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"Do anything good for your birthday?" one of your friendly B3TA moderator team asked in one of those father/son phone calls that last two minutes. "Yep," he said, "Your mum." Tell us about dads, lack of dad and being a dad.

Suggested by bROKEN aRROW

(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 11:50)
Pages: Latest, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, ... 1

This question is now closed.

In which my dad bums some furniture...
Picture the scene... It's early Christmas evening. The presents have all been opened. The Christmas dinner has been demolished. Her Maj has been toasted at 3pm with the first sherry of the day (A tradition at my folks' house - though they give nary a tinker's cuss for the royals for 364 days of the year) and it's just about that sort of time when...

Ma Jimlad: "Anyone for charades?"

We never learn. It always descends into trouble. But we're all rather merry and in fine festive fettle so myself, my brother and the 'rents settle into a game.

It's all jolly good fun. To begin with. Ma pulls off an impressive 'Gone With The Wind' with a flatulence mime. I get lucky and manage to do 'Imagine' in under 5 seconds while my brother raises a few guffaws by goose-stepping his way through 'Fawlty Towers'. So that brings it round to...

My dad loves a game of charades. Though it does tend to bring out his competitive side. This will quickly be illustrated by what happened next. I'll be as descriptive as possible, see if you can guess what he was trying to do....

Having read the card he pauses for a second in thought and looks around the room.

"Are you ready?" I ask, in my role as time-keeper for the round, "Go!"

"No! Wait!" he screeches and belts out of the room.

Cue three puzzled faces from the remainder of the family while we hear him unlock the back door, run across the patio and burst in to the garage. We can hear some commotion and the clock is still ticking.

"Is it 'The Invisible Man'?" quips my bro. Ho ho!

We hear him coming back and, even though we're all au fait with his competitive nature, none of us were quite prepared for the sheer WTF-ness of what happened next.

He *leaps* back into the room. Wearing a welder's mask and a weird sort of tea-towel scarf *thing*. He has a Christmas card in his hand. The one from Aunty Carol if memory serves.

After standing there in a "Well? Isn't it obvious?" pose for a few seconds, he points at the Christmas Card. Then resumes said pose. We all look at each other, not sure wether to laugh or have him sectioned. He gives us an exasperated look then starts jogging round the coffee table holding the Christmas Card by his side. He stops and gives us a pose that screams "oh come on! You must have got it by now!". No-one's made a single guess since he returned. I think we were all too stunned. We don't know how many words or anything, he forgot about that bit.

I look at the timer and in my stunned state barely manage to blurt out "15 seconds left, do something else quick!"

I so wish I hadn't said that.

He gives us one last infuriated, exasperated stare. Pulls me off the sofa and proceeds to dry-hump it. Hard. Still holding the Christmas card by his side and occasionally looking at it as though it was keeping him going in his furniture-bumming ways.

The buzzer goes.

He continues to give the sofa a seeing-to.

"Come on!", he shouts, now that he's allowed to. "It's obvious!"

"I don't think we're gonna get it dad..." ventures my brother, which is finally enough to stop the cushion-thrusting.

He gets up, red faced and beaten. We can all sense the frustration and anger bubbling under the surface so no-one wants to say what has to be said. He looks at us all in turn like we are dirt. We're an idiot-convention of the world's worst charade-guessers and he hates us.

It was my mum that finally cracked.

"What was it love?"

If, at this point, anyone has guessed correctly then I would suggest you are some form of superior being for if we had guessed for the rest of the day I don't think any of us would have expected him to bellow:

"I'M FUCKING BATMAN!"

There's a silence.

"BATMAN! Look!", he pulls off the tea towel. "What the hell did you think this was?"

Silence. And shrugs.

"It's a cape!"

Then came the questions... And the giggling.

"And the welders' mask?"

"It was the most bat-like mask I could find!"

"What was the little jog round the coffee table all about?"

"You must know the 'Batman Run'!!!? That's how he runs!"

"Oooooo-kaaaaaay... What the hell were you doing to the sofa?"

"THAT WAS THE BATMOBILE!"

We're in hysterics at this point and he's just getting angrier and angrier. Through tears of laughter my brother asks "Since when did Batman carry Christmas cards around with him?"

My dad picks up the card, turns it to face us and points with great conviction at the one detail that might have helped us.

"IT'S. A. FUCKING. ROBIN!"

He refused to play the next year.
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 16:13, 12 replies)
No woman, no cry
It’s almost three years since I first posted this story under ‘Mix Tapes’, but as it’s really about being a dad, I thought maybe it was time for a re-post, for anyone that wasn’t around on this board three years ago, and for the rest of you, that appreciated it the first time around.
------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, where to begin? (not so easy this is it?)

How about 1978? I was 17 and while not a geek - I’ve never been a geek - I was a nerd. Kind of. I was into Punk but wasn’t really a punk, I was tall and a bit spotty and I liked maths. My best friend Nick however, was cool. He was a ladies’ man and bass guitarist with a punk band Mary Poppins and the Vinyl Flamingoes for anyone that remembers). We’d known each other since junior school and had become best friends in about the 3rd year.

I was more political than him, thanks to my elder brother. I went on marches a lot and in the holidays I got together with like minded friends from school and we’d volunteer down at the Anti-Nazi League HQ, stuffing envelopes etc. We were keen and our hearts were in the right place. I also got to mix with girls, though I was yet to have a girlfriend, and one of the girls was Manisha. She was a year younger than me - still in the 5th form, but would soon be a lower-6th former. She was born in South Africa and was a ‘Cape coloured’, i.e. her parents’ families came originally from India. The whole family was heavily involved in the struggle against apartheid: her grandfather and uncle were lawyers and belonged to the same practise as Nelson Mandela (before his imprisonment, that is); her auntie had been imprisoned for a time on Robben Island. When Manisha and her brother Anand were 6 and 4, the family had fled to the UK where they claimed political asylum. Ten years on, the family were still not UK citizens but ‘stateless’ i.e. they had no passports.

As well as being highly political aware, Manisha was a peach and I fancied her silently but fervently from afar. We got on very well and soon we were both part of a tight group of mates. This was great until the tragedy stuck; she and Nick fell in love. It was full-blown teenage love and I made the best of things, i.e. suffered silently and became a much bruised gooseberry.

I got a Saturday job in a department store restaurant kitchen and when Manisha was looking for a job too, I put in a good word for her and she got a job as a waitress. This gave me more opportunity to eat my heart out, but it also gave us time to get to know each other better. As the ‘middle-man’, I could give sound relationship advice, listen to her moans and gripes etc. I found it easy to talk to her and we became very good friends.

Then the two of them broke up. I had both of them crying on my shoulders - I’ve always been a good listener, but this tried my patience somewhat. Anyway, it meant that we saw less of each other except at work as I didn’t want to be disloyal to Nick.

I’ll skip forward here to 1980. I’d got decent grades for Maths, Further Maths, Economics and Government & Politics A Levels and was now an accounting student at Southampton University. I managed to lose the ‘V-plates’ at long last [thanks Trish!] and was a studious student as those things go. My musical taste was a bit left-of-centre, more punk and reggae than heavy metal and I was pathetically glad to be ‘interesting’ as far as accountancy students go - and believe me, that’s not far.

