Sunday, June 16, 2013
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.
My father was definitely old school. He rarely swore, drank only an occasional beer in the high summer heat, and generally lived the solid decent life of what he called "a gentleman." From him I learned the values of decency, honor and pride.
During his lifetime I occasionally felt he was totally behind the times with his regular injunctions that I do my best and honor the family name. Yet now I realize the value of his legacy, which is summed up in the following set of commandments:
- Always be a gentleman
- Always keep your shoes shined
- Save your money
- Any week in which you do not put some money aside for a rainy day is a wasted week
- A car is the most expensive thing you can own
- A pension is important
- If your boss or employer is not making money on you, you will eventually lose your job
- It is more important to be able to write and speak well than it is to be able to succeed in athletics
- There is no such thing as an honest politician
- Don't get old
- The finest legacies are often not material things