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I hope this lives with him for the rest of his life.
June 4, 2011 5:09 AM   Subscribe

"When the high school's bus routes changed this year, 16-year-old Rain Price soon found out he'd be going right past his house every single morning. Much to his chagrin, he also found out his dad would be standing outside, waving."

The "waving" link takes a few extra seconds to load, but it contains costume photos from each day.
posted by gman (276 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite

 
Day three, it was an Anakin Skywalker helmet
... What? I mean that's technically correct...
posted by delmoi at 5:12 AM on June 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


F Yeah awesome embarrassing one-legged dad.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:13 AM on June 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Two years later: "Dad, what the hell did you spend my college fund on?"
posted by yeoz at 5:19 AM on June 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


I think the fact that the dad went "over the top", and won over the other kids on the bus actually makes it less embarrassing for the son. If he stood out there every day in normal clothes and waved, that would have been much much worse.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:21 AM on June 4, 2011 [19 favorites]


I bet telling his son once, in private, how much he loved him and was proud of him would have had a bigger impact on the boy than this public spectacle. The best way a father can say "I love you" is by saying "I love you".
posted by joelhunt at 5:26 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of my fondest memories of childhood revolve around horrendously embarrassing things that my family did to me. Good times.
posted by sciurus at 5:35 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


The best way a father can say "I love you" is by saying "I love you".

So not true. Words are cheap. The best way a father can say "I love you" is by, you know, being a loving father.

This guy, however, is being a dick.
posted by unSane at 5:35 AM on June 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


joelhunt -- And you know he never did/does that how?
posted by ducktape at 5:35 AM on June 4, 2011


You can tell the dad doesn't care about embarrassing the kid; he named him Rain.
posted by dubold at 5:36 AM on June 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Best line:

"I'm not going to reward him for this; his reward is seeing my embarrassment," Rain said.

Hilarious adolescent dramatics!
posted by gjc at 5:38 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Embarassing? Yeah, but you think he might have seen this coming. With the whole "Rain" thing.
posted by timsteil at 5:40 AM on June 4, 2011


I know a pair of brothers who, around 9 or 10 years old, threw a tantrum and insisted on being allowed to watch Psycho one night when it came on TV. Freaked them out so much they had to shower together. Dad dressed up in a wig and one of Mom's dresses, blasted the music from a boombox and busted in with a knife. They ran around the house naked, wet, and weeping. Turned out OK and laugh about it now.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:41 AM on June 4, 2011 [85 favorites]


This is an awesome dad.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:51 AM on June 4, 2011 [43 favorites]


That kid's about to enter junior year of high school. I'm sure with the right combination of alcohol, drugs, cars, proms and SATs, he'll find lots of ways to lovingly embarrass his father.

"Dad, that judge is just jealous that he never had a son who did all this for him."
posted by PlusDistance at 5:55 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, I think this is sweet.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 AM on June 4, 2011 [15 favorites]


ducktape: He described it as "a father's way" of saying I love you. I clearly don't know if he never actually told his son he loved him, but this seems to imply it.
posted by joelhunt at 6:02 AM on June 4, 2011


This kid should take some LSD, then he'd be Acid Rain.
posted by jonmc at 6:04 AM on June 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


The best way a father can say "I love you" is by saying "I love you".

No. This is better.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:12 AM on June 4, 2011 [39 favorites]


This guy, however, is being a dick awesome.

FTFY.
posted by bwg at 6:16 AM on June 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


There really isn't much to do in Utah, is there?

Day 140 - Bear Bait

"You don't have to outrun the bear.
Just the one-legged guy."

posted by Curious Artificer at 6:19 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Poor kid. If that had happened to me, I would probably have dropped out of school rather than face a painful dad moment every morning. But really, the kid is going to remember it forever, and it will make a great story, and he's not going to wonder about whether or not his dad loves him and considers him an important part of his life.

