Thursday, January 31, 2013

#123: Early Morning Jogging

Dads have a busy life. Between work, coaching Little League, and falling asleep at the mall, Dads have to maximize every minute of the day. And when you have to get up early for work and then afterwards do Dad things, when does he ever have time for exercise? That is where Early Morning Jogging comes in.

Dad has to be in the office at 9AM, which means he should be up significantly before that to shower, shave, go to the bathroom which in turn has that lingering Dad smell the rest of the day, eat some bran cereal, and commute. But in Dad logic, he will get up even earlier (like 5AM) to jog. It is a weird subculture but Dad loves it because he gets exercise, cool (or subzero depending on the season) fresh air, and he can wear all his favorite clothes without mom yelling at him because no one else is out that early jogging except other Dads. He can wear his tube socks, ratty old college shirt, fanny pack (to carry the Walkman he has had since before you were born), those 20 year old sweatpants, and many other Dad-attire without mockery. White New Balance shoes go without saying... Have you ever had to get up really early to go to the airport? Dads out jogging everywhere. It is an army of balding heads and soft knee braces.

Dad does the same loop of the neighborhood he has done for years, combining flat stretches with hilly terrain to work those legs. He always runs in the street to minimize injury and maximize getting hit by a car. He always comes home when you are having breakfast for school and WILL be covered in sweat no matter what the season or weather. You think that's rain on his forehead because it is pouring outside? Its definitely all sweat.

It is tough maintaining the temple that is a Dad's body. Between the cereal for dinner and the evening beer, he has to combine this healthy diet with a mildly difficult workout regimen so he can be stronger than you and continue his win streak in HORSE. He is just a competitive guy who wants to prove who is the king of the house.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#122: Knowing Finances

W-2’s start filling up the mailboxes and receipts are finally being pulled out of the wallet. It’s the beginning of tax season, and everyone seems confused…except for Dad.

Dads are accountants, financial advisors, bank tellers, mortgage lenders, and investment bankers are rolled into one. You got a question about your savings account? Dad will tell you the benefits of your interest rate compared to the fluctuating market. Why is your loan rate so high? Dad will explain the variable increases of prime. Balancing a checkbook? Well, no one does that because it is the 21st century, but Dad does because he is old school. “Always leave a paper trail.”

And when you think you’ve asked Dad all you can about finances; that is when you realize you need help with insurance claims. Dad can step up to the plate in that aspect as well, spelling out your deductible, patient balance and percentage of coverage. My head started spinning at out of pocket…

Dad is there to guide, support, and mold us into sufficient beings. But no matter if you are age 10 getting your first allowance, Should I spend it all on gum or chocolate?, or if you’re age 35 looking to increase your IRA contribution, How much does my company match?, you will be calling Dad. Dad is a financial guru without being licensed. CFA, CPA, MBA should all be replaced by DAD.

Friday, January 18, 2013

#121: Jazz

There are some bands that are timeless from Dad's era. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Elvis, ABBA to name a few. Dad will talk about the good ole Days before Ke$ha and One Direction (or as he calls them, One Dimension) infected the radio. A time before cassettes and CDs ruined the warmth a record or 8-Track brought to the sound. And in many days, Dad is right. His era of music was really good. However, there is one genre of music that only Dads understand and truly appreciate. Jazz.

Now I enjoy going to the Green Mill on Broadway as much as anyone. But it does not mean I know a damn thing about jazz and whether the music is good or not, it all sounds the same to me. For a child though, this is pure torture being dragged to a jazz club. You have to dress nice, comb your hair, and every time you talk at the table you are shushed. But look at dear ole Dad. Sitting there with a tall drink no one has ordered since the USA was on the gold standard calmly swaying his head to the beat with his eyes closed. In between sets he will exclaim "Did you hear how that trumpet filled?" or "That guy is really tickling those ivories!". He will discuss how he liked the improv difference versus his record of the song, and how it sounds like this old Jazz musician (his name will always begin with Ole' or Smoky or something really grizzled). You of course just nod and count down the minutes till you can bust out that Nintendo DS in the car ride home. To your horror, Dad will pump up the jazz radio station, which is always called something like The Oasis, on the way home because he isn't satisfied. It sounds like you are in a traveling Weather Channel Update On The 8s.

Dad also likes listening to his old mothball smelling Jazz records on the turntable that mom got him 30 years ago. Sitting there re-reading (yes re-reading) an old National Geographic or TIME with a good pour of Scotch is a great way for Dad to spend a Friday night. Of course it will always end with him falling asleep with his reading glasses on and the record spinning all night as the turntable needle floats in the air, the music ending two hours before. Jazz is soothing to those over the age of 30. To the rest of us it is just a weird racket. That doesn't mean Dad won't drag you to another performance next week though...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#120 Classic Dads: Coach Eric Taylor

Coach Taylor lives the dream of all un-athletic Dads: he coaches for a living. Coach Taylor oozes his Dadness on the football field, whether in practice by being a father figure to all kids on his team—from giving Matt Saracen confidence to putting a roof over Tim Riggins—or in games on Friday Nights with demanding respect through yelling til his face turns red. Even Tami Taylor has to admire that Dadness.

Coach Taylor rocks the ultimate Dad outfits, with shorts above the knees (often with cargo pockets), smushed hat, sunglasses with croakies, and usually rocking white sneakers when running errands through town. When he’s not sweating while standing up, Coach Taylor is sure to be talking to all strangers in town in a polite manner. He even gives the annoying Buddy Garrity the time of day. 

Lastly, let’s not forget the ultimate Dad feature of Coach Taylor: his ability to embarrass Julie. He does this in the ultimate Dad way, by not being able to understand his teenage daughter. That doesn’t stop him from intimidating boyfriends, and even living a Dad’s worst nightmare: walking in on his daughter with a boy in bed. And with being outnumbered in his own home, with his wife and daughter Julie, he copes on the football field. 

So to you Coach Taylor, we place you in the So Dad Hall of Fame. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

#119: Tevas

We at That's So Dad hold a few basic tenets that truly represent Dads. A big one is clothing choices. Every article of clothing from head to toe has been scrutinized. We all know that White New Balance Shoes are the official footwear of Dads everywhere but there is a special shoe that we have not recognized. It is the official summer shoe of Dads: The Teva.

Tevas are perfect for Dads because they are functional, keep their feet cool, and look totally ridiculous. They fulfill Dad's mission of being comfy and embarrassing the kids at the same time. As soon as the weather hits above 55 degrees (70 for you wusses down South or in California) and the snow is gone Tevas are in full effect. Dad will wear them for a walk into town, to AYSO games, and of course Disney World and other theme parks. For maximum embarrassment he will sometimes throw on a pair of Tube Socks to get the full Dad/German tourist effect. It is elegant and awful at the same time.

Tevas are also prevalent when Dad drags the family on a camping and/or canoeing trip. He can trudge through dirt, mud, streams, rapids, thickets, post-Apocalyptic Australia, the River Styx, and Baghdad circa 2006 without a care in the world. His feet are armed with the equivalent of tank treads so he will be able to navigate the camp ground with perfect ease.

Dads always look for function over form and Tevas are the perfect example. Dad considers it a lost summer if by Labor Day he does not have the Teva Strap tan on his feet. He has failed his family in Dadness, but at least he has succeeded in maximum embarrassment. Just remember to look away and ignore him when he waves to you while waiting for ice cream at the zoo. Even though every other kid feels the same shame because their Dads are wearing Tevas too.