Lookit here, ladies and gents, we all know what today is: Father’s Day.
And OBVIOUSLY, as I have the greatest dad in the world, I’m going to write some fun things here in honor of this holiday.
Even MORE OBVIOUSLY, it’s going to include how awesome I am, because let’s face it: being a good dad is pretty easy when your kid is the cream of the crop.
Here’s the deal: a couple of weeks ago, I turned 26. Holy cow, I’m old now, right? Right. But also, I should point out that my dad is currently 52.
Now, those of you who passed 6th grade math have probably already figured out, using cross-multiplication or some shit like that, that this means I am currently the same age that my dad was when I was born.
I know. I know.
This weirds me out to no end. But in the middle of all the weirdness, I have discovered a rather intriguing fact: I’m WAY better at life now than my dad was at 26. It’s true. I mean, let’s face it: at 26, my dad was married, had a small, squirmy thing he was responsible for taking care of (adorable as I may have been) and was a cat person.
Clearly, my single, child-less but dog-wealthy life is way the fuck better than his was. I mean, mid-June of 1987, my dad was probably enjoying his first Father’s Day at least a little, but he certainly wasn’t gearing up for Vegas in 2 weeks and New York a month after that. He also probably didn’t spend the Saturday before Father’s Day sitting around with his friends, watching the entire Star Wars trilogy and eating nerdy-named foods while inserting “that’s what she said” into George Lucas’s ridiculously euphemism-filled classics.
Okay, maybe he could have done that…actually, it’s entirely possible or even probable that he did that sometime in my first year of life, minus the dirty talk, but STILL. You see my point here.
My life > Dad’s.
The cute thing is, a lot of my awesomeness and successes in life are thanks to him.
So as a tribute to him for sacrificing his freedoms to bring me into the world, immediately bettering it, I have composed a list of lessons my dad taught me during my first 26 years of life, in order to help me surpass him. Many of these are “learn from my mistakes” lessons, which I take full advantage of without much prodding.
Also, this list should make you all jealous that your dad isn’t as cool as mine.
26. Cooking in woks is not just for asians. So don’t ask me where a good Chinese food restaurant is – I have no idea, I make stir fry myself.
25. If you don’t clean your car, someone might literally put all of your crap in a box and label it as such without telling you. My choir director probably still remembers the day we opened my trunk to load something and there was a box, labeled “Erin’s crap” sitting dead center. My favorite quote that he decorated the box with, of course, was ‘Holy crap, batman, that’s a lot of crap!’ Classy, my dad is.
24. It’s fun to freak people out with your flesh wounds. Just make sure that whatever you do, it doesn’t injure you any further.
23. If what you did to freak people out DOES injure you further, never admit it. Ever.
22. Looking young is awesome and also shocks people. Luckily, it’s also a well-inherited trait.
21. Travel is its own reward. Do it as much as possible – it will teach you lessons you can’t learn in books or classrooms.
20. Paint can cover up all manner of sins. This is what I’ve learned in home shopping/owning. Thankfully, he hasn’t encouraged me to fill wall holes with toothpaste or peanut butter like he did in college.
19. Talking on the phone once a day is not too much. Especially when we have an AT&T employee discount with unlimited minutes. Got me through college.
18. You should never get another dog, unless it’s extra cute and/or pathetic. He’s totally caved on the whole hard-hearted thing since he picked up Bernie at PetsMart and Trixie off the side of the road.
17. College is significantly greater than middle school or high school, and it’s where you find your truest friends. Like any good teacher, my dad modeled this in his own life. So not only do I have rockin’ awesome friends from college, but I have his friends from his college days, too.
16. Embrace your inner nerd, and let it show on the outside sometimes. As one of my newer friends said, “Sometimes I forget how nerdy you are,” which means that I’ve been hiding it a little too well.
15. When off-roading in a regular vehicle, make sure to cross over large rises in the terrain at an angle, that way you don’t high-center. Also, don’t tell mom.
14. If you go on a mission with Harry Kim, you’re going to die. Uh, yeah, that’s a super-nerdy reference. Just…don’t worry if you don’t get it.
13. “Howdy” is a greeting that is appropriate for anyone. I’m pretty sure if Barack Obama every showed up on his doorstep, my dad would stick out his hand and greet the president in this fashion.
12. It’s okay to dislike and be picky about random normal foods (ex: bell peppers for Dad, ice cream for me) and still love really strange and/or exotic foods.
11. When people call you stubborn, always deny it. He likes to say that his mother’s stubbornness skipped a generation and was passed straight on to me. Yeah, right.
10. Know your strengths, and use them. I try very hard to teach this to my students, but I haven’t quite mastered the art yet.
9. When jumping a fence, make sure the ground doesn’t slope down on the other side.
8. Be careful when drinking kamikazis and long island iced teas, they’re sneaky. Also, tequila is delicious.
7. Hair is better when it’s longer. See: any photo of either of us for the past 9ish years.
6. “It’s good to have wants.” (And yes, I say this to my students when they say they want to do something.)
5. Your favorite number will be 5. It’s obviously the coolest of all the numbers.
4. The answer to “What is the air speed velocity of an unlaiden swallow?” is “African or European?” anytime anyone asks. The fact that I could spout this off at age 6 may have something to do with my slight deficiency in the math/sciences but also something to do with my astounding ability to think in abstract.
3. There is a movie/TV quote for every situation. If you can’t think of one, you’re not working hard enough. If you can’t think of two, then we’re better than you.
2. If you can’t go to sleep, make up a story in your head. I still do that to this very day, it’s how I get to sleep every single night.
and…drum roll, PLEASE!…the #1 thing my dad has taught me in life?
1. If a good song comes on the radio before you pull in the drive way, it’s time to circle the block.