Half way through the year I got a letter from Manisha! She was thinking of going to Southampton too and wanted to visit. Fine! She came down, but with some boyfriend in tow. I spent a day showing them round before they went back to London.

The next time I saw her was a scene straight out of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ - the one where George Bailey meets Mary at the college party - except this time it was the freshers’ ball. She’d finished with the boyfriend by then and at 18 she looked sensational. I mean jaw-droppingly gorgeous. No, that doesn’t even come close. Well, you’ve all been in love at 19 haven’t you? Is there anything better in the whole world? We spent that night in my room in the house I was sharing with two other guys from our school and a friend of ours. That year, she hardly spent a single night in her room in halls. I’ll leave the details to your over-fertile imaginations, this isn’t the place. She loved teasing me though, in more ways than one, and used to call me ‘Beenie Man’ - the reggae lovin’ bean counter.

Things went smoothly, I graduated with a first after a final year in which we’d shared our own flat - just like an old married couple. Our musical tastes coincided exactly, and one of the happiest days I can remember was when Clint Eastwood and General Saint played at the Uni. We were both right down at the front, lightly stoned, grooving away as if…sod it, can’t think of a good analogy, but you get the picture. In contrast, although I can’t remember where I was when I heard John Lennon was dead, I can picture exactly the scene as we sat up in bed listening to Radio 1 when it was announced that Bob Marley had died. We put ‘Redemption Song’ on so loud I couldn’t hear her crying. We loved that album, and I’d tease her sometimes when she took an age to get ready or something: “Bob’s right you know - ‘no woman, no cry’. Get a bloody move on!”

“I like a man who cries,” she’d say,

“OK, you can stay.”

The next year I moved back to London and rented a flat in Walthamstow. Manisha came up to stay weekends and holidays and had a room in halls for week days. I’d got a job with one of the ‘Big Five’ accounting firms and was also taking an MBA. They sponsored it and gave me time off too, I was earning good money and was happy.

As soon as Manisha graduated (History and Politics) we got married. Just a small registry office thing. Her parents were devout communists, and I’m a non-practising reform Jew. Now she could finally get a passport as she was a UK citizen. We used it first time for our honeymoon in the Maldives.

Although house prices were rising fast in London by then - this was 1983 - we were both working and we found a real do-er up-er round the corner within our limit.

Skip again a couple of years and 1986, Manisha became pregnant. I’d got my MBA and a promotion and we decided she should take a couple of years off work to be a Mum. She was working for the GLC and it was about to be abolished anyway, so we thought it must be fate.

Now, if you or your partner has been pregnant you will know about the changes the female body goes through. One of them is the enlargement of the breasts - this is necessary to produce milk of course - but Manisha had a large birthmark on her left breast. It was made up of lots of tiny moles really close together, making a dark, raised area, looking something like a relief map of Crete but about four or five inches across. As her breasts grew, so did this birthmark, and it started to itch too. It had never caused any sort of bother before, but this was a bit disturbing, so off to the GP we went. She took a look, asked some questions and said that it was probably nothing to worry about but she’d make a note to take another look after the baby was born.

This is where the mix tape comes in for the first time. From other posts, this seems to be fairly common - I think that’s down to Dr Miriam Stoppard and her babycare/pregnancy books. I think it was in her checklist of things to put in the ‘birthing bag’. Anyway, on this little beauty was a load of reggae of course: Marley, Culture, Burning Spear, Misty in Roots, plus a load of punk tracks like Buzzcocks - ‘Ever fallen in love with someone’; Ian Dury - ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’; Xtc ‘Making plans for Nigel’; Ruts ‘Babylon’s burning’; The Higsons ‘Conspiracy’; Madness ‘My girl’s mad at me’; Elvis Costello ‘(I don’t want to go to) Chelsea’ etc etc. I won’t bore you with the full listing.

August 1987 she was born - our little Jasmine - and you know when I mentioned 19 year olds in love earlier - well that was as nothing compared to the feeling you get holding your own tiny little child in your arms, well not quite, but different. I can’t explain it to you if you’ve not got any kids, and if you have, then I don’t need to .

All was well at bean-counting towers. I took a couple of weeks off work and we adjusted to the little one, she seemed to like us…

…in September, the doctor sent a letter reminding us about checking out the birthmark. This time, she suggested a specialist look at it, and the best place would be the Royal Marsden. OK, well, hmmm, I suppose that’s the best place, you know best etc. The doctor arranged it and in early February 1988 she went in for a biopsy. Now I didn’t know what this meant and was scared to ask really, but Manisha said they’d look at the birthmark and see whether it was benign or malign. No point worrying til then. I hadn’t realised they would cut the whole thing out!

She went in with an over-night bag, including tape and walkman, by taxi - she didn’t want us dropping her off as Jazzy would be asleep. I kissed her goodbye and arranged to visit the next day which would be February 13th - I promised to bring some flowers and the baby.

When we arrived at the ward the next afternoon in visiting time laden down with a dozen red roses and a bundled up baby I was shocked. All the other women on the ward looked to be in a really bad way. Quite a few were bald from chemotherapy, lots looking not just old but ancient, wasted, drained, all life sapped away. And there was Manisha, propped up in bed, a huge bandage on her chest under her nightgown. Jaz spotted her and reached her tiny arms out towards her, but a nurse swooped down on us, saying, something like: let me take her for a minute while you two have a talk - before snatching her away, cooing in her 6-month old adorable face passing her around the nurses and patients as if we weren’t there. Like a fairy, drawing colour with a wand in a black and white cartoon, her presence brought forth smiles, spreading down the ward in her wake.

With one eye on the nurse, I went to talk with Manisha, who was a bit upset not to have Jasmine in her arms, but otherwise seemed OK. They didn’t have the results of the test yet and she’d have to stay another night, but all being well would be home in a couple of days. I found a vase for the roses, reclaimed the baby, chatted about this and that and when visiting ended at 5.30, off we went.

The phone was ringing as I opened the front door - not an easy manoeuvre with a bundle of baby on your hip and a bag of nappies etc. in the other hand. It was still ringing though and I reached it in time to answer.

“Mr Bean-counter?”
“Yes,”
“It’s the Royal Marsden here,”
“Oh yes,” Jasmine was wanting to be put down so I said, “just a sec,” while I put her down.
“Mr Bean-counter,”
“Yes,”
“It’s about your wife,”
“Yes,”
“There’s been a complication,” possibly the four most horrible words in the English language.
“Yes,” my brain had frozen and my body was shutting down, “what is it?”
“It was just after you left. She suffered a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot lodged in her pulmonary artery and cut off the blood supply to her lungs. The thing is, she had her Walkman on and her eyes closed and by the time the nurse noticed and called the doctor I’m afraid it was too late. She died just after 6.00pm. I’m so very sorry Mr Bean-counter.”

Even today, there are tears running down my face and dripping into the whiskey glass shaking in my hand. The shock at that time was total - luckily, it numbed some of the pain, and time passed in a fog. I couldn’t describe the next few weeks even if I wanted to. My Mum came to stay and looked after Jasmine while I was sorting out things and crying myself to sleep. I took a month off work to think what to do, anyway, I could barely count to ten.

