I recently found out that my dad is one of my blog readers.
Meet my father. He’s a small-business owner, a writer, a blogger and both the bravest and smartest man I know (note to Paps: notice how I said ‘smartest man.’ I did this on purpose so you couldn’t wave this in Mom’s face because let’s face it — Mom’s smarter than all of us combined).
And today is his birthday.
Happy Birthday Paps!
So, in honor of this fantastically kickass man, here is a list of things my Papa taught me.
– He taught me to speak — big words in English and random words in Swahili. Of course, I didn’t know it was Swahili until this past Christmas. It’s one of the many benefits of growing up in a household filled with Indians who grew in Uganda (another being a potato-peanut dish that I can eat by the barrel). He also taught me how to curse. I’m not talking a Suzie Essman-esque stream of f-bombs but rather, the fine art of calling the man who cut you off in traffic, “a right bastard.” I learned this when I was two. Good job, Paps!
– He taught me to eat well – that all good food is a combination of salty-sweet-spicy-and-sour, that you can drop peanuts in Coca-Cola and that a sandwich without potato chips is a half-assed lunch.
– He taught me that the religious right is neither religious nor right, that you should never believe something just because someone says its true and that thinking for yourself is the smartest option.
– He taught me to love books. That words have real potency, that libraries are the most undervalued resource we have and that if you try to read a book while eating dinner, Mom will yell at you and then, make you put the book away.
– He taught me that while the world is wide, nothing is ever out of reach. That people are more alike than they are different (for the most part, all anyone wants is a warm meal, a place to rest and to spend time with the people we love) and that no-one is better than anyone else.
– He taught me that respect is far greater than fear, that an educated opinion is always welcome and that if you think you know everything, you don’t know shit.
– He taught me that food tastes better when shared, that people who think cities aren’t for children are idiots and that your life shouldn’t be your job and your job shouldn’t be your life.
– He taught me that life is about bravery and taking risks and that when you need a little courage, just remember that you are your father’s daughter.
To my Paps on his fiftysomethingth birthday — I love you. Even when I make fun of you. Especially when I make fun of you, actually.
Happy birthday! I wish I was there to celebrate with you (and by celebrate, I mean eat all of your food) but since I’m not — IOU beer, some semblance of spicy snack food (seriously, dude — if you ever tell me that you can’t eat spicy food again, I’m going to laugh at you and then, completely ignore that request. Why? Because you ordered two different kinds of hot sauce with your garlic-and-ginger infused stir-fry. Two, sir! Two! Not really the actions of a man to whom spicy food is verboten, now is it?) and a good sci-fi film.
I love you so much and can’t wait to see you again!