Since we’re closing in on Father’s Day, I’m dedicating this blog to all the Dad’s out there.
For my family, Father’s Day is spent as a weekend cottage getaway with my Dad, along with my brothers and their families. This year, because of my father’s deteriorating health, we’ll celebrate closer to home, but it will still be a celebration none the less.
Overall, I’d say dads get the press they deserve. I have noticed over the past few years, however, that dads (and men in general) are getting a bad rap in the media – specifically in advertising. Is it because most advertising agencies are controlled by jilted women who have it out for an ex? Maybe it’s payback for the ‘Mad Men’ years of male-dominated advertising. Or have we, as men, just quietly accepted the role of dumb, bumbling over-grown kids since its easier than challenging this type of stereotyping? Perhaps we really are bumbling idiots, at least some of the time, but any advertiser would be in deep trouble if they portrayed women the same way.
I mean, how well would this go over today?
You do have to admit though, that if your eyes were closed and you heard someone yell out ‘Watch this!‘, you’d know it was a man about to do something incredibly dangerous or stupid. It’ll also probably be something that you’d want to watch on You Tube.
I have a theory that men have a predisposition to take risks, not because we’re inherently stupid, but for the greater good of mankind. This probably stemmed from prehistoric times when the men had to figure out a way to track down, corner, kill, then bring home a 10 ton mammoth – that couldn’t have been easy.
“Okay, Grog – you go into that cave and get the mammoth good and mad. Throw stones at it and dance around. The rest of us will hide behind this huge bolder and wait until it chases you out.”
Side Note: Grog borrowed your wheel last spring and didn’t return it…
Chances were, if they had smart phones back then, the rest of the hunters would have dropped their spears and recorded the whole thing. It probably wouldn’t end well for Grog, but if he lived, he’d be the funniest guy in the tribe. You just know that as he crept up to the cave he’d yell out ‘Watch this!‘.
This probably also supports Darwin’s Theory of Evolution where only the smartest survive, or maybe it’s closer to Cliff Claven’s theory on brain cells:
“Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.
“In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.
In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”
Either way, it’s clearly part of the great circle of life.
Today, we don’t have mammoths or travel in herds, so we invent our own death-defying stunts to keep our survival skills honed. There is a statistical truth: Men and women are physiologically similar enough that we should have the same lifespan. Unfortunately, because men tend to do more ‘mammoth hunting’, we die younger, skewing the average. We don’t take the risks believing we’ll die, we take them to prove we can’t die. It just turns out badly sometimes.
I had my own sort of ‘mammoth’ experience once. I was tasked with a short list of items to get from the store. I had my kids with me, and as any parent knows, getting young children in and out of vehicles, into shopping carts, and navigating any store is considered a suicide mission. That sounded too much like a mammoth hunt to turn down, so off to one of those big-box stores we went.
The shopping itself was pretty uneventful, but as we were leaving, and heading across the parking lot, I heard a commotion between two people outside the front doors. Being the awesome, responsible father I was, I did my best to ignore the situation and continue on my way, with my little ones safely in tow. Suddenly, the commotion turned into a brawl, with one man running, and the other chasing him around the parking lot. The older man being chased was tackled on the hard pavement, his glasses flying off his face, and landed with a terrible thud. I could no longer ignore the situation.
Somewhere, across the parking lot I heard someone yell, ‘Someone help him!‘.
In my mind, I agreed, but I have 2 little kids with me, so they can find another sucker for this ‘mammoth’. I quickly scanned the lot. At any other time, this parking lot would be crammed with people coming and going from the store. Today? 2 people besides me – an elderly lady, and another woman on crutches…..great!
So, Grog went into ‘Mammoth Hunter’ mode – I grabbed the kids and placed them in a safe area by the shopping carts and handicapped parking spots, then ran into the ‘cave’ to help. The two men were again running around the parking lot, and there was a lot of confusion. I didn’t know what to do, so I yelled at them, ‘What’s going on here?‘.
The younger man replied, ‘I’m an undercover cop. This man is being arrested for shoplifting‘.
Now, anyone would agree that I believe in helping my fellow man, but I also believe that my blood was meant for the inside of my body and not the outside. I had no idea what weapons the thief may have had on him, and I have no formal training on tactical arrest maneuvers. I’m just a Dad….and what do Dads do when faced with chaotic situations? They yell.
I stood in front of the alleged thief, held out my hand towards him, and yelled at the top of my lungs, “SIT DOWN!“.
To my amazement, that is exactly what he did. The ‘perp’ was quickly arrested, and brought into the store. That was it. The mammoth was caught.
I turned to see my kids watching in complete amazement. I could almost feel the super-hero cape waving in the wind, and the national anthem playing in the background. My son looked at me like I just saved a bus full of orphans from a speeding train. What an awesome dad!
All the way home, my son couldn’t stop talking about how Dad helped to catch a criminal. My daughter asked if she could tell what happened to Mom.
‘Sure you can‘, I said, certain that this would win me some huge points in both the father and husband categories – this was almost on par with carrying in a leg of mammoth for dinner!
As we walked into the house, my kids ran ahead to gush about what an awesome Dad they had to my wife, who no doubt, was about to become weak in the knees at the virility and bravery of her great man.
‘Mom, Mom!‘ my daughter cried as she ran as fast as she could in to the kitchen. ‘You won’t believe what happened at the store!‘….here it comes – chin up, chest out, wait for the outpouring of adulation….’Dad left us standing in the parking lot!‘
And so it goes, doesn’t it? Hero to zero in seconds flat. The great mammoth hunter is brought down by bad press.
I think that’s our real problem. Men need a better public relations team. Instead of looking at our actions as fool-hardy or dangerous, we should be commended for bravery, for our innovation in uncovering and exposing potential dangers to others – even recording them, so that generations to come can watch You Tube to learn and be safe.
I say, let all Dads celebrate and embrace our inner Mammoth Hunter this Father’s Day. What a boring, sterile world it would be without us. Be brave and daring. Take risks. Challenge physics and common sense. We are men – this is what we were put on this earth for.
Just be sure to keep the videos rolling!
Happy Father’s Day, everyone.