I am My Father’s Daughter

My father, Michael A. Hamilton, buys Krystal burgers with coupons, and boasts about the money he saves to co-workers, most of whom are 25 years younger than he is.

When my father wears shorts he also wears tube socks � white-cotton Sears brand tube socks � pulled up and over his knees.

Dad is color-blind, and when left to dress himself ends up resembling a street performer infected with a paisley virus. Dad asks, “Is this tie dark green or light green?” And even though the tie is really a bright orange the intensity of molten lava, we say “Light green, Dad. Light green.”

My father, apparently, does not suffer any sort of bodily function, especially any function involving “the bottom”. He does not poop or fart or make any sort of noise or aggravation with that part of his body, nor does he ever discuss such repugnant lapses of dignity. No one EVER accuses my dad of perpetrating a fart, lest that person endure The Death Stare That Declares ‘You Heard Nothing’.

Dad refuses to use his dishwasher, mainly because his mother taught him that washing dishes by hand improves your utility as a human being. I think his wife would like to introduce him to a few utilities, including cable television, motorized lawn mowers, and cordless phones.

Dad tries to start a conversation with every check-out person at every store he patrons, whether it be at Sears when he’s buying new tube socks with a coupon, or at Chevron paying for gas with a credit card he will pay off in full at the end of the month. Some of the starter lines include: “So it’s the ole $3.42 trick, is it? I’m not fooled. I know this trick.” or “Molly [or whatever name is on the person’s nametag], Molly, Molly, Molly. It had to be you, didn’t it Molly? Good golly Ms. Molly!”

My father will find a pair of shoes that fit and then won’t buy another pair of shoes for 12 years or until his pinky toes poke through the rotted leather of the sole, whichever comes first. His reasoning? “These shoes are perfectly fine. I can walk from point A to point B with no apparent problems. Furthermore, I can go to sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that I made it through yet another day without spending $50 on an unnecessary pair of shoes. Glorious!”

Whenever dad begins a conversation with “Daughter of mine�” you know that one of two things will follow: either a lengthy, dramatic, heartfelt diatribe on what can go wrong with your finances and what you can do to make them go right, or a lengthy, dramatic, heartfelt diatribe on what you did wrong with your finances and what you should have done differently. Dad knows finances like Ms. Clairol knows shampoo: lather, repeat? Budget, repeat.

Dad’s idea of a quiet and comforting bedtime story goes something like this: “I must have been 7 or 8 years old, playing on the sidewalks of 1950’s Kentucky when this girl about a foot taller than I started chasing me. After about four block of that nonsense, I stopped, grabbed her by her long blonde hair and began swinging her body above my head. Her feet must have come a good 12 inches off the ground! She screamed as her life hung delicately in my little clinched fists. After that, she never bothered me again. Ok. Now go to sleep.”

My dad is a very logical, reasonable, level-headed man, until he comes within 100 feet of fat babies between the ages of 6 months and 3 years, at which time he turns into a drooling, double-jointed Man-Clown with a range of noises not unlike those you’d here at the monkey cages in the Memphis Zoo. Do you have something important you want to discuss with my father? Great, but first let him tell you about the evening he spent with that big fat baby, or let him talk about how scrumptious his grandson’s thighs were the last time he saw the kid. In fact, no baby’s thighs are safe when my father is in the same city. His diet diet consists of whatever his wife puts on the table and any available infant thigh.