Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Belated Ode to the Cool Dad

Early Father's Day morning, I was on the phone with my dad.

"Happy Father's Day, dad," I said.

"Same to you," he replied.

"'Same to me?' The old man is losing it," I thought.
This mug doesn't change the reality.

Then, perhaps a full second later, I realized that I am indeed a dad. At no point did I forget about the little guy sitting in his crib in the next room, it's just that 'dad' is a term for others, not me.

Most younger dads I talk with have similar sentiments. Dads are what their dads were.

Dad's are not cool.

New Dads? We're different.

We're young. We're hip. We wear flip flops, shorts and ball caps and listen to the Black Keys.

Dads? You mean those poor old men with half a head of hair left, hopelessly chasing their kids around a department store? 

Dad? Oh, that fellow with the gimpy back who's always yelling about the thermostat?

Dads were the guys who made you and your friends vacate the family room so they could watch golf. 

They were the quiet ones who intimidated your friends.

They are the guys who can dress in outfits so inexplicably bad, you'd swear they were trying to get committed to an asylum.

My father's favorite accessory is clip-on sunglasses, a reality that has all but completely exhausted my ability to cringe. For a time, the entire family shared my dismay but, the years have eroded their resistance to these tinted, plastic nightmares and today I am alone in my consternation. 
In all candor, "cool" might not have ever been used to
describe me. "Confused" on the other hand....

And, while clip ons will never, ever, ever, ever grace my face, I am starting to see life shifting before me and learning how a man could come to embrace some of the eccentricities, that help make dads, dads. 

For my part, the electric bill is of more interest than ever. I have a greater appreciation for comfortable shoes, and simple, quiet times are far, far, more preferable than a big party. 

Today, my son tips the scales at more than 11 pounds. Considering when he was born just a bit more than seven weeks ago, he was 6 pounds, 4 ounces, it's fair to say, he's growing everyday. 

Whatever he will know of me, is not what I am now. And really, it shouldn't be.

So what if I like talking about gas mileage, the state of the neighborhood and where to buy the best steak? This feels like a natural progression and, really, there is some comfort in that.

Fighting time is admirable, but knowing how to pick your battles is of particular importance; so maybe the genuinely cool dads are the one's who figure this out the earliest. Maybe us young dads have it wrong.

After all, there's only one thing worse than an old dad, marching solemnly to the beat of his own boring drummer and that's a dad trying and fighting against all logic to be young and cool.

All of which is to say Happy Father's Day dad. You are cool    in spite of the clip ons.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! BTW...Have you seen my clip-ons anywere?