My relationship with my dad is not complicated. He was never an absentee father, he always has time for me, he has always been a good dad. Sure, we fight about why I’m not better with money or better at math, but for the most part, we get along. We make each other laugh and complain about work. It’s fun. My dad is cool.
He’s not the dad who will try and intimidate guys I’m dating who come to the house to meet my parents. My dad is the kind of guy you can put in any social situation and by the end, he will have met a few people and know all about what they do. He asks questions and pays attention and really listens to people because he’s genuinely interested in what they have to say. He’s big on learning – he likes to learn.
My dad is the consummate teaser. At my house, you will tease or you will be teased. We will immediately spot the weak ones in the pack and if you aren’t quick with a comeback, well, it’s the end for you. I’m surprised my brother isn’t permanently scarred as he was an easy target as a child. Like the time we were on a road trip and we were at a deserted gas station and my brother was peeing off to the side and so my dad waited until he was mid stream and started to drive away. Man, that was a good one. Seriously though – we’re not mean. Relentless and hilarious, yes. Mean, no.
He’s not the dad who lets you win at games so you feel good about yourself. Oh no. He’d beat you and then make you feel bad because you suck. Not in a mean way, but like “I can’t believe the score of this ping pong game was 21-3 and I was even playing you with my LEFT HAND.” And it worked. Because I’m ultra competitive, I folded one side of the ping pong table up and practiced ALL THE TIME. I’ll tell you what, it was a big day when I played my dad and he had to use his right hand. And an even bigger day when I beat him. He would hide the last piece of the puzzle so that he could be the one to finish it. I caught on to that and started hiding two. So he’d hide three. And it went on like that until the puzzle would be halfway done but all the pieces would mysteriously be gone.
Our biggest deal is Scrabble. When we play Scrabble, it’s serious business. I can’t remember when we started playing, but I got trounced more times than I can count. However, the more we played, the better I got. And the day that I beat my dad was like the best day EVER. He’s the smartest guy I know and I beat him at Scrabble. Woo hoo!! We played again (because he also hates to lose) and he beat me. But that one time, I won. I’ve won a few times since and of course I’m like “Wow. What a fluke! I can’t believe I won. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I mean, good game. HA!” My dad also taught me the fine art of the post-game gloat.
If you know much about Scrabble, you know that while “Q” is a super high-point letter, it’s also a big fat pain because for the most part, you can’t use it unless you have a “U”. So when we find Q words that don’t require a U, well, we latch on and use it at all possible opportunities. Like the word “qat”. Excellent Q word. Yesterday I was reading “News of the Weird” and there was a piece about the World Scrabble Championship and they mentioned the word “Qanat”*. So of course I emailed the story to my dad. Here’s what he said:
“If you are going to use qanat, then I am going to use qanatic.....which means a fanatic of qanat......which means I use all seven of my letters.........which means I get the 50 bonus points........which means "I WIN" !!!!”
I don’t think so. So I wrote him back:
“Oh yeah? Well I will build off the "I" in "qanatic" and spell "bigjerk" - and oh my! Is that a triple word score?”
And not to be outdone, the last word from my dad:
“OK, crybaby.....qanatic is not really a word, but I tried. Please go to Google and type in qanat for the definition and you will see that the "ic" probably can't be added on the end.......I confess, I tried to pull on over on you!.....I win anyway!”
Ok dad, I’ll let you win…but just this once and just because I’m feeling nice today. Oh, and maybe because I love you! But just this one time. I mean, I'll always love you, but I won't always concede a win in Scrabble. Just so you know.
* Qanat: a gently sloping underground tunnel for irrigation purposes, esp. in ancient Persia. In case you were wondering.