My mother may have taught me to read, but I would be nowhere far in nerddom (or in life, really) if not for my father.
My parents had me late in life, my dad more than my mom. Born in 1939, by the time that I came into the world, my dad was in his fifties and already had eight children before me. He was nearing the end of his career and by the time that I started kindergarten, he was the person I saw the most of when I was home.
My dad picked me up from preschool and from my caretaker. He let me play Whitney Houston cassette tapes on our way to and from school. On days when I got out of school early and we were home alone or with the brothers closest in age to me, we vegged out in front of the television.
Between James Bond films and John Wayne’s entire filmography, I was a very well-educated kid. We even used to watch the old Adam West Batman show when the Sci-Fi Channel had marathons during the day.
He was the ultimate nerd daddy!
One of the cool things about my dad is that he always encouraged me to read. He dropped out of school when he was thirteen and worked ever since, focusing more on taking care of his family and building up a financial safety net that lasted him a long time. For me though, he’s always wanted me to do more and do better.
Where my mom was the teacher in the house and always had a book for me, my dad always ponied up the cash for me to buy new books. One time, during a Scholastic Book Fair, my dad dropped over a hundred bucks on new books for me and this was back in the 90s so I got a lot of new books. The box was so big that he had to come to the school in his truck to pick the books up!
My dad has helped me throughout the years in amazing ways.
He paid for what scholarships and loans didn’t cover throughout college.
He’s paid for my medical bills even into adulthood.
When I was mid-nervous breakdown in 2009, he took me on a family reunion cruise so that I could get away from it all.
Hell, he even bought me a nice little used car so that I can get around South Florida.
My dad isn’t perfect. He’s definitely a guy with 1940/50s sensibilities and sometimes, talking to him is like talking to a brick wall, but then there are the good moments. Moments like talking abut comic book history with him and having him school me about a fact or two that I’ve gotten wrong. Moments like him initiating movie marathons so that we can fuss about representation in film.
I’m the luckiest one out of all of my siblings because I got my dad as he mellowed into old age. I got the cool dad, the fun dad that took me swimming when I was five and bakes the best bread in the world. Even when I don’t feel pleased with him, even when I’m seconds away from screaming because of something he’s said, I still love him.
Because he’s my dad.
He’s the guy that let me read to him as a kid and who fed my need for nerddom in understated but awesome ways. He’s my favorite old man in the world and even though I won’t be seeing him this Father’s Day, I hope he knows how much I love him and how thankful I am for his support throughout the years.