I did not buy my Dad a Father’s Day card this year. Because this is my first Father’s Day without him. He passed away on March 1st.
Truth be told, I used to dread looking for the right Father’s Day card for him. There were always so many boring images of golfing Dads, fishing Dads, Dads with tools, Dads smoking pipes while sitting on overstuffed chairs, Dads holding their kid’s hand on the beach and for some reason, maps. I had no idea that fatherhood automatically triggered such a keen interest in geography. Maybe it’s so that when they ask their kids, “Just where do you think you’re going tonight?” they can pinpoint it exactly.
But there were never any images that looked like my Dad: a bald, big-nosed hellraiser, sitting by the pool, drinking boxed wine out of a plastic tiki glass, swearing profusely in front of small children, inexplicably wearing my purple bathrobe from 1992.
Honestly. I’ve spent hours scouring Hallmark stores trying to find an appropriate card for that bad ass motherfucker. Sometimes they were too mushy. How could I give him a card that read, “Father, you’re the amazing, loving man who taught me, guided me, nurtured me so I could become the person I am today” when all I really wanted was one that said, “Well, Dad. You tried.”
Others were filled with fart jokes. Now, my Dad was a doctor, and over the course of his 35-year career he examined every possible human orifice there is to examine. But for some reason, he’d get downright Victorian about the word fart: “Don’t say that word. That’s fucking disgusting.”
Not that he didn’t have a fantastic sense of humor. I even felt his sense of humor while Mom and I were selecting the right “funeral package” for him at the St. Pete Beach Memorial Chapel. Yes, much like how you get a free lei on your packaged tour of Hawaii, we had our choice of five “Memorial Gifts” to commemorate our loved one…at no extra cost! It was so bizarre. I half-way expected the funeral director to announce, “But wait! There’s more!” The creepiest option was a silver locket necklace filled with his ashes. Even worse? They promised to take his dead thumb and press his fingerprint on it, with the inscription, “Touched by Dad”.
Even though I was crying, I had to cover my mouth because I wanted to laugh so hard. I could actually hear my Dad’s voice in my head shouting, “What the fuck is this incest bullshit? Touched by Dad? I can’t believe you two brought me here! Who is this asshole? Don’t you put my ashes in that ugly necklace. Touched by Dad. That’s fucking disgusting.”
So, while I no longer have to search for the right card for my non-traditional Dad, I’m doing those of you out there who have non-traditional Dads a favor. Your search is over. Here are a few images of my Dad with some Father’s Day-ready captions. Feel free to print them out and give them to your hellraising, rule-breaking, foul-mouthed Dad…
And for those of you who really must have a traditional photo of a Dad smoking a pipe while sitting on an overstuffed chair…
Happy Father’s Day, everyone. Cheers to all the beloved Dads out there…but especially the bad ass motherfuckers.