I found a nursery that would take Jasmine while I was at work, but after two weeks I handed in my resignation. The people at work were great but I just didn’t want to be there, I couldn’t bear to leave Jasmine at the nursery in the mornings. I decided to move to Southampton and set up as a self-employed accountant. That way I could work from home. At least I didn’t have to worry about money for a while. The life insurance paid off the mortgage, I put the house on the market. In the short time we’d been there the value had shot up, I sold up and bought a big place in Southampton which would serve as home and office.

I played that tape I’d made for her over and over again. The first track was ‘No woman, no cry’. By the way, Bob was wrong, so very, very wrong. I just tried holding on to the lines that said “Everything’s going to be alright”, but it was a damned close run thing at times. By the time Jasmine was a year old, she must have heard the tape over a hundred times, and “Don’t worry, Jaz, everything’s going to be alright” was a kind of mantra of mine.

You have to pull yourself together when you’re looking after a baby, and if there was one thing keeping me going it was Jasmine. There was so much of Manisha’s face in hers…

God, I wish that was the end of my story.

Briefly, over the next few years, I built up a business doing books for small and medium sized businesses in the area. I could do it virtually in my sleep which was good, and it kept me busy, which was also good. I made some friends, got recommended. One of my old housemates still lived in Southampton and taught at the University and Manisha’s family (especially Anand and his wife) as well as my family visited a lot, so I had plenty of human contact. Quite a few of my clients were self-employed builders and tradesmen, one was Steve who was a plumber. When his daughter Michelle wanted to open a hairdressing salon, he asked me to look after the finances for her. Steve and his mates did the place up for her for the cost of the materials and she’d done an apprenticeship, had HND and whatnot, she was in her mid-20s, pretty, unattached; I was in my early thirties by this time and hadn’t wanted or sought out female company since Manisha died six or so years previously.

You may doubt this was so, but firstly, my heart was burnt to ashes, secondly, I’d turned off this part of my life and thirdly, I was a single Dad with a little kid - not so easy to do anything about it, even if I wanted to. But, little by little, I got friendly with Michelle. She was…undemanding company but she actually made me laugh and I could tell she liked me. She got me to bring Jasmine to her shop and did her hair for her, which thrilled her, as I was her usual hairdresser at that time. I still didn’t make any move though and it was her idea in the end - she invited both of us for dinner at her place…

…Six months on and she’d come and stay at our place at weekends. She left womanly bits and pieces in the bathroom, took over a couple of drawers in my bedroom. I went along with things, maybe I shouldn’t have.

It was a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day. You can imagine how I felt about that date. She wanted to go out to a restaurant but I told her not to come the following week as we wanted to be alone and we’d be up in London, visiting Kew Gardens, where Manisha’s ashes were scattered in the bluebell wood. I suppose she felt it was time for me to ‘get over it’ and get on with life. I disagreed, we went to bed in foul moods and woke up the same way. At breakfast, Jasmine was acting up; I was making a pot of coffee, so I didn’t see what happened but Michelle started shouting at Jasmine. As I turned round, Jasmine threw a spoonful of cereal at Michelle and Michelle pulled her out of her seat and smacked her on the bum… …before I knew what was happening, I’d pulled Michelle’s arm round with my left hand and smacked her across the face with the flat of my right hand, then I was shouting in her face “IF YOU SO MUCH AS EVER TOUCH ONE HAIR OF THAT CHILD’S HEAD AGAIN, SO HELP ME, I’LL KILL YOU”

I bent down and gathered up the screaming Jasmine in my arms, ran out of the kitchen and up to her room, murmuring “Don’t worry Jaz, everything’s going to be alright.” When she’d calmed down a bit I said “OK Jaz, we’re going out for the day, get yourself dressed, I’ll be back up in a minute”

Back in the kitchen, Michelle was looking furious but hadn’t moved. “OK,” I said, “I’m really sorry I hit you, but this isn’t working. It was never going to work. I’m taking Jasmine out, clear all your stuff out before we get back.”

“You’re fucking dead you. I’m gonna tell my Dad you slimeball and you’re gonna wish you’d never been born.”

“Too fucking late for that you cow, been there, done it. Just get out and leave us alone.”

I took Jasmine to the seaside. We had a favourite place where there was a café and some shops on the front and a good long beach. At times of stress I still sometimes fall back on cigarettes, at that time I did. I very rarely smoke in front of Jaz but I did then. We went into the café, got a table by the window, I got me a large black coffee and a hot chocolate and a cake for Jaz and I smoked, staring out of the window at the cold blustery February morning.

“Daddy, what was Mummy really like?” Jasmine asked as I lit a second cigarette. I couldn’t get a word out at first, but the tears started again. She came round the table and gave me a huge hug, “Don’t worry Daddy, everything’s going to be alright,” she said.

“That’s right Jaz,” I said, “everything’s going to be alright. Let’s take a walk on the beach, and I’ll tell you all about Mummy.” We spent a couple of hours walking along the beach, throwing stones in the water, picking up shells, and I told her stories about when the two of us were young students, or when we were working together as 6th formers and when we were newlyweds before she was born.

When we got back to the house the front door was wide open. Shit.

I went inside first and made Jasmine wait just outside the front door. I stopped in the doorway to the living room. Inside, all of the photos of me and Manisha had been smashed and crumpled or torn and all over the room was tape. She’d taken the special tape and pulled it all out of the cassette, stretching it and tying it around things, yards and yards of thin brown tape, totally beyond repair. I stumbled out and into the rest of the rooms; the bedroom was a mess and all over the house the photos had been broken. Luckily that was all.

I had re-prints made of all the photos from the negatives and I made the tape again. I knew the order of songs off by heart and still had most of them on disc, though some now had scratches and jumps where they hadn’t the first time I’d taped them.

I’ve met a few women since, but I’ve not brought them home. I’ve not met anyone I’d trust that far. Jaz knows that I’m always there for her. A couple of years ago she went off to university and it was as if I’d lost an arm; I’m still trying to get used to it. The house is so damned quiet all the time. She knows if she’s feeling low, I’ll drive the 450 mile round trip to bring her home at a minute’s notice.

Each February at the nearest weekend, we go to the same beach, come rain or shine and I tell her stories about her Mum. The next day we drive up to London, we used to listen to the tape, then the c.d., now it’s a playlist. Then we wander round the woods at Kew and I tell her more stories. As she’s got older, I find I can tell her different stories, I think she knows her Mum pretty well now.

Thanks for listening - I don’t feel any better yet, but I can see that I will do soon. Sorry it was so long.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 11:47, 28 replies)
Invictus
My dad was born to barely literate parents in the basement of a Chicago apartment building in 1927. For the first six months of his life I he was a fine, healthy baby, but after that it went quickly downhill.

He contracted polio.

As a result, he has never walked without pain or a pronounced limp. As a second result, his father rejected him out of ignorance, fear, and god knows what other character flaws. To say dad had a hard childhood is a colossal understatement. His father was merciless, and when a younger brother was born it was as though dad evaporated.

He became a teacher and put up with his parents' assinine statements like "since those who can't do, teach, that's perfect for him" and worse. He wound up specializing in teaching students in bad situations--criminal records, badly broken homes, behvioral or physical problems--and quite literally saved a few lives. To this day he still gets letters from his students thanking him for what he did.

On his first teaching assignment in 1951 he went running (such as it was) to tend to an injured kid. With his unsteady gait he planted his good leg wrong and proceeded to destroy his good knee, bending it completely backward. He narrowly avoided amputation (orthopaedic surgery was not so precise in those days) but was now very much crippled for life. Nine surgeries later they gave up and simply fused his knee joint--it doesn't bend anywhere between his hip and his ankle.

