Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons in Fatherhood Passed Down

There are a few times in my life when I remember my dad being an AWESOME dad.  One was when he bought an entire comic store's worth of Magic: the Gathering cards and would periodically shower us with new packs randomly.  That's not to say that I played or still play Magic: the Gathering.  No, I'm way too cool for that. 

Another time was when he stood up to my principal in high school when I said some really, really, deplorably embarrassing stuff.  He saved my ass from some seriously bad punishment, and I actually never expected how vigilantly he defended me.  His usual response was, "you got in trouble, you deserve your punishment".

But this whole Penn State disaster made me start thinking about the other major time when I remember my dad being a great dad. 

I was in 6th grade, and my dad was stationed in Italy for two years.  I went to a school that was on the military base there, and every military base has an intricate system of teachers that are all sort of shifted around between all military bases.  Going to school in a military school is very, very interesting.  You'd be best friends with a whole group of awesome kids, and the next month, you're totally alone, because all those kid's parents would move away to their next deployment. 

Growing up like this is tough for kids.  Especially overseas, where there's such a shallow pool of friends or support, and their parents are usually caught up in whatever job they're doing for the military.  So the kids are usually pretty misbehaved. 

So teachers there are all pretty haggard, what with the constant changes in their classrooms, and overall troublesome kids. 

My science teacher in 6th grade was Mr. Science (definitely not his name).  I remember him being a total geek, and I constantly made fun of him, but in a 6th grade sort of way - nothing mean or malicious.  I would be rebellious because he was teaching us stuff I already knew, like why temperature changed throughout the year.  Or how plants grew.  And even though I was rebellious, I could tell I was his favorite student.

I could tell this especially when we were in a computer room, and he was teaching us the basics of computers.  I had already pretty much mastered MS-DOS, so I was acting up again.  He came behind me while I was on the computer and put his hands on my shoulders in a really weird way, which made me shudder, and try and wriggle free.  Then he said, "Why won't you ever let me touch you?" and I don't remember what I said, but I remember being freaked out.  I don't remember if he touched me before, but I'm pretty sure he did.  In any case, this was DEFINITELY a touch with a creep factor of 10. 

I told my dad about it, and he basically went into his room with a missile launcher and blew the guys head off.  Mr. Science was fired almost instantaneously because of the firestorm my dad caused.  I think he even got the Commanding Officer of the base (the military equivalent of the Mayor) involved. 

I don't remember many instances of him defending us from the outside world, or many instances at all where I'd say my dad set a good example in any remote way, but I'm glad that there were these two situations. 

Especially now that I'm raising my own kid in a world with grimy assholes like Sandusky.  And now, apparently, Bernie Fine.


  1. Good for you for saying something and excellent for your dad for being the awesome dad he was. Also, the Magic cards were pretty good, too.

    I wonder, truly, how many people have these stories of inappropriateness/creepiness. I'm thinking it's far more than even the highest estimate, which makes me cringe.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I'm glad you were able to talk to your dad about what happened. When I was growing up, there was something that always seemed to be turned to the "girl's fault" no matter what the situation was. Or at least it seemed that way to me. A policeman drove me home after a movie when i couldn't reach my mother. En route, he went to a popular "parking spot" to make out with me. I was 13 and he was in his 40's. I never told because I was sure I had "caused" him to do what he did. (My dad was a policeman so I had stupidly assumed that's where you can go for help.) Actually, I think my dad would have killed the guy in retrospect. Mexican dad's are not that relaxed about somebody handling their virginal daughters.


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