Saturday, February 26, 2011

#11 Signs on the Toilet

Oh No! Your toilet clogged, is now overflowing, and can't be stopped! How did this ever happen? If only there had been some reminder on display that tells you how to properly handle this toilet to prevent an unfortunate event like this from happening...

Oh hey flyer with instructions from Dad! Dad has wrestled with the toilet monsters before in his youth. Dad knows it is not a demon to mess with. That is why Dad puts up specific instructions on how to handle the beast. These phrases of wisdom range from "If it's brown, flush it down" to "we aim to keep this bathroom clean, so your aim is appreciated."

Dad isn't telling you to "hold down lever all the way" simply for his sake. But Dad also wants to save you the embarrassment of having your residue left over for others to discover. And it is just common courtesy. Everyone assumes what you did based on your time spent in there, but no one needs confirmation. And if there is a problem, you're not cleaning it up, Dad is. And Dad can't afford time away from His Chair to deal with your mistakes.
Just follow the instructions.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

#10 Dinner Time Questions

After a long day at school, the only thing to look forward to is a nice meal at home. You just want to get your homework over with, eat food, and then watch Teen Mom on MTV. Dad has a different agenda.

See, family dinners are a precious time for Dad. He can use it for family announcements or a time to try out his newest jokes. Most often though, Dad uses dinner to unwind from his day by hearing about yours. And he does so in the most precise of ways: through his questioning. Dad will ask you in the same manner everyday how your day went, but somehow you always think it's going to be something new. For example, Dad: " was everyone's day?" Sometimes Dad will get straight to the point: "Full Report Everybody!" or "How was school today?" Other times Dad does it in a subtle nature "So is there something you want to tell me?" Is there something I want to tell him? What does he know? Why am I so nervous?

Dad knows all, but he simply wants to hear it from you. These dinners are what makes Dad, well, Dad. He gets to hear how you are doing while giving his two cents. That's when you start to play with your food while keeping your head down. Dad explains how when he was your age (What was Dad like at my age?) that he handled things differently. Of course you did, Dad.

You can plead with mom for Dad to stop all you want with those puppy dog eyes, but mom knows Dad isn't done asking questions. "How is that friend of yours doing?" Dad asks. Which friend is Dad talking about? You realize Dad doesn't even know any of your friends. Dad is referring to the kid you were next to on the curb when Dad picked you up from practice the other day. "He's fine." It is important for Dad to know your friends. That's called good parenting.

Lastly, Dad leans over and swabs his bread over your leftover sauce. This is the signal Dad is pleased with the answers for today. Dad grants you permission to go about your life: "You may be excused." But now you're just stuck in the headlights pondering your own thoughts. How did Dad just get me to talk about my whole day when nothing eventful even happened? Oh Dad has his ways. He's the best interviewer you know. Better prep up for tomorrow's dinner.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#9 Sandals with Socks

Its a beautiful sunny day out. Let's go to the beach! Got the towels, sun block, buckets and shovels (mandatory sand castle building), and umbrella. Dad loads up the car and yells for you to come out. That's when you see it. Ignore Dad's short swimsuit and ridiculous hawaiian shirt. But those socks with the sandals can't be real. And tube socks nonetheless!

Dad sports his outfit proudly. It has the appeal of being casual with sandals but still attains the silky comfort of wearing socks. Dad can't afford to bear his crusty toe nails or get sand inbetween his toes. After a day at the beach, he can simply take off his socks and he is clean as a whistle.

Now the beach isn't the only place where the sandals with socks make appearances. When Dad's not sporting those White New Balances for supported comfort, Dad wears the socks with sandals for those casual summer evening walks. Dad waves to neighbors to make sure everything is functioning as it should be in the neighborhood. Upon returning from his walk, no need to take off shoes to feel comfortable. The socks with sandals allow for a breezy feel on the feet with extra protection against the dirt and grim of the floor.

