I have always wanted a motorcycle but no female in my life that I am beholden to will let me get one.
I have visions of myself cruising down some straight and narrow road, wind cascading off of my perfectly round nogin, chicks in convertables winking at me as I pass them. That was the dream when I turned 16. I would have a motorcycle and I would speak of engine power in the terms of "CC"s even though I have no idea what that means.
I would most likely be riding with my shirt off and only wearing some cool leather vest. It would have a viper on the back, possibly a dragon. I'm sure that whatever it would be, there would be flames coming off it. I would get home from a long day of riding my "hog" and would crash until the next dawn and my wild adventures would continue. Feel free to add you own theme music here, Malboro Man.
Instead my parents got me the Blue Cow. A 1980 extended bed pick up that you would have to pray to god that it would make it up the next hill.
My mom shot down my idea for a motorcycle. She would have none of it. Of course she wouldn't let her precious son go galivanting around on a death machine, how dare I even bring up the subject. "What are you" she would exclaim, "Some sort of hooligan?!".
"No ma'am" I'd answer as my head cascaded down.
But I could see the look in my dad's eyes. He wanted me to have that motorcycle as bad as I wanted it. Softly, so mom couldn't hear, he told me that he once had a motorcycle and it was great. I listened as the respect for my father went through the roof. Before he was just the guy that gave me licks. Now however he had a cool edge to him. A rebel that still lurked underneath the cloak of respectability.
He could understand the need for a motorcycle like only dads can. Not the bike in and of itself, but the need for something that is slightly less than safe but a hell of alot of fun. These are Dads. Take a good look, they ain't much different from me and you. They understand on a level that moms don't that sometimes you gotta do it just because it will be fun.
This is not to say that they don't care about safety, they do. But they are also a tad bit more realistic than moms are when it comes to phsyical safety. Moms tend to get a bit overprotective about thier little babies. They tend to poo-pah anything that could remotely cause any physical pain what so ever. It's in there nature. Ah, but Dad, he knows my friends, he knows.
A quick show of hands out there. Who was the very first person to take you to get your very own fire works? I'm guessing that only a very few of you are saying your mom. That's right, this is a Dad job. Because Dad can understand the desire, no the pure physical need to blow the crap out of an anthill.
And while you are doing it you may think you are alone but you are not. Your Dad is hiding somewhere watching you light that string of fire crackers and rooting you on. He won't ever admit it but he's thinking how great that is because we all damn well know that if he could get away with it, he would be right there with you.
He gives you the safety speech, tells you to be very careful, then gives you matches. Wet blanket mom would call the cops on you and try to "scare your straight" as she is sure that you are now going to turn into an arsonist. Your dad has visions of you being the greatest pest control guy ever.
My first BB gun was from my Dad. My first Pellet gun was from my Dad. My first hunting knife was from my Dad. You may be getting the impression that my family and I like to hunt. Not even close. I went hunting only once in my entire life, when I was 6, I hated it. I haven't been since.
But Dad understands how cool and great it is to shoot shit. He understands that in your mind you are Butch Cassady and all he wants is to be your Sundance Kid. He will show you how to load it, how to put the saftey on, and how to give your very own Clint Eastwood sneer. He will tell you "Little Hossman, the buzzards gotta eat the same as worms." You have no idea what that means but it is one hell of a cool catch phrase right before you knock down those coke bottles. He KNOWS this and he LETS you do it.
He can understand that you are not made out of glass and that perhaps, sometimes, when mom is not looking, maybe you can have a little danger in your life.
He will tell you the truth of the world without to much sugar coating. He will tell you that sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do because no one else can do it better. And then he will remind you that you do the job right even when no one is looking because it's the right thing to do.
Mom on the other hand will tell you that Bambi's mom didn't die, old yeller wasn't shot and that Where the Red Fern Grows is about puppies who love bunnies. Dad will tell you that Bambi's mom had to feed a family of 4, that Old Yeller had gone bat shit crazy and had to be put down, and that the Red Fern is growing because decaying dog carcus makes for good fertilizer. It may be harsh, but you gotta respect the honesty.
He is an honest man but he is also a man that understands you need to have fun just to have fun and sometimes that means getting some bruises. When you fall down, he'll tell you to pick yourself up. When you scrape your knee, he'll show you his own scars and when you get in that first fight, on the sly, he'll ask you how you did.
He is the man that will in one moment tell you to act civilized but in the next will teach you how to spit. Because Mom's won't do this.
He'll teach you how to give High Fives and he'll teach you how to make fart noises under your arm. He'll teach you how to properly throw a punch and then will show how tough he is by letting you punch him to no effect.
He'll teach you to love his sports team and to follow them for the rest of your life. He will pass on that legacy so that when you are 32 you are still cheering for the same team you did when you were 4. He'll teach you how to climb a tree and not freak out when you get to high. Mom will be busy calling the fire department but Dad will be wondering how much farther you can go.
He is the stunt coordinator in the movie that is your life. Your mom is the Occupational safety inspector.
If you have ever taken your homemade sled, made out of a cardboard box and some pillows, down the stairs, chances are it was Dad that gave you that first push off.
If you have ever swung from a vine, anywhere, chances are that your Dad lifted you up to grab it in the first place.
If you have ever held a hatchet and thought you were Paul Bunion, I'm betting your Dad was the one that gave it to you.
If you have ever been on a roof before the age of 10 money says it was your dad that you went up there with. Because all Dad's know how freaking awesome it is to be on a roof for the first time and to see into everyones back yard.
Your first stack of nudie mags--yup, they belonged to someones Dad first. When you get caught, and you will, you get a lecture. But your Dad will also know that hey, boys will be boys.
That one statement will get you out of more trouble than Johnnie Cochran. First fight--boys will be boys. First time you break your mothers fine china because you were "roughing housing"--boys will be boys. First time you get arrested for doing something stupid--boys will be boys, now you can sit you ass in jail for 24 hours while you think about that.
And this all goes further. Your mom may not want you watching to much TV. You Dad will agree, but somehow he always find a way to keep him and your Mom busy on Sat. Morning Cartoon day while you are amazingly allowed to sit in your Hulk Underoos watching Dungeons and Dragons.
Dad can put it all into prospective, he can look at the larger picture and realize that hey, this isn't really a big deal. For example, I happen to have 2 very cool tattoos. I got my fist one when I was 18. I was still in Highschool but getting ready to go to college. I took my parents out to eat the night before I was going to leave. I chose this moment to show it to them.
My mom almost went down in a swoon. My dad asked me if I was still going to college. I said yes. He then looked at the tattoo and said "It's pretty cool." My mother looked at him and he shrugged his shoulders. He knew that a tattoo didn't mean anything in the big picture. I was still going to college, let the boy go.
I am 32 now and I have still yet to get my motorcycle. Shortly after I left home I met my wife. She made it very clear that there would be no motorcycle riding in this house mister. So the dream is dead.
But not really. Because I have a kiddo of my own now and another one on the way. One day they will come to me and ask me for that motorcycle or show me that tattoo. They will plead with thier mother not to be upset and not to make a scene.
I will lean over, check it out and say "That's pretty cool".
Happy Father's day Pops, I love you.