Dear Greeting Card Writers:
Another Father’s Day is approaching and yet again, you leave me empty-handed. You see, my father does not have a flatulence problem. I’ve never seen him crack open a can of beer, and the remote control is more likely to be in the dog’s mouth than in his hand. My Dad is not the fix-it guy. He’s the guy who calls the fix-it guy. And while he knows how to use a grill, he doesn’t parade around grunting “Me Man. Man like meat,” exuding machismo. While I go through the usual search, I know I won’t find a card that is suitable for me to send to him and that is a shame, because I would like to express my gratitude. He has given me so much and amongst the many things I have to be thankful for are the life lessons that he has taught me. Here are just a few:
5. Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.
Having this perspective on life makes it all the more fun. Tell jokes. Do something crazy. Be silly. Since the time I could speak, I was reciting jokes my father taught me. What did the giraffe say to his friends? Everyone to the bar, the highballs are on me! It’s even more amusing hearing inappropriate jokes from the mouth of a child. If you have one, I highly recommend teaching them some. My dad found it hilarious to have me go up to women in the supermarket and ask them “Are you my mommy?” I was his little minion, delivering his comedic gold. Finding the funny in everyday situations as well as sharing it with others is our way of living life to the fullest.
4. Just ask!
If you want something, ask for it. A simple thought, yet many of us, including myself, never ask for what we want. In most scenarios, the worst they can say is “No.” Especially while working in television, as I do, I have been offered jobs and have been expected to accept them on the spot. My father has pushed me to just ask. “Do they offer health insurance? Can you ask for more money? What are the hours?” All valid questions yet I would respond with “I don’t know…” Well, just ask! Sometimes the answers were disappointing, but I was never disappointed that I asked the questions.
3. If you’re not invited, invite yourself.
My father has always been a proponent of this philosophy and in many cases it has worked in his favor. While it may seem a bit pushy, and can sometimes come off as rude, often, it gets you to where you want to be. Your friends are going to an awesome concert. Hey, got an extra ticket? Someone mentions a fun house party they are going to. What time should I show up? Of course, I realize this advice has its limitations but it can lead to some really enjoyable experiences if used properly. It’s how I got myself included in my parents’ recent trip to Napa (wine was great, the glass shower in the middle of the room, slightly awkward).
2. Don’t let others hold you back.
What does a Joan Rivers’ comedy show, a Lady Gaga concert, and a course in forensic dentistry all have in common? When he couldn’t get anyone else to join him, my father went on his own. If there are things in life you want to do, do them regardless of if you can get someone else to come along. It’s a lesson in independence. Opportunities shouldn’t be forsaken because you can’t find a companion to join. Hopefully, following this example hasn’t contributed to my singledom…
1. Try it, you’ll like it.
My father is open to new experiences and has shared this thirst for life with me. Often referring to food, he’ll say this catchphrase when anyone is hesitant. If you try it, you’ll like it (perhaps) but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
So you see, I need a greeting card that speaks to my father’s sense of adventure, his confidence, and his ability to go for what he wants in life. I repeat, he is not a farting, beer-guzzling, TV-watching, Tim “The Toolman,” grill master. And I’m sure there are many more unrepresented fathers out there.