best to prepare me for life. Before I moved out of the house into my first apartment in the big city, my folks gave me a car. Don’t start waving your arms and calling me spoiled, readers; my first car was a 1989 Ford Tempo, and I got her in 2000; her name, fittingly, was Beulah.
Dad didn’t toss me the keys, hand me one of those little trees that smells like chemicals, and tell me to have fun. There were steps involved to me earning those keys. Step one: I had to read the entire owner’s manual. Let’s not tell him that I read it for grammar and typos as well as for content, okay? Step two: I had to point out the names of all the things I could identify under the hood, and prove that I knew how to check my oil and where to put the blue stuff for the windshield wipers. Step three: I had to remove and reattach each of the four tires. This involved me jacking up the car four times, and struggling with the tire iron, the lug nuts, and the mosquitos, since it took me well into a summer evening to work my way around the car on those tires.
The result of this automotive triathalon? I knew how to do the most basic car-related things. I didn’t own a cell phone then, and Dad made sure I could get stuff done without relying on the first creeper who pulled over on the highway if it came down to it.
My dad is cool because he has a great sense of humour. Years ago, when he worked at the local hospital, his department decided to have a M*A*S*H themed float in the local parade. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, whether he volunteered or drew the short straw or missed the meeting and had to take the leftover roles, but Dad was cast as Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger. That’s right, the swarthy gentleman who spent much of the television series wearing a dress and hoping to be discharged from the army for insanity.
What can I say? Dad has the legs for this get up. You can’t see them in the photo, but he also sported clip-on earrings. He has the lobes for those, too.
My dad is cool because he taught me about real music. One of my earliest memories of hanging out with my dad is driving along in a pickup truck, singing along to whatever 8-track dad pulled from the old lunchbox where he stored his music. My personal favorite was Nana Mouskouri’s “Love is a Rose.” Dad loved Roy Orbison, but we both sang along to whatever was on the stereo.
My dad is cool because he can actually sing. Family members still bring up a costumed birthday party, complete with karaoke like all the cool kids had, from several years ago, where dad dressed as Roy Orbinson and performed “Pretty Woman” to roaring applause.
My dad is cool because he is a hopeless romantic. He proposed to my mom over three decades ago with a custom-made engagement ring featuring an emerald because Momma loves green. For years, he had bouquets made for their wedding anniversaries that featured one different type of flower for each year they’d been married; after about 25 the hometown florist could do no more and Dad needed a different tactic. He is still as crazy about my mom as he was when they got married, and that means a lot.
My dad is cool because he knows when to abandon ship on the typical testosterone-laden guy things and do what needs to be done. Many times when I was growing up, Dad worked into the wee hours, helping my momma finish my Halloween costume or birthday cake. He is also known around their house as mom’s secret weapon for making pies: Momma makes a mean pastry, but Dad is the only person who can roll it out and wrestle it into the pie plate without breaking the dough.
My dad is cooler than your dad. He’s a funny, romantic, hard-working automotive genius, and I love him.
copyright 2011: http://bluespeckledpup.com