Dad Grades: Jack Torrance – The Shining

(Warner Bros.)

This week in Dad Grades, we take a closer look at Jack Torrance, the axe-wielding patriarch in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining.

As the films opens, we see Jack (skillfully brought to life by Jack Nicholson) as he’s driving his family to the Overlook Hotel. An impressive feat in and of itself, considering Jack was still three decades away from an iPad he could shove in his son Danny’s face for the duration of the trip.

(Warner Bros.)

One can only assume that, had there been a second kid in the backseat, Jack may have snapped almost immediately, veering the family Volkswagen off the side of the mountain and effectively ending the movie with a total runtime of four minutes.

More observant viewers will notice that Danny is not wearing a seatbelt in this scene. Despite the good example Jack is setting, his is textbook child endangerment.

They arrive at the Overlook Hotel and settle in. One month later, Jack endures a wholly occupying case of writer’s block as Danny leaves his toys everywhere.

(Warner Bros.)

Some film historians speculate that, in the original script, Jack was supposed to step on one of these toy cars while barefoot, bringing us right to the moment where he decides to start swinging a firefighter’s axe at everybody.

True King-heads, however, know the real inciting incident that drove Jack to madness was this:

(Warner Bros.)

A toy bus in the arch of your shoeless foot is one thing. Lipstick on the door is another. Danny doesn’t even attempt to soften the brunt of his inevitable punishment by drawing something cool. No. Instead, he just ruins his tired mom’s evening, who wakes up and begins screaming for one of two reasons: 1) it was some $90 Sephora lipstick, or 2) her child is exhibiting signs of severe dyslexia. Nobody knows for sure.

At this point, Jack begins chasing his family with an axe. This collection of scenes brings light to Jack’s biggest flaw as patriarch of the Torrances: the inability to respect bathroom privacy.

(Warner Bros.)

Among Jack Torrance’s long list of fatherly foibles, this one is the most irritating. The bathroom should be a space of tranquility and reflection. Jack does not seem to understand this, as he determinedly hacks open the bathroom with his axe, pokes his manic face in, and delivers the film’s most iconic line:

(Warner Bros.)

Unbelievably rude.

Jack eventually falls victim to the bitter cold and freezes to death in a hedge maze.

(Warner Bros.)

At the end of the day, Jack Torrance is an adequate dad. Not all dads make the time to take their families on road trips to haunted hotels built on Native American burial ground. Jack Torrance did. He obviously needs improvement in terms of disciplinary skills, though. Remember, no woodchopping implement is quite as effective as being grounded for a weekend in their room with no TV or video games. Don’t ground them for too long though. Prolonged isolation can drive someone mad. I saw it in a movie once –  I forget the title.

Some people will probably say, “I strongly disagree, Vernon. When it comes to fatherhood, I think Jack Torrance is quite clearly a novice.”

And to those people I say: the word you’re thinking of is novelist.

Jack Torrance is a novelist. Idiot.

Jack Torrance’s Dad Grade: B-

Father and Son Escape Burning Truck in the Nick of Time

(News Channel Nebraska)

19-year old Minnesota man Kobe Sammons drove 500 miles to visit his family in Nebraska. When he arrived he told to his father, Jeremy, that his ride just wasn’t running right. So his dad hopped in the truck and the two went for a drive in hopes of discovering what the problem was.

A short while later they pulled over when Jeremy noticed smoke had entered the cabin of the truck. The smoke quickly turned to heat and it became apparent the engine compartment was on fire.

That’s when both men attempted to open their doors but they would not unlock.

The father wondered if this would be their final moments together.

“I told him he would have to break the glass or kick the door open. I couldn’t help him.” the elder Sammons told News Channel Nebraska.

But eventually Kobe was able to kick the door open.

“It was in those moments. Just when it had to open, the door opened.” Kobe’s dad said.

By the time firefighters arrived the truck was completely engulfed in flames. Authorities on the scene considered that the fire may have caused the doors’ unlocking mechanism to malfunction.

The truck can easily be replaced, the important thing is that this father and son duo escaped unharmed.

75-Year-Old Volunteer Literally Takes Catnaps at Animal Shelter

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

If you’re a cat lover you’ll probably agree that 75-year-old Wisconsinite Terry Lauerman is living the dream. He spends most days volunteering at his local animal shelter snoozing with cats.

Lauerman begins his day at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary where he brushes any cat that needs it, then ends up catching a few z’s with his feline friends. The cats and staff at the shelter love the service Lauerman provides and so do thousands of others because of a viral Facebook post about him.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that Lauerman never signed up to be a volunteer but just showed up one day, armed with a cat brush and dream to help some kitties.

“He just walked in and started brushing,” Feldhausen said. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

Safe Haven is a cage-free, no-kill shelter aimed at rehabilitating cats with special needs who would likely be euthanized elsewhere. Feldhausen says Lauerman usually comes in for about three hours every day—he’ll start by brushing a cat but usually ends up dozing off.

“He sleeps for about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,”

The cats aren’t the only ones benefitting from his visits, though. “He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them,” said Feldhausen.

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

The post about Lauerman has received tons of positive attention and according to Feldhausen, they’ve received about $20,000 in donations since the post went viral.

While Lauerman is happy to have brought so much attention to Safe Haven, he wants people to know that there are plenty of other volunteers that put in hours of hard work to make sure the cats are loved and cared for.

Unlike them, however, Lauerman can do it in his sleep.

Father Figures: So Be It

“My money is tight living here in Silicon Valley.

My daughters are both really smart and take advanced classes, which takes a shit load of money for tests, materials and such. I too play the ‘money is tight’ card around holidays and birthdays, but I work my ass off and find side jobs. As many as I can to make sure they have the best day possible on those special occasions.

If that means not buying myself anything for the rest of my life, so be it.

They always come first, and I believe they will appreciate the struggles later on in life, and they’ll be better off for it.”

– Mauro Hernandez

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

Dad’s Panoramic Photo of Daughter Goes Horribly Wrong and Viral

(Twitter/sc_x_cs)

With new phones constantly boasting advancements in camera technology, it’s no wonder some people have trouble keeping up—dads in particular.

Just ask 21-year-old Twitter user Simran. She recently came to terms with the fact that her father is a bit more technologically-challenged than she realized.

Here’s how Simran appears when she’s directing the photo shoot:

While on vacation her dad attempted to snap a unique picture of her. He insisted on trying out his iPhone X’s panoramic photo mode. As you probably expect, the photo didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“My dad told me to stand by the apples because he said he discovered a new way to take pano pics vertically,” Simran told Mashable. “I agreed to it and this was the result.”

“When he saw them he said ‘they look great’ and then I saw them and completely lost it. I mean, are you kidding me? I look like an Alien,” she said.

A number of people chimed in and made fun comparisons to some pretty unflattering images.

Clearly, Simran has been a good sport and we commend her dad for a bold attempt at harnessing advanced photo technology. But perhaps he should stick with the old fashioned point-and-shoot method from now on?

Man Struggles to Fit Small Carry-On Bag in Overhead Bin