Monday, 30 April 2012

An Open Letter to the Coolest Dad in the World

Dear coolest dad in the world,
I watched a video posted to the internet, (with tears in my eyes no less) where you have somehow persuaded all of your offspring to sing Bohemian Rhapsody in four part harmony, even the little one, who scarcely can be expected to know the meaning of Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango, let alone pronounce it in song. This act of parenting has apparently earned you title of coolest dad in the world, which I am inclined to agree with.
My question to you sir, is how? How did you dodge the Bieb bullet? How come you are not whipping your hair back and forth to the strains of Willow Smith on HITZ FM? Are you some kind of Jedi, casting a mind trick on the unsuspecting young’uns?
Either way, you are doing something right that for whatever reason, I am not. I mean, I thought I was going to be cool dad, rocking out with the boy in the basement, me on guitar, him on drums. However, this dream has not yet come to fruition and I fear I am running out of time. He is at the very vulnerable age of ten, and my theory is any bad influences during these formative years could eventually lead to adult contemporary hell.
I’ve tried to bring him up right, really I have. We went to a Dave Matthews concert whilst he was in the womb, and took him to see Ben Harper and Jack Johnson when he was not yet three. There are all kinds of cool cds in the house from Miles Davis to Radiohead. I put Coldplay on his Ipod and gave him Journey’s Greatest Hits for his birthday. I even made him watch the Blues Brothers. That was all undone in one fell swoop though when some twit gave him the Mini-Pops 8 CD.        
If you have yet to hear the classic lyrical musings from Ke$ha, here is a sample…
“I'm talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys tryin' to touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk”
You see what I am dealing with here? How can I compete with crunk crunk, which by the way, I think means either crazy drunk, or is code for let the preteen uprising begin. Or maybe boys really are just trying to touch her junk, junk. Either way, it’s an undesirable lyric to have stuck in your head at 7:30 am, when one is trying to focus on board meetings and such.
Alas, maybe the boy will turn out all right after all. I harken back to my days as a lad in fourth grade and remember my first album. It was Cruising by the Village People, followed by ABBA’s Super Trouper and a K-Tell disco compilation. Come to think of it, at that time I was as dangerously close to being lost forever as when I bought the 45 for “Turning Japanese” by the Vapours.
Enter my big sister. It was 1979, height of the disco craze and I was in grade five. We each had a gift certificate for Sam the Record Man and we worked it that if we pooled them together, we could get a double album. That record was the Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks and it probably saved my life. How else can you move on from a 45 record collection that included “Ah Shaddup You Face and “The Gambler”, but to crush it with the power of the Stones. I think fifth grade was an appropriate time to sell your soul and pledge allegiance to the prince of darkness. (This just means you had to buy at least one Black Sabbath album and possibly Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast" if you were a bit more hard-core). Blizzard of Ozz didn’t hurt either if you were going for the full metal-head thing. Those in the know switched allegiances from ABBA to ACDC in a heartbeat. Remember those black and white, ¾ length sleeved rock and roll shirts? Joey Baker distinguished himself by having enough of those to carry himself through at least 12 straight school days without having to repeat a band.
Things were mostly clear sailing for me during the next few years, except for a minor blip in ’81 when I bought the 45 of Loverboy’s  “Turn Me Loose”, and harboured an unnatural fascination for Billy Idol in ’84, but I came out the other side okay. I suppose I should have more faith in the boy. He did do me proud in the grocery store one day. We were sorting through produce and Neil Young came on the overhead music system. It was an obscure song, but he recognized the voice and without looking up, simply said, “Neil”.
That’s not the same as the having the full family orchestration of Bohemian Rhapsody, but it’s enough to give me hope. Anyway, kudos to you, Coolest Dad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to force the boy to sit still and watch The Last Waltz with me.

Your homework if you choose to accept it…the coolest dad in action.

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