Quickly: thank you so much for your reads, shares, comments, tweets, and altogether amazing response to yesterday’s post. It was not an easy post to write; I’ve been agonizing over what I wanted to say and how to word it and how to express myself about this for quite some time now. When the verdict came down this week and the public response was…well, unexpected, to say the least, I was in utter shock. sj was the one who told me, after a series of emails, that a letter to Jane Doe was my angle. sj was also there for me when I doubted I could write it, and when it proved almost too triggery for me to continue with. So for every thank you I got for writing that, half of those thanks (or more) should go to sj, who in the whole grand scheme of things is that cheerleader you want in your corner and that intelligent friend who operates as both the angel on your shoulder and that other set of eyes you need sometimes AND the most hilarious woman you know who can make you laugh until you both cry AND snort. Love you, chica. Thank you for being amazing.
This will be a quick one today, as I am kind of drained, but I think we need to lighten up a little today, right? And as a thank you for being so amazing, and reading me no matter if I’m serious or if I’m goofy? You’re all fantastic, seriously. And how better to do that than with DAD STORIES?
I have TWO.
One is very, very brief, and one is a peek into the world of Amy and Dad, every March, for the past 5 years or so.
DAD MISTRUSTS POISON
Me: So when I went to C. and C.’s house, guess what they have outside their front door? Roses!
Dad: Well, that’s weird. Since it’s winter.
Me: Sigh, sigh. NOT NOW. They WILL have roses. Right now it’s just the PROMISE of roses. Thorny branches that will HAVE roses on them, once it warms up.
Dad: Oh, well, if there are thorns, there will be roses. You know what they say about thorns and roses, right?
Me: Yes, I do. Every rose has its thorn.
Dad: Yep, that’s it.
Me: Just like every night has its dawn.
Dad: No, I don’t think they say that.
Me: Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song.
Dad: What? Cowboys? No. No one says that. Cowboys don’t have roses. Roses don’t grow in the desert.
Me: Every rose has its thorn.
Dad: Now you’re just repeating yourself. No one says those other things, Amy. You’re just making things up.
DAD AND THE BIG DANCE
(Backstory: every year, Dad and I pick our brackets for the NCAA playoffs and have the best time watching the games together over the phone and shouting gleefully and laughing at each other and calling each other losers and sharing our thing. It is our favorite. Dad and my brother have car racing, Dad and I have basketball. I love watching the playoffs the most, but mostly because I know I get to share them with him. Picking our teams is hilarity-filled every year, because he takes it VERY SERIOUSLY and pays attention to statistics and coaches and what players are strong and things like that. Me? Um. Well, you know how when I go to the racetrack and I pick my horses based on what color silks they have, or if they have some permutation of the word “cat” in their name? That’s kind of how I pick my bracket. Surprisingly, I beat him about half of the time using this method. MAGIC VS. SCIENCE! IT IS A TIE!) (Don’t get worried, Andreas, I know it’s not a tie.)
This year, Dad and I are doing two sets of brackets. One against each other – whoever wins buys the other one a meal at McDonalds, and it’s a GOOD meal, per Dad, not the dollar menu, either, BIG MACS IF WE WANT THEM!, and the other set are against Jim. Now, Dad says Jim is dead to him, because we were supposed to meet Jim in Florida last year but Jim blew us off. Dad has blown this up to EPIC proportions and tonight said “That guy was about 10 minutes away from us and treated us like we were garbage. JUST. LIKE. GARBAGE. If that’s not dead to us, I don’t know what is.” I’m pretty sure he was like an hour away, and plans just didn’t work out, not that he treated us like refuse, but Dad’s never let a vendetta pass him by, no siree Bob. So if Dad wins, I think maybe Jim stays dead to us, and if Jim wins…um…well, probably he’s still dead to us. (Jim’s not dead to me. I like Jim a lot. Dad finds this suspicious and thinks I should ALSO think Jim is dead to us but it takes a lot more than that for someone to be dead to me. Hell, I’ve had people completely devastate me and break my heart into a million billion shattery pieces and I’d still stand in front of a train for ’em. I’m not as hard-core as I seem on the outside, my little marshmallow peeps.)
Dad: OK, we have to hurry up and do this because I have to yell at Prost soon.
Me: You know his name is really Probst, right? (This is Jeff Probst from Survivor; Dad thinks he’s the devil incarnate.)
