Growing Up With The World’s Funniest Dad
as in funny ha-ha
Although it’s not official, that’s the title I’ve bestowed upon my dad, and one that is surely deserved, because he was the epitome of comedic genius. Ever the consummate raconteur, he also could spew forth one-liners and parodies that would rival any professional stand-up comedian worth his salt. I always felt he had missed his calling. No doubt with the right break, he would have killed audiences, as they would die laughing over his quick wit, one-liners, and delivery of his own brand of sick humor. But if I had to compare him to anyone, I would say he’s a good combination of George Carlin’s wry observations and stinging deliveries, Eddie Murphy’s talent for dead-on impressions, the outrageous gesticulations of Steve Martin, and the down-and-dirty raunchy insults of Andrew Dice Clay. Just imagine the foregoing heavily laced with my dad’s own gift for originality, and you have a better idea of the man and the madness.
When he was in a good mood, and entertaining family or simply showing off for friends, he couldn’t help but crack some good jokes or keep us in stitches over his physical antics. But never was he funnier than when he was pissed off and/or riled up, which admittedly didn't take much, and was the case more often than not. Talk about a walking dichotomy, he could go from being the happy-go-lucky guy, to being a total ogre in no time flat, all while uttering gross obscenities and insults that would make the saltiest of sailors blush with embarrassment. Too bad I can’t post them here, but I will share some of the more printable anecdotes. For instance, I must have been no more than 9 or 10 years old when he told me that I “didn’t have the brains God stuffed up a billy goat’s butt”. Of course, I countered him with, “but Dad, God never stuffed brains up any billy goat’s butt, at least not to my knowledge”, to which he would reply “my point exactly, now you’re catching on”. And to think he was just getting warmed up!
Once a couple of my 8 and 9 year old male cousins had come by to visit, and my dad told them he only had one candy bar to give them. Suddenly, he proposed what he thought was great idea – whoever could be the first to cut a fart, including himself, would be the winner of the candy bar. Mind you, he already had an unfair advantage, as his farts were LEGENDARY! Talk about cutting the righteous cheese! But I digress.
He then told my cousins, “now, at the count of three, go!”, and proceeded to grunt and squeeze until finally, he managed to squeak one out, no bigger than a “phwitt”, but you should have seen the exuberant and triumphant look on his face as he jumped up and down, and declared himself the clear winner of the fart contest. (Don’t worry, he ended up splitting the candy bar, and giving half to each boy, but I’d bet they never looked at a Baby Ruth quite the same way again!)
Then there was the time my sister had made stovetop popcorn, the old-fashioned way, and allowed a couple wayward kernels to fall on the floor. So here comes my dad, no doubt salivating over the smell of fresh buttered popcorn, and couldn’t wait to get his hands in the bowl. Only problem, he was barefoot, and sure enough, not only stepped on a hot kernel, but caught it between his sizable toes, proceeded to let out a shriek, and did a wild dance, both of which would top the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown, any day of the week. Uproarious as my descriptions may seem, one cannot fully appreciate just how side-splittingly slapstick this man could be without witnessing it firsthand, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
But the topper of all the toppers had to be when I was giving birth to my son, and my step mom had accompanied me to the hospital in the middle of the night. Five hours later, I had made my dad a grandpa for the fourth time (first time through me). You’d think the man would be elated. But no, according the accounts told to me later by my anxious family waiting at home for the news of my son’s entry into the world, instead he was a nervous wreck, which was only exacerbated by the sight of my step mom’s crying when she came in the front door. My dad asked her “what’s the matter?”, and with her hands up to her face, she replied with a muffled “I don’t know”. Well, par for the course, Dad misheard what my step mom had said, and replied “What, no nose?! My new grandson has NO NOSE?! You mean to tell me I’m going to have to pay $5000 for the doctors to take a chunk out of the baby’s ass, just so he can have a nose? Are you kidding me?” Meanwhile, my 3 year old nephew was crying, because his mother had told him he couldn’t have ice cream for breakfast. So my dad turns to my sister, and says “and what’s up with him?”, to which my sister explains “oh, don’t mind him, his nose is bent out of shape because I told him he can’t have ice cream for breakfast.” Leave it to my dad to respond with “Great, I have two grandsons, and both of them have something wrong with their nose!” Now, imagine him at this point, walking around in circles, his hands at either sides of his head, then alternately bringing them down, as in a pleading motion, repeatedly, and you start to see just how insanely funny the man could be, especially when he was under duress.
I could go on and on, but for brevity’s sake, I will leave you with this lovely visual: a six foot tall, well over 200 pound hulk of a man, squatting down on all fours, and mimicking a baboon’s movements, knuckles on the floor, one arm crossed over the other, complete with facial expressions and vocalizations, then performing slow-motion somersaults, both forwards and backwards, just to keep us kids entertained. Which, by the way, worked very well indeed. ‘Tis a pity you weren’t there to witness it yourselves. No doubt you would have rolled on the floor, laughed hysterically, and ended up peeing your pants along with us.
**UPDATE: My dear father has since passed on, his job complete here on Earth, and is no doubt spending eternity making God laugh. RIP, Dad!