Dead Dad Club
Father's Day is always bittersweet for members of the Dead Dad Club.
The Dead Dad Club was formed after my friend lost his dad suddenly. And then my dad died kind of suddenly, too (well, suddenly to me), and when my friend found out, he said, “Welcome to the Dead Dad Club. Now I'm not the only one!”
Which sounds morbid, but it was actually kind of funny. At the time. Actually, in retrospect, it's still funny. To me.
So ever since, when one of my friends loses a dad, I make them a little membership card, and take them out for a drink to welcome them to the club.
They appreciate it. I'm pretty sure.
Anyway, even though I can laugh about being a member of the Dead Dad Club, that doesn't mean I don't think fondly about my dad…and quite often. Particularly in the morning as I watch MTV while I eat my oatmeal (I can't stand watching the news first thing in the morning, and for obvious reasons, I cannot watch Regis and Kelly, as it causes flashbacks I like to call “Gelmans's Wife Syndrome”).
Whenever I do this, it occurs to me how much my dad, like me, would have really, really liked Shakira.
Not just because Shakira is always gyrating around with diamonds pasted all over her naked back.
Well, yes, actually partly because of that.
Also of course because she's a brilliant songwriter and singer (and donates tons of money to Colombian orphanages, as I know from her Diary segment).
But, yeah, mostly because of that thing she can do with her stomach.
The truth is, even though my dad was a distinguished professor (check out this little article about him in the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Alumni Magazine. Scroll down to the bottom of page 34, entitled Princess Dad), he and I used to watch a lot of MTV together.
Not that he made a habit of this. But sometimes he'd come drifting into the room, and be all, “Who's that? Who's she? Why's she doing that?”
This wasn't any sort of father/daughter bonding thing that he was attempting. He genuinely wanted to know what the hell was wrong with Madonna (God only knows what he'd make of kabbalah. And Tom Cruise).
My dad loved pop culture possibly more than I did. His knowledge didn't run deep, but he knew who most of the major players in any celebrity scandal were. This is because he was one of the few people I knew who could simultaneously read a book, watch Entertainment Tonight, AND listen to a sporting event on the radio. ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
May I just mention that this use to drive me crazy? I would come into an empty room and find the radio on, and switch it off. And somewhere from within the house, I'd hear, “Hey! I was listening to that!”
Anyway, Dad would have loved Shakira. Not to mention Britney. Especially in her snake-handling days. I know he would have watched CHAOS, though he might have denied it later.
It's true my dad had a PhD and taught quantitative business analysis at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, where he was a department chair for many years.
It's true he worked daily on such complex problems as “a genetic algorithm for discriminant analysis 71-82” and “a branch and bound algorithm for solving separable convex integer programming problems,” and often wondered aloud how a child of his could flunk freshman Algebra, as I did…twice.
But the thing my dad would have liked most of all about the time we're living in? Britney. And Shakira. Without a doubt.
A fact which makes me wonder if I'm really adopted after all, as, of course, I've always assumed.