Dad Grades: Peter McCallister – Home Alone

(20th Century Fox)

In this edition of Dad Grades, we take a long, hard look at one of cinema’s worst dads: Peter McCallister from the 1991 holiday classic Home Alone, portrayed by the late, great John Herd.

Home Alone is a harrowing tale about the far-reaching consequences of unauthoritative parenting, paint can physics, and pre-TSA- checkpoint air travel. In the movie, 8-year- old Kevin McCallister must thwart two bumbling thieves after he is mistakenly left behind in the suburbs of Chicago while his family vacations in Paris.

Any dad seeking to empathize with the patriarch of the McCallister family must do so with a necessary suspension of disbelief.

“Well, there’s no way I’d accidentally leave my child home alone.”

Look, I think we can all agree the whole foolishly abandoning your kid in one of America’s most intrinsically violent major cities thing is, by every conceivable metric, a lasting blemish on your parenting record. But no. I’m not talking about that.

If you’re looking to explore Peter’s inadequacies as a father, look no further than the first act.

First, a burglar enters the McCallister domicile, unnoticed, disguised quite skillfully as a police officer. The McCallister kids ignore the cop lingering in their foyer in lieu of more important matters at hand, like misplaced sunblock, displaying a complete and utter lack of respect for authority.

(20th Century Fox)

He gets nothing. Not a “hello.” Not a “may I help you?” Not even a “the 4th amendment clearly states you cannot legally enter this house without a signed search warrant.” Peter McCallister has what seems to be a bafflingly lenient open-door policy. Strike one for Peter.

Eventually, the pizza guy shows up. Now Peter has two strange men idling in his foyer while his children run about unsupervised.

(20th Century Fox)

At last, Peter comes downstairs. Ignoring the pizza delivery guy, he chats briefly with the cop, assuring him their automatic light timers will deter any foreseeable holiday burglaries. Spoiler alert: they don’t.

Buzz, Peter’s oldest son, enters. “C’mon dad,” he says. “Let’s eat.”

(20th Century Fox)

And just like that, he leaves. There is an officer of the law in his foyer. There is a delivery gu who has yet to receive payment of $122.50 in his foyer. But pizza, I guess. Strike two.

Next, Kevin finds out his family has already eaten all the plain cheese pizza. Instead of simply picking olives off of a less than ideal slice, he viciously attacks his brother Buzz, tackling him into a bunch of red Solo cups filled with… milk.

(20th Century Fox)

That’s right. Milk. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a drink less complementary to pizza than milk. Seriously? Milk? One possibility is that the film’s screenwriter, the legendary John Hughes, has never in his life actually eaten pizza. As a notoriously proud Chicagoan, this is highly improbable.

It’s far more likely that this bewildering drink preference among the McCallisters is somehow Peter’s fault. “Hop in the van, kids,” I imagine him saying. “We’re all going downtown for some Chicago deep dish and a nice, savory round of milk.” Absolutely revolting. Strike three, Pete.

The Good: Peter and his children share very little screentime together. But even though he does unforgivable things, like serving milk with pizza, he does show genuine concern once it becomes clear that Kevin has been left behind. For that, I applaud him.

The Bad: No, seriously. Milk? That’s a slippery slope, pal. First your kids are drinking milk with pizza and then, before you know it, they’re ordering coffee with a cheeseburger. Wasn’t Fuller, the bedwetter, drinking Pepsi? Just give everyone Pepsi, dude. Milk. Jesus Christ. You’ve got to be kidding me. Milk.

The Verdict: Peter McCallister is a textbook example of bad parenting. Need more proof? Revisit the final scene where the whole family comes home to Kevin. Peter asks Kevin what he did while they were gone. Kevin responds, “Just hung around.” The family shares a hearty chuckle and then everybody just… leaves. Peter just walks away from his almost definitely traumatized 8-year- old. Just ends the conversation and walks away like he’s a cop or something.

Peter McCallister’s Final Dad Grade: D-

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