Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Happy Birthday Dad
My dad tells great stories, the best of which feature him in hilarious and compromising situations. Some of them are not fit to share over the internet, like the time when he was 19 or 20 and partied with a priest and two nuns on the Jersey shore. Several involve an unsuspecting person with a common name calling our house (way back in the no cell phone age, when your parents actually talked to your friends) and my Dad confusing said person with a different person with the same name and trying to have an entire conversation with that person ("But Matt, didn't you move to California last year? Are you sure?") One of my favorites takes place when my parents first moved to the Outer Banks in the summer of 2002. There's a convenience store called TJ's right before you turn into their neighborhood. The best way to describe TJ's is to say that there's a thick layer of dust on its line of products, the highlights of which include Chef Boyardee and boxed wine, and there's no "no shirt no shoes no service" sign, so don't expect any of its customers to be fully clothed, ever. Anyway, one early summer morning, my Dad stopped in to get a Diet Coke. A little boy in line at the cash register kept tugging on his mother, staring at my Dad, eyes wide. Finally, he burst out with "LOOK Mommy! It's a REAL LIVE MIDGET!"
My dad has always believed that I could be anything I wanted. When I was into singing and acting, he'd tell me "just wait until Spielberg discovers you!" Now he likes to say that I'm waiting to publish my best-selling memoir (in which he features as "Dick Setzel") until after he kicks the can (do other families joke about these things? We do). Dad, I keep your stories in the back of my laugh pocket, and I carry that belief with me always.
P.S. Now that I think about it, during my short-lived indoor soccer career, you never told me I was the next Mia Hamm. Did you give up after the time that I caught the ball between my knees and tried to run across the length of the gym with it like that?