The Man.

One time, a few years ago, I was working at an archaeological excavation in downtown LA and went to visit my dad at his office on my lunch break.  As we were walking down a hallway, I was thinking only of marching my filthy ass into a bathroom to wash my hands/face, when suddenly a young man in a sharp suit peeked his head out of an office door.  All I could think about were the flecks of dirt on my eyelashes and how disgusting I was and how I really didn’t want to be introduced, when he said, “This guy,” gesturing toward my dad, “this guy is THE MAN!”  After some small talk revealed that “The Man” was my father, The Suit said again, “This guy, your dad, is THE MAN!”

And my dad, the humble civil servant, loved it.  LOVED it.  It was amazing.

This is an exchange that stuck with me, despite the fact that it was less than thirty seconds long, because my dad is, in his professional life, pretty impressive.  Despite my very real desire to list out his accomplishments in a vain effort to make myself look better, he really doesn’t deserve that.  Let’s suffice to say that he works really hard at his job and and is love with Los Angeles and is occasionally in the paper, and that these articles are still lovingly clipped out of the LA Times by his mother and sent to him in the mail.  At work, he is, apparently, The Man.

At home, however, he’s my dad, the guy who uses mustard as salad dressing and drinks Cherry Coke Zero (after giving up real Coke years ago) and owns thousands of books on Abraham Lincoln and wears socks with sandals and loves trying new beers and says things like “tempaTUR” because his Texan father used to.

I don’t think of him as The Man – which is probably equal parts 1) because I’ve seen him dip French fries into vanilla milkshakes and 2) because I don’t want him to promote me, like I’m assuming The Suit did.  However, occasionally, my father, The Man, really delivers, in a way only The Man could.

Take for, instance, Saturday night, when The Man took my husband and me and my brother The Middle Child and TMC’s fabulous girlfriend to a Dodger game.  My dad is sometimes offered the use of his coworker’s season seats, which makes him The Man because the seats are free.  When he invites my brothers and my husband and me, The Man will palm us money after we’ve entered the stadium, so that we can splurge on large, ten dollar cups of Sam Adams and soft pretzels.  (Gross.)

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Then, after the game, which usually ends well, like Saturday when the Dodgers beat the Marlins 7 to 1, The Man will ask us if we want to see LA from the top of City Hall, and then we’ll do that.  We’ll take four elevators and one skybridge and find ourselves looking over downtown from 28 stories up.

My father, The Man, will tell us all about the history of the buildings around us and we’ll locate the spot where I once worked digging up a cemetery.  Telling this story will make me feel like The Man for a second, before I realize that I don’t do that cool stuff anymore.

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My husband and I will try to take a good picture of the two of us, and fail once

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and then twice

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and then I’ll give up and make an insane, full-Wallace-and-Gromit face, and then the camera will steady itself and finally work.  Of course.

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When we’re done at the top of City Hall, we’ll check out of the empty, dark, gorgeous first floor

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“The masters of education hold in their hands the future of the world.” Hey, thanks, ceiling!

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and head home, taking the long way down Sunset Boulevard to the freeway, allowing my dad to revel in being The Man for a few more minutes.

My dad’s the man, man.

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16 thoughts on “The Man.

  1. Should have saved this one for dad’s day next month. I know many men just like your dad, including my own. It’s always great to hear other people say what we already know…that our dad’s rock at what they do. I work with a lot of the St. Louis City prosecutors. I love those peeps and almost applied to work there but they make less than a police officer so I couldn’t do it. Can you believe that?? Anyway, a couple of the older guys over there are awesome, probably a lot like your old man.

    • I definitely thought about saving it, but I don’t have the patience to wait a month. I could barely wait to schedule it to post ten hours after I wrote it.

      Several years ago, my dad worked in private practice for a little while and I thought it might be fun to check out his profile on the firm website. It was then, as an adult spying on him online, that I learned how hugely accomplished he is – he never talks about it. He is a badass and only lets on when we razz him about newspaper articles.

    • Oh, I know I should have saved it until Father’s Day, but I don’t have the patience for that. I could barely wait the ten hours between when I wrote it and when I scheduled it to post.

      A few years ago, my dad worked in private practice for a while, and I thought it might be fun to check out his profile on the firm’s website. Only then, as an adult spying on him online, did I realize the full extent of his badass-ery. He has done so many amazing things, like starting whole departments and winning all kinds of awards. He did not ever say a thing about it to any of us.

      I’m happy that your dad is also so kickass. Everyone should have a dad so awesome.

      St. Louis prosecutors make less than police officers? I either need to become a police officer in St. Louis, or figure out why our police officers don’t make enough.

    • OH, HAHAHAHAHA. My damn phone made me think I lost my first reply, so I wanted until my lunch break to reply to you on a computer and only just now noticed that I’d already responded.

      HAHAHAHA. I hate technology.

      (I’m impressed by how word-for-word the replies are.)

  2. Mustard on salad? gross. Fries dipped in milkshakes? Under-appreciated delicacy. Your dad sounds like a pretty cool dude! You guys seem to be living exciting lives in LA.

    • Oh, I know. Fries in shakes are incredible. See also: Ruffles INSIDE a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread. Amazing.

      I’m glad I was able to trick you into thinking that I have an exciting life here. Mr. Don of All Trades thought I should have kept this for Father’s Day. What he doesn’t realize is that this weekend was the first time in months that I’ve done anything awesome and I needed to share it immediately. 🙂

      • OH GOSH. Chips on sandwiches are amazing. Doritos are even better, if you feel like a little flava flav.

        I wrote about a no-chip manicure today (for tomorrow) because I finally got one thanks to your post awhile ago. The results were good and bad.

      • Yes, I do both love and hate it. I should have known better. I’m not cool enough to pull something like the no-chip manicure off.

      • The worst is realizing that it legit will not come off – without salon intervention or a cumulative hour of at-home acetone soaking. At least it looks pretty, right?

  3. I had a similar experience once when I joined my dad’s crossfit gym (he looks better now than he did at age 25, the punk). My new trainer told me “Don’t tell your dad I said this, but I honestly hope I am anywhere close to as awesome as he is when I’m his age. He always talks about how great his family is, I know he owns his own business, and he kicks my ass in workouts!” I smiled, went home, and OF COURSE promptly relayed the compliment to my dad. Who brushed it off. Whatta guy.

    • Yes! I think my dad’s awesomeness is made exponentially more impressive by the fact that he never talks about how his hard work has translated into success. Ever.

      I did not get the Humble gene from him. If I manage to vacuum my house, I tell everyone I know.

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