Your dad thinks he's funny.
Okay, he is.
So funny I forgot to laugh. Har har.
He's fairly certain that you girls will find him to be the Funniest Person in the World. But, I'm fairly certain, having observed dozens of daughters and being one myself, that Dads are not as funny as they like to think they are.
And on those rare occasions when dads are actually funny, it's a cardinal rule that, as a child, you CAN NOT laugh at their jokes. These are things they teach you in the womb. That and the fine art of Eye Rolling.
Your dad is a risk taker. And he's always the first in any situation to try to go for the laugh. Sometimes people get the joke, sometimes they politely laugh, but I can see the confusion on their face and sometimes I cringe from embarrassment as crickets chirp in the background.
Once in awhile, when I'm a captive audience in the car, your dad tries his "material" on me. He gets "on a roll" and puts on that I'm Performing For A Sold Out Crowd look on his face. Sometimes he uses curse words and talks about sex, because that's what stand-up comedians are supposed to do. I shake my head in disapproval. Sometimes he really stretches to get to that punch line. I roll my eyes. And sometimes he hits the nail on the head. And I make sure to keep him grounded with a Was I Supposed to Laugh at That? eye brow raise.
"You'll see one day," your dad says after my blow to the ego. "One day I'll be a famous stand-up comedian and you'll see."
"Go right ahead," I tell him. "I support you one hundred percent. Go to your Man Den. Work on your material and make funny faces in front of a mirror. Don't talk about it. Be about it."
Because the secret is, I really do think your dad is funny. Not as funny as he thinks he is, mind you, but funny enough.
I thought about all the funny stories he could tell.
About his family and mine.
In Grandpa Beadle's voice or a Filipino accent.
About our grandmas and grandpas. And quirky aunts and uncles.
About comic Filipino mispronunciations or the awkwardness of taking sex-ed with your dad as the teacher.
About how our moms disciplined us, shamed and embarrassed us. But, how funny it is in retrospect.
Or about the tragi-comedy of that one Christmas. Or trip to the grocery store.
About you girls.
About experiences, painful and light-hearted, that every family experiences; that ring a universal truth, making us belly laugh 'til we cry.
I think that's what AmFam is trying to do and I applaud them for their efforts. Check out Bill Bellamy's "Respect" and "Momma Talk" for quick family-friendly laughs that remind me of my own family.
And, beadle, hurry up and get in where you fit in!