So, it’s Father’s Day. Many of you know my Dad, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about him.
Yes, I’m going to say nice things. Yes, it may be a little sappy. Yes, this is partly because I don’t have a present for him so I’m hoping this will count.
OK, so here’s what you need to know:
- He’s the hardest working person in America and has been his entire life. He works in “business.” That’s what I’ve been saying since I was six years old and I’m sticking to it.
- He is fiercely loyal to his friends and family and you know the cliché “his generosity knows no bounds?” TRUTH.
- He doesn’t “dress down.” Ever. Casual Fridays are when he wears his slip-on loafers instead of lace-ups. He does suits and he does sports jackets. (He will wear tennis clothes to play but not for ONE minute past the end of his game.
*Hey Dad, how about a wager? I will give a previously agreed upon amount of money to the charity of your choice if you will wear a pair of jeans for an entire day. You can wear a button-down shirt and loafers (I don’t want you to go into complete shock) but the day must include: working in your office and attending a meeting with at least one person outside of your own company and lunch with me. Out. In public. Let’s talk. You know how to reach me. OH, and I have to be able to take pictures and share them. With all 16 readers of this blog.
- He does not golf, mow the lawn or love beer (which makes it especially hard to buy a commercial Father’s Day card for him).
- He’s an incredible public speaker. Virtual strangers ask him to give toasts and eulogies. I’m not kidding. He’ll have to say, “Um sure… can you tell me a little bit about the couple getting married first?”
- He’s passionate about supporting charitable organizations that strengthen our educational system. He also supports many other charitable organizations that do lots of other things. Trust me, the guy’s a giver. And well, the Organization for the Abolition of Denim – it wouldn’t be what it is today without his support.
- He should write a book. I really, really hope he’s secretly writing a book.
- He is REALLY freakin’ smart. Like, seriously. (He’s so smart that my writing sentences like, “Like, seriously” probably make him break out in hives.) He knows a lot about a lot of things (history, religion, philosophy, literature, finance, art, the list goes on) – yet he knows NOTHING about pop culture. I mean, I’m not saying this is a FLAW (it is) but the guy reads physics text books, yet you simply cannot talk to him about the late-night talk show wars or the latest HBO Sunday night sensation. To him, Mad Men are the scientists who failed to appreciate the importance of black holes in modern astronomy. They’re also people who buy companies without liberal use of leverage and other people’s money, but that’s a whole different subject.*
*OK, I have to tell you that my brother wrote these two sentences. I asked him to edit this for me to make sure none of it would piss off my Dad and he added this part. I left it in because it’s very funny, but I’m coming clean because no one will ever believe that I wrote it. He also wrote the line about the Abolition of Denim. I really wanted to take credit for that one.
- He has the BEST stories about growing up in Brooklyn with his three brothers, including one about the morning after his parents threw a New Year’s Eve party. His brothers and he (ages 6-12ish?) all put on their new Santa-delivered cowboy outfits and drank all the leftover [alcoholic] beverages in the party glasses. Their mother woke up to overhear one of them saying, “Gimme another shot of that red eye!” She then proceeded to watch them all vomit their way through that New Year’s Day.
- He is completely unfazed in the face of a crisis or natural disaster. Now, this one is especially important because his state of calm is always in complete opposition to my tendency toward hysteria. For instance:
Me during Hurricane Sandy : SHOULD WE ALL SLEEP IN THE BASEMENT?? OMG, WHAT IF A TREE FALLS ON HAPPY DUDE’S WINDOW? WE SHOULD DEFINITELY SLEEP IN THE BASEMENT. SHOULD WE BOARD UP THE WINDOWS?
Him : Pass the wine and can we PLEASE see if we find anything else on TV besides this boring storm coverage.
- He gives sage advice like the following (you may have seen this … it was a comment on last week’s blog post):
“Starting with ‘The unexamined life is not worth living,’ then proceeding to ‘It is required of a man (or a woman) to share in the actions and passions of his time, at peril of being judged not to have lived’ and ending up with Teddy Roosevelt’s magnificent ‘Man In The Arena’ (look it up if you don’t already know it), they all say the same: Make life be what YOU want it to be, not what just happens to you. Not always easy, especially if you have young children, but worth fighting for.“
No one has “made life what he wanted it to be” more than my Dad. It’s admirable and inspiring.
- He is “Pop” to his twelve grandchildren and they adore him. Often referred to as Popcorn or Popsicle, our kids always know they count on Pop for a spin in his office chair or a walk on the beach.
This morning, I asked the Loud One was she loves most about Pop and she said, “He always pretends to give us money. And then he really gives us money. And he gives me lots of extra dessert.” So, apparently he’s good for cash and sweets as well.
(I did ask the Nibbit too, but all I got was, “Pop is so special. (Why is he special?) I’ll tell you when I’m done eating.”)
He’s always loved my brother more than my sister and me. Tom crashed the car once and Dad just bought him a new one.It’s Father’s Day… I am NOT going there.
- He loves wine, his grandchildren, Paula, “business,” poetry, Italy, the Giants and crossword puzzles… not necessarily in that order. Actually, that order’s probably about right.
I think that just about sums it up.
If you’re lucky enough to know my Dad in real life, you know that he inspires so many people to be better and live bigger on a daily basis.
You also know that his kindness, generosity and intelligence could never be summed up in a bulleted list. Yet, I thought a bulleted list was nice because if this was written in paragraph-form, it might sound too much like an obituary. And THAT wouldn’t be a very nice Father’s Day present, now would it?
I love you, Dad… thanks for a lifetime of wisdom and inspiration. And all the allowance, too.
Happy Father’s Day!
P.S. I’m not sure if you think that signing your emails to me “Tom” will make me act like more of a grown-up around you, but it won’t. I may be old, but I will ALWAYS need your parenting. Doesn’t that just warm your heart?
P.P.S. There’s another really important “Dad” in my life… the father of my own kids. KJ, you’re awesome, but you’re getting nothing but bacon today. But you should know that a list like this may be your anniversary present in a few weeks. Happy Father’s Day to you, too!