Still...he never gave up. He couldn't run, but he had a cannon for a pitching arm and could hit the ball out of the park with ease. And even though he couldn't play (American) football, he loved the game so much that he would go on to coach it, referee it, and when he could no longer do that, he became the broadcast voice of the local high school team on the radio.

He married the girl he met in high school and had four kids with her, putting all of us through college on a teacher's salary. He and my mom took in more than a couple of strays, mostly students of his who were really on the edge. Some stayed a few weeks, others for years, and they even took custody of one to keep her out of jail. She went on to become a university professor.

He has been retired for almost 25 years, and his health has steadily gotten worse. Three months ago he fell in the middle of the night, resulting in a trip to the hospital, a surgical intervention, and a lengthy rehab--as of this writing, he's still not home yet but should be released any day. I saw him last weekend and he looks better than he has in years. I asked his rehab nurse how he was doing.

"You know," she said, "I have never worked with a patient who is more determined than he is. He keeps trying until he is exhausted. He never gives up."

I told my dad this, and he looked at me for a minute before his eyes got misty. "I can't give up. Trying is the only think I know. If I did quit, I'm not sure what would happen."

Invictus. Unconquerable. Unbowed. Unafraid. That's my dad. Though he never scaled a mountain or ascended the heights of society or business, he showed us what really counts--no matter the obstacle, never give up. Never.

So, Dad, here is your favorite poem.



There once was a man from Bombay
Who fashioned a cunt out of clay
But the heat from his prick
Turned the damn thing to brick
And it ripped all his foreskin away
(, Tue 30 Nov 2010, 17:21, 10 replies)
My dad died just over 5 years ago.
It was obviously very sad, he'd had cancer and been suffering a lot, so in the end it was a relief to know he'd not have the pain anymore.

Over the years I've found myself becoming ever-more like him, though I know I'll never be able to be quite so.. unique.

He could roll a joint that could knock out an elephant, and disarm people with spontaneous wit the likes of which I have rarely heard.

Thanks to him I have an amazing music collection comprised of all his old records, some amazing handmade vintage speakers, and come the onset of the internet, a collection of downloads to rival iTunes..

He always had an air of unspoken mystery about him, even now I feel that I'd barely even cracked the surface with him.
It's without a doubt the biggest shame I can think of, I'd do anything for another 5 minutes with him, just to get his insight.

Out of all of the weird things I've seen with my family, there was one event that really summed him up for me.

We were at a friends house, and one person there was, for lack of a better description, pretty fucking fat.

Now, this friend was complaining about said cake-fuelled predicament, and friends were cooing about her, plenty of "no, you're just cuddly" and "big-boned" and all that.

In walks my dad, freshly-rolled joint in mouth, at which point fat friend turns round and asks:

"H, do you think I'm fat?"

And lo, whilst sparking up and without missing a beat:

"God yes, you're fucking enormous. If I were you I'd be ashamed to go out in public. I don't know how you have the nerve, myself."

Utterly level-voiced, and without malice, but staunchly honest.
Fat friend is shocked as you may imagine, and everyone is open-mouthed in horror. My mum quickly whisked him to the kitchen..

"What the fuck did you say that for?"
"She asked me, I wasn't gonna lie, was I?"
"Well, couldn't you have been, a little bit more diplomatic about it?"
"Oh so what, lie?"
"No, but maybe soften it a bit?"
"Oh what, sugar-coated lie? She'll fucking eat that too."

Legend.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 13:22, 7 replies)
kung fu
when my sister was 7, she joined the local judo club.
after her first lesson, she came home, excited to show off her new-found skills.
"watch this, dad!" she says, taking a stance and moving her hands about in a vaguely jackie chan-ish way.
"are you watching my hands, dad?" she asks.
"yes, i'm watching," he replies.
my sister then proceeds to plant her delicate pink patent-leather shoe very forcefully into my dad's spuds. as he writhes in agony on the floor, poleaxed by his small daughter, my sister looks at him smugly and says "should have been watching my feet."
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 18:34, 3 replies)
pearoast
A number of years ago, and for reasons totally irrelevant to this story I found my good self having to share a hotel room with my dearest Dad.

I was knackered, so retired to bed, leaving Hat Snr to prop up the bar.

Having drifted off into my much deserved sleepy time the unmistakable sound of Pissed Bloke Trying To Be Quiet started to intrude, followed by my retinas burning as the twat turned the light on. Rolling over to lie on my side, I opened my eyes ready to berate the noisy fucker.

I have since learned that at that point he was desperately trying to remove his trousers in a way that only a pissed bloke can, ie. hopping round on one leg as he bends over to try and free his foot from a trouser leg.

What I actually saw, and filling my whole field of vision, was his naked arse, as he slowly toppled backwards.

And sat on my face...

This was how I came to call my dearest Dad a stupid cunt for the very first time.
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 15:26, 5 replies)
northern racism
we are originally from yorkshire, although i haven't lived there myself since i was a baby. when i was about 4, the bank that my dad was working for wanted to move him to london. so we all upped sticks and moved to buckinghamshire.

my dad had a lot of administrative stuff that he was handling with the HR and other teams at the head office in london, and he got increasingly frustrated with their patronising attitude towards a little northerner coming to work in the big city. eventually he lost his temper and submitted a sarcastic expenses claim for thinner coats for his whippets due to the warmer weather and a specialist trainer to teach his pigeons to fly south instead of north.

the bank simply paid it without a single murmur.
(, Sat 27 Nov 2010, 10:07, 11 replies)
My old man likes DIY and he likes cooking
these two interests came together when he made his own smoker from some sheet steel. The contraption was basically a metal barrel with a camping gas stove and a tray of wood chips at the bottom, metal wracks for the food, and a lid like a chairman's hat.

The problem occurred after the first couple of hours use. I can remember clearly that Doctor Who was just starting when there was a loud "WUMP" from the garden, then a roaring sound and a rather pleasing bright orange glow shining through the curtains.

A design flaw had caused the gas cylinder seal to melt and whoosh, his smoker had turned it's self into some sort of fishy blunderbuss, firing 5 pounds of herring into neighbouring trees and gardens.
(, Sat 27 Nov 2010, 7:26, 4 replies)
Dad
Mum left when me and my sister were 7 and 4. She went off with another bloke and didn't want us around.

He worked shifts, double 3 out 5 days a week and both Sat and Sun mornings alternately. Never saw the old bugger, (Nan did a cracking job of bringing us up) but there would be those weekends when he was off, where whatever we wanted to do we did. Swimming twice at 2 different pools on a sunday - check. As long as I babysat while he went for a pint on Saturday night, his world was complete.

Then mum decided to come back, and take us away. She applied for full custody, and due to a complete wanker of a soliciter confusing my little sister, the judge moved us to my mums. Saw dad once every other weekend, he would be in bits at the end of sunday. Mum then went to the CSA and did him for more money, even though she was marrying a millionaire.

Nearly did for him. But he just got on. Worked his arse off to pay back every penny of CSA/Legal aid. I lost it with mum, and moved into a mates; dad would drive a 20 mile round trip just to chat for 10 mins.

I went away to Uni and mum and my sister moved away. Dad was there for everything.

