Over the years I’ve learned a lot from my parents. From my dad, it has usually been the lessons that were the most difficult. He’s believed in me when I haven’t always believed in myself. He’s supported me when I wanted to be left alone. He’s taught me that dreams are great but idealism is the best way for your dreams to be deferred because things aren’t perfect and never will be. Also, because I only ever understood the previous point in theory and never in practice, he’s taught me that perseverance is vital if you’re ever going to get out of life alive.
When I was 16 years old, my dad gave me a book for my birthday. It was Herman Hesse’s great book Steppenwolf. He said when he was younger it changed his life. It changed mine too, and that was just the sort of encouragement that made me think for myself and see things from perspectives that other people often can’t or won’t. It’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received and if sometimes I can say or do things that might seem odd then he has only himself to blame.
There was always a lot of laughter around our house and my dad has a terrific laugh. You can find him anywhere in a room by his laugh, even if it’s a roomful of laughing people. It’s not all Hermann Hesse and pragmatism with him. When I was young he introduced me to Gallagher and indulged my affection for that silly man and as I grew older he let me grow into Andy Kaufman and George Carlin. When I get together with my folks (as often as I can, but not as often as I’d like) we sometimes can’t breathe because the laughter can’t stop. I’ve met many people in my life that can make me laugh, but only my dad can incapacitate me.
There are many things I admire about my dad. He has the prescience to see things that should be blatantly obvious (the Beatles are one of the greatest things to ever happen to modern music) and the wisdom to not rub it in anyone’s face (he didn’t judge much when I thought it was Ozzy Osbourne and boy is there egg on my face now). Long story short, my dad was born today in a year that’s none of your business and I could never give him a gift that’s as great as everything he’s given me. From my mom, I get my heart. From my dad, I get my soul.
I love ya dad. Happy Birthday.