He’s slow as molasses (unless someone says, “Cake!”) and selectively deaf (he somehow always hears when we are talking about him two rooms away, with the door shut, yet he can’t hear directions when you’re screaming them over the phone).
Somehow, over night it seems, he’s become an old man. He has the telltale wrinkles in front of his ears, and he has a tiredness behind his eyes that only comes with age, experience, and years of a life full of happiness and pain.
He wears black socks with his white Velcro shoes, the type of shoes he swore he would never, ever wear. His faded jeans sag in the behind and they are far too short, revealing his ivory-white legs when he sits.
He’s stubborn as a mule, and will only have things his way. The TV remote, vacuum cleaner, and his trusty handheld poker game are practically appendages, and don’t you dare try to touch them.
Usually we tease him mercilessly, and like a champ, he just responds with, “Har Har” or a disgusting, inappropriate joke. He’s obsessive about having a clean floor and he’s said, “Rinse your dish” to me about 98,456,742 times.
Despite the annoyances, his obsessive-compulsiveness and stubbornness, he’s my dad. He’s the one who taught me how to ride my bike for the first time (promptly into a rose bush) and he’s the one who says he loves me every time he asks me if I checked my oil.
My dad may not hang on my every word and he may not always ask me how my day was, but he was the one who never gave up teaching me how to count money when I was in 2nd grade. After weeks of late nights inaccurately counting nickels and dimes, I finally did it correctly. He was so elated (and relieved) he feigned fainting, and actually fell over and pretended he was really out of it due to shock (he probably hurt himself and couldn’t get up, but still).
My dad may not play golf anymore, and he may have lost most of his muscle mass over the years, but he’s still the kind of man who will stand up for his family. A few months ago, a man was digging in my parents’ recycling and crushing cans loudly in the wee hours of the morning. After my father asked the man to take the cans and kindly move on, the vagrant threw slurs at my dad. That old man stood up straight, looked the punk in the eye, and told him to “git”. That was that.
My dad is the kind of man who will hang up his suit and tie, swallow his pride, and take a job as a janitor for the sake of his family. He’s the kind of man who will tell a creep on my bus to leave me alone, or he will come for him. He was always our savior, our protection.
He’s not perfect, but he’s my father and dammit, that’s just all that matters.
My dad doesn’t read blogs (he still thinks the Internet is some kind of cellphone), and I’m not sure he even reads anymore, but this is for him.