Tag Archives: Fathers & Daughters

Make a Wish: It’s 12:12 on 12-12-12!


Dad & me, dancing at my son’s bar mitzvah!

My father is 75 today!

My arithmetic-loving son wants permission to get out of class to call his arithmetic-loving grandfather to wish him a happy birthday at 12:12 PM today. You know, because he is missing out right now on account of having to go to sleep.

“Stuff like this only happens to certain people!” Tech reminded me. “You have to recognize it!”

Turns out TechSupport is right.

December, 12, 2012 or 12-12-12 will be the last date of its kind – when all three numericals in a date are the same – until January, 1, 2101. That’s 88 years from now.

However, there is a bit of a dark cloud looming over my father’s big celebration. You know, the thing about the world ending in 9 days — on December 21, 2012? We have all heard this prediction by now, yes?

It occurred to me that the usual gift I give my dad might not be the best choice this year. See, I usually make my father a calendar each December featuring photographs of family members. But if my dad only has 9 days to enjoy his present, I figured, what’s the point?

I started brainstorming cheap gifts other options that might be good to give my father, assuming the world is going to end in a little over a week.

Here’s what I have come up with:

51. Fruit From Harry & David. Because nothing says “I love you” like Royal Riviera Pears. I’m pretty sure my father could polish off a box of 9 pears in 9 days. On second thought, maybe I’ll just spring for the box of 6. Dad isn’t big on wasting things.

2. Tickets to a Show. Gotta tell ya. There isn’t much going on in Syracuse in the way of entertainment right now. But I think my dad would enjoy getting jiggy to some Gaelic music. He might love Enter the Haggis, scheduled to perform at the Westcott Theater a few days before things get ugly.


Don’t think about your arteries. Just eat me.

3. A Gift Card to A Local Deli & Ice Cream Shoppe. My father stopped eating red meat and dairy over 20 years ago when he learned he had high cholesterol. Knowing he has just 9 days left, I’d bring my dad to a great deli and make start with a toasted sesame bagel loaded with twice the cream cheese. I’d encourage him to stick around for a hot corned beef sandwich with mustard for lunch. If he is a good boy and polishes off his hot pastrami & brisket and his knish, I’d send him to Carvel for a brownie sundae. Surely, this is not the time to be heart smart. Or kosher.


Call me crazy, but I think my dad would dig this doll.

4. Sex Toys. With only a few days left to live, why hold back? I’m thinking it’s time for my dad to pull out the silk scarves and try at least five of the Fifty Shades with my mother. You know, if they aren’t already doing that.

mariuana165. Drugs. My father has never inhaled. With only a few days left on the planet, I would get him a baggy filled with green sticky bud, rustle up some magic mushrooms, maybe haul out that betel nut I’ve been saving for a rainy day, and give it to my father to share with my mother. What’s to lose? Those two crazy kids can stare at their hands for hours. They can ride unicorns down the rainbow or chat with imaginary parrots. Hell, they can take naked pictures of themselves rubbing food onto the green velvet wallpaper that’s been hanging in the hall since 1963. If they ration carefully, they can enjoy themselves for 9 days straight and never come down.

Of course, I don’t really believe the world is going to end on December 21st.

That’s why it is now necessary to smother my father in a some genuine daughter-love.

  • Thanks for coming to all my gymnastics meets and dance recitals, Dad. I felt your love radiating from the stands.
  • Thanks him for poking your pointer finger into the middle of my back. You definitely trained me to stand up straight.
  • Thanks for yelling at me that time I threw away the pennies. You were right. It was an ungrateful thing to do, and small change really does add up.
  • Remember the time that you sat me on a raft in the Atlantic Ocean, and I was scared, and you promised you wouldn’t let go… and you didn’t. Thanks for teaching me about trust. I know you do not make idle promises.
  • I need you to know that I could listen to you talk about anything for hours. That you set the standard against which I measure every man. That you taught me about learning from doing. About finishing what I start, whether the outcome is good or bad.
  • About standing by one’s partner, when everything is blue skies and cotton candy – but also when the toilet is over-flowing and there is poop everywhere you turn.

Oh, I also need to tell my dad that when I saw him on Saturday, I removed a particular object from his desk. The desk that he is careful to keep just so. Unfortunately, I cannot tell him which item I took or where I put it.

At first, he will freak out, but eventually he will realize that I am joking.

Like I’m joking about these crappy gifts.

We got my dad something cool, and – G-d willing — he will be able to enjoy it as he watches the next Syracuse basketball game, scheduled for December 27th.


Happy birthday, Dad.

And congratulations on making it to ¾ of a century.

Whatever you are doing, please keep doing it.

PS: By the way, that thing we got you? That’s your Hanukkah present, too. No calendar this year. You know, just in case. So don’t hold your breath.

What gift would you recommend giving to someone whose special day falls between now and Armageddon?

tweet me @rasjacobson


Lessons From My Father

Note: Part of this piece was originally posted one year ago on Father’s Day 2010, when I had very few followers. I thought I would post it again this year, in honor of my father. Please note, these items are listed in no apparent order, which will – no doubt – drive my father nuts.