About 7 years ago I fell in love, and went to tell him I was getting married. He had gotten re-married and was happy, but he cried like a baby; he was late for the bloody wedding but Dad has never been ontime. He cried at the wedding, during his speech. This bloke I'd never seen shed a tear was so happy.

I have 2 small kids now, and he was there for both births, in tears at his grandsons. He only ever said one piece of advice "now you'll know why I love you, no matter what"..

Best.Dad.Ever.
(, Sat 27 Nov 2010, 18:52, 6 replies)
Ta Daaa!!!
Bored already? Skip to the The Main Story then, I honestly don't mind.

Background:
The wife and I decided some years ago that we didn't want to do the baby thing but still wanted a family, so we decided to adopt. The whole process is a bit of a nightmare is actively designed to put you off (men are considered kiddie-fiddlers until they can prove otherwise) and it can take some time.
So after 18 months of Interesting Times we get to meet the two boys (Bert & Ernie, ages 5 and 3) and they move in, it sounds simple but trust me it is not. That was a year ago and it's been interesting... We always knew it would be as adoptive kids usually come bundled with a whole heap of software problems.

One of weird things about adopting is that you don't really know much about the kids before they come to you, no idea about what they've done, no clue about their favourite films etc. So it can be a bit of a muddle as you work out what works and what doesn't. You sometimes assume things about their experiences and now and again you get caught out, for instance when my wife and I took them to a fireworks night. Bert the eldest thought it was the best thing in the world, he'd never seen fireworks before. At the time he was 5 years old.
5 years old and had never seen fireworks, FFS.

Okay, onto the daft bit.
The Main Story:
So we went to Bristol recently, parked the car in a multi-story, down the stairs, look around, food, look at boats, had a nice day etc.
Time to go back to the car.
Get in lift, off we go, then get out. And Ernie (the youngest) stops.
Me: What's up, kiddo?
Ernie: ..... (looking around)
It's different.
Me: Eh?
Ernie: It's different Dad! It's magic!!! (lot's of smiling)
Me to the wife: Eh?
Wife: He's never been in a lift before...
Me: Ohhhhh....

The little fella now thinks lifts are the best, bless him.

There's still a little magic in the world, it also helps to have a kiddie to point it out to you when you start to forget.
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 12:54, 9 replies)
There are a few Dad stories I could tell
but one that happened this year sticks to mind.

My old man is a hard working bloke, always has been. Left school with nothing and basically went to night school when I was small to learn the skills to make something of himself. I remember him working in our garage every night during one winter with nothing but a tiny heater, doing odd electrical jobs to make a few quid on the side of his full time job. Some people wonder where I get my hard working nature from, well that's where.

Like I say, he worked his socks off to provide for the family and still does. Earlier this year I bought my first place and was spending most nights round there painting and decorating before I moved in. This was on top of 12 hour shifts and feeling run down from a cold.

One night I'm painting after work for a few hours and I get to the point where I just don't have the energy to carry on, even though the hall is half finished. I'd have just gone to bed, but I have no furniture in my new house. So, rather than sleep on the floor I get in the car and drive 30 minutes to mum & dads house, where I've been staying after moving out of my rented flat last year.

I wander in the door just as he's going to bed. He takes one look at me, tells me I look like crap (cheers dad!), then he stays up to cook me some tea (can't remember what now but it was just what I needed) and listen to my decorating/job woes. I go to bed, well fed, and have a good nights sleep.

Next day at work is a nightmare and after 12 hours I really don't want to go back and do more painting, but again I was brought up to be hard working so I go to my new house to get on with it.

I walk in the door and what do I see - hall is painted perfectly, everything has been cleaned and put away and all the odd electrical jobs I've been putting off have been done. Also, there is now a healthy supply of biccys in the kitchen and some fold away chairs have appeared. In one of said chairs is my Dad, looking rather pleased with himself and the brew he has put on.

After hearing my woes the night before, he'd cancelled his plans for the evening and left work an hour early to come round & finish last nights work. He'd also done enough so I could have a night off and give me a head start on the next weeks worth of jobs.

My reaction "what are you looking so smug about?"
His reaction to this "you're welcome you sod!"

We don't always get on as we are chalk and cheese in many respects and have nearly come to blows in the past, but when I needed him he was there without even being asked and that's what this pro-dad story is all about :)
(, Sat 27 Nov 2010, 1:45, 2 replies)
Answer Machine
My dad is pretty much a 50 year old child. A few weeks ago I spent the weekend at home because I was going to a gig and it was cheaper to get there from home than from where I go to uni.
When I got home my dad was the only one home and was sat by the phone laughing hysterically.This went on for a bout 20 minutes until he managed to calm himself down enough to tell me what was so funny.
He'd rang my nan's house but she wasn't in and it went to answer machine so he farted down the phone.
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 13:07, 4 replies)
Not happy, sadly
My dad killed himself on April 9th 2008.

Growing up he was the best dad he could be to me. He hadn't had the best start in life himself, but he met my mum aged 29 and I was born when he was 31, and he adored us both. I'm an only child and money was tight when I was younger - my dad was self-employed and trade wasn't always great - but when he did make money he saved and saved and saved. He ended up paying for my entire university costs, including paying my loan back, and was as proud as anything when I graduated. He worked hard to pay off the mortgage on my parents' house, and he was careful with pensions and investments and so on. The abject poverty of his youth had left a deep scar on him and he was determined that neither me nor my mother should ever have to live like that.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't perfect but he was mine, and even though we didn't always get on I miss him every single day.

He got ill after his business partner's wife was ill, in the summer of 2007. The stress got to him and he began getting paranoid that the police were after him. Psychosis is a scary, terrible, horrible, irrational thing, that takes someone's mind and grows like a cancer inside it. What is horrible about mental illness is that people are quick to dismiss it, it's almost like that because they can't see it it's not real.

It is very, very real when it drives a man to jump off a bridge, you know? We'll never know why he chose that day, whether someone spoke to him or whether a police car was behind him or something silly, but he was on his way to an appointment and never made it. He was "missing" for 24 hours, which is the most horrendous thing ever. The police divers recovered his body and the police, actually, were brilliant, lovely to me, my mum and my husband, and as kind as they possibly could be.

I am determined to be outspoken about suicide because it is so misunderstood. My dad wasn't a coward, he wasn't running away from his problems, he was simply very, very ill and took a tragic way out of it. My mum is happily remarried now, and we're all getting used to being a blended family. She lives mortgage-free and my dad left a tidy sum of money meaning that she is set up to live a comfortable life - but she is careful too and has reinvested most of it so that it eventually will come to me (and at the moment she is paying for an OU course for me out of it - thanks dad, I hope you can see how well I'm doing!)

All the money in the world can't replace my dad, and I would give it all away if it meant I could have him back, and honestly one of the saddest things about the entire thing is that he never got to spend all that carefully saved money in his retirement. I would have loved for my parents to take off around the world when they both retired, and I wish the silly bugger had lived long enough to do that.

If you have a good dad and he's still around for you - go give him a hug from me, okay?
(, Sun 28 Nov 2010, 22:47, 6 replies)
I am reposting this cos I love my dear old Dad.

When I was younger, I wanted to go to Wimbledon Common to see the Wombles, which would have been about two hours drive from my Essex home.

But my Dad,bless him, saw how much I wanted to go, so he took me there.

