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-

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

(Facebook/MessycowComics)

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?

(Facebook/MesscowComics)
(Facebook/MesscowComics)
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(Facebook/MesscowComics)

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

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

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.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
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(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)

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

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

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.

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

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