"Do you really have to wear those socks with your sandals, Dad?" You plead. Dad looks you in the eye. Rolls down one of the tube socks to reveal upon his calf a tan line you didn't know was possible to exist. "Would you rather this?" Dad-1, You-0. The socks with the sandals are here to stay.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#8 Beating you at Sports

You've been practicing for weeks now. There's no way you can lose. Your friends can't touch your skills and even coach has commented on how much you've improved. "Maybe now you can take your old man on" Dad says. It's on like Donkey Kong.

You've heard about the passing of the torch. How that moment when you beat Dad culminates, earth stands still, and Dad bittersweetly is proud of you.
This is a myth.

Dads don't get beaten by their kids. Dad knows your weak spots: that you can't swim breast stroke, that you can't go left on your layup, or that you can't resist the high fastball. Dad isn't afraid to take advantage of this. Watch out for his skyhook, his ability to hit the ball over 400ft (okay to the edge of the grass but that's a long way away), or throw the ball the length of the football field.
You stand there in disbelief. How did I lose? Dad doesn't even workout. Dad just stares back with his grin hidden under his mustache. "Good game. Now let's go home for dinner." Dad says. Just like that, you realize Dad is the greatest athlete ever.

Sucks Dad's "back problems" prevented him from going pro. Those same "back problems" also caused him to retire before you could challenge him one more time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

#7 Shoulder Mounted Video Cameras

FLASHBACK: It is your third grade Christmas chorus recital. You have been practicing the words to Deck the Halls, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and all the other classics for weeks but we all know you are just going to get bored halfway through the recital and resort to mouthing the words and staring at the basketball hoop at the opposite side of the gym. You take your place and look out at the crowd (aka bored parents) looking for mom and Dad. You find mom and wave to her, but you cannot find Dad. In fact, you can’t see anyone’s Dad at all; there are no Dads in the crowd. Instead all the Dads have been replaced by cyborg types who have a red light flashing where their eyes should be like Arnold in The Terminator. They are all armed with shoulder mounted video cameras intent on recording every second of your boredom to be remembered forever.

The SMVC was the ultimate weapon of Dad’s to make sure nothing was missed from your childhood. Dad defends it by saying he wants to record everything for when you grow up but you highly doubt the first time you take a changeup to the face in Little League is something you want to remember. When you do want to see your first steps or your second grade “graduation” you have to dig out the old VHS tape the SMVC recorded it on or the VHS adapter that seemed to always eat up the tape when it was used. These tapes always have a problem with showing up when your girlfriend is talking to your Dad and you have to go do something for five minutes. Before you know it Dad is showing your significant other the video of the day you threw up at the carnival from eating three pounds of cotton candy. There goes your dignity.

There is also the Dad practice of putting the lens cap on the SMVC and forgetting to turn off the record button. This leads to the 20 minute intermission of your middle school play being a radio broadcast of him talking to a fellow Dad about the newest Fleetwood Mac album or how they groom their moustache, the SMVC captures it all.

Although I make fun of it now, we all know that when we become Dads we are going to follow in our ancestor’s footsteps and record everything our kid does for their future. We do this because we all know that a Dad’s first obligation is to raise their child right, but their second obligation is to embarrass them as much as possible without really knowing it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

#6 Parking

When learning to drive, the biggest fear of the driving test is the parallel parking portion. How does one learn this? Stop, signal, reverse (which way do I turn the wheel?) while checking blindspots, and also making sure I don't hit the curb or one of the cars I'm fitting between...ah, help! That's where Dad steps in.

How does Dad do it? He can parallel park one handed. He's changing the radio station while doing it. He does it naturally in one smooth motion. Dad has the ability to judge space without even looking. Don't you dare even suggest looking at the camera that shows what's behind him. That space meant for a motorcycle? No way...Dad fits the minivan with one swift motion. How is it even possible? "It just takes experience." Sure, Dad. If you say so. I bet a Dad probably invented that car that self parallel parks.

Remember how staying awake for a carride was impossible as a kid? Well no wonder we always had to get carried back into the house with the way Dad parks.