We packed up a picnic, and off we want on our adventure.

I was so excited. I leapt in the car, and, as I still tend to do when travelling anywhere by car (or train, or plane or anything other than bike really) I promptly fell asleep.

Two hours later, I was woken up by my Dad tellinng me we had arrived.

I got hyper, was running around everywhere to see if I could find my cuddly heroes, and being really disspointed when he kept seeing Wombles in the opposite direction to where I where I was looking.

I kept spinning round just as one had 'hidden in that bush, over there' or 'must have dived down a hole behind that bumpy bit'

But still, I was having fun, so it wasn't too bad, until the fateful moment that hunger took over.

'Dad, can we have our sandwiches?'

'Of course'

But it wasn't to be. We opened the bag, and the sandwiches were gone! The Wombles had stolen our sandwiches while we weren't looking!

I was devastated. I loved The Wombles, how could they do this to us? They were supposed to be nice.

My relationship with them had been soured forever.

It was only many years later, during some idle conversation about childhood memories that the truth emerged.

My Dad had put me in the car, driven around for a bit until I fell asleep, headed to the local park, eaten the sandwiches, put his watch forward 2 hours and then woken me up.

Evil. Bastard.
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 13:19, 6 replies)
My Dad
was just lovely. I could fill pages with stories of how he could make you laugh so hard you had to sit down or how he would do anything for anyone (He once drove me 150 miles because I wanted to see a pygmy sheep I'd read about) or how he had the knack summing up a situation in a pithy, witty phrase. There is one story, however, which captures his loveliness in all its glory and makes me glad he was my Dad. I apologise in advance as it is a bit syrupy.

Dad came from a poor area of Ireland and his family were one of the poorest of all in the area. He had 5 brothers and sisters - he was the second child and the oldest boy. The family didn't have a great reputation due to some unmarried pregnancies (this was Ireland in the 1950s), the fact that my grandmother sodded off when Dad was about 11 and wasn't heard of for another 25 years and, finally, because my granddad was rather fond of the drink. Some of the stories Dad told made Angela's Ashes sound like a memoir of a jolly childhood. Dad was often hungry, always fairly dirty and generally made to miss school to go out to work. What always surprised me was that in later life he didn't seem to think he was badly done by. His childhood had been rackety but there was no point sitting down and weeping over what couldn't be changed.

Dad left home to work full-time at 13 and came to England to live when he was 16. One by one his siblings followed suit until my Aunt, the youngest, was left at home with Granddad. I can only imagine how grim that must have been for her. She was expected at 11 to run the house, including cooking over an open fire, scrabble together what education she could when she could get to school and spend evenings alone in a house in the middle of nowhere when Granddad was off in the pub. She was teased a lot as it was generally held in the village that Granddad wasn't her real dad and it was a local sport to play 'guess the daddy.'

After about a year or so of living on her own at home, Dad came home from England for a visit. I think he must have known how bad a time my Aunt was having. Over the course of the visit, my Aunt mentioned that one of the biggest bitches in school had recently been bought a wristwatch. This girl's dad was the local doctor and was comfortably off as a result. In that time and place a watch of your own was a major status symbol. It became clear to my Dad that my Aunt's two greatest desires in life were to (a) get some kind of revenge on the girl who made her life miserable and (b) one day own a watch of her own but both dreams seemed pretty much unattainable from her 11 year old perspective.

On the last day of Dad's stay, he said he needed to go into the nearest town to pick up some bit and pieces and asked if my Aunt would like to come. As they walked past the jewellers, Dad stopped and asked my Aunt which watch her nemesis had been given. She pointed out the identical model and then gaped as Dad walked into the shop and purchased the next model up the line. He came out and strapped on my Aunt's wrist without a word. My Aunt says it was the best day of her life when she swanked into school with the *best* wristwatch on her arm. A tiny bit of joy for a little girl who was having a miserable time.

See, slightly sickly but it does illustrate perfectly how lovely my Dad was. Dad has been dead for nearly four years now but I know I was lucky to have him.

Apologies for the overload of sentiment and length.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 13:58, 3 replies)
Do these have to be funny?
Like many navy personnel my dad was sent to the Falklands. Unlike many others he did a lot of killing. The information we got from him about his experiences came in small drunken tales told through held back tears throughout my childhood usually involving the consumption of alcohol. It's generally felt within the family that some of the things he had to do out there were not exactly above board.

Family life was fairly normal until 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. My dad went from being a guy that liked a drink to a full blown drunk. He was always bought up to show no signs of weakness. His father had been in the navy and had bought him up hard. He was terrified of being sent to the Gulf and rather than show his weakness he drank and took it out on my mother, my sister and me. My sister was 7 and I was 9, my brother was only 2 so avoided it. We were all beaten for the tiniest thing. I was kicked across rooms, in to shelves and up and down stairs. My sister received similar treatment. My mother lost teeth, had her head put through internal walls and was beaten regularly. He didn't want to see us afterwards and for weeks at a time we would eat meals in separate rooms and only see him in passing in our own house.

My sister and I were scared of him but I cannot imagine how scared my mum was as she wouldn't leave him. 5 years later he was sent to America for 3 months. I was 14 by then and told my mum that it was time to go. She refused. I phoned around, arranged a house viewing, explained the situation to the letting agent and paid the deposit with the savings account my great granddad had set up for me before he died. I then told mum we were leaving and we did.

She never told him she was leaving and never told him where she had gone. She started to seem stronger, started to stand up for herself. She allowed him visitation but never told him where we lived. I hated the visitation, all he talked about was mum and how she had no reason to leave. He claimed he had never hit her, even when I screamed at him that he had hit us all and I had seen all the things he did to mum he would deny it. It amazing how people can lie to themselves and believe it. Mum lost all her friends, they were all navy wives and basically thought that if she put up with it for 5 years it can't have been that bad. Even her family stayed friends with him and he regularly visited my mums sister in London. He turned her whole family against her.

Then he was arrested for assault. A serious assault. I won't go in to details but it was the kind of assault that means jail time. Suddenly all the people that had thought we were lying for years were apologising, not bad only took 9 years. He was out on bail awaiting trail and I had moved to London ready to start my first week at university.

Then I got a call, it was 11pm the day before a big bomb scare near Clapham Junction in 2000. They had found him in his car, in his garage, hose attached to the exhaust. He had boxed up his whole life, hung up his uniform instructing us that he was to be cremated in it. He had made his last meal and gone to the garage with it. He was found with half a plate of food and a glass of wine. There were several notes left ranging from sober instructions to drunken scrawls blaming everyone he could think of as long as it wasn't him.

I started university two days later, I didn't go home for the funeral.

It was ten years this September since the suicide and though what he did to us for years was terrible I am starting to forgive him. I honestly believe that going to war and the fear of going back turned him in to the person he became. Perhaps if Iraq didn't invade Kuwait things would have been different and my mum would have more real teeth. Its made my brother in to quite an angry person who isn't scared of a confrontation, to me its done the opposite, I hate the idea of a fight, I hate the idea of war, I can't understand how in this age of technology we are still reduced to killing each other to sort out a problem.

If my dad wasn't sent to war, he would probably be alive today. There are more casualties than those who die on the battle field.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 10:02, 7 replies)
Shameless pea roast
I love my dad. Infact when I grow up I want to be just like him, but not with the diabetes.

