Writer’s Block: Happy Father’s Day!

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

My dad has jokes.

My dad has a seemingly endless supply of corny jokes and he’ll dust one off at the most random time, tell it to you spontaneously, and then chuckle mischievously just a fraction of a second after he delivers the punch line.

I know my dad isn’t the only dad who has jokes. There’s an entire stereotype built around men who are fathers and who possess a mental collection of humorous, slightly silly quips. They’re called “dad jokes.” They’re almost always light-hearted and irresistibly funny despite another one of their defining characteristics: their corniness. But — and I may be biased here — I think my dad has the best dad jokes.

If you looked up “dad jokes” in the dictionary, you’d probably find a photograph of my dad, smiling with a twinkle glittering at the corners of his eyes. He’s the king of dad jokes. He tells them in his sermons. He tells them at the dinner table. He tells them on the living room couch when a TV show cuts to commercial. He tells them in the middle of a Walmart aisle. He tells them to family, and friends, and people he’s just met — especially to people he’s just met.

Recently, an internet meme went viral. It was a Craigslist post from a group of young 20-something year old men in the Pacific Northwest who are experiencing their first tastes of life as adults and living on their own. To that end, they wanted to host a backyard barbecue, but, as their post indicated, something was missing. Or someone, rather.

They wanted a “dad” to join them at their barbecue to man the grill, tell corny dad jokes and regale them with bits of dad wisdom. As soon as I saw the meme, I shared it with my own dad, jokingly saying he’d be perfect for the part, if we lived in the Pacific Northwest. In true dad fashion, he agreed, saying he really would have volunteered.

My dad has woven humor into his entire life. It is a gentle humor, an uplifting and utterly delightful humor.

But that isn’t to say my dad can’t be a serious person. He can. Not every moment is an acceptable one for a joke, after all. But his sense of humor comes into play even in those moments, I think. The lightness and uncanny timing he has for telling a joke lends itself well to his sense of empathy, his seemingly endless patience, and — to use a metaphor for success a colleague once shared with me — his ability to “bloom where he is planted.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad be fazed by anything. No matter how serious the situation, or how silly, he’s always met it with aplomb — quietly humble, competent and optimistic. His sense of humor and his unshakeable faith in God have a lot to do with that. It’s perhaps the thing I admire most about my dad, and the thing I most aspire to cultivate within myself.

So, on this Father’s Day I want to tell my dad thanks for the laughs. Thanks for your generous humor. And happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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