June 17, 2011

Fathers Day: Steak, Beer, Card, Chair, Remote -- That's It. You're Done. Thank You for Playing.


Think about everything that the real daddy does: pay the bills, buy the food, put a fucking roof over your head. Everything you could ever ask for. Make your world a better, safer place. And what does Daddy get for all his work? The big piece of chicken. -- Chris Rock

Let's quit pretending, okay? It's not that big a deal and "the day" only reminds us that you don't think it's that big a deal either. Check out the Google numbers to confirm: "Mothers Day," 163 Million; "Fathers Day, 38 Million." Case closed.

But no stress. No blame. Be happy, keep healthy, and stay out of prison. Do those three things and we're generally fine with the rest. Unless you ask us about the details" and then we might tell you. But only if you ask us. If you don't ask us we take that as a sign you don't really want to find out the truth, because the truth is more than your heart can hold. So our policy as dads is, "You don't ask, we don't tell." Even today which, you would think, would be the day when we can say and do anything we want and get flowers and chocolates in return. But we don't. Because what real father really needs a "Day?"

The only people that seem to really need a "Fathers Day" are those in the stores since they don't really seem to have that much else going on in June. And even in the stores, "Fathers Day" is really sort of lackluster, isn't it? No big display build-up, pretty skimpy Hallmark section, no real cascade of ads and "buy it now or else" banners overhead, no huge point-of-purchase end-of-row displays once you get out of Power Tools ("Wow, a Makita Cordless Sawzall wrapped in a tie with a frog pattern! Hold out the hand that has offended me!"). Not even ProFlowers sends you heavy breathing last-minute emails about this day. Like I said: Steak, beer, card, chair.

Good fathers are like deep wells of cool water and, as the song says, you never miss your water until the well runs dry... or is bricked-up, or sent away from the home, or just wanders off due to lack of interest on the part of the other half of your parentage. It's hard to say how that last thing happens, and you'll never get anything other than the victim story from your mom. But if you ask us (and you better not) it often happens that the shit gets so deep he just wakes up one morning and hears in his head, "Just hop on the bus, Gus. / You don't need to discuss much." It can happen and it does happen more and more frequently as the critical role of the Father is more and more devolved by the culture into that of sperm donor.

Today we hear the complaints of more and more kids failing to thrive in a culture that fills their cups with self-esteem instead of guidance, with sand instead of water, but we never seem to connect that failure to thrive with the drive to reduce the Father to a fool and a cash machine. Well, you get what you don't pay for.

What we don't hear much about any more is "the deadbeat dad." The "deadbeat dad" had a long run during the Bush years when the President came from a family with, to say the least, a strong father model. It was as if large sectors of the culture wanted to underscore not the innate decency of most fathers, but the failings of a few fathers. In the present, now that the president of the United States is the disposable son of the world's most famous deadbeat dad, we don't hear so much about that type any longer. It is at if large sectors of the culture wanted to underscore that its better to have dreams of a father than to actually have a father.

Of course the truth is more complicated than that. It could well be that if men, even those who support the president completely, were to know what it was like to actually have to live with the president's odd and disturbed mother, they would all look at the president's absent father and say, "Whoa, I'd split too if I had to wake up next to her for the rest of my life." And in that we'd see that not all deadbeat dads are cads. Some are just trying to save their own life and are in flight from women whose one goal in life is to sell crazy in their homes every single day. Sometimes even the strongest of father has to hit the road.

But for those who have not and for those that will not and even for those who are on the road and never coming back... hey, this is your day. Rejoice and be glad in it and try not to strangle any kid who gives you a tie.

Posted by Vanderleun at June 17, 2011 9:44 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

There's also no "race for the cure" for prostate cancer, but then women have to make a ceremony and celebration out of everything.

The women's way to commemorate 9/11 is to have a "memorial foundation" that employs a bunch of well-paid (mostly women) people, and gets into all the grief and understanding and healing stuff.

The men's way to commemorate that event would have been to rebuild the Twin Towers in record time, put up a plaque for the dead, and kill those reponsible for the tragedy.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at June 17, 2011 9:53 AM

Damn straight you are, DR. I look around my neighborhood, appalled at all the women married to the welfare check.

In every commercial with a father or a husband, the man is always the fool.

I once had a Little Golden Book about moms and the work they do, and as I was reading it, I noted that all the moms had jobs where they were doctors, lawyers, pilots and firefighters. All the traditional manly jobs were now women's work.

At the end of the story, my child says: The only job these moms don't have is raising their kids.
Sadly, true. We got mother's day, but it isn't enough for us, is it? We have to have your day, too.

After my mother died, and we no longer gave her a new ashtray for her special day, our dad inherited both days. He got two ashtrays every year from us.

Because we cared that much.

Posted by: Jewel at June 17, 2011 10:06 AM

Right on Don R, except if we didn't have so many liberals telling us to worry about everyones' feelings all over the friggin world, we could have probably reversed the order of those three things.

Remember the Boeing poster that said something to the effect "Dear Osama, since you seem so interested in using our commercial products for warlike purposes, we're now going to conduct a demonstration of how much better our military products are at it. No appointment required - we'll just drop in."?

My liberal relatives were appalled... appalled, I tell you. What candy-asses.

Posted by: sherlock at June 17, 2011 10:57 AM

Thanks again, V.

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at June 17, 2011 11:14 AM

This. So much this.

Posted by: Wombat-socho at June 17, 2011 12:13 PM

Man, that's just depressing.

Seems to me Father's Day ought to be like March 14 with a bonus gift, but apparently I'm in a minority.

