Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or on a Scientology retreat, you’ve probably heard about the Twitter site Shit My Dad Says. Or maybe you’ve been assaulted by William Shatner’s face on your morning commute like I have. Either way, there’s no way avoiding this blog-to-book-to-TV-show marketing showboat. While people like to think that kid’s say ridiculous and naive things, it often from the mouths of our own parents, where quotable insights are born. Justin Halpern’s father’s foul-mouthed musings are obviously the stuff of greatness, but the TV show looks like a train wreck. It’s the crudeness and honesty of his statements that make the site so popular, but after being put through the CBS feel-good filters, the show is nothing more than Shatner’s priceline delivery and a family-friendly sitcom. So while I won’t be tuning in, I still would like to celebrate the unique prospective that only seasoned fathers can bring to the table with a little sampling of my own father’s insights.
Out Of Touch Pop Culture References
Some parents like to pretend they’re “hip” to what the kids are listening to, but I think my father stopped caring after 1995. After hearing about the “hot new rap duo, Insane Clown Posse”, he fixated on the band and constantly uses them as a frame of reference when any talk of music or concerts comes up. He doesn’t know anything about juggalos, and probably thinks that Tila Tequila is some kind of imported liqueur, but years later, the ICP is still considered a euphemism for the entirety of youth culture. Anytime I mention I’m going to a show, or going to interview a band, it’s always, “oh is it that Insane Clown people again?”
Predicting “Underground” Culture Trends
Granted I live in Brooklyn, which is notoriously known for worshiping relics of the past (i.e old-timey mustaches and home canning) but according to my father all the cool kid’s will be doing the Lindy Hop as part of an “underground movement”. After taking some dance classes and learning the Lindy Hop (named after Charles Lindbergh’s crossing of the Atlantic) he was convinced that intricately coordinated dance routines were the wave of the future in “all the clubs”. Swing dancing hasn’t been in vogue since I was High School and the Clueless soundtrack featured the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but hey, if urban chicken coops and beekeeping can come back in style, so can 1920′s dance moves.
It’s almost a rite of passage as a parent to be blissfully unaware of fashion trends. With the exception of tattooed hipster parents dressing their kids up in pint-sized Def Leppard t-shirts, most baby boomers have eased comfortably into their Eddie Bauer or Tommy Bahama phase. In addition to their own sartorial aloofness, the same can be said when it comes to guessing what their kids like to wear. The last time I went to visit my Dad he warned me to “leave my Lenny Kravtiz t-shirts and cut-off shorts at home”. How he knew exactly what my daily uniform was, is anyone’s guess. To my knowledge, I have never owned or supported the musical output of said Lenny Kravtiz in my entire lifetime. I think I may have even stopped seeing someone because they put that “I Belong to You” garbage on a mix cd for me once. Unlike Boys to Men or Jodeci, a Lenny Kravtiz t-shirt is not something you can wear ironically or unironically if you don’t like getting your ass kicked on a regular basis.
Perhaps it is the striking resemblance he bears to Larry David that allows such gems to come out of my father’s mouth, whatever the case is, I’d like to give props to all the pops out there who continue to keep it real.