An embarrassing dad is a million times better than an absent dad, and you know that half of the kids on that bus were silently jealous every morning.
posted by Forktine at 6:19 AM on June 4, 2011 [75 favorites]


The danger for Rain isn't being embarrassed, it's being targeted by envious kids. From the story, it sounds like Rain's classmates enjoyed it more than he did, so I'd say this is a home run. I bet Rain does the same for his son one day. I give this thumbs up.
posted by EJXD2 at 6:20 AM on June 4, 2011


This is worth the empathetic painful embarrassment I feel for the kid. Eye-searingly awesome.
posted by tmt at 6:29 AM on June 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wonder if dad wasn't also maybe a little trying in his own odd way to teach his son a lesson about not hiding when you look different. And Forktine's take sounds about right.
posted by mediareport at 6:34 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah this is awesome indeed. I bet the kid is not-so-secretly proud as well as amused, it just wouldn't be the same story if he admitted it.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:37 AM on June 4, 2011


+1 for swapping out his prosthetic for an actual wooden peg leg for the last day.
posted by briank at 6:40 AM on June 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


This is an awesome dad. And yes, embarrassing, but a teenager is going to find their dad embarrassing any way, so why not go over the top? And its not like you can die from embarrassment...

posted by sandraregina at 6:40 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rhodesian camo? (131) Qua?
posted by Diablevert at 6:40 AM on June 4, 2011


Someone be sure to post the follow up story to this. You know the one I mean.
posted by tomswift at 6:40 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, this is pretty much the best thing ever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:42 AM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


It must have been torturous for the poor kid, at least at first.

But every day next year Rain's going to ride by his house, his dad warm in bed, and he's going to look at that empty porch, and I bet he misses it.
posted by padraigin at 6:46 AM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


So okay, he's 16 now. And I think we can agree that's just about bang on for peak embarrassment. At pretty much everything, really.

So at what age do you think he'll look back on this with deep affection and maybe tear up a little bit? Because at that point we'll have the other end of the spectrum, and we'll be able to calculate a kind of half life for adolescent mortification.
posted by Naberius at 6:47 AM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


170 costumes. Wow.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:54 AM on June 4, 2011


Me...well, I love this guy.

The world's rife with desaturated, lifeless, dutiful dads who say "I love you" all the time as they work their way through the chore of being a parent with the same enthusiasm of someone working on a quarterly report. I used to sort of envy those dads, the patient Hugh Beaumonts in the neighborhood who just sort of did dad stuff without the extremes, but times change.

My dad was horrifying.

"Don't go in the living room," I'd tell my friends as we'd head for the stairs to waste an afternoon playing Lode Runner on the Commodore 64. "Dad's got his headphones on," I'd say, rolling my eyes, which usually meant he was in his t-shirt and Sears catalog yoke-style boxers with the coiled cord to an oversized pair of AKG headphones slinging around the room as he boogied to Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

"Don't talk to my dad," I'd say, because he'd be studying for a play, and part of his process, as a studious actor in local community theater, was that he'd learn accents by staying in character, day and night, for weeks on end. "It just encourages him."

"Where's he from now?" my best friend would ask.

"I think he's Jewish. Everything starts with 'oy' and ends with him shrugging with his palms up."

"Your dad's hilarious."

"Oh yes. Endlessly."

But you just don't know, right? You just don't know, at that age, where the difference lies between your world and the rest of the world. All you see is that your father has purchased a ridiculous car, with the business finally doing well enough that he feels like he deserves a little luxury for his labors, and it's insanely low, with a hood as long and wide as Delaware, with twelve cylinders and a driver who...just doesn't quite fit the bill.

"Here it is," he says, showing us the new car, and it's not the new car, sparkling in the sun, we see. It's that he's wearing his customary overalls with one broken strap, countless stains, including a huge black splortch on the ass where he sat in roofing tar, over a shirt covered with little holes because my father firmly believed that cigarettes dealt with their ash problems without human intervention. "What?"

"Are you going to drive that car in that?"

"What? What's wrong with this?"

