It felt like my writing stalled recently. I spent most of a creatively dry November with no ideas for articles, submitting my resume for Counterintelligence jobs at the NSA (seriously, when I get bored, I apply for jobs I have no chance of obtaining). Then Thanksgiving came…
A 13 pound turkey I had brined for 2 days hit the smoker on November 21st at 10 am. We were celebrating Thanksgiving a day early so there wouldn’t be any friction between the ex and me about who would have Abby on the actual day. The holiday back and forth battle has been going strong since 2008 and frankly, I’d welcome a colonoscopy over future feuding. So Katie and I now celebrate all the big holidays early to avoid any further confrontations for the sake of the kiddo and our sanity.
I texted Abby earlier in the week and told her she was more than welcome to invite her boyfriend, Cam, for dinner that day. I wasn’t sure if he would come, as texts to my daughter are replied to as often as the NSA regarding my resume. In fact, I’d bet there is a higher likelihood that the dog would vocally express his love for me before Abby will respond to a text. But Cam did end up coming over.
We sat down together to dig in, but not before I said, “We’re not going to stand on ceremony,” a phrase frequently uttered by my father-in-law. After dinner, we all gathered around the old PS4 and played Little Big Planet 3. It was about 10 minutes in when Cam decided he was bored and started sabotaging the team by killing the rest of us. I quickly realized I didn’t like playing games with this kid and an overwhelming urge to kill him in real life took over me. But I referred myself to last month’s article and recited “I want Abby to be happy. This kid makes Abby happy.” until the urge to kill him subsided.
Later in the evening Abby mentioned all the driving Cam had been doing since getting his license two weeks earlier. Between picking Abby up at her mother’s house two towns over, not to mention the joyriding, Cam was filling his tank twice a week. I felt for the boy and decided, on the down low, to slip him $20 and tell him it was for gas. It’s something my father-in-law (The Rick) would do.
My father-in-law has, as long as I’ve known him, been an easygoing guy. He enjoys beer, football and is incredibly social…and I mean social to a fault. This guy will introduce himself to everyone. “Become the known” is one of his favorite mottos. From the coat checker to the damn performer, if given the opportunity, he will say hello and ask you your name. For the sake of discretion in today’s article, we’ll just call him “The Rick.” There are many Ricks, but none like him. I know this sounds like some introduction from The Big Lebowski and I’m describing The Dude, but the difference is that this is a real person.
It’s only in the last month I have found myself trying to follow the blueprint my father-in-law indirectly laid out for me. The man is a master at the “how to” on almost anything. He is the most even keel person I’ve ever known. These days, it seems to be one of the rarest commodities.
I have never seen The Rick lose his temper ever…except, ironically, Thanksgiving 2012 when his dog, Rowdy, jumped up on the dinner table and took a turkey leg. I thought it was hilarious until I saw The Rick’s face. I’m almost certain that dog would’ve ceased to exist if he wasn’t hosting family. But I don’t blame him for being upset. If it were my dog, he’d STILL be sleeping outside. In his defense though, in 2015, I farted and blamed Rowdy at a family function. I regret nothing as I do not like Rowdy, but I digress.
I’d bet it’s a strange view from the outside looking in at the dynamic of a father looking out for not only his daughter, but the boy said daughter likes. But I look at it as being part of an elite club. Not being the father of a daughter, but being a strong father-like figure to another man that may require a little bit of guidance and advice (when asked for it). THAT’S what makes this club elite in my opinion. I know there may come a day in the future when Abby will bring home the man she’s chosen to spend the rest of her life with and I hope to have this father-in-law skill as fine tuned as The Rick.
I find myself now asking WWTRD (What Would The Rick Do)? If this man, father of two daughters, doesn’t know, I know I’m fucked.