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June 25, 2015

My Dad is the Best in the Universe

Let me begin with a confession: I love heroes.

Real heroes, fictional heroes, super heroes, normal heroes, whatever -- if there’s a guy out there serving justice or upholding virtue, then I’m all over that.  I consider it a welcome twist of fate whenever one of the posts on this blog lets me talk at length about one of those heroes; Captain America’s a pretty good example, least of all because of the courage it takes to fight crime in what amounts to themed pajamas.  By the same token, I bemoan my fate whenever one of my posts has me talking about characters who are practically villains posing as heroes -- which comes up distressingly often in video games these days for some reason.  I don’t know, blame the government.  Everyone else does.

So while I’m usually the sort to focus on fiction, I think it’s high time for a change of pace.  Indulge me for a moment; let me pay my respects to the real world -- and more importantly, to celebrate his birthday, I have to honor my dad.  Who, as the title implies, is actually the best in the universe.  And it’s up to me to prove, conclusively, irrefutably, and 100% truthfully, exactly why that’s the case.

Now then.  Time to talk about Idris Elba.

Idris Elba is, in my opinion, one of the coolest actors ever -- if not one of the coolest people ever, on a galactic scale.  He played Heimdall in the Thor movies, and each time he brought the awesomeness -- and in the first movie he was more or less just a superhuman doorman.  He played Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim, and practically made that movie his own.  He even lent his aid to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance -- a fruitless endeavor, sure, but at least he tried.  The point is that Idris Elba is so cool.  I would gladly watch a movie called Idris Elba Goes to the Grocery Store, where the big climax is him deciding whether to get ketchup or catsup.  And it would still be amazing.

What am I getting at here?  Simple: as cool as Idris Elba is, my dad is even cooler -- by a factor of four, at least.  Sorry, Mr. Elba, but you just can’t compete.  Most notably, you’ve long since been beaten in the moustache department; you’ve only to embrace your destiny of defeat.  (Side note: you never realize how pointy someone's head is until you stare at it for a really long time.)

You guys reading this?  You don’t even know how awesome my dad is.  The moustache alone should clinch it, but we’re talking about a man who -- and I must stress, this post has zero exaggeration or hyperbole -- is a wellspring of power and fortitude, tempered by a wealth of technical wisdom and wizardry.  Unbuilt furniture becomes so struck with awe that it builds itself the moment he sets a hand on it.  Widgets and wires bend to his will.  His sheer dexterity lets him swat even the swiftest of wasps out of the air.  Even his mere sneezes pack the force of a hurricane.

What, is that too abstract for you?  Can you not comprehend the words I’ve written?  Fine.  Then I’ll pare it down to the absolute basics: golf.

Logic and the laws of causality should make golf an impossible sport.  Think about it: tossing a head-sized ball into a hoop is too much for plenty of people.  Yet golf demands from the first minute on that the player hits a ball the size of a walnut consecutively across a massive field into a hole most rodents couldn’t fit into -- and that’s setting aside the task of finding the ball after the first hit.  This is a game that borders on the realm of unfeasibility, of sheer madness; it’s a battle against the elements that would break the hearts and souls of weaker men.  But then again, my dad’s not what you’d call a weaker man -- so go ahead and be jealous about it.  I can totally understand why.  Not everyone can look at a golf course and go “Yeah, this’ll be fun.”

But I started by talking about heroes, so let’s swing back to that.  There was this one time in school where -- as is often the case -- everyone had to write an essay about their hero.  My choice?  Benjamin Franklin.  Sure, everyone else chose their parents, but I wanted to go against the grain -- even if it called for more work on my end by way of research, but whatever.  Saying “My mom is my hero” or “My dad is my hero” is so passé that it should practically be a banned topic.  It’s an obvious truth that doesn’t need to be said.

Then again, since I have the conversational skills of a drowsy alpaca, if I don’t write it here I’ll probably never say it.  Yes, my dad is absolutely my hero.  His power isn’t just cosmic in a physical sense; like any good hero, it’s all about the symbolism -- the ideas behind the supervillain-punching action.  So I can’t think of my dad without thinking of sheer fortitude.  Iron will.  The ability to endure any challenge, and every hardship.  It’s the sort of thing to aspire towards, even if we mere mortals can’t exactly become super-soldiers like him.

And sure, there are plenty of fictional characters I could name as a point of comparison (and only fictional, because my dad > all dads).  There are some good ones out there.  But to best illustrate my point, I need to swing in a different direction.

Man of Steel is a divisive movie, but I’m most definitely in the camp that would think it’d be cool if it, you know, didn’t exist.  It’s bland, it’s misguided, it’s gloomy, and it only takes one mention of “Metropolis” to make people think of Superman as a joke.  But what really gets to me is -- oh, and SPOILERS, by the way -- the movie’s version of Pa Kent.  More than any other character, he constantly spouts off gibberish that both builds Clark up and turns him into a complete basket case.  And long before he even tries to set his kid straight, he decides that it would be cool to get sucked up by a tornado -- in a scene that makes me think the filmmakers have no idea how tornadoes work.  It’s not a great scene, is what I’m trying to say here.

Conversely, my dad only had to say three words -- just three -- to give me just a fraction of his strength: “Keep the faith.”  That’s it.  And sure, I don’t expect everyone in the world to take those words to heart (because not everyone shares a family tree with someone who makes the entire Greek pantheon look like a bunch of toddlers).  But you know what?  I’ve taken those three words to heart, along with everything else my dad symbolizes, and tried to live by them.

Which feeds into my next point: my dad pretty much made me who I am.  Besides the obvious “I have his blood running through me” facet.  And even then I can’t help but suspect godhood skipped a generation.

I have a pretty strong suspicion that it’s thanks to my dad that I ever played my first video game -- probably because my brother asked for one first, but hey, proxy enjoyment.  And that opened up an entire world of possibilities; colorful worlds, and ideas, and adventures, and all sorts of sprawling universes bloomed with each cartridge, each disc, and each file gained since then.  And there were more gains since then, because -- as a man of pure gentility and gentlemanliness -- he helped add more of them to my collection. 

A lot of people have called me an optimist in the past.  And yeah, that’s pretty much true.  And do you know why?  It’s because for my whole life, I’ve known a man who’s shown me that there are good people in the world, let alone helped me see the fictional worlds that can be created with enough effort and guts.  If I need to tell you how cool that is, then, well, I don’t know what to tell you…except for “You must be an incredibly sad person.”

Can’t say I blame you, though.  Because -- in case you missed the title of this post for some inexplicable reason by way of governmental shenanigans -- my dad is the best in the universe.  And therefore, there’s just one thing left to say.

Happy birthday, Dad.
Now go brag about this to all of your friends.  Like, every last one of them.  They deserve to know the truth, no matter how harsh it is.

It'll be fun, probably.

And there you have it.  Indisputable, scientific proof of how cool my dad is.  Although speaking of science?  If we venture into multiverse theory, then I’d wager that my dad is the best in all of the universes.  On the other hand, if there are parallel worlds and such out there, we’d probably have more important things to worry about than objectively-correct boasting.

If my worst fears were realized -- if there’s a world of ravenous sand traps out there, much like the sarlacc pit from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi -- then humanity itself would fall prey to its gaping maw.

Ah, who am I kidding?  I bet my dad could take ‘em.

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