“I taught you everything I know, and you still don’t know nothing.”
— Thomas Molloy
Today, my friends, is Father’s Day, a day where we look up to the man who helped to bring us into this world, and who at times, threatened to take us out.
Fathers play a key role in the education of children. For girls, daddy is usually the first man in her life and his actions will quite often define what she will come to expect from the men in her future. For boys, he’s the guy that molds the standard for what becoming a man is all about and how they will ultimately judge themselves. Basically it all boils down to the fact that fathers set the tone for their children on how a man ought to be. Granted, no one is perfect, but we oftentimes put our parents on pedestals, and my father, in my eyes at least, was no different.
For a man with no formal education he sure used what little he had to its fullest advantage. True story: my dad could fix a car, a garbage truck or just about anything else with nothing more than duct tape and a coat hanger. It might sound nuttier than a squirrel’s pantry, but the basement in the home where we grew up in was a scary mass of coat hangers holding everything together from rafters to water pipes.
True, my father was no saint, but he must have had something in the way of spirituality, because by some miracle everything worked. I grew up in a time when mothers were good at making things like dinner while fathers were designated with fixing stuff. It didn’t matter if you knew what it took to be a plumber, if you were a dad, then it was you that wielded the plunger. All manner of household repairs were laid upon my dad’s shoulders and bless him, he usually figured out a way to get things running again. I can’t count the number of times a television antenna would be snapped off only to be quickly replaced with a well-positioned wire and some tin foil. Suddenly, we were watching cartoons again and my dad could go back tending to whatever project he was previously working on — usually something else that we had broken.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing was ever properly repaired. On his garbage truck a plastic Coke bottle was as good as a gas cap, vise-grips stood in for door handles, and the cargo hold was a discarded shopping cart welded to the truck’s frame. But somehow all these little faux fixes flourished. If necessity is the mother of invention, then frugality is the father of fortunes, as my dad often showed. He could stretch a dollar beyond its measure yet still make ends meet. He was only 5 feet 4 inches tall, but I still looked up him.
So happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. And to my own, well I’m sure he’s the only angel with wires wrapped around his wings.