An Ode to Father’s Day: Dadisms

PSA to all the moms out there distracted by grocery shopping, laundry, taxi driving, end-of-school-year theme days, meal planning (also prep, cooking, and cleanup), disciplining, etc… 

This is not your week. This week is dedicated to the fathers. 

And, yeah, I get it – it seems like we are still recovering from the cluster frackle that was Mother’s Day, but it’s time to turn this bus around and give credit where credit is due: to the guy who gets to play good cop 24/8, the guy who leads the eye rolls aimed to the taskmaster, the guy who shows up five minutes before all major projects are done with a kind, “Need any help?” as he readies to take the hero’s shot. 

In all seriousness, fathers are often the Ying to our mothering Yang, a much-needed variant that keeps our homes functioning by offering an essential, more palatable opposite side of the parenting coin.

As my children are old enough to participate in this day, I pushed this blog off onto the fruits of my husband’s loin. My husband loves our children fervor and protects them fiercely. While he may take a pass on many of the necessities that keep our daily life moving along, he will always reign as the parental favorite.

It’s fine. Really. No hard feelings.

Months ago, I asked our children to begin compiling a list of their favorite Dadisms. I did not take into account that what I was really doing creating an additional topic to on which to nag those forgetful wonders but, eventually, a list did reveal itself.

Without further adieu, a few family favorites that drive us bananas and, yet, we could not live without:

The Classics:

  • I didn’t find the free stuff:  Spoken at every check-out register in every store in response to the canned “Did you find everything you needed?” Its sister dadism? Upon learning that an item doesn’t have a clear price tag: Oh, cool, it must be free!
  • If I were any better, there’d have to be two of me: The common response when asked by a stranger, “How are you today?
  • A good diet plan: In answer to any server at any restaurant upon asking, “Anything else?” Another favorite: A wheelbarrow to get me to the car.
  • We hated it, it was terrible: In the spirit of the above, this response to asking “How was everything?” while staring at empty plates.
  • Oh, here I am!: While holding a stud finder (which I think he often pulls out just to say that though we aren’t actually near any walls)
  • Nope, not going to claim it on my taxes: If asked whether he wants a receipt. Anywhere. Even if he should, in fact, collect a receipt. It will be worth the struggle, on a return, evidently, to have been able to reject the offer with this phrase. 
  • The door is not a jar!!: Dear every car company in the world, please change this warning to a simple “Door open” or “Close door.”

Mealtime Favorites:

  • More for me!: In response to anyone passing on what has landed on the dinner table. 
  • Meet the meat: Introductions each and every time he is handed anything at all to take out to the grill. 
  • Get in mah belly: An ode to Austin Powers when said meat arrives to the dinner table.  
  • I think there might be cocaine in this: A favorite when describing a delicious meal and most often heard when his wife (me, who definitely didn’t put cocaine in it) eye rolls his third helping.
  • I like it a little more … al dente: Anytime we eat any kind of pasta cooked any length and I am convinced I could put raw noodles on his plate and get the same response.
  • As Finley would say, “It’s delicious!”: And, obviously, said in Finley’s voice. Finley is our dog. This man has a voice for every pet in the house and engages in full conversations with them quite often, playing both his role and theirs. Quick question … should I be worried?

Car Favorites:

  • You can walk from here: Spoken while driving to anyone in the car who might joke about our beloved patriarch. Second place favorite: I’ll have you killed. (Stand down, it is said in jest). Third: I’ll throw you out the window (also used at home)
  • I haven’t killed anybody yet: The response to gasps or screeches related to the perception of errant driving.
  • I wonder where the mediocre kidneys go?: This is a regional favorite asked each and every time we drive by the area’s Kidney Center for Excellence. 
  • If you drove any slower, I could hop in your trunk: Well, we are convinced that there is a town gang that prides itself on driving 17 under the speed limit and that posts a member just ahead of our driveway just waiting to pull out in front of us so … maybe that’s fair.

House Favorites:

  • When I was your age: No explanation needed. 
  • Yada yada yada “These degenerates” yada yada yada: An alternative version of “kids today.”
  • Word repetition: Not the actual phrase but more of a habit in which a word is said multiple times for emphasis (in fairness, he does work in sales). “Can you pick up some lunch meat? You know lunch meat? From the deli? Lunch meat?”
  • Re-words for Clarity: Again, hello sales. Our favorite ever? Arriving at the theatre and learning that we were “Going to put the car away … you know, park it.
  • Don’t trust anyone who would steal your pencil: Second only to: Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t put your tools back. And let me tell you, when that drill goes missing, we all have a moment of panic as we run through our lives trying to remember if who used it last. 
  • You should ask ChatGPT!: A new entry this year that has replaced Google in my husband’s world. Additional options? Have y’all heard of ChatGPT? (mostly asked to total strangers) or while breaking our cardinal no-phones-at-the-table rule “Hang on, I’ll ask ChatGPT.” Let’s just say that we have now named this AI service, “Gibson” as we feel like Gibson is now a family member.
  • Depends on how you grind it up: If anyone braves asking if one thing will fit into another. 
  • Did you get my Out-of-Office?: His out-of-office messages are always paragraphs “written” by Troy McClure. We love that he asks this to a home full of people who likely would never have reason to send an email to his work address. 
  • It’s pronounced “Trouble.”: Always said after spelling one of our names. For instance, to the person running the pickup window at the drugstore, “It’s spelled J-Y-L … pronounced ‘Trouble.’”
  • Was it just school? Or was it school-erific?: Asked to anyone arriving home from school. Not to be outdone by the latest addition, “Was it pool-erific?” asked when our youngest arrives home from lifeguarding.
  • What do you mean you haven’t seen Zoolander?: Or John Wick. Or Pacific Rim. 

Reserved only for me:

  • I’ve got a special sauce for that.: No matter what ails me, he is at the ready with a personal cure. 
  • Oh, a facial?: (wink, wink)
  • I think we’re alone now …: Yes, the song from the ’80s by Tiffany, sung the second the door clicks as all children leave the home whether for ten minutes or ten hours or ten days, the point is, he thinks we’re alone now and I’m sorry if that song is now stuck in your head.

Truthfully, this list could go on and on. It does become difficult, however, to determine which of my husband’s favorite dadisms are actually dadisms and which are just methods of verbal torture to his beloved family’s ears.

Still, without them, a hole would be put into the rhythm of our home.

And maybe that’s it – maybe that’s is the real reason that Dads are pre-programmed with a list of quirky comebacks ready to reveal themselves when children arrive. Maybe this is just another way their genetics are wired to provide a safe rhythm to the families they dote on. There is, after all, comfort in consistency. There is a comfort in knowing that on this unpredictable roller coaster of life, this part will never change. 

Just as we can count on his presence, his forgiveness, his words of wisdom, and his unconditional love– we can also count on these groaners and their ability to snap us back to a feeling of stability. So yes, while we may roll our eyes, we are truly grateful that this thing will never, ever change. 

Still, one of my many hopes is that one day, when the old “A wheelbarrow to get me to the car” is thrown, someone will magically appear with one. I just want to know, will he really hop in?

One thought on “An Ode to Father’s Day: Dadisms

  1. For the record – yes I would take the wheelbarrow to the car. Because if someone went through the effort to do that who am I to disappoint them?

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