Even worse, my dad was a deranged Southerner, with deranged Southern habits, and, on long trips in that flat, leathery, absurd car, he'd occasionally pull over to shoot a snake, by which I mean pull a revolver out of the trunk, standing on the side of I-70 next to a slinky Jaguar sport coupe in his splortch-assed overalls, and shoot a snake that was there minding its own business.

"Had to put it out of its misery," he'd say. "Someone's going to hit that snake."

In the early years, he wore a perfect gay nineties handlebar moustache, waxed into loops, and later on, he was an absolute dead ringer for an off-duty Santa Claus, except for the overalls. I don't know, though. Maybe Santa wore overalls in the off season.

"Santa," little kids would ask, tugging at his sleeve in the mall, "Can I tell you what I want for Christmas?"

"I'll be back down at my little house there in just a moment, but I've got my understudy there taking requests, so you can give him the whole list."

He never actually played Santa Claus, though he maybe should have when the money got tight. My mother, however, indicated that this course of action may necessitate a divorce, so he just stayed off duty in that regard.

"Why are all those people in your living room laughing?" my friend asked.

"Dad's having a laughing party to make recordings for some dumb play he's in."

"That's cool."

"I suppose."

I could unroll a litany of the humiliations, the absurdities, and the strangenesses, but it's all water under the bridge. He's gone and has been for fourteen years, but the underlying energy of all that is still around, a little bristling cloud of ideas that hangs invisibly over my head as I make my way through my days. The thing is, everything is embarrassing to a teenager. Nothing you can do as a parent is right, and that's just invariably at the core of the teen years. You set out in the world, increasingly on your own terms, at least in illusory ways, and define yourself as the opposite of everything to prove that you are, right then, a real person, with real ideas and real concerns.

If your dad doesn't embarrass you, and is one of those delicate, thoughtful, low key dads that too many people try to be if they try anything at all, there's no opposition, and no resistance to strain the muscles of self. You become someone, but who?

My dad mortified me, but I was on TV this Thursday morning, talking about my clock tower, after hauling myself out of the bed at four in the morning for the live remote, and cousins from all around Baltimore sent me emails telling me that I look just like my dad, so the apple never falls far from the proverbial tree. I have a set of nieces who tell me, sheepishly, that introducing me to their friends is how they work out which ones are the keepers, and I don't have to tell them that I'm crazy about them. In our family, it's just in the air, little lightning bolts sparkling in invisible clouds of ideas hanging just overhead, and embarrassment is just the beginning of a life lived as well as we can live it.

This next generation is a little more self-aware, which makes it more of a challenge.

More fun, I mean.
posted by sonascope at 6:59 AM on June 4, 2011 [259 favorites]


I started reading this comment, and about 1/4 way through I said "huh, is this a Sonascope comment?" I shrugged and kept reading. Turns out it was. Sir, I wish to call you out. For awesome.
posted by Alterscape at 7:13 AM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think that it is part of the job description, as a father, to embarass your offspring.

By the time my daughter got to high school she'd pretty much trained us to avoid contact with her when she was at school, or other social settings.

My job in this town takes me to all the schools, and I followed this rule pretty much. Teens being teens, she did not show much appreciation for my restraint.

Then one busy Friday, as I walked down the hallway at her high school, jostling to pass all of the kids, I saw her at her locker, and casually walking by, without breaking stride gave her a hard shove into her locker, and kept going. Over my shoulder, I saw a faint smile. For whatever reason, this smile on her face, at that moment, is a cherished memory.
posted by Danf at 7:14 AM on June 4, 2011 [65 favorites]


The remnants of teenager in me finds this horrifying, but most of me finds it awesome. I would love to look back on a memory like this. I think.
posted by pemberkins at 7:33 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Troll Dad is epic troll.
posted by dry white toast at 7:35 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


This dad is awesome. The variety of costumes is delightfully nerdy.

What's the point of having kids if you can't embarrass them? (I'm only half kidding -- I don't have children, but I think that would be part of the fun.)

