I have the best dad in the world, I really do. And in honor of Father's Day, I am making him a top 10 list.
Top 10 things I've learned From My Dad
1. My Dad is also known as Mr. Wizard. He knows everything. Go ahead, test him. And, in the event that he doesn't know the answer, he will make up the perfect mixture of BS, total crap, hogwash, bologna and poppycock... with just a dash of truth, but enough to make you certain that he is an expert on
2. Until you become an adult and call him out on it. And when you do he will either a) make a face that fervently attempts to conceal a smug grin, proud that he took you well into adulthood with the belief that a PhD in every subject, from Molecular Biology to Ancient History, should be automatically mandated to him, as a reward for his level of brilliance... or b) give 8 seconds of silence (the longest 8 seconds of your life), strategically allowing you sufficient time to regret the audacity of your challenge to his intellect. This 8 seconds is usually followed by a well-thought out, cleverly devised word to describe the absurdity of your defiance; a word such as butt-nut, rabbit or turkey. I've learned that questioning his knowledge is punished by stare. And rightfully so.
3. My dad is too cool for brakes. In fact, he is the only person I know who accelerates faster than an aircraft carrier catapult while exiting a freeway off ramp. Only when his truck has successfully achieved mach 1 and is satisfied with the sonic boom he has just created will he slam on his brakes and come to a dramatic halt before reaching the off ramp intersection. Logic and reason always lead me to believe that it is mathematically impossible to stop in time, as it defies basic laws of physics. However, each time this happens I close my eyes (as we pull 3.5 Gs) and we stop. Like Willy Wonka's boat going through the Slugworth tunnel. We just stop. Henceforth, I have learned from my dad's driving to live by faith... Faith big enough to move mountains. Faith big enough to successfully stop a Dodge Ram accelerating off a freeway exit at Mach 1.
4. My dad, if given the opportunity, will make spaghetti 5 nights a week. There is no reason to ask him what he would like for dinner; we already know. There is no reason for him to ask us what we would like for dinner... any opposition to spaghetti will be given the 8 second stare. I have learned that when dad cooks, we will be having spaghetti... with a slice of buttered bread... folded up into a spaghetti sandwich. I have also learned that when dad asks what we want him to make for dinner, the correct answer is always spaghetti.
5. When he is feeling particularly spunky we will deviate from the spaghetti sandwich and replace it with a meal combination that was probably created sometime in the mid 1970s while he was on a backpacking trip. Hot dogs. Beans. And an egg. And if things are going just right, sometimes a slice of tomato, with a little pepper. It is a family meal staple. And it is what you will be served on the nights when spaghetti is absent from the menu. I have learned that this combination is not what the other kids were eating growing up. But who am I to turn down any combination of hot dog?
6. My dad is bilingual. He speaks English and Puns fluently. Shame on you for thinking only one pun is sufficient for any and every situation. You will get at least 4 or 5 different examples so as to provide a demonstration of wit and an uncanny ability to stretch to the outer limits of what is acceptable and deemed "pun-worthy". If you don't understand the pun, it will be explained. If you do understand the pun, but do not give the reaction that it rightfully deserves, it will be explained. If you do get the pun, give it the deserving reaction, the puns will be encouraged and you will guarantee yourself at least 5 or 6 more puns on the same subject. I have learned that puns are more than just a figure of speech; they are a talent, they are an art and they are inevitable in the company of my dad. Respect the pun.
7. My dad knows every hiking trail, bike path, back road, dirt road, mountain road, mountain peak, switch back, stream, creek, pond, ghost town and campground in the western United States. If you want a history lesson, detailed description, a review or a story about any of them, he is the person for the job. And while you are at it, he can give you an accurate account of the wildlife... creatures, critters, feathered friends, fauna and fungus you may encounter while in the area. I have learned that a hiking trip is more than just exercise; it is an opportunity to interpret nature, bond with the environment and to gain a history lesson or two along the way.
8. My dad befriends and bonds with animals unlike anyone I've ever seen. Animals flock to him. He undoubtedly has an animal-attracting, gentle spirit. That, or the animals (more specifically their dogs) remember the hot dogs, turkey sandwiches and chicken that he feeds them. When he fixes a meal, they get a plate. They are a part of the family after all, aren't they? I have learned that dogs will follow you around if you feed them bird, cow or pig.
9. My dad has the ability to watch a PBS telethon for an astonishingly mind-boggling amount of time. Regardless of the performer, it is the best he has ever seen. He will watch. He will laugh. He will love. And don't even think about changing the channel when Huell Howser is on. That is asking for a retaliation as to why whatever you have changed the channel to is absolute crap, all the while, name dropping certain reality star, tabloid names from 3 years ago as exhibit A. Somehow, someway... this subject will always end up with a critique of the atrocity that is rap music. Which rabbit trails to a display of mock gang signs, an interpretation of hip hop dancing... and ends up with the Mr. Peanut dance. Completely unrelated, but infinitely entertaining. Picture this:My dad... feet moving inward so fast, side to side, that all you see is a blur. I have learned to not change the channel unless I am in the need for a good laugh.
10. Lastly, my dad is the happiest, friendliest man you will ever meet. He can befriend a person he just met... has conversations with all of the neighbors...sees the good in everybody. He honors God, loves his neighbors, goes out of his way to help people in binds, sacrifices for the good of others, hard worker, all-around handyman, walking encyclopedia, a good example of what it means to be a good husband, father and most importantly, follower of Christ. The foundation of my biblical knowledge is credited to my dad... Not only is he well versed in scripture, but he also stressed the importance of practical application of scripture into all our (my siblings and my) lives. I always had a God-fearing believer to look up to, learn from and be encouraged by. I am, without a doubt, a better person because of my dad. I am not "fortunate" as I do not believe in luck or fate; I am, instead, truly blessed as God purposely placed us in the hands of my parents. It was not an accident. For that I am thankful to the Lord for being ever so gracious to me, and thankful to my dad for being ever so obedient to the Lord.
To all of the dads out there: may you know that every unique quality that makes you you, will be appreciated, laughed
Happy Father's Day,