Happy Fathers’ Day

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Nonfiction

About a year ago I broke up a fistfight between two 75 year-old men, which isn’t too tough. You just put your hands on their chests and wait for one to fall asleep. One of the old men was my dad, and I’m not super proud about that, or at least I wasn’t at the time.

Now I kind of am. And I’m going to write about it. Because it was a year ago. And because it’s about my dad.

I only remember it was a year ago, because it was on Father’s Day, which normally isn’t much of an event in my family. Dad might get a plate of cookies or a jar of cashews out of it, and his kids will all probably call him, but I don’t ever remember a Father’s Day Dinner, or Firework display or whatever. Dad’s not much on ceremony, and I never got into the habit of getting him stuff. But last year. I backed him up in a fistfight, and that’s worth something right?

The fight was with our neighbor, who is a dick. Dad’s a dick too, but this time he was right, but that’s completely incidental. He could have been wrong. He is often. They probably both spend about half the time being right, but they both spend all of their time being dicks. They fight about property lines and parking lots and shit old people bicker over. Taking turns being right and being louder, but rarely both together.

This time our neighbor was neither.

My sister got a dog. A sweet little idiot of a beagle named Gigi. The dog’s too stupid to be anything but equal parts annoying and adorable. She’s a cuddle monster. An affection slut that can’t be loved enough by people. She runs about with her head bouncing and ears flapping looking for the next human to love on her.

Dad lives on a big plot of land that used to be a park, and still sort of is, and the dog loves to run around on it. Our neighbor bought up most of the park, and I’m sure that bothers Pop some, and might be part of their not getting along. The guy lets some folks camp there over the summers; they have a fishing hole and some fire pits and a seemingly endless supply of confederate flags. Dad lets his dogs run free. And nobody seems to mind. A big part of “Not Treading On Me” involves letting your dogs run all over the place. Dad has a little Westie that he’s afraid might make him gay, and an English Setter that I think spent his formative years taking acid and following Phish. The dogs are harmless. The little one would like to be tough, but she’s a Westie, and all the Setter ever does is talk about Vegan Butter and borrow your paper clips.

Still, dogs are dogs, and some folks are scared of them, or just don’t like them, and that’s fine.

Dad lets his run, and always has; yours, mine, anybody else’s too. It’s not a leashed up area, and the neighbor was always fine with that, until one day he wasn’t.

Dad got a call from the Humane Society that my sister’s beagle had been picked up like some drifter, like John Rambo on an old dusty road. That road was ours though, and nobody could have been on it that wasn’t asked to be. My folks live miles from anywhere worth being.

Dad got angrier than he should have. I heard him slam down the phone and exclaim “That really pisses me off!” to nobody, like he likes to when he’s angry. I’ve seen him do it when he didn’t know I was there, and I can only assume he does it by himself often. It’s not an odd exclamation at all, I just love it that it’s his.

We went down and picked her up. They were very sweet at the Humane Society. When you pick up a dog there they kind of give you the third degree, and they should. It’s a serious thing taking on a pet, and people who don’t know that are the worst kind of assholes. The ladies there were polite and professional, even if Dad wasn’t. It went really well for an exchange that involved the the word “MotherFucker” so many times. And they didn’t even flinch when dad pantomimed how he assumed our neighbor sucked dick. Still, I was glad I was there to smooth things over.

He fumed a bit and asked why the dog got picked up.

“We got a call Mr. Dangler,” is all they’d say as I signed promises to do a better job and assured Dad that these people had no intention of giving Gigi a dry shave.

We got back home and Dad let the dog out. She ran off without a leash, her head bobbing like an idiot; completely unaware that she was the Archduke Ferdinand of our impending little war.

“I probably shouldn’t go down there.” Dad said. Leading me in conversation. “I’ll get myself into trouble.” I was proud of him. When dad gets determined, on anything, it’s best to stay out of his way. Regardless of what it is, if dad’s decided on it, it’s what he’s doing. So I was very proud of him for knowing what he should do, and for knowing he was too emotional to make decisions right then. I was also very disappointed in him for lying to me. Because he’d made up his mind the minute he’d hung up that phone.

I’m going to stop here tonight. I’m bummed I didn’t get this up on Father’s Day, and it’s too late now anyway.I’ll do my best to finish it tomorrow. It gets better: there’s a punch, and Beatles quote, and the funniest thing I’ve ever heard all coming up. That’s sounds good right?

  1. earl says:

    Great tales are born, not made. Funny stuff man!

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