Today, give Dad a hug for killing the bug
On this Father's Day, it is fitting that we consider the main role of a father in today's complex world.
Having been a father for 19 years and having observed fathers both in the wild and under controlled conditions (in bars, garages, back yards, etc.), I can authoritatively state that the primary role of a father in a family unit is to kill cockroaches. Sure, fathers do other things for the family, but those pale against his duty as chief dispatcher of big, hairy bugs that encroach on the living space.
In my many years as a father, I don' t know how many times I've heard that girlish shriek of terror, coming from my daughter, my wife and, yes, even myself, when a roach is spotted darting across a wall. When the primordial prey bolts, it is up to the father to pursue it and terminate it with prejudice. If prejudice isn't handy, a stout priceless vase, an autographed Louisville Slugger baseball bat or one of your wife's Bruno Magli pumps will do. (Tip: First remove wife.)
Who discards the creature's corpse is a matter of negotiation, but getting rid of smashed roaches also typically falls under the father's purview. And marching through the house holding the deceased monster insect by one of its antennae is really where a man comes into his glory. The womenfolk will gush and clasp their hands to their bosoms as the father triumphantly carries the vanquished foe to his final place of rest (i.e. trash can, toilet or garbage disposal).
Why, you might ask, during these enlightened times of equality of the sexes and parity among all family members, is it still the father's task to kill cockroaches? Good question. And one that fathers have been raising ever since women obtained the right to vote and giving children an allowance was made mandatory under federal law.
Some fathers would suggest that "equal pay for equal work" for women extends to "equal roach extermination among dads and moms" in the household. And if kids get an allowance for doing chores around the house, shouldn't one of those chores be stepping on the occasional roach?
When it comes to cockroaches, the doctrine of "Whoever First Sights It, Smites It" has not caught on in most homes. No, it is traditionally, historically and entomologically the obligation of the father to kill cockroaches. And there is some anthropological evidence of this. Ancient cave drawings show stick men who are clearly fathers carrying large stick bugs that are clearly prehistoric cockroaches to stick toilets. The ancient roaches depicted on cave walls seem to be about the same size as the ancient fathers, so fathers are a little better off today.
So, fathers, as you sit in your comfy chair today with a beer watching golf on TV, surrounded by your family, a stout priceless vase and a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, know you are not only loved, but needed. Happy Father's Day.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org