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Modern Dad

It takes planning and thought to be a MODERN dad

By Jon Show. This summer I realized I’ve officially morphed into a Dad. Not a parent, mind you. I’ve been one of those since Future Man was born. Being a Dad goes beyond just raising a child. It’s a lifestyle. An adherence to a set of guiding principles and behaviors that has been passed down since the dawn of time like the oral traditions of our forefathers.

What guiding principles and behaviors am I talking about? Glad you asked …

Embarrassing the children

It’s really surprising to me just how much I love embarrassing my kids. Like finger licking love. Like Christmas morning as a child love. I’ll drive down the road and see my kids with groups of other kids three blocks away, and the excitement and joy of embarrassing them will permeate my body until I feel it at the tips of my fingers and toes. Sometimes I just take off my shirt and drive by and wave. Sometimes I stick half of my body out of the car and shout, “What up bros,” in the most dorky voice imaginable.

Their embarrassment fills my soul.

Caring for the lawn

Like many Dads, I do my own lawn. Which is why it dies every summer. My yard currently looks like someone poured nuclear waste all over. But this week I’ll ban the children from the turf and mark the sprinklers, dethatch bare spots, aerate, top dress and over seed. I will work nonstop for the next six weeks redressing and reseeding my yard until it possesses a deep, lush green normally only associated with landscaping marvels like the Gardens of Versailles. It will provide me with a level of pride that should necessitate professional therapy.

Hanging out in the garage

I have no idea why I spend so much time in the garage but it’s where I go when I don’t have anything else to do. Sometimes I clean it. Sometimes I reorganize it. Sometimes I screw things into the walls and hang things. Sometimes I just stand in the middle of it and do nothing.

Last week – with nothing left to clean or hang – I pulled my camping chair from a shelf, opened the garage door and proceeded to sit down, drink a beer and play catch with the dog. When the dog got tired I grabbed my Red Rider BB Gun, another beer, put the empty beer can on the wall across the street and had target practice. When I ran out of BBs I turned the chair around and watched football on the garage television that’s hung over the beer fridge.

Overengineering everything

I love watching my kids play sports and while I won’t say I’ve perfected the art of it, I think I’m pretty close. I have a camping chair with hydraulic rockers. For sustenance during games I have a small cooler in which I pack a mason jar of Arnold Palmer, a turkey sandwich, fruit and sunflower seeds.

This fall, after standing on a field all weekend in 90-plus-degree weather, I made a joking comment to another Dad about buying a portable air conditioner. Later that night he sent me a DIY YouTube link. Fast forward two days and one trip to Home Depot and now I have a portable air conditioning unit made from a battery powered fan, PVC and a five gallon bucket filled with ice.

Washing the car

I drove a 1998 Honda Accord until the end of the second Obama administration. It was silver – a color I decided upon because I knew I would never have to wash it. In 17 years of car ownership I probably washed that car 15 times. Four years ago I bought a black car and I was terrified at the thought of having to wash it all the time.

But….you know? You know what? I don’t mind washing the car one bit? I actually enjoy it. Once a week I tell the sassy Garage Alexa to fire up some live Avett Brothers at volume nine, grab my car wash bucket, soap and sponge and scrub her down until she shines like the day I brought her home (the car not Alexa). I even give her tires a spritz so they have that extra sheen that leads people to say me, “She’s four years old? She looks brand new.” I would rather be complimented about the cleanliness of my car than the cleanliness of my children.

Annoying the wife

I love gently annoying my wife – for example she hates when I assign the female gender to my car. I don’t do mean things to annoy her. Just little things that I know mildly irk her for reasons I perceive as invalid. She has asked me I don’t know how many times to stop slapping her in the butt when she bends over to pick something up. I will never stop. When I make the bed she constantly reminds me that the pillows don’t go that way because she actually thinks I don’t know which way they go. Trust me when I say there are many more examples I could provide but I want to keep her on her toes.

I know I’m only touching on the very tip of #DadLife and I’m acutely aware that I need to work long and hard to perfect my craft – dad jokes and cargo shorts are on the short list. In the meantime, if you need me I’ll be in the garage trying to figure out how to hang every storage item we own from the walls and ceiling.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.