And yeah, Rain hates it now, sure, but I'm going to give him until he's in college, if not sooner. He'll be telling his friends about his crazy dad and they'll all say "That's great! I wish my dad did that!"
posted by darksong at 7:49 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone be sure to post the follow up story to this. You know the one I mean.

The one about the book deal?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:01 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Day 126. Mini-me. For the win.
posted by ColdChef at 8:01 AM on June 4, 2011


Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And that kid can take or leave it if he please.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:05 AM on June 4, 2011


and they'll all say "That's great! I wish my dad did that!"

and they'll all say "That was you? Yeah, I saw the blog!"
posted by Meatbomb at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2011


An embarrassing dad is a million times better than an absent dad, and you know that half of the kids on that bus were silently jealous every morning.

I had a mostly absent dad. I would've hated having a dad who did this. If I had been in a bus that drove past some other kid's dad dressed up all goofy every day, I wouldn't've been silently jealous, I would've thought "Gawd, dodged a bullet. I could have a dad that embarrasses me everyday, and spends more than a car's-worth of money on 170 costumes while I ride the bus to school everyday."
posted by 23skidoo at 8:27 AM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Awesome!
posted by OmieWise at 8:33 AM on June 4, 2011


The very best way a father can say "I love you" is by singing "I love you," along with an interpretive tap dance routine.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:33 AM on June 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Honestly, there is no more important lesson to teach your teenager than lighten up and don't worry too much about social pressure.

This man is awesome father, and there's no way he didn't spend years 0-13 telling this kid he loved him every day. I think it's the 110% commitment evidenced by the wedding gown and toilet shots that made it work. Lots of other fathers in that neighborhood re-evaluating their relationship with their kids, I expect.

Being funny, creative, and loving in a outward, public way -- if human society is anything worth saving, herein lies it's path to salvation.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:44 AM on June 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm thinking that this "wave at the bus" thing is part of a larger collection of "your dad's such a character" type behaviours. And I'm thinking that some of it will result in fond memories, and some of it will, uh, not. But I'd really love to be one of the *other* kids on that bus. What fun!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:48 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This dad IS an awesome dad.

Look, my dad lived in another city for most of my childhood, and I'd see him a couple times a month, if that. It would have been really easy for our relationship during that time to become superficial -- you know, each of us trying to just be polite to the other, but never really getting to know each other. But my dad never did that. Instead, my dad made sure that whenever he saw me, he proceeded to tell everyone else around us the most embarrassing stories about me. (The worst was when he'd tell these stories to my friends' parents -- and, consequently, also to my friends). He swears that he tells (because, yes, he still does this) these embarrassing stories not to make fun of me, but instead to show how proud he is of me. (His favorite kind of story is one in which I use an unusual word or phrase that no one else knows the meaning of.) In truth, he tells them for both reasons -- yes, he is embarrassing me and he knows it, but he's also showing me how much he loves me. It would have been really easy for me to grow up resenting my father for not being around much, but instead, I grew up sad that he lived far away but totally secure in his love for me.

And this dad is doing that same thing for his kid -- he is making sure that, no matter what, his son will never ever doubt that he loves him more than anything else. I think that lesson is totally worth some embarrassment.
posted by devinemissk at 9:02 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh.

Back when mine were all in high school, I received a pink flamingo lawn ornament from my mom for Christmas. Which I promptly stuck in my front yard. Embarrassed the heck out of my youngest daughter, who, shall we say enlisted accomplices to make sure said flamingo "flew away."

Not to be daunted, it was replaced by two flamingoes. I let it be known that if they disappeared, there would be FOUR.

But, having said that, I am of mixed emotions re this dad. I personally think he was hysterical, and awesome, and that he must love his son very much. But I also think that depending on the kid, this could actually be very damaging to the relationship. We parents embarrass our kids enough just being ourselves. Do we have to be that famewhorish about it?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:04 AM on June 4, 2011


jonmc : This kid should take some LSD, then he'd be Acid Rain.

