By Bob Huber
Comparing Father’s Day to Mother’s Day is like weighing Saturday night in Sundown, Texas, to New Year’s Eve at Times Square. No one says, “Let’s go watch some paint dry in Sundown for Father’s Day this year.” But they might as well.
I’m convinced this lowly status of Father’s Day is because years ago certain pronouncements became popular that kept papas in a rumble seat compared to mamas. Such as:
• A father is the kin you love to touch.
• A father is a man who is working his kid’s way through college.
• A father is one who strikes a child only in self-defense.
• A father is a man whose brainless daughter marries someone vastly her inferior but gives birth to unbelievably brilliant grandchildren.
So fathers evolved not as heroic figures but as quasi bumpkins in a parade led by the Four Horsemen of the Apoplexy — Larry, Curly, Moe, and Dagwood. Gone were the days when dad was a brilliant finagler of politics, commerce, and child psychology. He became a dimwitted goof who couldn’t find a ball with both hands, let alone stay on it.
Embarrassing misquotes from celebrity fathers were even published over and over until our children were left with only one conclusion — papas are dips. For instance:
• Dan Quayle: “I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix.”
• Al Gore: “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
• Baseball manager Danny Ozark: “Half this game is 90 percent mental.”
• Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, DC: “Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.”
• Former president Bill Clinton: “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
• Former president George Bush: “It’s no exaggeration to say that the undecided vote could go one way or another.”
• So any fool can see that fathers today are thought to be somewhere between Archie Bunker and Mongo the Ugly, and I say it’s high time we of the male persuasion put a foot down no matter what’s on the ground and look at some lowly quotes attributed to celebrity ladies:
• Mariah Carey: “Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean, I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.”
• Brooke Shields: “Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”
• Hillary Clinton: “I’m not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president.”
But I suppose mothers are destined to retain the upper holiday hand. They even twist the perfectly fine French practice of gender designation for nouns, such as the feminine label for “house” as in “LA maison,” but a masculine term for “pencil” as in “LE crayon.”
They insist that from now on the word “computers” should be masculine, as in “LE computer,” because computers are like men. They state:
• In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
• They have a lot of data, but they’re still clueless.
• They’re supposed to help solve problems, but most of the time they’re it.
• As soon as you commit to one, you find out you should have waited for a better model.
But I say computers should be feminine, like in “LA computer,” because:
• No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
• Their language is incomprehensible.
• Even the smallest blunder is stored in long-term memory.
• Once you make a commitment to one, you spend the rest of your life on accessories.
So there you have it, the age-old battle of the sexes as it applies to computers, but do we have to submerge Father’s Day because of it? I say all you papas who are tired of being short sheeted each year stand up and holler, “Viva LA computer!” That’ll get their attention.
Bob Huber is a retired journalist.