You are famous in my mind.
Whenever anybody says your name (your real name, not your Dad-name or your Papa-name), I get proud.
You were the journalist, the baseballbasketballfootballtennis player, the stud of the adult mens’ league, wives in the stands and kids under trees. Gone before five, home after six, you were the owner of the the stinky feet, stale from loafer-wearing, dangling over a recliner.
I forgive you for your past discretions: Your perm in the 70s. Your mullet in the 80s. The goatee in the 90s. Even the Zubaz pants that were alive and well until just recently. I don’t know if you would understand the magnitude of this, Mike Lange, but there’s this website, Dads are the Original Hipsters. You’d reign king there, if only for your prescription aviators and full closet of Levi 501s.
I heard you came from Tinley Park in southwest Chicago. I heard you were fourteen when you swept Mom off her feet. I heard you drove a vehicle called the F-Wagon. I heard what that meant.
One time, at a drive through, you told the attendant to “stand by for a large order”.
Once, at a Mexican restaurant, you sipped your beverage and then thoughtfully yelled, “This tea tastes like pot!”
Once, you asked my boyfriend if he sang “underground music”.
You enjoy being the most hated person at a sporting event. I worry for your safety after big games. If Hamilton ever goes up against Centennial, and you’re invited to ref it, I’m not sure I want to be there.
I can’t remember a time when you didn’t work two jobs or more. I can’t remember a time when my girlfriends didn’t say things like, “Your dad is SO handsome.” I can’t remember a time you didn’t listen to sports talk radio.
Thanks for letting me “marry” you over and over again when I was four.
Thanks for waking us up for school by singing and clapping and whistling, even though it was 6 and school didn’t start until 8.
Thanks for driving behind me the whole 1/4 of a mile when I insisted on riding my Little Mermaid bike to school.
Thanks for taking me to Take Your Daughter to Work Day and making me an official E.F. Data id badge and letting me play solitaire on your computer and taking me to Ted’s Hotdogs for lunch.
Thanks for making me always eat my vegetables even though you didn’t even put some on your plate.
Thanks for teaching me that “A stands for Average” and giving me a complex. And thanks for letting me stay up until 1 and 2 in the morning to finish school projects on your office computer, even though the light shined right onto your face and I was a loud typer and you had to get up at 4.
Thanks for checking if my shorts were too short before I left the house.
Thanks for being my parasailing partner when everyone else had one and I couldn’t go alone — even though you hate both rides and heights. And thanks for turning your head to the other side when you puked.
Thanks for coming to my field hockey games when I was the goalie and shouting embarrassing things like, “Heather the WALLLL”.
Thanks for buying me that plane ticket to visit back east after we were driving in the purple van and I was crying. And thanks for pretending I wasn’t crying.
Thanks for classic rock seminars on Warren Zevon, John (sometimes Cougar) Mellencamp, and the Steve Miller Band.
Thanks for driving over to my dorm early that February morning to give me a Valentine my freshman year of college.
Thanks for your long chin and your thin lips and your strong legs.
Thanks for duck taping Saran Wrap over the holes when my first car got broken into, and for sitting at the car dealership with me until eleven at night when I bought a new one.
Thanks for letting me know it was ok if I just wanted to leave right before I walked down the aisle. That you’d go with me, and that we’d get Jack N the Box and drive far away.
Thanks for teaching me to choke up on the bat, to fear credit cards, and to work late hours if need be. Thanks for showing me how to be silly and lower my guard. Thanks for setting the bar for all men in my life. Thanks for never letting us down.