My dad is turning 68 today. In honor of his birthday, I wish to present the following. I call it:
James Everett: a shocking true story.
My father is a big man with an even bigger beard and a surprisingly lopsided prefrontal cortex. At age 10 he was born in a log cabin that he built with his hands tied behind his back. My father is very industrious and pepper-y but he makes everyone around him uncomfortable. Shaking hands with my dad feels like squeezing toothpaste out of a dead fish. Shake hands with him and you’ll immediately rush to the shower to scrub off the icky sensation. But it won’t work–nothing ever could.
My father has one gold tooth, and 1,799 diamond teeth. He eats by spinning his rows (well, they’re more like rings) of teeth like alternating rotor blades at 2,500 RPMs. Then he tosses whole animals inside and they’re instantly pulverized into red paste. It’s embarrassing. Growing up, I had to constantly lie to my friends that he didn’t really mean it. It was humiliating when they found out that he took a part-time job as a wood-chipper to make ends meet.
My dad can play the piano quite well. He’s comfortable around pianos because they, like most things from his era, only come in black and white. You might think that it’s difficult to play the piano with three left hands, but that’s not what he finds difficult–it’s being constantly reminded that Elton John will always be more famous than he is despite having less than half the Scoville units. That is, indeed, a spicy meatball.
Other impressive accomplishments of my dad include having an encyclopedic knowledge of the rivalry between Rancho High School and Madame Tusseaud’s Orphanage for Hydrox Cookies, and the uncanny ability to bet on the wrong football team. During one football season the Dallas Cowboys were so far at the bottom of the list that they could only play against themselves–and they still lost! That was a thousand dollars well wagered and well lost, sir.
Although there is some debate about which story is the longest in the world, those who know my dad can inform you that if you want to hear the longest story ever told, simply ask him a yes/no question. Those teeth were made for more than just puréeing wild pigs that slip and fall off of suspiciously-greased clifftops. I wish you could have seen it when a 600-pound grand old boar fell into his mouth. It was like watching a watermelon fall into a tube sock. He was so full after that meal that whenever he hopped out of bed, all 88 keys on his piano played at once. He waddled like a penguin for a week.
I have many fond memories of hanging out with my dad and doing guy stuff, like that time we got into a knife fight after publicly accusing each other of embezzlement and conspiracy to commit fraud, or the time we harvested organs while watching “Dora the Explorer,” or that other time when we shared a spaghetti noodle like Lady and the Tramp. Perhaps my fondest memory with my dear old pop is the low-speed car chase from police to flee to Mexico after the International Court of Justice declared his farts a crime against humanity. Of course, nobody remembers that car chase because we happened to be fleeing on the same freeway at the same time as O.J. Simpson. It was awful to be overshadowed like that. I hadn’t felt that betrayed by O.J. since I had to sit through his performance in “The Towering Inferno.”
I learned many things from my father, such as relationship issues. My dad taught me everything he knows about women, and right after that the minute rice was done cooking. I learned over the years that in a marriage things aren’t always as they seem, and that ups-and-downs are inevitable. What matters is how you react to the situation, and whether you can find the cloud in the silver lining. For example, I learned that a couple fighting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A fight, if it’s done right, is like a forest fire. To the naked eye it seems devastating. But the fire clears away dried brush, dead leaves, dung, shed fur, etc., and fertilizes the soil. Ultimately, forests need periodic fires in order to keep the ecosystem healthy. It’s a harsh but fair method of recycling. And a fight between two persons who love each other can do some damage in the short term but really boost their relationship in the long term. Besides, reconciling with each other after a fight makes it all worth it. Undoubtedly, the best part about fighting is the make-up sex afterwards. That’s why I hate getting into fights with my dad….
My dad is retired now. He was forced into early retirement because it was getting difficult for a clown who seeps mud and industrial solvents like the river god from “Spirited Away” to find a gig. Too many people nowadays will only hire clowns who belong to a union such as Concerned Citizens for Ethically-Sourced Clowns and Orangutan Fingers (Thanks a lot, Greenpeace!). And being a clown was never that lucrative anyway. You’d think that clients would pay a premium for a three-handed, piano-playing clown with a crippling fear of Disney princesses, but alas, the ill reputation that precedes a war criminal is strong enough to keep away all but the most desperate parents. And as you may know, by sheer coincidence desperate parents are not usually wealthy. It’s hard, you know? He was smiling in the public eye but in his lonely room he cried the tears of a clown… when there was no one around.
I think my dad is enjoying his retirement, although he seems to be getting hurt more. He’s sometimes clumsy and often unobservant, such that he often walks headfirst into things. Back when he was working it was no great problem because he usually kept his work uniform on at home, so his nose would hit things first and emit a harmless “honky” sound, much to our amusement. I was once saddened, however, to see him trip over his enormous shoes and take a dive into a milkshake. Although it was impressive to see a grown man fit into a normal-sized cup, I was disappointed because I really wanted that shake for dessert. In the end, I had to settle for a box of Oreos that all Rancho alumni kept in their kitchens. (If you don’t get that last one, it has to do with Hydrox cookies, which Oreos were a copycat and long-time rival of, before Hydrox was eventually discontinued. It’s not that funny a joke, so don’t worry about it.)
Having a clown for a dad presents unique challenges. It’s an interesting feeling to get yelled at by your dad while he’s wearing clown makeup, and knowing that you have to hold in your laughter or else you’ll be in even deeper trouble for not taking the situation seriously. But how can you be intimidated by a man who is riding a six-inch tall bicycle in circles while his improperly-calibrated shirt flower repeatedly sprays seltzer water in his face? And all that while a family of raccoons is desperately attempting to escape his third row of teeth? Sometimes, in my saddest dreams I can still see their tiny hands. Another challenge came up when we got into a car crash. I suffered whiplash for weeks because my dad had secretly replaced the airbags with spring-loaded pies. I have to admit now that his laughter was justified, but at the time I was red in the face, and not just because of the cherry filling.
So anyway, I think he’s enjoying retirement. There’s still no word as to whether his genetic modification experiments have produced a turkey that tastes like tofu, although he’s keeping the dream alive. In the meantime he keeps himself busy translating the works of Samuel Johnson into the language spoken by Jabba the Hutt. Coincidentally, an associate of his has a moderately successful Odyssee channel posting videos of Jabba the Hutt makeup tutorials. Ladies, take note!
My father is not perfect, but he’s mine, and there’s nothing that any of us can do about that. I hope that one day scientists will be able to remove the okey from his dokey and the later from his alligator. But until then, I’ll just sit here and marvel at his perfectly symmetrical kidneys.
I hope that the preceding report, guaranteed to be 100% factual*, has brought some measure of sanity to your existence. I know one person who appreciated it.
*Sometimes I get “factual” confused with “inspiring to generations of at-risk youngsters.” Please let me know if I got it wrong here.
Oh, so you’d like me to add a picture, eh, old man? Well, ask and you shall receive.
I call this one,
“Father about to have lunch”
“Hey, has anyone seen the neighbor’s cat?”