1.) He’s oldish at 62.
2.) He’s such an attention whore that he doesn’t care what the hell I say about him, as long as he makes it into the blog. He once faked a fall, actually hurting himself in the process, because he thought it would make a good blog story. But my nose is big, peeps, and it can smell a fake a mile away. As he lay convulsing on the concrete, my sisters and I rolled our eyes and one of them said, “Get up, showoff. You’re not being featured this week,” while the other nudged him roughly in the side with her toe. We were a little scared that he actually was hurt, but we took our chances; we know him pretty well. Our gamble paid off: After a minute or two, we saw that we were right when he sighed heavily and heaved himself off the ground, muttering something about "people who think they’re writers" and "wouldn’t know good material if it fell in front of them and had a seizure on the driveway."
So I thought it only fitting that you get to know my dad in one of my first posts. You’ll need to be familiar with him if you plan to follow the blog, because if he has it his way, you’ll be hearing about him a lot. And I’m sure that he will have it his way, as anytime he knows I'm in a writing mood, he cranks up the stupid on the already-stupid stuff that he’s constantly doing.
I was at his house for a visit (read: free babysitting and all the food I can eat, as long as I can stand the light scent of cat pee in the air while I’m snarfing*, which I totally can because I’m a fatass) a couple of weekends ago, and I turned on the t.v. I had to be kind of sneaky because I saw some sort of reality stuff on, and if you’re like me, it doesn’t matter what the hell they feature on reality t.v., I’M WATCHING IT. (Alright, with one exception…no Paris Hilton.) Everyone else in my family, though, hates the stuff. So I was flipping quietly through when I heard my dad yell—
“Hey, stop there! Stop there!”
I did, but I was shocked. Because it looked like we had landed on—oh, I could hear the glorious strains of angels singing on high—some sort of reality t.v. show.
“This is some good shit,” my dad said, never tearing his eyes away from the t.v., which, as far as I could tell, featured your ubiquitous couple walking down the streets of New York City—a staple for any successful reality show, right? But when they cut to the required cast interviews, the guy was wearing some sort of Pilgrim outfit.
Neither Dad nor I tore our eyes away from the television as Dad explained quietly, so we could still hear the guy’s confessional, “It’s called Breaking Amish. It’s about these Amish kids who leave the farm and go to New York for their year of fun or whatever that’s called.”
I could dig it. But before I got too far into the show, I had to make fun of my dad.
“Did you just say aymish?”
The show cut to commercial, so Dad looked my way. “Yeah, why?”
Seriously, peeps, my dad is one of the smartest people I know, although you’ll never hear me admit that in front of him.
“Because that’s not how you say it.”
I could tell that he wasn’t listening…obviously he didn’t know how to say “Amish” because he’d never cared enough to learn the proper pronunciation, and now wasn’t going to be the day he’d decide to give it a go. But I couldn’t help it. I knew something that my dad didn’t, so I had to push the issue.
“I mean, seriously, Dad, haven’t the Aymish been around for like 400 years? Haven’t you ever bought any Aymish bread?”
But my smart little lecture had fallen on deaf ears. The show was back on. Dad and I both turned back to the t.v., entranced.
“That guy’s kind of a smartass,” Dad explained, pointing at the t.v. while chewing a stick of beef jerky.
“How so?” I asked.
“Oh, he makes fun of the girl with falsies a little bit.”
Now my interest was really piqued. He meant teeth, and I tell you what, you throw in a girl with falsies on any damned reality show, and as far as I’m concerned, you’ve got yourself an effing Emmy. I was hooked.
I wasted three hours of my life watching that show at Dad’s that day—and I’ve got young kids. I could have been doing puzzles or fingerpaints or Play-Doh or some shit. I could have run a literal marathon in the time I spent plopped on the floor in front of the t.v., stuffing bologna-topped Chicken in a Biskits into my fat mouth during the Breaking Aymish television marathon. (Alright, no I couldn’t have, but SOMEONE could have run a literal marathon in the time that I spent watching the show.)
But no, I was engrossed in finding out if the falsies girl would find love or not. (Spoiler alert: She did—and dammit, I’ve gotta respect her for that. It took everything I had to snag a hubs, and that was with whitened, 4-years-of-braces teeth—albeit with quite a horsey look to them, which I’m sure is what took me so long. Fortunately I found a farmboy who was willing to marry me; he was used to being around horses so my face wasn't so jarring to him.)
When I finally tore myself away from the t.v. and headed home, I felt a little dirty, but I knew I could put it all behind me as soon as I got to my own house and watched some kind of educational documentary—maybe a little True Life on MTV since I can never remember exactly what happens to that blonde girl in a wig who’s addicted to shopping.
But my dad had other plans for me. He called me later in the evening.
“I could kill you,” he said.
“What’d I do?”
“I’ve been watching Breaking Aymish since you left. What time was that? 3 PM? It’s 10 now? I’ve been watching it for the past 7 hours!”
We both laughed, then Dad said, “How were the Santa pictures?” They were the reason we had actually come to visit him that day; a photographer in his town was offering a great deal on them.
"Oh, good,” I replied. “We—“
“Gotta go, skank. It’s back on!”
Below is a preview in case you’re interested in Netflixing Breaking Aymish. (Is Netflix still around?) But I’ve got to warn you, peeps: Watch at your own risk, because you will waste a day of your life. And for eff’s sake, glue a couple of cotton balls on a paper plate with your kid before you even start. That’ll help alleviate the guilt you’ll feel for being a crappy parent for the next 7 hours.
*I’m afraid my dad will take away the privilege he’s given me of writing whatever I want about him if I don’t specify the cat pee thing: The light scent of cat piss is only apparent if you sit in one spot in the living room, directly under the place in the loft that he’s chosen as the perfect spot for the litter box. And since that’s where the most comfortable recliner in the house is, it’s where most visitors choose to sit. I could have gotten up as soon as my huge nostrils detected a trace of the scent, but I couldn’t…the commercial was over and the show was back on.