“You know that when old people have kids, their kids are retarded,” my father said while dicing vegetables. My husband shot me an angry glance, my blood boiled, my father chewed on a carrot. “So, when exactly are you having children,” he continued while reaching for a cucumber. “DAD!” I groaned and tried to tune him out.
My husband and I were at my father’s house for a few days, spending time with the family. I like family stuff. I enjoy being around my siblings and parents. I enjoy it more when my dad isn’t saying insane, offensive shit. Which he can’t help because he’s kiiiiind of a narcissist and that part of his brain that should gauge what’s appropriate to say to other humans is broken. Most of his crazy is highly entertaining, like, when he’s not being horribly offensive, he’s bragging about what a glorious male specimen he is. “Baby, you don’t understand how hard it is to be so good looking. Baby, I have the voice of angels.”
He’s also really into knowing things. He has “all the best knowledge,” and the inside scoop on pretty much everything, according to him and his way of caring is lecturing. He loves to lecture. His favorite topics include: Government conspiracies, Russia, China, how bottled water is a lie, ancient Persia, and the power of fruits, vegetables, and Persian cuisine. “Cucumbers will clean your blood, baby, did you know that?” He asked after he essentially told me that my ovaries are practically filled with dust. Then he moved onto the magical powers of dates, cherry juice, and walnuts. All are “spectacular,” for curing any and all diseases. Anxiety? Eat more dates. Insomnia? Cherry juice. Brain tumor? Walnuts. Tired? Put tea in your eyes.
After he covered his usual topics: Offensive shit about my womb/lifestyle/goals/marriage/dog, the power of dried apricots, and Russias goal to govern the world with China, he demands that we put on Sophia Loren videos for him to sing and dance to. “Nobody dances like Sophia Loren, NOBODY!”
My siblings and stepmom watch all of this and exchange a few raised eyebrows. That’s just him, in all of his crazy glory. He’s a lovely man, charming, and caring, but also a highly critical man with an eye for flaws. My dad either exaggerates your achievements (you got a job at a call center and he’ll tell people that you’re the CEO), or he exaggerates your flaws (you went to a psychologist so you’re clearly mentally unstable, cannot be trusted, and definitely got that gene from your mother). Our shortcomings blaze from us like disappointment beacons. If we’re really pissing him off, every flaw glows for him, and it’s all he can see or think about and it’s all he can talk about, too.
Luckily, we all have a sense of humor. When my dad accidentally separates us in a constant competition for his love-completely conditional-we gang up against him and gossip, roll our eyes, or blog about his never-ending insanity. My dad isn’t a terrible person, in fact, he’s a really fantastic dad. But he’d deeply emotional, very sensitive, and our mistakes terrify him which cause him to lash out because he’s not a good communicator (because he has a penis). Instead of talking about it, he panics, cuts us down, attacks us or turns a blind eye so he doesn’t have to deal with what he sees as guaranteed failure. Also, he’s super Persian and culturally they just have an incredibly high standard for everything in life. Hence, all of the criticism:
Hence, all of the criticism:
1. I care about my dog too much. It’s weird. They love their dog, too, but their dog is better than my dog so it makes sense.
2. I have too many college degrees. And none of them in medicine or engineering.
3. I have waited too long to marry and have children. Only a selfish person would wait for so long. My womb is a place where sadness lives.
4. I’m a horrible wife because when I’m upset with my husband I tell him. A good woman would keep it all inside, and then manipulate her husband with guilt to get what she wanted.
On the opposite side, my dad is extremely dependable when you need him. If I were to call him right now because something was wrong he’d be here in a minute. He always wants us with him, sometimes in a way that is suuuuper clingy. There have been weekends where he’s asked me to hang out no less than 6 times. He loves to be surrounded by family and friends. When we were children, my sisters and I would dog pile around him on his bed and watch movies with his arms wrapped around us.
He’s the kind of guy you want to hug and kiss and then stab in the head with a fork. He’s not perfect, he’s perfectly crazy.
But, I wouldn’t want him any other way.
P.S. On that note, maybe I’d want him to at least be less offensive. Just, a smidge.