So, Father's Day is Sunday and I was thinking about what to get the old man & wondering if he would find it funny if I gave him some sequined-covered something or other when it dawned on me that I would probably have a hard time finding any kind of sequined-adorned guy thing. Probably aren't a lot of places that make sparkly, beaded steering-wheel covers or something equally useless & manly. So then, while I was being a jerk thinking up asinine gifts for my dad, I started thinking of all the really nice things he's done for me over the years. Here is a sampling:
* When I was a wee lass, he and I used to build forts in the living room out of the furniture cushions, sheets, and blankets. We would lay in the forts with the old 1970's GIANT earphones on our ears listening to The Rolling Stones and Queen, at ridiculous volumes, until my mom would scream at him that he was going to make me deaf. Then he would make faces at her and turn it down a half a notch.
* When my mom made us go to the mall with her, my dad would hide in the clothing racks & play Hide & Seek with me. I was about 3. He was about 23. Technically a grown-up, but practically a child himself.
* On the 4th of July when I was a sullen and moody teenager, he brought home sparklers. I sneered at them and made some comment about sparklers being for children. He put a lighter and a box of sparklers in my hand and then pushed me outside into the backyard and locked the sliding glass door. He wouldn't let me come in until I "frolicked". At first I was obnoxious and pouty about it, but he stood his ground and eventually, I "frolicked". I laughed SO hard at the ridiculousness of the situation and he came out and ran around the backyard with me waving sparklers in the air, twirling in circles and singing, (loudly and horribly off-key) "True" by Spandau Ballet. Yeah, I don't know why either, but it happened.
* In high school, they had a bizarre punishment called "7 AM Detention", during which you were required to be at the school at 7:00 AM and you had to write out the rules while sitting in the library for an hour and a half. It was an idiotic punishment. So, I did something (probably mouthed off to someone, SHOCKING, I know) and received the aforementioned detention. The principal called my dad to tell him that I had to be at the school by 7 the next morning. My dad said, "No problem. I'll have her out in front of the house around 6:45." The principal, understandably confused replied, "Why?" and my dad answered, "So you can pick her up." The principal chuckled and said, "Oh no, Mr. Bobainey, *you* need to bring Lainey to the school for her 7 AM detention." My dad chuckled back and said, "Oh no, Mr. Principal, *I* didn't do anything wrong. You want her there, you'll need to come and get her. Otherwise, find a suitable punishment that actually punishes *her*." Apparently, no other parent had denied this request and the principal was stymied as to how to respond. My dad just said, "Ok, thanks for calling" and hung up. I got grounded for being an asshole, and I should have, but I didn't have to go to the moronic detention. I think I had to write an essay or something instead.
* While in high school, my curfew was 2:00 AM. I thought my dad was the coolest (and maybe the most clueless) parent in the world because everyone else had to be home by 12:30. This came up in conversation a few years ago and he confessed that he knew everyone else had to be home by 12:30, so he figured if he set my curfew at 2:00, he would look like the cool dad, but I would still be home before 12:30 because I wouldn't have anyone to hang out with. Hmm, smart thinking, buddy!
* And my favorite - I was getting ready for my Junior Prom and my dad asked me where I had put the boutonniere. I told him I had no idea what a boutonniere was. He looked a bit shocked and told me it was the lapel flower I give to my date; the guy corsage. My eyes welled up & I told him that I didn't have one. He said, "Oh. No. No, you have to have one." My date was picking me up in less than a half hour. I was 16, so OF COURSE I started panicking! My dad told me to relax and to finish getting ready. He called the florist a mile or two away and ordered a simple white rose boutonniere that he would go pick up for me. Here's where the story gets sweet - our car was in the shop, so my dad drug one of the old bicycles out of the garage, and pedaled his 36-year-old, two-pack-a-day-smoker ass up to the florist a couple of miles away. He got back just before the limo arrived with my date. He was out of breath and his cheeks were bright red, but he just handed me the florist box, gave me $20 (just in case) and told me to have fun. He probably went inside and puked immediately afterward, but I didn't see that part.
Thanks, Dad. You didn't have it easy raising a kid by yourself and you did a pretty damn good job. Happy Father's Day!