In honor of the holiday season, I wanted to do some reflecting on family and the memories I’ve compiled over the years. For some reason, the concept of “dad jokes” kept popping into my mind.
Looking back, I don’t recall my dad making too many of these charmingly awkward quips. It didn’t seem to be his thing. I realized, however, that in lieu of dad jokes were an abundance of hyper-quotable sayings I’ll call dad quotes instead. They are charming in their own way.
The first few naturally occurred when I first learned about the pains of socializing. Just starting kindergarten, I told my parents about a friend who maybe wasn’t the nicest. I was obviously distraught about the whole situation. My dad’s response?
“Find new friends.”
I was struck by how implausible, dull, and frankly wrong this advice sounded.
Fast-forward a few years, and I’m maybe in middle school. Despite improving hand-eye coordination, my body still moves way too fast for my brain. I dropped a nice mug in the kitchen and broke it. After my mom talked to me about being careful, my dad chimed in with another dad quote: “Don’t drop things.” Exceptionally detailed advice.
Perhaps my most memorable dad quote of all came when I was in college. In my first year, we all had roommates in a single room. My roommate and I got along fine, but I woke up early most mornings for water polo practices while she was a night owl.
I was exhausted — I was and still am an incredibly light sleeper. Perhaps most crippling about the situation was a trait I inherited straight from my father:zero desire for any confrontation under any circumstances.
Naturally, I wrote him an extremely long, detailed email about my sleep schedule, why it was bad for me, and why it needed to stop.
“Did you know,” I asked him, “that poor sleep can lead to weight loss, weight gain, and declining athletic performance? Academic performance? I’m going to die!”
His response email, quoted without permission in full:
I must have spent 15 minutes staring at that three-word email.
The other day, my wife couldn’t find her keys and was running late to a doctor’s appointment. Flabbergasted, she said to me, “I’m always late! It’s so frustrating!”
So I said to her, “Leave earlier.”
Happy holidays to all, but particularly my parents, who provided infinite quotes, if not dad jokes.