Thursday, April 5, 2018

My Dad was no nerd

When I was 16 or so, my Dad went to the pub with one of closest mates and told him he was worried about me. Like a lot of teenagers trying to figure out their place in the world, I was a hardcore nerd and Dad couldn't understand why I wasn't more interested in chasing girls and drinking beer, like all the other boys did.

He shouldn't have worried. Within a couple of years I was throwing up in the back of his new car after drinking too many cheap jugs of beer at the Mosgiel darts club, and I've been married to a wonderful woman for 11 years. I never stopped being a fucking dork, I just worked out I could still get pissed and talk to girls, while also being slightly obsessed with Legion of Super-Heroes comics.

Dad didn't understand why I wouldn't throw away my old X-Men issues, or why I spent all day in the second hand bookstore looking for the last Hardy Boys book I needed. He knew he had to tell me not to get a Star War when I got sent to the video store to get something for the family to watch, but he never really got why I could watch Return of the Jedi over and over and over again.

He could still be sightly dorky himself – Dad had a particular fondness for Strontium Dog stories in 2000ad (although he was never into things like Halo Jones), and I'm pretty sure he saw every z-grade ninja film from the 1980s. He just never really gave a shit about these things, never really got obsessed with anything. It wasn't his style.

While Dad was always a bit baffled by how much of a goddamn geek I was, the important things is that he never judged me for it. Sometimes he even encouraged it – I knew exactly how many beers he had to drink at a family barbecue before I could hit him up for the $4.25 I needed for the latest issue of Excalibur, and he never ever told me to get rid of all these bloody books and comics and videos I had, even when they started filling boxes and boxes that he had to cart between the houses we lived in.

This acceptance of my terrible nerdiness was just a tiny part of the reason I loved that man. He was loyal to a fault, a fantastic role model and the best boss I ever had. He didn't know how to lie and had a strong handshake, right up to the end.

Dad died a few weeks ago and this world is a shittier place without him in it.

I only found out about his concerns with my teenage dorkiness when his old mate got up and talked at the funeral service, but I'm so glad I got to show him he had nothing to worry about.

Despite his concerns, he let me be who I wanted to be, no matter where that road took me, and it all turned out okay. Rest easy, old fella.


Nik said...

Beautiful piece, old mate. Vale.

Tam said...

Really sad to hear about your loss. Obviously we've never met but I've been reading this blog for so long that I feel as though I know you! He sounded a thoroughly decent bloke so I decided to reread some Strontium dog in his honour (and discovered they're still terrific)