It's Father's Day.
Father's Day has always been a little awkward. First, it's only one month after Mother's Day, when people exhaust all of their proclamations of affection and brunch menus for the year. Second, your gift options are necessarily limited to what's culturally accepted as masculine. For the past week, you couldn't turn on any electronic media for two seconds before being blasted with advertisements for Droids and Lowes gift cards. Heaven forbid you have a father who's uninterested in either shiny gadgets or hunks of wood, or who does not wear ties or golf. What's left? An e-card?
One of the advantages of living halfway across the country from your parents is that, come these holidays, you're discouraged from presenting physical gifts. I can't come up with better alternatives to a construction-paper glasses case with a picture of my father in crayon cleaning a fish tank (my fourth-grade accomplishment of the year), but I can write a blog post. There are plenty of things I can write about my dad (and it's free!)
(1) My Dad is a Lawyer
My dad hates being a lawyer. Next to cops, taxi drivers, and restaurant servers, lawyers deal with the worst kinds of people. They get the low-lifes and the pompous jerks. For years he was an insurance lawyer, and drove four hours every day for the privilege of sifting through unscrupulous (or dumb) people's lies. Then he did research for the county courts, rubbing elbows with disgruntled bureaucrats and politicians more concerned with statistics than due process. He did this for decades to pay for the house, my flute lessons, and my brother's game consoles. Recently he's put off a well-deserved retirement for our college educations.
(2) My Dad Spoiled Me
While my mother was the cautious one instilling values, my father was the one who would go all out when the kids wanted something. When I wanted pets, he became a husbandry enthusiast, meticulously caring for giant aquariums and literally building finch aviaries from scratch. When I wanted dance lessons, he constructed a custom wooden floor for me to practice on. My bout in sports was fueled by trips to equipment stores, game days, and a freshly poured and painted concrete basketball court in the backyard.
(3) My Dad Taught Me Things
...Things I didn't necessarily want to know at the time. For example, the other day Sweetie and I flipped on an episode of Cash Cab--a quiz show on the Discovery channel--and one of the questions was to identify the stringed instrument with movable frets popularized by Ravi Shankar. I could one-up Sweetie by yelling "sitar" thanks only to my father's global musical tastes. While my mother was dedicated to establishing my literary baseline, my father took care of the music and movies side so I can hold conversations with both English majors and artsier-than-thou types. Also, like any stereotypically good father, he demonstrated that it's ridiculous to pay someone else to change your oil or tune up your bike. Now I get Sweetie's father to do it instead :D
So Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I'm sure this five-paragraph blog post is sufficient to thank you for 23 years of hard work.