Dad & Me

The men in my life have to accept my flaws. They basically have no choice. When it comes to Father’s Day, everyone knows I’m bad at it. For a while I think I had Monkey fooled, but now I am pretty sure even he’s on to me. I think. Anyway, this is my last minute sincere attempt to tell my father that I love him in a song. Sorry, I lied. It’s not even in a song. It’s just words. Unless you can find a smooth groove that works along with my prose, then I meant it as a song. Totally.

• • •

Dear Dad:

I know that I never send a card. I mean, sometimes I manage to pull it all together, but not usually.

And I hope you know it is not because I don’t love about you, because I do. It’s just… what can I say to you in a card that I haven’t already said to you in one of our two-hour marathon phone conversations?

Even though we can’t be together today, please know that I am thinking of you. And in the meantime, here are a few things that I have learned from you. I thought you should know, I have been paying attention.

• • •

Turn Off The Lights When You Leave A Room. My whole life I have heard my father utter this refrain, but you know what? He is right. It is wasteful, and we can each do our part to try to save a little energy.

Be Neat. Neatness matters to my father. Before middle school, he sat me down and taught me to color-code my subject areas: How about a red folder and red notebook for math? he suggested. And how about a blue folder and blue notebook for English? And later, when I graduated to a three-ring binder, my father taught me about the benefits of dividers with rainbow-colored tabs. He likes my penmanship to be impeccable, my numbers to line up in straight columns. Errors made because of sloppiness drive him crazy.

A Crossword Puzzle A Day Will Keep The Doctor Away. At 73, my dad is sharp as a stick. He does a crossword every day, and – as people who do crosswords know – the puzzles increase in the level of difficulty as the week goes on. By Sunday, I am usually stumped. My dad is not a quitter. He works on those suckers until he beats ’em. A few years ago, a study came out that indicated doing crossword puzzles routinely helps delay Alzheimer’s disease. Wouldn’t you know, my dad was ahead of the curve on this one, too?

Leave For The Airport No Less Than 2.5 Hours In Advance of Your Departure Time. I don’t actually do this, but whenever we are going on vacation, I hear the echo of my father’s words in my head chiding us all to “hurry up,” because “we don’t want to be late and miss our flight.”

Stay Active By Doing the Things You Love To Do. My father loves all things associated with his alma mater, Syracuse University – especially sports: basketball, football, even lacrosse. He loves parking at Manley Field House, taking the bus to the Carrier Dome, jumping into the fray with the all other fans, and – win or lose – screaming for his favorite team. It reminds him of his college days, I’m sure. He also plays table tennis regularly, and sells real estate in Syracuse. These are all things he loves to do, and I am sure they help keep him feeling young.

Do Not Do Anything Less Than Your Best. He would say, “Everything you do is a reflection of you. If you don’t care about the product, why should anyone else?”

When You Think You’re Done, Check Your Work. Yep. This is the man who taught me to revise. To find the errors. To make the changes. To not be afraid to rip things apart and start over. To dissect and rework. While my English teachers certainly helped, it was my father who gave me an editor’s eye.

Be good to people. Always.

My Mom & Dad

Family first, then friends.

Don’t live beyond your means. I grew up modestly, but comfortably. I never wanted for anything, but I didn’t get everything I wanted. My father talked about saving for college, and saving for retirement. He’s a saver. He taught me not to covet what other people have, but to be happy with what I’ve got.

Avoid Doctors, But if You Have to Go, Listen to what the Doctor Says.

Do Not Expect Special Treatment. That way you can be surprised and gracious if you get it.

Don’t Forget Your Roots. I grew up in a modest house with a pretty backyard. Though we could have had more stuff, mostly, we kept to the things that were necessary. We played board games: lots of Scrabble and Monopoly. Holidays were spent with my father’s side of the family, who lived nearby. We didn’t take fancy vacations, but visited my mother’s side of the family – my grandparents, aunt and uncles, and cousins – in the Catskill Mountains. We practiced our Judaism quietly but consistently, and we continue to do so.

Overnight Camp Rocks. That is a blog unto itself.

Your Health is Everything. Over the last few years, I have watched friends struggle with and succumb to cancer too young. Other friends have developed chronic illnesses with which they wrestle daily. These things make me feel sad and more than a little helpless. When I was in college, my father had one scary episode that involved shoveling snow, passing out, and waking up in a pile of freezing cold, slush. Suddenly, he had a stent and a whole set of new dietary habits. No more steaks (he eliminated red meat), and no more tall glasses of 2% chocolate milk (he cut out nearly all dairy). These days he looks and feels fantastic, and I pray he is around for a long, long time.

My dad has taught me a zillion other things too.

And I know he’s always got my back.

I love you dad.

(I know. I forgot the comma.)

For better or for worse, name one thing you have learned from your father.