Anyho....one evening my dad had been out on the fizzy pop and had got himself a little worse for wear before coming home. Just before bed he's meant to inject himself with 10mg of slow acting insulin. However, being a little merry, he picks up the fast acting insulin (which you are meant to use 2mgs of) and jacks himself up with 10mg of daytime juice.

An hour later my mum gets worried, she can hear a knocking in the bathroom. Assuming it's my dad pottering around in his drunken state she shouts at him to come to bed. No answer, so she gets up to give him a piece of her mind, only to find him sat on the toilet, pyjamas round his ankles thrashing his hand in a bin. She calls him, prods him, waves a hand in front of his eyes but, but to all intents and purposes he's unconcious.

In a panic, my brother is got out of bed, the paramedics are called while my mum and brother try to get some sugar into dad. They don't know where he's put his glucose gel, they're shitting it knowing that he's getting worse by the minute, so grab a banana and mash it up into his mouth, trying to rub it onto his gums so that he'll get some sugar in his system.

The paramedics arrive and test for blood sugar whilst trying to communicate with dad. They cannot find a trace sugar reading, which is bad. Luckily they have the right kit, inject him and slowly he comes round. If they hadn't have turned up dad would have been in a coma most likely with permanent consequences. However, this is not the only lucky escape, as the paramedics said if that happened again, the quickest way to get sugar in his system would be to shove a Mars bar up his arse.

My Dad, horrified at this prospect, says "It's bad enough coming round on the toilet with your pants round your ankles, your mother rubbing banana all over my face and 2 green men staring into my eyes shouting "MonkeyDaddy! MonkeyDaddy!", without having a banan shoved in my fundament"

To which my mum replies, "You do that again and it'll be a bloody toblerone!"
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 8:58, 4 replies)
The Skillful Art of Parenting
My boyfriend has two kids in their late teens and a compulsion to try and embarrass them at every available opportunity. I once heard him knock on his son's bedroom door, when the lad and his girlfriend were 'watching telly' in there.

B/F: You OK in there son?
Son: Yeah.
B/F: What are you doing?
Son: Nothing.
B/F: Nothing? That's not how I brought you up. What's fucking wrong with you?
(, Mon 29 Nov 2010, 15:09, 2 replies)
bum sex
My son, when about 6, made a wormery. He followed the instructions in a book - cut the top off an old lemonade bottle, fill it with layers of soil and sand, stuff some worms in it.

Anyway, he went on to take an interest in woodlice, spiders and other such creatures, and decided to make somewhere for them to live, announcing to us "I've made a buggery". We convinced him he should call it a 'bug house' just in case he mentioned it to anyone and they got the wrong idea.
(, Sat 27 Nov 2010, 14:18, 3 replies)
Mine's a pint
First post! This thread is fantastic. My dad is currently in hospital.

Last Thursday, he stopped off at the cash machine to get some beer tokens, and suffered a stroke. He came to and apparently ambled about the town centre for hours with no idea of who or where he was. His faithful dog Charlie cottoned on that something wasn't right, and led him to the pub, just as it was closing.

Apparently, as they were waiting for an ambulance, they poured him a pint (which he downed with relish) and he 'felt fine', in his own words.

That kind of sums up my dad, in a wonderful way.
(, Wed 1 Dec 2010, 3:46, 5 replies)
The Universal Dad.
My parents look almost like caricatures of themselves, or the sorts of parents you'd see in a hallmark card. My mom is sweet faced and plump, and always has hugs, freshly made treats, and huge amounts of compassion at the ready for anybody who needs them. My dad has giant eyeglasses and dresses formally (slacks and button down shirts) all the time, and can always be called on to do whatever is needed whenever a crisis arises. I'm very lucky to have them both in my life.

Over the years, my parents have taken in my friends (as well as friends of my siblings) as surrogate children. Most of my friends have unpleasant family lives, either with crazy ass parents or parents too busy to care for them. Mom and dad take them all under wing. Mom used to make giant lunches for me in school so I could give my friends (most of whom were sent off with half a bag of doritos) a decent meal. She's also held friends of mine as they've cried their eyes out over things in their lives. Dad has helped out everybody to no less a degree. He's argued with school boards, landlords, insurance companies, doctors' offices, and heaven knows how many other agencies to make sure my friends get everything they need when they need it. Their own fathers seem not to give a rat's ass.

This has resulted in three permanent additions to my family: two pseudo-older sisters, and my boyfriend. One sister came from a strict and controlling asian home where she was treated badly. The other came from a conservative christian home that threw her out for being a lesbian. That sister lived with us rent free for a year until she got a job and back on her feet. My boyfriend was raised by a (batshit crazy) single mom, and never had a dad. He's latched onto mine like a well intentioned lamprey. They do a lot of "father-son" things together, and it's really sweet to watch.

My parents are the Universal Parents, and my dad the Universal Dad, ready to take anyone in need into their hearts and lives. I don't think there's a couple like them left in the world, and I love them dearly.



As an addendum, this'll tell you pretty much all you need to know about my dad's personality.

Once, when my boyfriend and my dad were doing yard work, one of them managed to put an axe through a hornet nest. I think they were splitting fallen trees and hauling the lumber away. Anyhow, as you would expect, the hornets didn't take kindly to this and started stinging them relentlessly. My boyfriend ran, screaming obscenities that would've made the toughest sailor blush with embarrassment. What did my dad do? He shouted things like "Golly!" "Yeowch!!" and "Wow, that's painful! Holy mackerel!", and swatted the hornets away from my (still fleeing) boyfriend using his hat and gloves. Not even 25 hornet stings could make my dad curse or forget the pseudo-child at his side. It wasn't until after dad made sure my boyfriend was okay that he tended to his own wounds.
(, Mon 29 Nov 2010, 16:57, 4 replies)
Seldom shaken, never stirred
Popped round to mum and dad's one time and he is in the hallway, adjusting his dress shirt and bow tie in the mirror.
U: Sorry dad, didn't realise you were going out, I'll get going.

D: No son, Goldfinger is about to start; gotta make an effort for Sean.

And he did indeed sit watching Mr Connery with the full suit and boot on. I believe he has too much time on his hands.
(, Mon 29 Nov 2010, 13:40, 3 replies)
A repost - he just disappeared
I will preface this by saying that I have no belief in the afterlife, be it heaven, hell or anything in-between. To me, this story is so remarkable in that, no matter how I crook my head, I can't make heads or tails of it. We've talked about this since and all involved - all strict non-believers - admit something beyond...this, the here and now...happened that day:

My father, when I was young, was the teacher in charge of school upkeep during the summer holidays. Once a week, we’d stop through to make sure nobody had smeared shit on the walls, then we’d check the meters and go home. For my sister and I, these trips were particularly fun. We could run through the corridors of a school! We could shout in a school! We could do cartwheels in a classroom! Best yet, we could see what the boys’ toilets looked like!

On one nondescript summer day, my dad, my sister and myself made the usual walk to the school. We got up to the usual bumbling about, while my dad got up to his usual duties. Time came to leave.

“C’mon kids! Time to leave!”
“All right, dad!”

We saw him walking towards the front door, then, I swear to Darwin and Tesla, he fucking disappeared. One second, there was a dad. The next, nothing. Right before our bloody eyes. There was no mist, no image dissolving like in the movies. CLICK – he was gone, and the only place he could have gone was through the front door.

