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Father’s Day

Given the choice between calling up their dads to wish them a happy Father’s Day, and carrying a handbag for the next two weeks, most men would find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. I bet I am not the only man out there who has no idea how Father’s Day should be celebrated. This has got to be the most confusing celebration for the men.

You see, African fathers are not like what we see on TV. Well at least mine wasn’t. My dad never sat with me over a cup of tea and offered dating advice (I could have used some of that by the way – dating advice, not the cup of tea). He would never wink at me and give me a thumbs up whenever he spotted me with the neighborhood hottie. He could never explain to me what the Trust Condom advert was all about. We never had that father-son talk that initiates a boy to manhood. My dad was all about action, talking was a waste of time.

As far as I can remember, my father has always had a stern look. He did not LOL at silly jokes. He did not grin sheepishly. He always wore a tough face that would have scared away a kitten. At some point when I was a kid I thought he could read my mind because every time I thought of something naughty, like biting the buttons off the remote, I would be met by a grim, set look. A look that said, I know what you’re thinking boy and you better erase that thought or I will smack you into the future.

At home, it was either my father’s way or… well… my father’s way. If you didn’t agree with him you always had the option of showing yourself out of his house. If he was against something I wouldn’t even bother trying to change his mind. I would never sweet talk him into seeing my point of view. If I wanted to go for a night out and he said no, his word was final. There was no way I would sit around and try to make him understand that we were all a bunch of nice, virgin boys who would never engage in anything naughty.

Like I said, my dad was all about action. Whenever I messed up he would take off his belt and flog the crap out of me. In fact, he would whip me first for messing up, then again for crying! I don’t know if I sounded like a wounded hyena when I cried, or he simply expected to be a man about it and say, “thanks a lot for the lashing dad. I deeply appreciate it.” That’s a puzzle that will always remain unsolved. All I know is that my dad’s belt was more devastating than Thor’s hammer.

There’s a time I broke the coffee table and my dad noticed when he came home from work. I was in the shower when he asked and I heard my sister selling me out (It was every man for himself in that house). That is the longest shower I have ever taken. If my skin didn’t become lighter that day then it never will (I am quite dark by the way). There’s no feeling as dreadful as expecting an ass-whooping. That anxiety is insufferable. It’s actually worse than the actual ass-whooping. Of course when I got out he was awaiting me with a belt in hand. The three pairs of underwear that I wore were not of much help.

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” – Charles Wadsworth

I don’t have a son yet but I know that all the lashing was for my own good. I might not have turned out to be an angel but I guess I turned out okay. I did folks. I mean I am law-abiding, I am honest, I am… ummm… ok I can’t think of anything else but you get the point. I blame my friends for whichever blemishes I possess; and their dads for not being as tough as mine.

But I now understand why my dad had to be a dictator. There was nothing new I would have told him. He’s been there and done all that. He probably knew what lie I was going to tell even before I opened my mouth. And his sharp eyes made the situation even worse. The stare made me so nervous I would get mixed up in my lies. Case in point:

“Joel! Who broke the window?” Dad exclaims.

It was always Joel despite the fact that I have three other siblings.

“What? Which window? Oh that one. I was actually wondering where the cold breeze was coming from.”

He gives me the stare…

“I swear I don’t know who broke it…. Eerrr… it looks like a tennis ball went through it, right?  I don’t own a tennis ball.”

The stare starts piercing… and I start trembling.

“Umm… if you saw a tennis ball at the parking… it’s not mine… it’s probably the neighbor’s.”

Dad takes off his belt.

Apart from whooping my behind, my old man was also very intellectual. All through primary school, before learning about Albert Einstein, I thought my dad was the smartest man to ever grace the face of the earth. There’s no math problem that my dad couldn’t solve. When it came to English, he was my talking dictionary. My dad knew it all. I would always complete my homework and at times I would be the only pupil with the correct solution to a math problem. Of course I never gave the credit to my genius dad… I was tiny so that’s the only way I would attention from the girls.

I sometimes sit and wonder how I would fare as a father. For one, I would make sure my son is no sissy. I could teach him how to throw a decent punch, and I would probably high-five him if he beat up the neighbor’s plump kid. Like my dad, I would beat him senseless if he grows a big head. I’d get him on a dhow and send him over to Somalia if he came home with a Mohawk on his head. The daughters would always be my little angels. Any punk who came to pick up my daughter would be treated like an enemy of the state. I will grab the guy, tie him up on a chair and torture him.

