I’ve seen a lot of merchandise out there in anticipation of Father’s Day, or more accurately in anticipation of cashing in on Father’s Day. I’ve seen any number of mugs and T-shirts saying “World’s Best Dad” and foam fingers proclaiming the wearer to be “#1 Dad”. What I haven’t seen is any evidence to back up these claims. I mean, anyone can wear a t-shirt and drink from a mug. Most people can even bring themselves to wear foam fingers from time to time. But I have yet to see a treatise laying out the reasons that one’s particular father is the best in the world. And I think I know why.
Because my Dad is the best in the world.
In keeping with my opening paragraph, I’m going to lay out the reasons why. I fully realize that many of you may disagree and say that your father is the best in the world, and I’m ready to admit that there may be a tie for this position, but I’m going to need to hear the reasons before I concede the stalemate. Here are mine:
- The Sledgehammer: One of my earliest memories is of my father handing my sister and me a sledgehammer and telling us to knock down a wall. He was remodeling the house from roof to basement, and the house was mostly plaster for a year or two. If you didn’t put a cloth over your belongings, you came back to find them coated in white dust. We’ll find out eventually, I’m sure, that breathing in plaster causes some horrific medical condition, but it was totally worth it to be a five-year-old wielding an adult-approved sledgehammer. Even if I couldn’t lift it yet.
- Democrats are Evil: My father and I were arguing about politics one evening. I know, I know, not a good call, but there was an election approaching and I hadn’t yet come up with Life Rule #37: Never Argue Politics With Dad. I made some clever, witty observation (I’m assuming; I don’t actually remember), and my father, a staunch Republican, made the comment “All Democrats are evil.” I said, a bit miffed, “I’m a Democrat! Does that mean I’m evil?” To which he replied, “You’re not evil; you’re just misguided.” Best comeback line ever.
- BBQ SNAFU: I was out with a few fellow graduate students on a summer afternoon. We went to a local park where there were grills available for public use. We brought hamburger patties, rolls, fixins, charcoal, etc. We totally had it covered. Except that, when we got there, we discovered that no one among the dozen or so of us there actually knew how to use the grill. I hadn’t worried about it because I assumed that all guys know how to do this, which I realize is a total feminist fail. Everyone just sort of milled around, debating possible approaches but never actually doing anything useful, which now that I think about it is a pretty good analogy for grad school in general. I, however, being the daughter of an engineer and a science teacher, knew exactly what to do: I called my father. He gave us step-by-step instructions to get the bricks placed correctly and the fire going, and they worked perfectly. That, however, is not what makes him so awesome. The part of this story that makes him so awesome is that he picked up the phone right away, was totally ready to drop what he was doing to help his daughter, and knew exactly what to do even with no warning. World’s best Dad!
- Night School: When I was a little blind baby, my mother went back to school. She went to night school because my Dad worked during the day and, strangely, the school wouldn’t admit a squalling infant. That meant that childcare fell largely to my father in the evenings. You know those commercials where moms fantasize about fathers who happily share child care duties and don’t think it’s somehow emasculating? My dad is that dad. We hung out, him and me, chillin’ at home while the Moms was in class. He had it under control: diapers? Check. Formula? Check. Baby who won’t stop crying until you pick her up and rock her? Check. Forming unbreakable bond with tiny baby girl? Massive check. Right now you’re thinking, that is the pinnacle of awesomeness. She can’t possibly top that. And yet, I can:
- When a Fail Really Isn’t: For those of you who don’t know, I’m adopted. I was having a conversation with my father recently about health issues. He told me I ought to get such and such checked out because it was a serious issue on my mother’s side of the family. I looked at him a little funny and asked which mother he was talking about, biological or adoptive. He looked completely blank, then sheepish: he forgot I was adopted. He completely forgot that I’m not his biological daughter because he really, honestly loves me and thinks of me just as if I shared his DNA. I was going to dare you all to top that, but I know you can’t. My dad really is the World’s Best Dad.
And so is yours. Everyone’s got a list. I encourage everyone else to let their fathers know what’s on their list, because many dads don’t realize how incredible they are. Happy Father’s Day!