My sister and I thought he was playing a joke, a bit of a scary hide-and-seek. We ran through the building, searching every locker and cranny. Nothing. Then we started crying out, scared. Nothing. Surely a father – and my dad was the greatest, at this point would sheepishly emerge to calm us down. Nothing. Three hours passed and we had no sign of our father, we couldn’t go home because we were locked in and we couldn’t get to a phone to call our mother. So we sat in a corridor and waited.

“Are you coming, kids? What are you doing sitting down, I told you to come here!”

And there was dad again, standing in the same spot.

“DAD! WHERE DID YOU GO!! WE WERE SO SCARED!”

“I, well, I didn’t go anywhere, I’ve been standing here the whole time, sillies.”

“NO, DAAAAAAAAAD, you disappeared! We were sad! We cried! We looked everywhere for you!”

“Don’t be stupid, kids. Obviously, I…”

And then he checked his watch. Indeed, three hours has passed. He turned a whiter shade of green, and we walked home in silence.

I had spent the years following assuming that my dad had played a dirty trick on us, that he took it as an opportunity to skip out on his kids so he could go to the bar or something. I brought it up again a few years later.

“I swear on your mother’s life, I didn’t go anywhere. I remember calling out to you kids, then suddenly the two of you were sitting down. Three hours were gone, but not a single second had passed for me.”

“Yeah, sure, dad.”

“I swear on your life, I didn’t hide from you. And in those years since it happened, I lie awake at night wondering what happened to me during those three hours. I – [voice cracking] - don’t know what happened…”

I’m inclined to believe my dad and to believe my own eyes (HE FUCKING DISAPPEARED!!!) But was it a dad playing a particularly devious joke on his kids? Eh, I’m not so certain of that. I certainly can’t explain what happened, and dad’s admitted to all of his other practical jokes by now.

There was only one way he could have run away to hide, and that was through the door. That door was locked. All I know is that he disappeared right before my eyes.
(, Mon 29 Nov 2010, 11:51, 6 replies)
The Toad's Wedding
When I was very wee--probably no older than three or four--my parents took me camping on a lovely little lake.

At some point on our very last day there, I managed to catch a toad. It must have been a slow and indolent toad to be snatched by my chubby little fingers, but catch it I did, and I proudly put it into my little plastic sand bucket and promptly named it "Joe".

I happily burbled about that day, putting grass and twigs and a small dish of water into the bucket so that Joe would be happy and safe. I was beside myself with joy. A toad! In a bucket! What more can a toddler ask for?

When it came time for us to end our holiday, my parents informed me that it was time to let Joe go. This was met with crashing despair (at least, as crashing a despair as child still young enough to be amused by Fisher-Price toys can experience). Tears began to well up in my eyes as I contemplated leaving my new amphibious best friend behind.

Enter my father, with a stroke of pure genius. Turning to me (at this point on the verge of blubbering tears), he exclaimed, "But you have to let him go! If you don't, he'll be late to his son's wedding!"

This seemed quite reasonable to three-year-old me, and without further ado I released Joe into the lake, where he is no doubt still recovering from the hangover he earned celebrating his tadpole's nuptials.
(, Mon 29 Nov 2010, 0:10, 4 replies)
Peapeapearoast
Apologies for the pearoasting.

Some of you know the backstory to this, Emily is my G/F's daughter.
One night, some time ago now, when watching TV she asked "Does it bother you when people think you're my dad?"
I replied "Not at all munchkin, I'd be proud to have you as my daughter".

She thought for a bit.

"Sometimes people ask if you ARE my dad, I don't like telling them you're not, 'cos I really wish you were."

Doesn't get any better than that.
(, Sun 28 Nov 2010, 10:03, 1 reply)
A couple of weeks ago
I visited my parents, dear old pensioners that they are these days, while they were watching I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. There was a torture session involving Stacey Solomon and some bloke or other having to eat kangaroo penises, when my dad piped up: "She'll be fine with that, Dagenham girls love eating cock!" with a sly wink.

My Dagenham-born mother looked up from her crossword, threw a pen at his head and replied "Not any fucking more they don't."

Me... I went out to the shed to look for the mindbleach and coarse-grade wire wool.
(, Wed 1 Dec 2010, 16:24, Reply)
My Dad story. This is actually true.
I was 14 at the time. One Saturday in 1981, we were all at home. Dad says to me 'Make us a cheese sandwich will you?', so off I go to the kitchen, knocked up the sandwich and gave it to him.

'OK, I'm going up the park' I said. 'See you later'.

After a few hours at the park, I wander home, to find my Mum and dad have gone out. I ask my brother 'Where are they?'. Brother tells me Dad felt unwell, Mum took him to the hospital.

Another hour passes, Mum turns up, driven by a friend. Wierd, but hey, whatever. Mum come in, looking a bit flustered. Her friend says 'can you go in the sitting room and talk to your Mum'.

Mum standing there. No other way to say it. 'Dad's dead'.

So, being sensitive and mature, my first words on hearing about my fathers death . . . 'Fuck, I hope it wasn't the cheese sandwich'.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 15:39, 11 replies)
Another pea for roasting:
My great grandfather suffered massive memory loss in his last years, to the point that he knew who no one was - even some of his regular nurses.

My great-grandmother went to visit him every day, however, and on the day before he died, after having chatted for a couple of hours, he turned to her and said, with all sincerity:

"You're a lovely lady. Would you like to marry me?"
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 15:20, 4 replies)
The Old Man and the Internet
My Dad never had a computer. He retired before they became commonplace in offices and the whole 'internet' thing simply passed him by, until very recently.

Last year my sister and I decided to get the folks online. We purchased a half-decent PC and sorted a broadband connection.

When everything was setup and working, I sat my 75yr old Dad down for the first time in front of a gleaming, empty Google page and explained how it all worked.

'So I just type what I'm interested in into this section and the computer will give me all the information?' He asked incredulously.

Yup. I replied. It's that simple.

We started with his name. Fortunately it is an unusual name, so the search results were few and surprisingly detailed. We found a family tree published by a US relative, we spent ages on the census online site, we tried looking up his old pals on friendsreunited and watched endless youtube clips of 1950's motor racing (he loves that stuff).

I didn't bother with email or anything like that, just gave him the power of Google and left him with his imagination.

A couple of weeks later, I popped in to say hi - but Dad was on the golf course. So I peeked into his study, the PC was on and the BBC weather page was flickering on the screen. Great, I thought, he's really getting into this, checking the beeb for weather forecasts before he heads out to play a round, he's certainly got the hang of this internet lark, I wonder what else he's been up to...

So I checked out his history.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

I have no father.
(, Mon 29 Nov 2010, 16:32, 12 replies)
my dad is a total and utter law unto himself
so many stories. for example, every time i call him, he ends up with "call me back when you've got less time to chat."

the first one that springs to mind was a couple of years ago. my brother and i went to the cinema with him on halloween to see the re-release of "the omen". as the film started, the cinema was utterly, deathly quiet. the camera slowly panned in right up close on the newborn baby, and even the music silenced. you could have heard a pin drop as damien's face filled the screen.

"EVIL LITTLE TWAT,"

my father announced at the top of his yorkshire voice, and about fifteen rows in every direction just burst out laughing.
(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 22:16, 7 replies)

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