Posted by: Julie at June 17, 2011 1:41 PM

Uh, perhaps I should clarify that, or it could be taken in the worst sort of wrong way. Being a wife, it seems right to make sure my husband has a March 14th sort of day.

My father just gets a phone call, but that's mostly all he wants, anyway.

Posted by: Julie at June 17, 2011 2:24 PM

It's been like this for a long time.

Back in the day, Mother's day was the day with the most long distance phone calls.

Father's day was the day of the most collect calls.

Posted by: Mike at June 17, 2011 3:01 PM

I think the women's movement has damaged traditional women's rights. Men can leave and Liberal women can leave. Traditional women who believe in what they are doing as moms are the ones who pay the price legally, financially and emotionally. I will advise BOTH my son and my daughter to play it safe and if they marry and have kids, they do so KNOWING the risk involved, knowing they can lose their kids at the whim of another person, be it an adulterous spouse, a biased judge, an aggressive lawyer. Obama's mother was raised by nuts herself and she herself was absent from his life at times - a loving mother couldn't do that. Once he hit the Chicago Black Liberation scene, it was all over for him. Next thing he knows, he's married to an angry black woman, he's hired a domestic terrorist as ghost-writer, he's being ordained by the high priestess, Oprah Winfrey and poof!.. he's the first black U.S. president, the first intellectual president, according to the main stream media. Just think how dangerous he might have been were he actually raised by his father, were he actually black, were he actually intellectual! So we should thank his loony white mother this weekend, in honor of sperm donors the world over. She really knew how to pick 'em.

Posted by: RedCarolina at June 17, 2011 4:25 PM

Yada, yada, yada.

While you demean a day that is demeaned because many fathers long ago abdicated being the strong spiritual/moral leaders of the family (for love/sex/peace? at all costs) and whimped out to the womenfolk...how bout reading what happened to Christopher Yuan's family in his recently released book "From A Far Country." Meanwhile keep abdicating responsibilty and losing respect.

Posted by: Webutante at June 17, 2011 5:46 PM

Thank you. Another excellent post. Typically a phone call will suffice for my now 87 year old dad: he decries all things Hallmark.
Btw, a couple of years ago, Sweden had a program called "Mustasch Kampen" (the Mustache Campaign) - for prostrate cancer. I don't know if it still exists but I thought it was a good thing. Their pins are little black handlebar mustaches.

Posted by: Susan in Seattle at June 17, 2011 10:21 PM

If your wife is bitchy and you leave, what are you leaving the kids to?

Posted by: Joy McCann/Little Miss Attila at June 17, 2011 11:15 PM

My boss has an old newspaper cartoon on the wall of his office. I've looked, but I can't find a link online.

The left panel shows a man, and the caption reads: "He got a woman pregnant but decided he didn't want to be a father. He's a deadbeat dad."

The right panel shows a woman, and the caption reads: "She got pregnant but decided she didn't want to be a mother. She's pro-choice."

Posted by: rickl at June 18, 2011 3:51 AM

I've had many titles during life, but none of them quite matched being called Dad. Our children were the best things that my wife and I ever produced. Father's Day is not necessary, the reward is in the job and all that comes with it.

So sorry there are many who are bummed about marriage, parenting, and families - once the backbone of our culture, now but a shaky remnant. God help us all.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at June 18, 2011 9:05 AM

rickl - in either scenario, it is the woman's fault, right? and I'm sincere in that. She is either evil for forcing paternity or evil for killing her unwanted child. It basically comes down to philosophy - even President Brilliance said he didn't want his daughter burdened with a baby... he would ENCOURAGE his own daughter to abort his own grandchild...??? Nice, huh? If a man's philosophy is to be responsible he will do what is right. If a woman's philosophy is to be responsible, she will give the child life. If she doesn't have support from the father, then she will either have to take legal steps to get support or give the child up for adoption or be a single mom. What man would take a child off the hands of a woman he screwed and voluntarily raise it when she refused to do it? I guess moms do leave but rarely do dads take sole custody from day one. So it comes down to philosophy - your examples are both examples of what NOT to be - if a prolife woman makes the mistake of having sex with a deadbeat man, either she is as dumb as her partner regarding how babies are made or she has to be willing to go through legal steps or give the baby up. And if a pro-life man makes the mistake of having sex with a selfish pro-choice woman, he has to either be willing to take legal steps to demand she show proof they didn't conceive or he has to be willing to take the gamble that he may have enabled the abortion of his own child. Do you see how far and wide the divide is? I don't see many men out demonstrating for the right to have their sex partners tested or mourning the loss of their aborted off-spring. I'm not taking gender sides, I just think the cartoon you quoted is misleading. Compelling, but misleading once you realize it takes two to tango but only one can lead. In the case of sex, it has to be the pro-life partner, regardless of sex. Pro-life men and women need to make better choices. There is no hope for the deadbeats and aborters.

Posted by: RedCarolina at June 18, 2011 7:07 PM
I've had many titles during life, but none of them quite matched being called Dad. Our children were the best things that my wife and I ever produced. Father's Day is not necessary, the reward is in the job and all that comes with it.

I can't find a way to improve upon that comment. I will say that my kids -yesterday- kept telling me to leave stuff alone and take it easy because "it's Father's Day". My reply that I liked doing the stuff that dads do and didn't want to take time off from doing them.

Remember that scene in "The World According To Garp" where Robin Williams and his wife would just go and look at the kids? Most of my days are like that. I gaze in wonder and awe at these little folk who a) adore me and b) are dependent on me. I could no more leave them than I could shove a red hot poker up the inside of my private parts. I have great difficulty understanding fathers that do.

Posted by: physics geek at June 20, 2011 10:04 AM