I don’t know much about the habits of other fathers, since I’m the only one I observe on a regular basis. But one habit I have is using the refrain “It’s in my job description” when my delightful daughters question aberrant behavior I exhibit while performing my fatherly duties. After several years, decades in fact, of getting away with this claim unquestioned, a younger daughter got wise to my ploy. She wanted to know exactly where this job description was so she could review it.
The best I could come up with was that it was all in my head, a notion which naturally did not fly well in the face of daughters taught to think logically and do research before asserting a particular viewpoint as authoritative.
“Well, Dad, you’re just going to have to write it down for us, or we won’t believe that you have one.”
I was stuck. So for the last several, ahem, weeks (ouch), I have been promising to write down my job description. Because my credibility was at stake. You can’t simply say you have a job description and not be able to deliver it (although I have heard of employers who do just that). After much deliberation about the full import of what it means to be a father, I came up with a list of duties that seems fairly representative. Perhaps another father or two out there needs something similar. I cannot say I fulfill all these duties absolutely without fail. It may not work for all Dads, as it is skewed towards raising daughters and, more lately, the arrival of grandchildren. But, then, it IS my very own. And, like all job descriptions, it is subject to revision.
- Must tickle children regularly.
- Must laugh at silly jokes.
- Corollary to #2: must be able to tell corny jokes that invoke extreme eye-rolling and exclamations of “Oh, Daaaaaaad!”
- Must be able to see invisible friends.
- Must be conversant in stuffed-animalese.
- Must be able to reach the top shelf.
- Must go on dates with daughters.
- Must have a certified contract with the tooth fairy for timely, discreet tooth redemption.
- Must be able to make bizarre facial contortions.
- Must watch childish cartoons with apparent interest.
- Must be appreciative of the subtle qualities of “stick figure” art.
- Must be able to fix anything.
- Must read to his children at night without falling asleep in the middle of the best parts.
- Must be adept at splinter removal.
- Absolutely must do all the icky jobs including, but not limited to, unclogging toilets and removing the remains of dead animals the cats deposit on the lawn.
- Must not take losing at games too seriously.
- Corollary to #16: Must not take winning at games too seriously.
- Must not excessively embarrass his children in public.
- Must be able to tutor all school subjects at all grade levels.
- Must perform the ‘Daddy Dumpster’ function: let no plate leave the dinner table with perfectly good food on it.
- Must patiently endure emotional episodes when he in all likelihood hasn’t the faintest clue what the cause may be.
- Must have arms that never tire of pushing children in swings.
- Must say a goodnight prayer.
- Must always keep his promises.
- Must give really good hugs.