I'm not faulting him for this. He was both a product of his time and a very private person. But since I was the youngest kid in the family, I suspect that I barely existed for him.
This suspicion was confirmed one night when I was in junior high school. I was at a dance at the school that I had been attending for the past seven years. This was in the olden days, when dances were called sock hops (on account of you had to take your shoes off before entering the gym in which they were held) and when pop was sold in cans that had fully removable pop tops sporting razor sharp edges. Naturally, I stepped on one of these discarded pop can shrapnels, cutting the bottom of my foot to rat-shit.
The vice-principal, who was chaperoning the dance, followed the trail of bloody footprints to the bathroom where I was attempting to staunch the flow of blood and escorted me to the office, where I phoned home to ask if my dad could come pick me up. He sat there with me in the office while we waited for my dad to arrive.
And waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, the vice-principal must have tired of having me bleed all over his office, or perhaps he genuinely felt sorry for me, and he drove me home himself.
I hobbled into the house, where my mom was waiting with the cure-all bottle of Detol and the box of band-aids, mere minutes before my dad's Volkswagon pulled into the driveway and my dad stormed into the house. He took one look at me sitting there, and with a scowl on his face, demanded to know where the hell I had been, because he had been sitting outside the school waiting for me for half an hour.
The only problem was he had gone to the high school instead. No wonder he was pissed off! I always felt like I won that round, since it was evident that my dad didn't even know what school I attended. To this day that story remains one of my favourite cautionary tales and, ironically, one of my favourite memories of my dad.
I hope that all you procreating males had yourselves a fabulous Fathers' Day, and that all the surprises you received from your offspring were welcome ones.