A Column About My Father (pub 4/2006)

I’ve realized something since I’ve started writing this column: there has been a little bit of unfairness here in the pages of the Dispatch/Argus…no, not editorial unfairness or media bias (thanks Mr. Adams), but unfairness from me. I’ve spent months talking about my crazy-cleaning obsessed mom and all her weird little habits, but when I was going through my columns the other day, I realized something: I’ve completely neglected my father as a source for amusement.
Now, my dad is generally a pretty cool guy. But therein lies the problem: he doesn’t understand girl habits and girl behaviors. For instance, when a girl comes home from a long day of work (and by work I mean shopping), she may be so inclined to take off her high heels and leave them somewhere for just a brief moment, in order to rest her poor, delicate feet.
My father, however, has something I like to call “space orientation disorder”. No matter where I happen to leave my shoes-on a chair, under the table, or even by the door—my dad’s disorder kicks in and they are “in the middle of the floor, young lady, so come and pick them up RIGHT NOW, or you’re going to be in BIG trouble!”.
Now, I actually washed the kitchen floor the other day, and I stopped and figured out the middle of the kitchen. It is located somewhere over by the stove, but my shoes seem to mysteriously float over to that exact spot whenever I leave…why else would my dad be so upset?
And that “right now!” part of the order? Most people who live with teenagers realize that “right now” is a very relative term…not my dad. I could be in the middle of open-heart surgery, and I would have to staunch the bleeding and put away those shoes that very instant or I would big in BIG trouble, young lady!
My dad and I have come to a very nice arrangement regarding room cleaning—see, my mom still thinks that I should keep it clean and organized or something crazy like that, but my dad knows better—he understands that my room will look awful the day after I clean it, so we’ve reached a compromise. He just doesn’t look in there anymore, which works out very nicely for me most days. But when the mess becomes so great that it spills out into the hallway, then he might mention that I need to clean my room (or I’m in big trouble, young lady)
My dad also operates on “man time”. This means that he will sit in his chair, riveted to the television screen, and will not move, until the final down is reached, final batter is struck out, or the little clicker on the screen reaches zero. The house could be burn down around us, but if the Cubs are in the lead, my dad will not move until the commercial (and even then it’s probably to only get another “lucky snack” from the kitchen).
Another interesting side note is my dad’s fashion style. At work, he dresses pretty well, but when he comes home, he dresses in what I like to call “sweatpant chic”. Imagine, if you will, a 6’5” man dressed in sweatpants and a nice button down shirt (tucked in all the way). I firmly believe that my dad would wear this style anywhere he went if he could get away with it.
Aside from his lousy fashion sense and his undying love for the Chicago Cubs, (who shall be vanquished, mark my words…go Cardinals), my dad is pretty awesome…. But I’m going to have to run this by him before this goes to press: I might be in big trouble, young lady.

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