7 Things I Thought My Dad Invented (Before I Knew Better)

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When I was but a wee boy, clueless to the ways of the world, I used to think my dad was the world’s greatest inventor. He was the one who mastered technology, who coined phrases, who tirelessly created new ways to be lazy. Yes, Dad was responsible for everything.

Now that I’m grown, I can admit that I was wrong. Way wrong. Hoo boy, was I wrong. But I love my dad, anyway, despite it all.

Here are some things I used to give the old man credit for, before I knew better.

1 Smacking your lips and saying “ahh” after a sip of soda

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In the “wisdom” of my thirties, I understand that this is a trope developed by the sodapop industry to make their customers believe that carbonated corn syrup is somehow refreshing. But a quarter of a century ago, I thought it was the funniest thing Dad ever did. Haha! What a sound! There wasn’t any explanation needed. It simply guaranteed a giggle-fit from me.

Compound this with the fact that Dad was strong enough to pop open the tab on my can of Sprite, and you can see why he’s my hero.

2 Petting the cat with your foot so you don’t have to reach

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Dad has never been one to extend effort where effort is not absolutely necessary. Our cat, Señor Fuzz, was well aware of this trait–honestly, I think he even admired it. When Dad would recline in his La-Z-Boy, Señor Fuzz liked to nuzzle his cheek right up against the bottom of Dad’s foot. Dad would, in turn, use his surprisingly nimble toes to scratch the cat’s chin.

When I was a boy, watching in awe as my father used his sweaty, stinky feet to bring bliss to the cat, it didn’t register to me as laziness. I saw it as the ingenuity of a true genius.

3 Calling Wednesday “Hump Day”

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What did it mean? Where did it come from? As a boy, I couldn’t fathom the answer to these questions. As an adult, though–well, I still can’t. Dad somehow came up with a way to make Wednesdays funny. From that day on, all Wednesdays were camels. Haha! Camels with humps.

In my teenage years, “hump” took on a new meaning. A meaning that Dad might imply, but would never come right out and say. I appreciate that, Dad.

4 Singing in the shower

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It’s pretty good, right? It was Dad’s idea to put the acoustics in there, you know. We could hear him all the way in the kitchen, bellowing out the “Scooby-dooby-doo” verse from “Strangers In the Night,” over and over again. His favorite shower numbers were definitely Sinatra tracks. But on rare mornings, when the mood was right, we’d hear him sing “Habenera” from Carmen, or that song that goes “B-b-b-b-b-bird bird bird, bird is the word.”

I want to be clear here: it wasn’t my idea to flush the toilet when Dad was on the bridge of “More Than a Feeling.” It was Matt’s idea, okay? You gotta admit, though, the sudden rush of cold water did wonders to help Dad reach that high note.

5 Slurping milk straight from the bowl after you’ve eaten your cereal

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“You want to grow up big and strong, right? Just like Dad? Then put that spoon down, son. The time for spoons is over. Wait. Hold on. Okay, Mom’s not looking. We’re good now. CHUG, CHUG, CHUG!!”

6 Lighting a match after pooping

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In the summer of ‘96, my dad sat me down for a serious conversation. “Look, son. You’re developing into a man. Soon you’ll have hair everywhere you can imagine. Yes, you’ll be rich with hair. Richer than you could ever know. Sorry about that, by the way. It’s genetic. For now, your manhood is announcing itself–uh, what’s the word…aromatically–when you step out of the can.” And that’s when he handed me my very first book of matches.

As I lit a match for the first time after pooping, I was reminded, yet again, that Dad was a genius and an innovator–albeit, one who was too cheap to buy air freshener.

7 Oh, and Dad definitely invented the regulations for loading the dishwasher

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He just refuses to tell anybody what, exactly, they are. 

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Did my dad really invent these things? My heart says, “Yes.” My semi-functioning adult brain says, “No way, José.” But that’s not important! What really matters is that Dad taught me the skills, tricks, and quirks that helped me develop into who I am today. For that, I’ll always be grateful.

Now if only Dad could invent a way to tell me what to get him for Christmas…

Artist Wife Illustrates The Drastic Ways Her Husband’s Life Changed After Kids

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Chen Weng, an illustrator who goes by the name The Messycow, has created a series of comics showing just how much things change when one becomes a father.

Which do you relate to most?

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Check out more from this series on The Messycow’s Facebook page and website.

Dad Dinosaur: Prehistoric Reunion

Dad Dinosaur’s high school reunion is fast approaching, but will he be able to win the big dance contest – or are his moves stuck in the past?

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Father Figures: Risky Business

“As the garage door closed behind me, I heard a muffled whimper.

“What is that?” I wondered. Another whimper and I noticed eight fingers on the lid of one of the garbage cans in the corner. I spy a set of eyes, then a nose and finally my oldest son’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“What happened? Where is your brother?” No answers, just sobbing.

He moped toward the door and I followed him into the kitchen. I half-expected to see CSI investigators hovering over a chalk outline.

We walked around the corner by the refrigerator, and only then did I see his brother and allow myself to take my first breath. Then I saw a hole in the drywall the size of a young boy’s torso.

They had been running & sliding, in their stocking feet, across the marbled kitchen floor. Obviously a bit too exuberantly! I was relieved that they were both okay, but I still mustered enough anger to quash any future escapades.

Each blamed the other, of course. I used to say I couldn’t always tell when my kids were lying, but I could always tell when they were telling the truth.

If that makes any sense to you, I’m guessing you’ve raised at least two boys.”

  • Ron Fuller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

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Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

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Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

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Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

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Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.