by Rich Karski
Welcome back to another edition of Rich Karski’s HOW TO!: The weekly online column designed to be read aloud to the tune of the Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes.”
It’s mid-June, and that means that Father’s Day is upon us. The day we ignore our fathers’ actual wishes of leaving him the fuck alone to awkwardly make him thank us for Home Depot gift cards. It’s a day where he’d probably rather be looking at a fence and making remarks about said fence to nobody in particular, but instead you made him put on a polo shirt and go to brunch like some asshole. The man works hard all year to make sure nobody can stand spending more than 15 minutes engaged in conversation with him, and here you are ruining it with your goddamned sentimental malarkey. You may think being a dad is easy, and that all you have to do is get careless about pulling out, but it’s so much more complicated than that. Being a dad is a lifestyle, and one that you don’t even need kids to take up. Hell, it’s the year 2014; even ladies can be dads now.
Choosing dad life is an important decision. You can’t half-ass it and end up like those deadbeat dads that don’t even ask you when was the last time you had your oil changed. You gotta go full dad, and the rewards are splendid and great in number. Do you think you have what it takes to embark on this journey of extension cords, Steely Dan albums, and watching the weather channel for hours at a time? If so then hold on to your rear ends because I’m going to teach you:
HOW TO BE A DAD
STEP ONE: Looking The Part
To truly get into the dad spirit, you must FEEL like a dad, and the best place to start is with your wardrobe. This will vary from season to season, but the main thing you need to remember is that shirts are to be worn ONLY as a last resort. Shirts are the natural enemy of a dad. They are restrictive, itchy, and they prevent a dad from achieving full relaxation, which is his main goal.
When a shirt is worn, ideally it would have been free and most likely given away at a work or charity event at least eight years prior. It is extremely important for a dad that he never actually purchase a t-shirt, since purchasing shirts means that he has to wear them, and as stated above this is NOT a dad’s desire.
For cooler weather, one company in particular has been clothing dads for centuries, and will be the main source of his fall and winter wardrobe. That company is Champion, whose fine clothing can be found almost exclusively at Bob’s stores or in attics/basements where dads are known to prowl. You’re going to want to get yourself a Champion sweatsuit, complete with sweatshirt (NO HOODS NO ZIPPERS) and sweatpants (MUST HAVE ELASTICS AROUND THE ANKLES.) You only need one of these sweatsuits, because instead of washing it when it gets dirty, as a dad, you are required to just wear it inside out. This outfit will be perfect for raking leaves, falling asleep during football games, and embarrassing your children.
Haircuts are also an important part of looking like a dad. You are only allowed one haircut, and you must get this same cut, at the same place, every two weeks until your barber dies. When your barber dies you are required to try cutting your hair yourself for one month because really how hard could it be? When this fails miserably, you must find a new barber and complain about how different he is from your old barber (he won’t be different) until he dies and you must repeat the process.
STEP TWO: Developing A Love Of Gadgets
If there are two things dads love, they are casual racism and gadgets. We’re going to focus on the gadgets (probably made by those sneaky Koreans.) One would think technology would be the enemy of dads, but that is not true, especially if that technology involves remote controls. Much of ones dad prowess is tied to how many remote controls they have and the various objects these remotes control. These gadgets don’t even have to be particularly useful, they just have to be things that other dads might not have, therefore earning you extra dad points and moving you up in the worldwide dad rankings. Does anybody need a remote controlled alarm that tells you when the temperature in your house rises above sixty-two degrees? Yes, dads do, and if such an alarm were invented you as a dad are required to covet this item. What about a laser that you can point at an item and it tells you how much this item weighs on the moon? Well if such a thing existed and you DIDN’T own it, you would feel like a right shithead when some other dad came over and asked how much your patio furniture would weigh there.
It is also important that when you obtain these gadgets you never figure out how to use them. You need to be able to explain in detail exactly what the item is SUPPOSED to do, but fuck if you’re going to read a manual and figure out how to make it do that. You don’t have time for that shit. Let them invent a gadget that reads owner’s manuals for you. You’ve got an inbox full of vaguely racist emails about the president that aren’t going to forward themselves.
