My dad -- like all dads-- has a special talent for embarrassing me. And it doesn't stop at his tendency to wear t-shirts with my face on them.
He has a mental bank of one-liners, automatic responses he spits out when people say certain things to him. "So, Henry, what's your job, what do do you do for work?" someone might ask him.
"As little as possible," he will always reply. To this day, I don't have the slightest clue what my dad did at work all those years.
"Be right back, I have to go to the bathroom," someone will tell him.
"Mention my name, you'll get a good seat!" he responds without even thinking.
People laugh, but having heard these little jokes my entire life, I usually give them a good old fashioned angsty teenaged eye roll.
It was yesterday, Saturday, that I realized I have become my father.
While Y was on call and Dandy once again became Dandi, I took Ike to a cute little jazz festival at a park near our house.
While fun and cute, this little festival was not without its local idiosyncracies...
As expected, Ike was a hit (people cannot get enough of this dog, it's bizarre). Person after person complimented him, and I was never sure what to say. Thank you? It's not like I created him.
...like a beignet/prayer request booth with a side of Bibles for sale...
So I went with a joke from the mental bad joke bank.
...or a group of elementary aged cheerleaders cheering "Come and get (clap, clap) yo turkey leg! (clap clap)"
"What a beautiful dog," a passerby would say. "He prefers handsome," I would reply with an exaggerated wink.
My audience laughed. My hypothetical future teenage daughter rolled her eyes.
After five or so times I added a telling nudge. After 10 times I added an apologetic pat on Ike's head. I was on a roll. I started to understand why my dad keeps his arsenal of jokes. The only problem is once you've been reciting them for 30 or so years, you lose track of who's heard them.
The second act of my comedy routine in the park came anytime Ike walked reasonably close to a little boy. "Ike!" I would scold dramatically, sometimes adding a light smack for dramatic effect, "You had child for lunch yesterday!"
(Or pork banh mi. Same difference.)
Okay, maybe I just got the courage to say the child thing in my head. It was a good one, though, don't you think?