With Father's Day coming to an end, I wanted to remind myself of all the things that make my dad a special guy in my life. He is the king of "Dad Jokes" and the recliner in the living room, and these are the titles he takes most seriously. Here are other things I picked up from the man of the hour...
My dad loves music. He had me singing James Brown, Queen, and The Beach Boys before I was five. If you gave me any time period, I could tell you the most popular songs of that period. He opened my mind to all different types of sounds and genre that will forever have me learning about artists new and old.
He taught me the brilliance of motown, rock, folk, etc. and I think this helped me open my heart to all different types of people. When you're three years old and singing a medley of Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, it brings everyone together in your heart. Cheesy, but I really think music has kept me from finding any culture superior rather than just appreciating them all.
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2. How to Drive
If there's one person who should not have taught me how to drive, it was him. I may have failed the driver's test twice, but it was never over parallel parking. In fact, it was only because of the South Philly slide. My dad has made sure it is ingrained in my memory that I must fear potholes and veer to avoid them. He has basically made me look like a damned psycho whilst on the road, but my cars tend to last a little while longer.
3. Self Defense
He has given me the ability to talk to a wall. I can't sit next to a stranger and not start a conversation about anything. I will leave a train not knowing a passenger's name but knowing the life of their childhood dog. With all of this, my dad has taught me not to let people walk all over me. Given the fact that he has made me the weirdo of every friend group, he has also made sure that people don't forget that they still have to take me seriously. He equipped me with listening ears and a sharp tongue, and even a lot of practice on how to use both of those things.
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"Why do you use such big words in conversation?"
It's so funny how much I hear that question in comparison to how often my dad will hear it. He has fortunately made sure I was read to as often as possible. I was reading chapter books before other kids even picked up their first book. I also think it is because of him I took my first interest in teaching. Seeing him leave and return home with a cool story about substitute teaching his classes made me want to try it as well. Here I am 18 years or so later preparing to follow in his footsteps.
5. To have an overbearing amount of empathy for everything
Once my dad told me a story about a guy releasing chinchillas from a chinchilla farm and how the chinchilla's were probably screaming, "I'm free!"
It had me messed up ever since. Giving voices to animals and inanimate objects has me forever questioning whether it is based on any truth. It's such a burden. I can't even kill an ant. It's real hippie shit.
6. To love myself
If anyone tells me I look nice today, my dad will pull me aside later and say, "Did you hear what ___ said? You're beautiful! Everyone thinks you're just beautiful!"
He can inflate my self confidence into believing someone complimenting my earring means I should be America's Next Top Model. Everyone needs a little of that in their life.
7. To love life
Having a dad with reckless stories of growing up in the 70's, who was one of the first to surf along the Jersey coast in the 60's, and who didn't care to get a real job until he had my older brother at 40 years old makes me someone who has a lot of patience and a lot of need to experience everything in life. He has had every job and wants to have many more odd jobs. I'm forever itching to follow in his footsteps and live my life with no inhibition for a long time and put education on the back burner. He was the OG when it comes to what YOLO stands for, and it's nice to always have that support from someone who understands the need to be free. Not to mention, it is an itch I probably inherited from him.
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My dad is sentimental and he's an old fart. He's a hero and a perpetual victim. He is an inspiration to be and not to be, but I love him overall. The most simple things he has shown me in life have all become things that make me who I am, and on this Father's Day I made sure to appreciate these seven. Next year I will be thinking of seven more, how about you?