5 Things I Like About My Dad

My original hype man. #the90s #throwback

My original hype man. #the90s #throwback

It’s my dad’s birthday this week. He is, quite possibly, the hardest person in the known universe to buy presents for. I imagine that if there is alien life out there, said aliens would be easier to gift (FYI I’d go straight for Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race). My dad owns so much stuff, whenever I see things I think he’d like, it’s safer to assume that he already has them. Even finding a card took five different shops. Five! Seriously, what is with the ‘cards for dads’ sections? They are frustratingly narrow-minded in their ideas about what fathers like. My dad likes beer, sure, but do I want to buy him a card that casually implies an unhealthy level of alcoholism, with a bonus illustration of a couch potato with a beer belly? No, I do not. Instead, he’s getting a card that has the word “daddy” on the front because the other options were so across-the-board terrible that the simplest option was to just infantilise myself.

To make up for the shortcomings of the world’s card-sellers, I decided to gift him a whole blog post. (Don’t worry, I’m still giving him an actual gift. The poor bloke’s getting on a bit now – deserves a treat.)

  1. He has moral objections to Monopoly. I can’t be certain that this does not have more to do with time consumption combined with a limited attention span, but he has long claimed to morally oppose the board game Monopoly any time my brother decides it’s game time (usually around 4pm on December 26th). Not even the charmingly quaint Bournemouth and Poole special edition can entice him. He doesn’t like the spirit of it. It’s all about trying to get people to go bankrupt, taking advantage of other people’s misfortune and ruthlessly building your empire, according to my dad – and, to be fair, the rules. I think it’s sweet. He never raised us kids to be morally corrupt bankers and, lucky for him, my brother and I both study humanities so he never has to worry about us getting rich and trading in our four houses for a hotel. What a relief that must be.
  2. He’s an athletics coach. And basically everything in his chaotic world revolves around that. The whole family is kind of sporty, including me now, I guess, but Dad was the OG. However, rather than put any time into his own training, he gives up at least two nights and a morning to train the next generation (and sometimes me). Which is neat of him. But also, often, he works with so many kids that his stories are impossible to follow when he recounts race days. We’ve developed a strategy that involves all of them getting “the one who” titles so that I can differentiate one twin from another, and which [popular girls name] he’s talking about.
  3. Sometimes he’s also a DJ. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. Sometimes it’s fun. Of the pros, I would cite growing up around an eclectic variety of music, having regular invitations to parties and someone to buy chart music for me (“because the people will revolt if you don’t have this one, Dad!” – B*witched single, 1998). The cons are that I’ve been over-exposed to Aqua and that DJ-speak is the single most cringe-inducing sound to my ears. The reverb of the mic, that affected delivery more resembling a radio DJ than a real person (like how my mother sounds as posh as the “mind the gap” lady whenever she’s on the phone), the pause as everyone strains their ears to figure out what the hell he’s saying. It’s the pause of it. I never know what the words are. And he’ll laugh at his own joke, his own joke that only he heard, and I’ll know it’s over and the Black Eyed Peas track from 2010 that he can’t let go of will fade back up. Relief. It’s over. Dance enthusiastically in the hope that it’ll stifle future DJ-speak.
  4. At Christmas, I made everyone watch The Lego Movie because I’m an amazing person, what can I say, and even though my dad didn’t really “get it”, he immediately downloaded ‘Everything is Awesome’ afterwards. I only found this out on New Year’s Eve, when he played it at the party we were at. I thought it was awesome.
  5. He is frustratingly laidback. He lies so far back, he is horizontal and snoring. This might be more endearing were I not my mother’s daughter. He’s a sweet and loving parent, but he seems to object, on a spiritual level, to tidiness. He was talking once about going to one of his athlete’s houses and admiring their messy home. He likes a messy home. It’s just as well. He says it’s homey and lived in and loved in if it’s messy. It’s a nice perspective to have but I can’t help but wonder if he’s only romanticising messiness to derail any argument against his own hoarding tendencies. He does like his mess, though. That’s genuine. While I can tell my mother longs for a sparkling, shiny house, he genuinely enjoys the chaotic piles of books and the clutter of our four lives mixed together. I like that about him. But I also like that I don’t have to live with him forever. Do you know what I mean?

Happy birthday, Dad.

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