Last week, on Memorial Day, there was a war movie on TV that I had never seen. You know how cartoon characters see something unbelievable and their eyes pop out of their heads? That’s how I felt when I realized there was a WWII film that you and I hadn’t watched together.
Maybe the movie was on one Sunday back in 1979 and I wasn’t paying attention because I was reading the comics to you (or the “funny papers” as you used to say). And, by the way, now that I’m a parent I am fully aware that you weren’t listening to me read Hagar the Horrible as much as you were pretending to listen. I’m on to you. I learned from the best how to do that appeasing nod that insinuates I hear you, but really you’re watching The Bridge on the River Kwai.
I learned a lot from you, Dad, like to start a joke with, “This is a true story…” I learned that you should always wear black pants for an evening on the town, how to spin a basketball on my index finger, how to treat people, and most of all…how to spoil a kid. Or, spoil myself. Same difference. Because, for real, you spoiled me rotten. My kids want me to thank you for setting the bar so high.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have owned a Grease album, a satin vest, or Jordache jeans. Aw, yeah. This kid was stylin’. I would have never known what it’s like to eat Moons Over My-Hammy at Denny’s at 3:00am, take a Ford Mustang for a joy ride, or yell, “Arm pit!” to a Pittsburgh fan. Not to mention that I wouldn’t know the amazingness of the Ohio State Synchronized Swim team.
I wouldn’t know how to number my jokes, smuggle beer into football stadiums, play Commando, or know that it’s possible to transform a green sofa into a Christmas tree. I wouldn’t know that a raw potato covered in salt is downright delicious, that it’s possible to read an entire set of World Book Encyclopedias, or that there are certain things you should never, ever do to a cat.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have the most amazing childhood memories a kid can have. I wouldn’t know the value of family, how important it is to laugh, or how significant a role a dad can play.
I also wouldn’t have giant earlobes, but that’s another post.
Thank you for everything you’ve given me. Happy birthday, Dad.