Happy 60th Birthday! Can you believe it? You still seem like a kid to me. You've always been the biggest kid I know, like Peter Pan, you refuse to grow up. I suppose that would make me the lost boy in the skunk suit, your right-hand best-man.
You're one of my favorite people in the whole world, certainly the man who means the most to me. I can't imagine life 60 years and one day ago, a time before you were born. It must have been terrible. Not a life I ever hope to know.
In the (almost) 26 years you and I have spent together, you've taught me more than any one person, school, or experience could. You taught me how to be a wonderful friend, thoughtful and loyal, (my best trait) and to have an undeniably hard work ethic. But you've also taught me hundreds of corky bits along the way and that is what I'd like to focus on now. So without further ado, here are 60 of my most favorite, hilarious things I've learned from you, my dad.
1. One must always check the left hand ring finger of a woman before trying to pick her up for Dad. (I've learned to adapt this lesson to my personal dating life now.)
2. One will always get better service sitting at the bar, even if One is five-years-old.
3. If One has an SUV or a motorcycle, One can park anywhere.
4. Cooking hack #1: use Italian breadcrumbs as "seasoning" they are already seasoned and provide texture.
5. Wine from a jug is good too. (Boxed wine is not exempt from this rule.)
6. Mushrooms are gross, don't eat them.
7. Always carry a knife.
8. A can of spray paint can fix almost any shoe emergency...
9. Similarly, a roll of duck tape can fix almost any car emergency.
10. Change the oil in One's car often, motor heads DO explode.
11. Dad cannot fix every car emergency with duck tape (see #10).
12. If One breaks into the mayor's house and gets arrested, One's dad will take it to the grave.
13. The proper way to hang toilet paper is over, not under.
14. Van Morrison was right when he said that girls get dressed up for each other.
15. Two twelve-year-olds can be trusted to paint a room with little supervision.
16. If One is going to wake Dad early on the weekends, One must make Dad coffee first...
17. Unless One is grown, in which case One must share a 7AM beer with Dad.
18. Morning peptalks from Dad are cherished, regardless of how One acts...
19. So are threats to new boyfriends.
20. Eventually One will miss both 18 & 19.
21. Staying up late to listen to records is never a bad idea.
22. "Biker Trash" is not actually a derogatory term.
23. Speaking of which, bikers are some of the best people on the planet.
24. Driving under the age of 16 is only okay if Dad needs One to do so. One mustn't get caught.
25. Dad knows all the tricks in the book, One will never get away with anything. (Outside because the cat got out? In that outfit? Nice try, you were sneaking out.)
26. One is to contact Nana often if One desires to remain in the will.
27. Family can be chosen. One can pick family members regardless of age, bloodline, ethnicity, geographical location, musical taste, political justification, or crinkle or fold preference.
28. Cooking hack #2: eggs and bacon can, in fact, be cooked in one skillet. It is called Eggs Quicksilver and it is delicious.
29. It is acceptable for One to play hookie, as long as Dad plays too.
30. Boyfriends are allowed to spend the night but there has to be a hurricane and One must leave the door open.
31. One doesn't have to tell Dad who she loves, he already knows.
32. Cheer Dad will happily play defense against preteen football players while the cheerleaders get changed in the back of the Jeep.
33. Dad is cool enough to learn popular songs on the guitar to impress One and her friends.
34. Dad will never miss a graduation, even if One isn't issued a diploma (high school), if Nana takes a fall (junior college), or if there is basically no parking (university -- see #3).
35. Acceptable clothing can be purchased at Sears.
36. Canned cranberry sauce is delicious and should not be snubbed, neither should mashed turnips. It's not a holiday without mashed turnips.
37. Vacations with One's dad are NOT lame, they too will be missed.
38. Be confident, "walk in like you own the place."
39. One shall not bother Dad during a NASCAR Nap.
40. Morning people are more evolved. "If you want to hoot with the owls, you have to learn to crow with the roosters."
41. Cats are best, but dogs are pretty great too. (Rodents do not qualify as pets.)
42. Goldfish will die and Dad will replace them before One notices.
43. Law and Order SVU is the only good Law and Order, but One cannot watch it if children are involved. One will understand when she has her own children. (This turned out to be more true than I could have ever imagined.)
44. One should never have to choose between lobster and steak. Surf and Turf is always the answer.
45. Order a drink while at lunch with Nana, One deserves it.
46. Chinese take out and a good musical on cable is a fantastic way to spend a Friday night.
47. Never turn down a chance to dance, especially with a handsome man.
48. How to eat a cupcake: break the bottom off and make it into an icing sandwich--sheer brilliance.
49. A man cannot expect to get a woman into his bed if a man isn't willing to make said bed.
50. Everyone has a favorite Bond. (Mine is Pierce Brosnan.)
51. Although not legal, by Dad standards it's okay to drive to work with a cooler of beer in the car so One may enjoy a cold beverage on the ride home.
52. Christmas cards can be used as birthday, get well soon, thank you, or congratulations cards if the words "Merry Christmas" are crossed out.
53. Stay away from our South Carolina relatives on Facebook, we're related to 70% of the state.
54. Free beer is the second best kind of beer, cold free beer is the first.
55. Cooking hack #3: Cook with wine you like to drink. Obvious, but worth stating.
56. Never accept a piece of art (by any definition of the word) from an artist, unless it's signed.
57. Swiss cheese is the superior sandwich cheese.
58. Publix is the ultimate grocery store. (I don't understand why you'd ever convert to Winn Dixie.)
59. Everyone--even parent--have sex in cars. Gross.
60. Shots of Mount Gay are delicious and should be enjoyed often, especially on Dad's 60th birthday. "Over the teeth, through the gums, look out stomach, here it comes!"
So thank you, Dad, for the lessons and the laughs. I can't think of a better person for me to have grown up with, a better person for me to be best friends with today, or a better person to share my future with.
I love you,