My father is a long time collector of comic books. He has boxes upon boxes of comic books neatly filed and collated sitting in our basement, and even though some of them have been valued at a few thousand dollars, he cannot bring himself to part with the last remaining relics of his childhood. A Marvel man through and through he devoured dozens of these graphic novels as a child and has since come to emulate many of his comic book heros in his adult life wether he realizes it or not.
When speaking with my father no question is ever simple and no answer is ever clear. He enjoys the run-around of teasing an banter, often answering questions in song lyrics and film quotes, and sometimes just avoiding questions all together. Trying to get a straight answer out of him is like trying to get into DC at 8am on a weekday, its a slow, tiring, and exhausting process. My father is a Riddler.
My friends have been known to come over to my house not to hang out with me, but to sit in the kitchen and be entertained by my father. He is constantly making people laugh, sometimes even intentionally. The trouble usually comes when people have trouble telling when he is and isn’t joking. His jokes are brash and sometimes go to far, but he is quick on his feet and is always trying to get the last laugh.
Just like the Dark Knight my father likes to hide in the basement where no one can bother him. He keeps to himself in the dark and moves around the house at odd hours of the night while the rest of us try to sleep. When he doesn’t have to work the next day he is almost completely nocturnal, much to my mothers annoyance. Just like the famous caped crusader he likes to do all manner of odd things in the middle of the night like work out, ride his bike, order things off television, and sometimes he gets really wild and balances the checkbook. Perhaps he isn’t out saving all of Gotham City but he certainly enjoys his batcave and shuns the daylight.
He doesn’t swing from building to building, but he certainly swings back and forth between activities and conversation topics so quickly that no one can ever keep up with him. He weaves a complicated web of conversation and while he scurries across it with expert ease the rest of us are left to sort through a sticky mess. Just like Peter Parker he was the nerdy kid in high school who somehow ended up with a great girl who loves him despite his oddities and incredible A.D.D.
With all the miscellaneous exercise equipment that has come through our house and ended up at the church bazar over the years my father should look like the Hulk by now, but he is only the Hulk in his mind. He thinks he is capable of lifting just about anything and thinks that somehow his workout regime of ten minutes on the Total Gym every third week and a protein power shake in the morning has him on the way to the perfect Hulked out body. My father may not look like the Hulk, but you certainly won’t like him when he is angry. He has HULK SMASHED quite a few things over the years. If you ever find yourself in the kitchen in our home you will notice that we keep our fruit in a pile on the end of the counter. It used to be kept in a ceramic bowl…..HULK SMASH!
Every morning that my father has to work he showers and puts on his white shirt and dark pants and suddenly becomes a completely different person. Gone is the man who takes nothing seriously and can’t focus, and in his place is an efficient and productive adult. His labcoat is the superman cape that transforms him into the serious Pharmacist who I barley recognize as my father. In this clever disguise as a serious adult he saves lives by ‘dispensing life saving medication’ and it is only until he returns home again that the labcoat comes off and he is back to his human alter ego.
Having been the only male in my immediate family for quite some time my father has been the butt of many jokes over the years, but he takes it in stride because in his mind he is a God, which God? Why Thor of course. His hammer has been many objects in our house, shovels, meat mallets, steak knives, and even occasionally a broom, but regardless of the device he can usually be found picking up random things and shouting to anyone who happens to be in the room “I AM THOR, GOD OF THUNDER!” No matter how much we may pick on him he will always be a Norse god in his own mind, and therefore he is unfazed by whatever joke he finds himself on the wrong end of.
While he grew up idolizing super heroes in real life he is just my dad. An unbelievably intelligent man whose heart is bigger than his mouth, even though it is hard to tell because his foot so often occupies that space. He adores my mother and despite his wild and unruly nature my sister tamed him at the ripe age of six. He is a man of simple pleasures, whose idea of a perfect day off is to balance the checkbook, listen to AM radio, eat a bagel and read the paper. To him I owe my sense of humor and my ability to laugh and talk my way out of just about anything. He may not save the world but he certainly saves our lives from ever being dull.
Happy Fathers Day, I love you Dad.