Anyway, I haven’t called my dad today. I cannot call him up to wish him a happy Father’s Day; he’ll think I’m dying. I guess this is one of those occasions when it’s applicable to say that you cannot set apart one day to celebrate someone so significant (that’s the excuse broke people use on Valentine’s Day). All I can say is, long live my paps.

Any interesting daddy stories out there? Feel free to share.

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Categories: People
  1. thatguy
    June 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    thanks a lot for the lashing dad, much appreciated……….funny man! dude you can never get any lighter, that ship has sailed even bleaching wont help you.

    daughters will be protected like the angels they are!

    • June 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

      About getting light, I accepted myself just the way I am.

  2. June 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    LOL ! You have cracked me up ati if you called your dad to wish him a happy father’s day,he would think you were dying ha ha ha

    Nice one!

    • June 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

      True story. He’d be like, “See you on the other side son.”

  3. Sarah.
    June 19, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Most African dads are dictators no matter what part of Africa. No wonder our presidents do the same & get away with it.
    As for getting lighter, I know of this Sudanese person who bleached herself then would convince the new people off the ship that the light skin was a result of years spend in the harsh Canadian winter 🙂 Maybe you need to move to Iceland instead of extended showers? lol good post.

    • Sarah.
      June 19, 2012 at 2:06 am

      *Spent*

      • June 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

        It’s acceptable to be a dictator if you know better (applicable for dads not presidents). My Sudanese brothers are on their own level!

  4. June 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

    *Grins* This is hilarious…I have way too many father stories to fit in here but the one this I will forever be grateful to my dad for was that he taught me to be an individual first. I never felt that I was different ’cause I’m a girl (my brother was expected to clean up after himself and they’d be war if we were seen doing his laundry, dishes or house chores). He never frowned at my playing street footie with the neighbourhood kids (but I did get several beatings for breaking enough windows). And when I wanted something that was the in-thing, he’d question me over and over about why I really wanted it. He never wanted me to just follow or do stuff just ’cause everyone else was doing it…he’d roar “Think! Think! Think!” and I really hated it. But then I went to college and for the first time I truly understood & appreciated what he meant…

    So he’s to awesome dads. Cheers

    • June 21, 2012 at 10:08 am

      “Think! Think! Think!” I can almost here that roar in my head! I’d hate it too. It’s interesting how we get the point much later on.

      • June 25, 2012 at 11:58 am

        🙂 Picture yourself trying to come up with a more intelligent answer than, “Dad, the hightops are really cool.” Worse, try to counter his ‘the price-of-the-sneakers-worth-02-sensible-shoes’ arguement…and yet we love them

  5. no 1 fan
    June 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    this was an awesome read…………..i too let fathers day slip..not coz i wasnt thinking of the man who terrified all men in o town but coz i dnt know wat to tell him…..first time i hugged the poor man he stood in shock like a tree!! i gave up

  6. June 29, 2012 at 5:47 am

    i never got any beating from dad from my mother yes..for my dad i was am the most understanding responsible one but i couldn’t wish him happy fathers day ;D it was like look what stupid people are celebrating !

  7. July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    fathers day and my dad’s birthday are always marked on my calender…thankfully he never ever shouted or raised his voice at anyone. he just calmly passed his point- just in case you take his kindness for weakness.

  8. Linda
    August 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I know am very late with this but if you still have a dad…treasure them and tell them! I wish my dad was still alive 😦 We always bought him a card for Father’s Day(which was a big deal to us because we never knew how to verbally tell him Happy Father’s Day…lol). My dad was the best there ever was and the best there ever will be. I wish he was here today. God knows how many times I have begged to see him just one more time. He was my friend and confidante, and he kept the boys away which I thought was so soooooo cool 🙂 He taught me organization, sacrifice and humor!! I am yet to meet a guy who has half the qualities my dad had!!! A toast to all responsible Dads! 🙂

  9. Liberty
    August 21, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Dude you had me in stitches LITERALLY:):) That phrase about your dad smacking you into the future just killed it for me hehehe:) Totally loved the sarcasm!!!!

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