Wednesday, December 22, 2010

my father the hero

                                                         (actual father not pictured)

Way back two weeks ago when I started this blog (we were so innocent then!) I had the idea that I wasn’t really going to get too personal, but today is an exception. Now don’t get too excited, I’m not going to start listing names and neuroses of ex-boyfriends or anything but since it’s the holidays and since today is his birthday, I want to talk about my dad.

If you are one of my readers who know me IRL then you already know that my parents are awesome, if you don’t know me (my stats page tells me I got a page view in Singapore once. Hi Singapore!) I could go on and on about it but I know you probably all want to get back to hitting the ‘nog so I’ll keep it short and sweet and give you five reasons in no particular order why my dad is the dad your dad could smell like.

1. He’s British. This brought a special magic to my childhood. The existence of Christmas pudding, all kinds of fantastic terminology like ‘posh frocks’ (fancy dresses), ‘oiks and yabbos’ (misbehaving boys) and ditties like ‘we’re all going on a summer holiday’ (which my dad sings every time we go on vacation) and ‘it’s a long way to Tipperary’ (the song my dad sang all the way home the first time he got drunk—age 15, cherry brandy). I kind of thought growing up that these were all things that my dad had invented. I later realized this wasn’t true but I still laughed myself out of my chair when they reappeared later in my life in a Pringles and a car commercial respectively; they will always feel like our inside joke.   

2. He’s an optimist. One of my dad’s most infamous catch phrases is ‘it’s getting brighter’ which he usually says in reference to the actual weather (so, almost never true here in Seattle) but it has become a running joke in our family because it so accurately illustrates his outlook on life. He’s no Pollyanna but he always sees the best in people and always sees the ways in which he can bounce back stronger from any disappointment. We all roll our eyes when he says things like ‘if we had to move into a one bedroom apartment, it would be okay; we would bounce back’ but in reality his attitude is downright inspiring.  

3. He’s a word nerd. Despite being chiefly involved in fields like aerospace and technology that aren’t especially wordsmith-y my dad has a vast vocabulary. I don’t know what you got called when you were being a brat as a kid but I got called things like petulant and truculent, which will send your ten year old behind to the dictionary quick.     My dad is also a champion arbiter of quotes – he allegedly first got my mom’s attention by quoting The Merchant of Venice and whenever my sister and I had boy troubles growing up, he would pull out some Sir Walter Raleigh ‘Feign would I climb…’

4. He loves women. I have a theory that there are basically three kinds of men when it comes to women. Men who for whatever reason don’t like women (toxic), men who love women the way they’d love a Maserati (ick) and men who truly love and respect women as real live human beings and equals. If your dad like my dad is the third variety you were ahead of the game from the get go. My parents have been happily married for over thirty years and I’ve never heard my dad make a bad joke or a disrespectful comment about her or any other woman. When you have a dad like mine, it makes it easy to call BS on people who say things like ‘all men cheat’ or ‘all men or pigs’.

5. He’s all about chasing the dream.  My dad has an unconventional background when it comes to his education to say the least. In an era when no one seems to think you can say boo in business without an MBA, he’s built a successful business from scratch without so much as a Bachelor’s degree and I’ve never seen anyone more consistently excited about their work. He’s never let anyone else dictate what he would do with his life and no amount of resistance has kept him from pursuing his vision. I grew up knowing how important it is to follow your passion and my dad has always supported my efforts as a writer.

In honor of my dad I’m gonna end with one of his favorite poems. Tell me in the comments about someone you love.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


  1. Bravo. Wonderful, touching post, A. A very Happy Birthday to the man who inspires such writing and obvious love from his daughter. Tributes like that are earned not given.

  2. Beautiful post, A. I hope you shared this post with your dad!