Thursday, August 25, 2011

#47 Yelling

“STOP! DOWN! NOW!” is yelled across the courtyard but it sounds as if it is right in your ear. It is because you know that tone. It strikes your heart and hits all fears you hold in your nerves. It is Dad yelling.

Now Dad has many forms of yelling and punishment. But the fewer the words used, the worse it is. When Dad breaks down his punishment to fragments, exclamations and the deep toned voice that echos deep in your soul, you know it is serious. All I was doing was climbing the tree…”UNSUPERVISED!” Dad provides his point with extreme clarity. There is no arguing from here. You just have to let Dad let it out. At least Dad wasn’t yelling my name…that is the worst.

Dads tend to let things build up so during this yelling penalty Dad will often blurt out things that happened in the past…waaay in the past. “I CHANGED YOUR DIAPERS!” wait, what? And then Dad will throw out things for the future as if to impart some lessons: “YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU’RE OLDER!”

You retreat to a private place so no one can see your wounds from that beating of yells you just took. That is when Dad calms down and consoles you. “I yell because I care.” Dad says with genuine sentiment. Confusion settles over you as you accept a hug from Dad. No matter how many times you hear it, those one word yells cut deep. And Dad has plenty of them left in his reserve to use when necessary.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#46: Project Clothes

If there is one thing we know from childhood is that Dad loves doing projects around the house. His weekends are not wasted sitting on the couch, they are spent puttering around the yard doing things that “have to be done” like pulling weeds or fixing the garbage disposal. This requires the proper mindset, but most importantly it requires the proper attire. Dad has to be wearing his Project Clothes when he does weekend projects.

Project Clothes contain a wide range of apparel. There are a few staples to every Dad’s wardrobe that are a necessity. First, every Dad must have a pair of painting pants. Ratty jeans covered with layers of smudges and paint stains that are not appropriate for any situation except when he gets into his Michelangelo mode. Reeking with the musk of paint thinner, Dad will stink up the house wearing these painting pants because you know they have never been washed. That would make the marks of paint pride fade away, and Dad would never allow that.

Another important item for Dad is gardening shorts. These can be made from a wide variety of materials such as mesh, khaki, cotton (a Dad favorite because they are flexible), or in Southern states denim is a common choice. The most necessary feature for gardening shorts is the elastic waistband. With Dad stooping, crouching, and bending over plants it is extremely important that the shorts are comfortable. Buttons on the waistband hurt against Dad’s beer belly and that pain will keep him from trying to look like he knows how to garden. The shorts also need to be a darker color to hide Dad’s enormous sweat stain as he labors. Although you can tell Dad is sweating like a pig in the August heat, you really do not want to know the extent of the perspiration. It will haunt your dreams.

The headwear is very important for the Dad working outdoors. A common hat is the snapback baseball cap that is labeled with Dad’s alma mater. This hat is so weathered and damaged that it should be incinerated, but Dad will never allow it. Another type of hat is the obnoxious straw or Panama hat which has a brim wide enough to use as an umbrella for the patio. It blocks all chance of the sun hitting Dad in a four foot radius and makes him look like an old woman at the same time. It usually features a chinstrap of some sort because the slightest gust of wind would cause the hat to unfurl its wing like brim and float into Canada. An added bonus for Dad is that this hat embarrasses you when he wears it in public, a feeling all Dads try to press upon their children at all times.

So remember that even though Dad has no idea how plumbing works or that he probably is not qualified to handle that 200 horsepower chainsaw, he does know how to dress for maximum performance. But most importantly he knows how to look damn good while he tackles his to-do list.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

#45: Duct Tape

Crap. My binder finally snapped in half. How am I supposed to carry my notes now? You’ve tried that rebinding glue and other mechanisms, but nothing seems to hold the binder together. Before you can even ask Dad for help, he already has the solution. You hear that familiar strip and hiss sound come from the other room. “Good as new,” Dad states matter of factly and slides your binder towards you. The binder is held together and very sturdy, except there is a silver binding now. “Dad, what did you do to this?”

“Duct tape kiddo. It can do anything.”

And that is exactly what Duct Tape is to Dad. When elbow grease and a love tap isn’t enough to do the job, Dad pulls out the miracle that is Duct Tape for his repair. He uses it for fixing school supplies because school supplies have to last the entire year. Duct Tape can repair the bumper from Dad’s car you knocked off. “It’s just a new paint job,” Dad reasons as to why Duct Tape is a better solution than going to the mechanic.

Duct tape is all Dad needs for his tool-box and utility belt. It can stop leaks, repair rips, and even act as a second wallet (google duct tape wallet). Dad sees Duct Tape as his go to gizmo. It helped His Chair last an additional 10 years. It added an extra layer of warmth to His Coat when the seams broken in the winter of ’89. You simply know duct tape as the surrounding that held together your old sneakers, and you were allowed to draw on it so that was cool. Dad knows Duct Tape for its all-encompassing glory. In Dad’s eyes, there isn’t anything Duct Tape can’t do. And so far, you can’t prove him wrong.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#44 Classic Dads Volume #3: Phil Dunphy

Moving on with our exploration of exemplary Dads, the staff here at That’s So Dad have decided to include a Dad who is of more recent fame. His rise to the upper tiers of Dadness has been fast, but he deserves it. The man we know as Phil Dunphy is a great example of who we should all aspire to be. A Dad who embarrasses his children.

Phil is a father on the show Modern Family, and is often part of the main plot in each episode. He tries to connect with his children through a tactic he calls “peerenting” where he attempts to talk to his kids like a peer but acting like a parent. This often embarrasses his kids because he tells them to pretend they are in the malt shop or playing jacks and just talking about problems. Phil also likes to think of himself as the “Cool Dad” and really tries to connect with his kids in extreme ways. Phil brags that he knows all the songs and dances to High School Musical which is found very uncool by his kids but he does not care.

Although Phil is not like most Dads in that he was a college cheerleader, he is extremely competitive. Like other Dads, he does not let his kids win when they play each other in sports. When playing basketball against his 12 year old son Luke, Phil does what every Dad wants to do which is block every single shot his son takes and then dunks over his kid. This is the mark of a true Dad.

Phil also tries to be real smooth sometimes, but to no avail. His awkwardness shows in such scenarios as when he becomes his alter-ego Clive Bixby, a high-end electroacoustic transducer designer who has exactly 10 Million dollars and nothing he says comes out just right in his attempts to seduce his wife.

Phil has a goofy sense of humor and is commonly referred to by his wife as “The kid I am married to.” That is one of the most important things a Dad can do for his family, embarrass the hell out of them. It is what Dads strive to do, and Phil excels at it.