My father turned 62 today. We keep telling people he’s turning 40 and he rolls his eyes and chuckles almost mirthlessly. Then he makes inappropriate comments about what he’d be doing if he was only turning 40. Then he chuckles mirthfully and we take our turn rolling our eyes and chuckling mirthlessly.
I’ve been realizing lately how much my interests and ideas and tastes have been influenced by my father. Sometimes this makes me happy, and sometimes it scares me. I’d like to inherit my father’s big-hearted-ness, his laughter, his interest in life. But he’s also certifiably crazy, so there’s that.
My dad’s been married twice, and has nine children. He worked hard for the majority of his life, which really paid off, or so I hear. That was before the marriages and the kids. He’s been disabled for a long time, but that’s never made him lose interest in anything. He’s a loud, crude, insensitive, halfway racist, socially awkward teddy bear. He is at once the most generous yet unforgiving man. He can tell stories that’ll set your teeth on edge one moment and have you laughing so hard you’re gasping for breath the next.
There aren’t words in anyone’s vocabulary enough to describe him to anyone who hasn’t met him, and yet he’s a simple creature of habit. He can be a menace, but he’s my menace, and I’m very glad I got to celebrate another birthday with him this year.
Live long and prosper, Pappy.