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10 years can change a man
Dads, jeans, and personal growth
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I’ve only been in two fights in my life—both when I was about 16. The first time was in high school, during basketball practice. I was the starting point guard 😏 and the guy who had played that position the year prior was back visiting from college. He was scrimmaging with us, he was absolutely toasting my ass, and at some point in the game I got fed up and chucked the ball at him. He and I then threw a bunch of chaotic and mistimed punches at one other and ended up on the gym floor in an awkward wrestling-match type impasse.
The second time was in my parents’ garage. I got in a bit of a, uhhh… vehicular altercation with my dad and he had some choice words for me and I had some choice words for him. We exchanged a few clumsy haymakers, a few lubberly shoves, and we ended up on the garage floor in an awkward wrestling-match type impasse.
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Lemme know in the comments—have you ever been in a fight with your dad? What about with my dad?
The tension between my dad and I had been brewing for a few years. His fault, my fault, his fault, I’m not pointing fingers. I now joke it was the best thing that ever happened to our relationship. A pretty definitive we care about our relationship enough to spend the time trying to beat the shit out of each other type of thing. The fight didn’t magically fix our relationship, but it did knock some sense into our thick, dumb skulls.
At some point after the fight, my dad sat me down and asked me to list all the reasons why I thought he was a bad father. This proud, overwhelmed, anxious, old-school Greek man sat down at his kitchen table and listened to his shithead son tell him what made him a bad father. And as I talked, my dad sat there silently, quickly scribbling down everything on a yellow legal pad in his belligerent, hieroglyphic cursive. He didn’t ask questions, or interject, and we never talked about it again. But a few months later, when I was grabbing something from my dad’s briefcase, I came across a folded-up, yellow piece of lined paper with the list of 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒔𝝄𝒏𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒚 𝑮𝒆𝝄𝒓𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒃𝒂𝒅 𝒇𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓.
When I think about my shortcomings as a man, I think about my dad, but not in a “my dad had a lot of shortcomings” kind of way. It’s in more of a “being a man is trying and failing and fighting to be better” kind of way.
I love my dad. I look up to my dad. I am a persistent son of a gun and I get that from my dad. I think, in a lot of ways, persistence is an undervalued skill. If you want to be better, work on being better. If you want to succeed, work until you succeed. I know that my dad has always wanted to be a better father. And so, throughout my life, he’s worked on being a better father. My dad has always wanted to succeed at being a good dad. And so he worked and succeeded at that, too.
Recently I stumbled across a video on my phone that my dad and I made for my mom’s 65th birthday party. My mom has always wanted to go to a dude ranch for her birthday, but a weirdly severe horse allergy has kept that dream unrealized. So instead of an actual dude ranch, my family and I put together a “dude ranch” themed weekend at my parents’ house—a BBQ, cowboy attire, a hay ride in my 1991 Ford F-150, and a cowboy-themed game of Jeopardy!.
In the middle of Jeopardy!, I thought it would be funny to have a scheduled commercial break between rounds and show a Wrangler Jeans commercial. So I asked my dad if he would be in a Wrangler Jeans commercial. Below is that Wrangler Jeans commercial and the reason why I know—without a doubt—ten years can change a man.
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