Monday, June 17, 2013

A 100 Percent True Thing I Wrote About My Dad

This is my dad, made out of Legos in a very cryptic manner.

Well, it's Father's Day, and like most people who have a biological father who is willing to acknowledge my existence, I'm remembering the things I have not yet done this week, like calling my dad to be like, "You're super cool and number one, Dad. America!"

BUT! I cannot go on without exposing my dad for who he really is, like I did one month ago with my mom for Mother's Day. My parents are sincerely the most treacherous people alive, and if I don't tell you about the things they've done, they'll definitely get away with it. So, here goes.

A 100 Percent True Thing I Wrote About My Dad

If you remember one thing about my dad after you've read this, let it be that he likes to swish the brandy in his snifter around and around and sniff it dramatically while saying extremely cryptic things. He does this in his study overlooking the lake, never in the library that overlooks the waterfalls or in the deluxe walk-in closet that overlooks the miniature golf course or in the music room that overlooks the horse dungeons. Only in his private study.

And he was swishing that snifter of brandy like mad one particular night twenty years ago, when I was just a wee girl of 13.

"Bethany, come into my private study!" my dad called. "I need to tell you something very important."

"Coming, father," I said obediently. And it was in that study that my dad sat me down and told me a story. A story of vengeance and Father's Day celebrations.

"If you remember one thing about my dad after I tell you this," he said, "let it be that my father liked to swish the orange soda in his collectible McDonald's Garfield tumbler around and around and sniff it dramatically while saying extremely cryptic things. He did this on the screened-in porch overlooking the swamp. We were poor, so that was the only room in the house, so I won't go on, extraneously describing some other features of the estate. You get the idea."

"No, I really don't," I replied. But that was typical "my dad." Not only was he cryptic, he hated going into detail about things. He was known for saying things like, "I'm going to see that guy about a thing. Pick me up at a time." And then vanish for several days. So, I was not surprised that his story started in such a way.

My father went on. "He was swishing that Garfield tumbler of orange soda like mad the night he told me a story. A story of vengeance and Father's Day celebrations."

"You've definitely told me this story, Dad," I said. "Is this the one where a guy did an activity on a day several months before whenever?"

"YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE???" my Dad shouted. He hated it when people called him out on repeating himself. "Fine, then I'll tell you a different one." When my father was on a roll about telling a story, he had to tell you one no matter the cost.

"Is the new story also about vengeance and Father's Day celebrations?" I queried.

 "Why do you ask?" said my father.

"I just wanted to know how I should prepare to hear the story," I replied. "If it's going to be about vengeance and Father's Day celebrations, then I would like to roll up in a blanket on the floor to listen. If it's about something else, like a constant feeling of danger and a teen beauty pageant gone awry, I'd like to sit in the armchair by the fire."

"Okay, okay," Dad replied. "It's about vengeance and Father's Day celebrations, just like the other one."

I got a blanket and rolled myself up in it on the floor like a giant burrito that you shouldn't eat (because it's on the floor and made of people).

My dad took several deep breaths and finally continued speaking. "Once upon a time," he began, "there was a man or possibly a young woman who did a thing. And the thing caused emotions. Something about Father's Day. I don't know what it was. I'll have to look it up on the internet. But I'm waiting for your mom to fix the password on the computer because she set some thing on it and I don't know what it is." He could only shake his head in irritation with the thing that my mom did.

The silence that fell afterward for several minutes was very cryptic.

"I think I missed the part with the vengeance, Dad," I said.

He gave me a very cryptic look.

"Maybe you'd better ask your mom," he said and went back to swishing his brandy, as the automatic timer on the satellite TV in his study suddenly kicked in and changed the channel to a Western starring Randolph Scott.

I finally unrolled myself from my floor burrito and headed downstairs to the room where we kept all our staircases to ask my mom the thing.

It was the most heartfelt conversation I've ever had with my dad.


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