PARADE was going to use this space to write something sentimental about his dad to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, but has changed his mind at the last minute.
Instead of writing about soppy life lessons and maudlin messages, Parade is instead going to mention a few of the quirkier – but just as important – things he has learnt from his dad over the years.
First: how to take a rugby league tackle.
If you get your face rubbed in the dirt by the defender, don’t whinge. If you get held down for longer than is necessary by the defender, don’t whinge. If the defender uses your face to take their weight while they ease themselves to their feet, don’t whinge.
And if the defender is your dad, you’re a rake-thin 10-year-old and the field is your backyard, you still don’t get to whinge. But you can have a quiet word to your mother afterwards.
Second: a car is a tool, not a status symbol.
Parade’s dad’s cars have always aged in dog years: generally clean and tidy in the first year; a bit battered and bruised in the second year; missing a door and half the paint in the third year.
It’s because Parade’s dad sees his car in the same way as he sees his ladder, his suitcase or his kettle. It is there to perform a job. It doesn’t define him or reflect his success or his standing as a person.
As a bonus, if you follow this philosophy it means you are highly unlikely to ever have your vehicle stolen.
Third: if you’ve got something difficult to do, just do it.
As a child, Parade saw entire weekends – sometimes entire weeks – swallowed up as his dad embarked on ambitious projects that, once he began, he simply was incapable of stopping.
Painting the verandah. Landscaping the backyard. Parade’s dad would only stop to sleep or eat (sometimes only eat) while the job remained incomplete. And once it was done, he generally never wanted to talk about it again.
And finally, but most importantly: you don’t have to shave when you’re on holidays.
When Parade’s dad took the family to the coast, he left smooth-cheeked and returned as Grizzly Adams. Every single time.
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