On my old blog, I wrote about my dad all the time, and because he is so stupid, the posts about him were always reader favorites.
I realized the other day as I was talking to him on the phone and laughing hysterically (with him, not at him, I promise) (okay, totally at him) that I don’t write about him enough on this blog. So I’m going to go ahead and do that today, in honor of Father’s Day weekend. You’re welc, Dad.
When I was about 12 years old, Dad had had it with the damp, smelly towels left all over the bathroom floor by my older sister and me after we showered. To make a point one afternoon, he grabbed a towel from the hall closet, brought us into the bathroom, and said, “Okay, girls, show me how you hang up a damned towel.”
I went first.
I grabbed the towel by its two top corners and hopped as I tossed it upward, trying to get it to catch on the shower rod. The three of us watched as it slowly slid back down, landing in a wrinkled heap on the floor.
My older sister sighed loudly and rolled her eyes. My dad blinked. He hadn’t been expecting that.
He cleared his throat. “Alright, Shay, try it again,” he said slowly, and I remember he seemed a bit unsure of himself.
I did. With the exact same results.
But Dad wasn’t ready to give up. He had a lesson to teach, dammit, and if the three of us were in that em-effing bathroom watching me fling a towel to the floor all day, well, then, that’s just the way it was going to be.
Let’s be clear, here, folks: I was Dad’s genius. Although I didn’t have a lot of common sense, I was book smart. I worked hard and could memorize anything. He had high hopes for me, because the rest of his children sure as hell didn’t look like they were going anywhere. For example, it took years for him to teach one of my younger brothers that instead of smacking himself in the face while shouting, “CUH!”, he could get a hamburger by just asking for one.
But those hopes my dad had for me…they were shot down a little more each time that asshole towel slithered down and fell into a pathetic heap on the floor again…and again…and again.
After about the fourth time the towel fell, I risked a glance at my dad. He looked away. I don’t think he wanted me to see the sadness in his eyes as realization dawned on him: I wasn’t being a smartass. I truly did not know how to hang a motherfcking towel on a shower rod.
Finally, he looked back at me, but he didn’t seem to see me. “Holy shit,” he murmured, his mouth hanging open, most likely in awe of my stupidity. I think it would have simply broken him if I’d started slapping myself in the face and screaming “Towel!”, so I didn’t do that.
But I was a daddy’s girl. I wanted to make him happy. I kept at it. When it fell down again, Dad looked to my sister, who was unsure whether she should laugh at me, which would be her normal inclination, or if she should mirror my dad’s actions and look sad. She chose the latter. Dad, sensing an understanding spirit, looked to her and said, “Sweet Jesus, the girl doesn’t know how to hang up a towel.”
Meanwhile, I was still at it. I was hopping on both feet, sweaty, red-faced, little wisps of hair hanging in my eyes (which totally made it hard to see the shower rod, by the way, so that was probably why I couldn’t get the towel there). Every time that mother-effing towel would fall to the floor, I would squat down again, grab that sucker, take a couple of seconds to study the shower rod from another angle, and jump, letting go of the towel and fervently hoping, praying that it would just stay up there.
Finally, Dad couldn’t take it any longer. “Stop. Please. Stop.” A tear slid down the side of his face as he sighed. “You don’t have to hang your towels, Shay.”
I looked at my older sister and stuck out my tongue, feeling a victory. HA. THAT beotch still had to hang her towels. But my sis just shot me a very practiced sympathetic look, grabbed the towel by one end, and held onto that end as she made the other sail over the shower rod. Only then did she let her end go, and her towel hung perfectly from that shower rod.
“Oooooooooh!” I exclaimed. “That’s how you do it!”
Dad uses the word dumbass much more frequently now that we’re adults, but when we were kids, he saved it for very special occasions because, come on, even dads who practice tough love don’t want to break their kids’ spirits. I would say that dumbass would have totally been warranted in this situation. But did he use it? Nope. He simply gave my head a kind pat and walked out of the bathroom, shaking his head.
I think we could all learn a lesson from the way he handled himself that day. It’s not easy finding out that the daughter you’d deemed NASA-worthy didn’t understand how to hang up a towel. And years later, when he watched his daughter become a totally unsuccessful, unpaid blog authorette who has to use a fake name because she talks about what a nasty skank she used to be?
Well, I think he’s handled that like a champ, too.
I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day. J