Today is my father's birthday. He is 84.
Remember the post I wrote about the bad art from my childhood? I am also going to inherit this sculpture up there, although believe it or not I like this one. The dark guy is the sculpture. The white guy is dad. In case you were confused.
Seeing as dad was always pretty close in age to me, he was never scary authority figure dad. Although he would spend the greater part of the weekend in the basement, watching sports on TV and swearing up a streak. But if I could stand all the swears, I could go in there with a small glass and he'd always share his Coca-Cola with me. He also ate boxes of Brach's Chocolate Stars while down there. What sugar high? Why so aggressive about the sports?
But I liked hanging with dad. We went to Cancun, where we got totally ill from Montezuma's revenge. We went to the Gulf of Mexico, where I broke my toe and our hotel set on fire. And once we took a road trip across the country, where I had an allergic reaction to medication and my tongue blew up and we had to rush to an ER in Cheyenne, WY.
But somehow they all were good times.
I remember I worked at a restaurant in a hoity-toity department store, and once when dad was visiting I had to work the dinner shift. "Your housemates and I will come get you at the end of your shift," dad said, "and we'll go out after."
There I was, serving quiches to the ladies who lunch and also apparently dinner, and there was a piano player entertaining us all with Killing Me Softly or something, and everything was soothing and monied and quiche-y, when out in the candy department was a clatter of drunken voices and singing and such awfulness.
It was dad. And my roommates. Drunker than I'd ever seen my roommates. And this was COLLEGE. I never saw my roommates anything BUT drunk. They used to get up and crack a beer at 10:00 Saturday morning to watch Pee Wee.
"HI, JUUUUNNNEEE!" they all screamed across the low-lit restaurant. I could not serve my last Manhattan fast enough to get those drunks out of there. Go, dad.
It was that same visit that it was time for the next term of school, and when I went to get my financial aid, I couldn't get enough. I was crying, and my father said, "F*** them. Get in the car and come to Atlanta with me" (he lived there briefly).
So I did. I packed my things and moved there. Like, right then.
In the car, I had brought cassettes, but my father had only one. It was the Beastie Boys, who I had never heard. He said, "You play your tape, then when it's my turn, just put in that Beastie Boys tape."
By the time we were out of Ohio, all we were doing was flipping that Beastie Boys tape over and over. She's crafty, and she'd just my type. I still love that song.
The living-in-Atlanta didn't last long, but I do have a memory of dad wanting me to go out one night, and me not being in the mood, and him doing an interpretive hula dance with him pantomiming drinking and laughing and having a gay old time.
Dad and I both lived in LA from 2000 till 2007, and that was fun. We took many road trips together, including the one we took to Colorado to the Mike the Headless Chicken festival. I participated in the world's longest chicken dance, and I think technically I am part of a world record. You knew you were here for a reason.
Dad was mostly in it for the fried Twinkies, and also he wanted to see the firefighters and police play football with a raw chicken, which we did. I kept worrying the whole town's police and fire would have salmonella and be out of commission. Because I'm breezy and fun that way.
Anyway, happy 84th or 64th birthday, dad. Here's to many more. Don't start eating healthfully and exercising now, it'd probably kill you.
And don't sleep till Brooklyn.