STEP THREE: Appreciating Proper Lawn Care
Nothing is more sacred to a dad than a properly manicured lawn. You don’t need a lawn of your own, but you must RESPECT lawns, and LOVE lawns, and despise any person who would neglect one. Caring for a lawn merges two tenets of dad behavior: doing manual outdoor labor while drinking, and looking at stuff for no reason. Under optimal conditions, a dad will consume enough alcohol while working on a lawn to get himself drunk enough to stare at it uninterrupted for several hours. Lawn care is also an important part of dad socialization. If a dad is not showing off his numerous gadgets to another dad, he is remarking on the beauty of his lawn, and the special tricks he uses to achieve this beauty.
The following is a perfect example of a dad conversation:
“I like a lawn with a lot of grass.”
“Oh yeah, you gotta have grass.”
“Course you gotta mow it…”
“Definitely. Can’t have grass if you’re not gonna mow it.” *sips beer, stares off into the distance.*
See how there was no personal information exchanged? No emotional connection? No value of any kind contained in those words? That’s how you need to talk when you’re a dad, and that’s why appreciating a lawn is so important. All of the love you are not allowed to show to the rest of the world is transferred into that patch of dirt and grass in front of your house. After all, it’s much easier to be proud of earth than your shitty kids.
STEP FOUR: Carving Out Your Dad Area
Even though the lawn/yard is designated dadspace, each dad also needs his own indoor area to partake in dad activities such as browsing pornography and listening to Led Zeppelin. All dads need a room in their house that nobody else is allowed into unless he forgets something in there and doesn’t want to get up. This is usually an unfinished basement or garage repurposed as an office/gym/museum. This space is required to have a computer, television, any and all workout equipment ever purchased in the dad’s lifetime, all trophies the dad has ever won, and at least one picture of the dad holding a fish. It is important that the television, when not in direct use, is always tuned to Fox News.
Once all of these requirements are met, the most important item, and the height of dad luxury, can be added to the space. I’m talking of course about the Dad Fridge. No dad’s life is complete until he has a second refrigerator of which he serves as lord and protector. Nobody touches the Dad Fridge but the dad, and if the rest of the family buys too many groceries than tough shit. This is a sacred space and to invade it is a high crime against dad sovereignty. Even though the dad has sole ownership over the Dad Fridge and all items contained within, there are rules that govern all Dad Fridges worldwide that he must adhere to.
Firstly, the Dad Fridge must have no magnets, artwork, reminders, or decoration of any kind placed on it. This fridge is for function, not frivolity. Secondly, the Dad Fridge must not have been purchased for this purpose. One does not go out and BUY a Dad Fridge. It is acquired through inheritance, battle, or because the family needed a larger fridge in the kitchen and you can’t just throw out a perfectly good refrigerator. Lastly, and most importantly, are the rules governing the contents of the Dad Fridge. There are only THREE ITEMS deemed acceptable to be stored in a Dad Fridge. These items are: beer, cold cuts, and Bloody Mary mix and THAT IS IT. Putting anything else in a Dad Fridge immediately violates its sovereignty and makes its contents available to everyone else in the house. Once you have this fridge, your dad area is complete, and you can move on to the final step.
STEP FIVE: Building A Shed
This is less of a step and more of a test. If you have followed the steps above, this last one will prove that you have truly transcended normal existence into the realm of dads. HOW TO BUILD A SHED could be its own column, with multiple steps and various tips and hints, but if you have truly transformed yourself into a dad, you won’t need instructions. YOU’LL JUST KNOW. Go to the Home Depot, and make sure not to tell anyone why you’re there or what you need, because any dad will be able to get in and out in 20 minutes or less with all of the proper shed building materials. Once you get home with your materials, you will instinctively be able to turn the correct combination of tools, wood, alcohol, and profanity into a beautiful new shed, perfect for empty threats of child abuse and discreet masturbation.
And there you have it!
Five easy steps on how to be a dad. Now tuck your t-shirt into your jean shorts and go give trained professionals advice on how to do their jobs!