It is only fitting that I am writing this Father's Day post nearly one week late. After all, it seems like Father's Day is a mere afterthought when compared to the brunch filled extravaganza that is Mother's Day. And that is exactly what I would like to share today... the semi-deranged rantings of a Father on (or 6 days after) his "special" day.
For those of you who are under 40 (so that means all of you) this is comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
Last Sunday as I drove my wife and kids to an escape room we had booked to help celebrate the day and get in some quality family time, I noticed an odd theme on a local radio station (by the way, as part of my gift to myself I purposely failed to escape from the room, told my family to go on without me, and spent 9 hours looking at sports blogs on my phone).
But back to the radio. After three songs in a row containing the words "father" or "dad" I very proudly exclaimed, "oh they are doing a Father's Day theme. How clever." Instead of the applause I had expect to receive for my brilliant deduction, I was rewarded with a "Yeah dad I figured that out two songs ago" from my even more clever son. But it was still cool. I had never really thought about songs about fathers. I mean I am a sucker for tear-jerker "dad" movies like Field of Dreams, Frequency, and A Quiet Place (yes I consider this brilliant Sci-Fi Horror movie a love letter to fathers) but I couldn't recall a deep connection to songs about dads.
After listening for a few more minutes, I remembered why.
While songs about mothers all seem to be tributes to their near saint-like personalities, songs about fathers are about how horrible they are.
An empty hat. Yeah that's about right.
Don’t believe me? Here are some of the songs that very clever station played last week.
I Had a Dad by Jane’s Addiction
“Had a dad
Big and strong
Found my daddy gone “
Father of Mine by Ever clear.
“Father of mine
Tell me where have you been
You know I just closed my eyes
My whole world disappeared”
Papa was a Rolling Stone by The Temptations
“Papa was a rolling stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died all he left us was alone”
Luckily I turned it off before they got to Cats in the Cradle…
In case you didn’t pick up on it, I am completely kidding about Father’s Day being a second class Holiday. Writers draw from their emotions. Some have incredibly positive ones to access when thinking back on their childhood. Others have negative ones. This is the case for both mothers and fathers. There are plenty of examples of not so sweet tributes to moms out there. I just thought it was funny that this station took the time to string together some of the grittier ones about dads. In the end, even these cathartic songs contained some positivity. One of my favorite lyrics of all time happens to come from one of these “tributes” to bad dads.
“Now I'm a grown man
With a child of my own
And I swear I'm not going to let her know
All the pain I have known”
Thanks Art Alexakis from Everclear for reminding us how real dad’s should roll (it’s at the 2:58 mark).