I’m going to regret this.
Primarily because Paps is already quite puffed-up and the last thing he needs is to hear how amazing he is.
But, it’s the man’s 58th birthday and if you can’t rave about an amazing man on his birthday, when can you?
The man in the picture? My hero.
And not just because he’s my father. Even if he wasn’t my father, I’d think he was pretty bad-ass.
Actually, I’d probably think he was more bad-ass because he wouldn’t be armed to the teeth with ‘Naked Jemmy’ stories, but that’s neither here nor there.
Paps is my hero for three very simple reasons:
The first being that he’s unafraid to take risks. Ditching your crappy job and moving your family across the Atlantic is not a move that most would advise, but he decided to do it and we’re all happier as a result. Whenever I’m daunted by one of life’s bigger decisions, I invariably end up saying to myself, “Listen idiot –Paps escaped a dictator in Uganda, poverty in India and soul-crushing stasis in England. If he can do that, you can do this.”
The second is that he’s smart. Smarter than he thinks he is, too smart for his own good and way smarter than I give him credit for. The man is a voracious reader and lives on a diet of chai tea and the written word. A couple of months ago, I called him and asked about the Israel-Palestine debate and he gave me a thorough, nuanced and non-biased explanation of what is a very complex issue. I kind of love the fact that I can pick up the phone, say, “Hey! I need some information on X” and end up getting a thoughtful and eloquent answer.
Finally and most importantly, Paps is my hero because he’s a good man. The kind you’d go to if you needed help; the kind you’d trust your kids with; the kind you’d hope your kids ended up emulating.
So to the man who taught me to put potato chips in sandwiches — happy birthday.
Your mouthy eldest kid loves and misses you lots.