Today is my dad’s 80th birthday. Eighty, people. EIGHT TEE. To all his health issues, the fuckers that they are, I say this: EAT THAT.
This is where I flip the everloving bird at all of his incurable illnesses. With both hands.
In honor of my dad, here are some daddish anecdotes.
1. My dad thinks that story problems are fun. I think it was because when he was growing up they didn’t have tv or radio or no shit like that so apparently they would sit around at night and do brain teasers with each other, those party animals. There were times when we were growing up that we would be sitting around our living room and my dad would start in with “a train leaves New York City at 64 miles an hour and another leaves Philadelphia at 72 miles an hour…” This would be met with a round of kiddie groans and that was usually the end of that. He never stopped trying to get us excited about it though, bless his heart. And he never succeeded.
2. My dad can only be described as a little old man. He is small, wizened and weighs about a buck twenty. However, when he sneezes? He scares people with the sheer loudness. And causes walls and floors to shake a little bit.
3. My dad got me a complete set of Alice Walker books for my 13th birthday and a subscription to Ms. Magazine on my 14th birthday. Feminist dads rock.
4. When my parents were growing up in Fiji, it was a British colony. At that time, the whities in charge picked one person from the whole country to go off and get educated overseas. They picked the one (male) kid annually who had the best grades and test scores. My dad was that kid. Out of his whole friggin’ country you get one shot per year, and my dad got it. Pretty cool, right? Except try and bring home a report card from school to that guy when you get a D in Chemistry. Not that I did that or anything. Cough cough.
5. No matter what is going on with my dad with all his crazy scary health issues, he always asks me how I am doing and really listens to the answer. I have called him when he is lying in a hospital bed and it won’t take long for him to say “how is your day going?” This sort of amazes me each time, no matter how consistently he does it.
6. My dad mixes food in a most disturbing way. I have seen him eating spaghetti sandwiches, or putting cold salad into his lentil soup. It’s just not right. He is also the loudest cruncher in the history of North America. God forbid you give him a carrot- you better put on your earplugs.
7. My dad wore ties to work every day. I used to sit on the edge of the bathroom counter and watch him tie them. When he retired and didn’t wear ties anymore, I took them. I have about 20 in my closet. I don’t know what I will do with them, but I love those ties.
8. My dad, more than anything else I can say about him, is kind. To everyone. I aspire to that. Maybe by the time I am 80 I will get there.
Yay, pappa! As I wrote in a card when I was 6 years old: I love you way big.