Did you know yesterday was Father's Day? I was never allowed not to know it! I made sure the first thing I did with my waking breath was give my dad a phone call. Yesterday my father was relaxing deep in the Missouri woods in the cabin that he built with his own two hands. Dad was chopping wood, playing catch with his German Shepherd, and driving the tractor cause "the roads needed re-graveling". My dad is the strongest man in the world.
But sons and daughters fear the same thing from their fathers: the disappointed head shake. You know the one. Dad takes a deep breath and sighs then, eyes-closed, shakes his head silently brow-furrowed. The resounding question being "why did you do that?" So to save our faithful readers the trouble I've put together a list of 10 Things that Disappoint Dad, so hopefully you can save yourself a lot of trouble over a little mistake.
10. Being Late
A stitch in time saves a butt-whupping. Your dad was raised to always be on time. Remember, his father probably fought in (insert whatever military conflict you want here) and starting your day at noon and being 10 minutes late to everything would get your buddies killed on the battlefield. Show you care by showing up a little early. Get a good stretch in before your start work for the day, and make sure to eat plenty of whey protein in the morning. That's a good boy/girl. Speaking of good times…
9. Questionable College Major
College was a great time for your dad. That's when he met your mother and married her because she was the first girl your dad had ever seen. Do you think he would have met her if he had been a "Communications Major"? What the hell is that anyway? Back in his day there were only 3 majors you cared about: Books, Business, and working for Henry Ford. And don't even think about applying for an "Arts" major. Jesus H. Christ, you want to give your poor pop a heart attack? Dialing back a bit, just take something nice and normal sounding. Pre-Med is a good standby, and if you want brownie points get an Athletic Scholarship. As long as you don't accept gifts from your dad's friend who owns a dealership/tattoo parlor; you're in the clear with the NCAA. But there are bigger things to worry about…
8. Taking Out the Trash Not a Priority
"Make taking out the trash a priority."
7. Disinterest in Baseball
Ahh baseball. The most wholesome American pastime not marred whatsoever by gambling, dishonest play, lack of a salary cap, or performance enhancement. When was the last time you watched a game with your old man? Don't you care about (insert home team or closest AAA club here)? Your father cares an inordinate amount about baseball whether you know it or not. It makes it easier on him to teach you life lessons if he can pretend to be Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams" while doing it. If you've never thrown a baseball in your life make sure you learn how before playing catch with your dad. You don't want to see the disappointed head shake that follows an unintentional grounder to his New Balance shoes. You know what else brings your relationship to a dead stop…?
6. Poor Auto Maintenance
Whether you bought your car yourself or off of your mother, proper auto care is critical to a healthy relationship with your dad. Not getting an oil change every 1,000 miles is tantamount to slapping your father in the face. In your dad's mind taking care of the car is how you take care of yourself. And since your dad hates asking about your feelings, the car is the only way he has any insight to what you're thinking. How are the seals on your gaskets? Don't you feel that rumbling too? Yeah, it's a 'put put put' noise. Well, let's pop the hood a take a look. Four hours later and your dad just stares daggers into you before saying "Well, let's take it to the shop…wish you would've told me your alternator broke before we left to go on that fishing trip." Heartbreak. Almost as heartbreaking as my next point…
5. Vietnam. Why Aren't You Reading More About It?
Dads love reading about history. Especially Vietnam. Especially if they didn't fight in Vietnam. Remember that Vietnam was your father's 9/11, Desert Storm 2, and Red Dawn all rolled into one. Treat it with the proper respect by reading a lot of dense, dry non-fiction books. If he catches your eyes glazing over when he says the words "Tet Offensive" you're screwed. Books about Vietnam is like the "Harry Potter" series to your father. It whisks him off to a magical place where he imagines himself being a powerful wizard Rambo as he takes down Viet Cong in the most unrealistic take on war since "Tropic Thunder". He'd appreciate it if you could relate to him. Also, count how many book and movie references I just made.
4. The Leaves Haven't Been Raked
"I just don't understand why you wait so long to rake the leaves."
This is one of the biggest things to avoid. Not 'doing drugs' because everyone should try them (kidding!) but getting CAUGHT by your dad doing drugs. The D.A.R.E. program of the 90's taught your parents that the most friggin important thing they can do is talk to their kids about drugs. You already know what they're going to say. Hell, he might even get a couple eggs out and awkwardly throw them in a frying pan screaming "Is this what you want to do to your brain!?" But in actuality this is one of the most uncomfortable moments in your dad's life. The stakes are high and he can't be a hypocrite and say he didn't do drugs himself (hello, the 70's!). So do your dad a solid and go over to Bobby's house to chase the dragon. And seriously, don't do drugs. What am I? Your father? Ha ha ha, let's go the next entry…
2. I'm Reading the Paper; Ask Your Mother.
If you're a girl you already know to go to your mom. So guys, take a knee and let me illuminate something for you. If you start getting "funny" feelings when looking at Susan during math class, the last person who wants to have a conversation with you is your father. To your dad, you're still the charming little bugger who shit his pants during your kindergarten play. The idea that you are maturing or developing at all is distressing to your father. Do not cause him further stress by discussing your "equipment" with him. They better be falling off or bleeding if you even approach your dad's studded leather cigar smoking chair. There is only one reason to ever directly confront your father, which leads me to my final point…
1. Refusal to Fight Your Old Man
You can never predict when the biological trigger goes off which forces your old man to challenge you to a fight. Even girls are expected to eventually throw down with your pater familia supreme. Dad could be a little sauced from a night out with the boys, or maybe he rouses you from sleep before sunrise and throws you out on the front lawn, forcing the entire neighborhood to watch the ceremonial rite of passage. Your dad has always been the strongest, but now he feels his grip on the pack waning and you must be the one to take him out. Remember it's not important to beat up your father, rather, keep him pinned down for long enough until he breaks it up with an awkward chuckle saying "that's my boy/girl". I recommend a good solid wristlock or head scissors (if you are comfortable with that maneuver). Know that your dad will never be the same after this moment. He might develop an inferiority complex or give you the silent treatment. But from then on, you will have earned his love and respect. And he will never be disappointed in you again.