Dad: Yes, but I don’t think he deserves that extra letter because he’s annoying.
Me: FINE. Let’s do mine first.
Dad: OK. Then mine, they’ll be faster. I researched them and everything. Then, PROST-YELLING!
Me: Hee, ok, good, I bet Mom’s really looking forward to that.
Dad: Your mother doesn’t even hate Prost. She doesn’t think his dimples are surgically implanted or anything. Something’s wrong with that woman. (Mom in the background: “He yells so loud I can’t even HEAR the show! It is ANNOYING!”)
Me: I already picked the ones for Jim.
Dad: Who do you have winning that one?
Dad: Gonzaga cannot win. That’s foolish.
Me: No, they’re going to win, and I’ll tell you why. Because of three reasons. A., their name sounds like garbanzo beans; B., they have a ‘z’ in their name, and I like letters at the end of the alphabet the most because they give you the most points in Scrabble, and C., their nickname is the ZAGS. So they will zig and zag and WIN. It is THEIR YEAR.
Dad: I can see you’ve really thought about this in a scientific manner.
Dad: OK, well that bracket is already pre-busted, let’s work on your real one with me.
Me: Fine. I’m picking Colorado because one time I went there and it had twisty mountains and so therefore those players are used to being all running around and avoiding obstacles. But they won’t go too far, because they’ll get tired from all that dodging.
Dad: Hmm. OK.
Me: I’m also picking Duke, because Blue Devils. I think the Lord of the Underworld would want them to go pretty far. But good always wins out over bad, so they won’t win it all.
Dad: Yeah, they’re not doing the best this year. That’s a good call.
Me: And on this one I don’t have the Zags winning it all, even though I feel like I’m selling them out. I do love the Zags.
Dad: People are saying they’re only #1 this year because they played teams that were easy to beat.
Me: People are jerky and mean. Stop maligning my Zags.
Dad: They can’t win, Amy.
Me: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Remember that year that like the #8 team won everything and everyone’s brackets were busted and people were like SOBBING in the STREETS?
Dad: Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but yes, things like that have been known to happen.
Me: In the south section, I totally picked all the losing teams to win. Because sometimes that happens and I like the underdogs. I picked Villanova because they have a ‘v’ in their name and then I ALSO picked VCU because they ALSO have a ‘v’ and when they play each other it would be V vs. V and wouldn’t THAT be exciting?
Dad: Well, for some people it might, I suppose.
Me: Also I picked Georgetown because I think their mascot is a cranky bulldog.
Dad: Aren’t they the Hoyas? I don’t think a hoya is a cranky bulldog.
Me: In my head they are. I knocked Syracuse out early because every year I pick them to win and every year they break my heart. They are evil, those Orangemen. They are heartbreakers. NO MORE, ORANGEMEN! I refuse to have my heart broken again this year! It’s already been bumped around enough lately, dammit!
Dad: Did this just stop being about basketball just now?
Me: Maybe. I can neither confirm nor deny that.
Dad: Fine. Do you need me to get your mother?
Me: No. She doesn’t know about basketball or heartbreak.
Dad: You are correct about both of those things.
Me: Also, I have Marquette going to the final four. Do you know why?
Dad: I can’t even begin to imagine.
Me: Because they have a ‘q’ in their name. Q! I like ‘q’s.
Dad: Of course you do. Who do you have winning the whole thing?
Me: I played it safe and picked Louisville, even though they’re known for baseball and not basketball.
Dad: Well, their basketball team is probably known for basketball. And they’re heavily favorited to win it all, so that was a good choice.
Me: I’m so going to win that McDonalds meal, right? I’m getting a hot fudge sundae if I do.
Dad: Wait, DESSERTS are included? You never said DESSERTS were included.
Me: Oh, whatever we WANT is included.
Dad: I don’t like desserts. Can I have two Big Macs?
Me: If you win, you can. If you lose – and you WILL, because none of your teams have ‘z’s or ‘q’s or ‘v’s – then I guess you can have whatever you want, but it will all taste like TEARS and LOSS.
Dad: This is really the best thing.
Me: I KNOW. I love March Madness. It’s the most mad. PLUS ALSO EXCITING.
Time for sleep, pumpkins. Have the best Thursdays filled with excitement and joy and all the happiness the world has to offer. Also maybe a little madness. We all go a little mad sometimes, you know? Worse things can happen.