With the right color paint, he could be Purple Rain.
posted by dr_dank at 9:04 AM on June 4, 2011


Awesome dad is awesome.

I think it's interesting the article doesn't mention his amputation. Neither does the blog, really, but then it's not hidden either. I love that the photo the newspaper ran is a peg-leg pirate; I assumed that was just part of the costume.
posted by Nelson at 9:04 AM on June 4, 2011


I think this is great. If he'd done it once it would have been humiliating but the amount of effort he puts in just pushes it over the top and makes it really funny.

Hopefully the kid has a sense of humor, a lot of 16 year olds don't seem to, or the dad knows if he doesn't. The dad should know the kid well enough to know if the kid would be sincerely mortified forever more or find it funny even if he complains.

I think though overall its better to have a dad who is doing something thats meant to be funny than embarrassing because he's rude, or racist, or inconsistent, or genuinely a terrible person.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 9:15 AM on June 4, 2011


I like costumes and cool dads, so this post is a a winner for me! The kids comment about "embarrassing me is his reward" shows that he's probably actually okay with this. If he was truly hurt by his dad's actions would he even have talked to the newspaper?
posted by vespabelle at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2011


From the article's comment section:
I am acquainted with Dale and can attest that he is a pretty remarkable guy. After losing his leg in a motorcycle accident, rather than attempting to hide his loss under a pair of long pants, he actually advertised the fact by wearing a pirate costume to our company's Halloween party, complete with peg leg.
I love this man.
posted by gman at 9:22 AM on June 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


I had a mostly absent dad. I would've hated having a dad who did this. If I had been in a bus that drove past some other kid's dad dressed up all goofy every day, I wouldn't've been silently jealous, I would've thought "Gawd, dodged a bullet. I could have a dad that embarrasses me everyday, and spends more than a car's-worth of money on 170 costumes while I ride the bus to school everyday."

This is a disgusting comment, you have no idea what their financial situation is like or the kind of access he had to costumes to begin with. I had an absent dad as well and this is the sort of thing he would have done had he been around, had he cared enough to be a part of our lives instead of running away from us, from his "problems".

All of the embarrassment in the world to have a father? I could only wish.
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:24 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am impressed he had the patience to save peg leg pirate for last. This man is obviously playing the 3D chess version of embarrass the hell out of your kids.
posted by milarepa at 9:26 AM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sure this is better than an absent dad. No doubt. But this is far from awesome, more like really lame.

Doing something because you can, is a poor reason to do anything and that's what I see underlying a lot of these attempts to embarrass someone else. There's numerous ways to express love and dressing up in a costume to prance around in public just doesn't have much of a focus on the other person. It is a very effective way of getting some attention for oneself, though.
posted by BigSky at 9:31 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Troll parents have existed since there were parents, I suspect, but I am glad there is a tidy handle for "troll dad" now.

/ survivor of troll dad
posted by everichon at 9:33 AM on June 4, 2011


This is a disgusting comment, you have no idea what their financial situation is like or the kind of access he had to costumes to begin with.

It's not a disgusting comment, it's just my respectfully stated opinion. If you would've liked this, cool. I would not have, not at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:37 AM on June 4, 2011


MetaFilter: This is far from awesome, more like really lame.
posted by ColdChef at 9:38 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


One of the most important jobs a parent has is to teach their children not to be afraid of arbitrary social pressures. People who raise their kids based on an overall bullying-avoidance philosophy just end up raising boring, fearful children.

As a master of embarrassing my son, one day when he was being horribly humiliated by me, I asked him if he had ever and I mean ever thought less of a friend or classmate based on something their parents did. He managed to come up with one incident in which some kid's mom had split the back of her pants in the grocery store, and I said, "So, do you think that guy's a dumbass now? You don't like him or something?"

"No. I felt a little sorry for him and his mom for a while. He's a good guy."

"That's right. And your friends don't think less of you, either, and if they did, who cares what they think?"

"But MOM!"

"I am not starting this car until you put on this helmet."

"Why do I have to wear a bike helmet in the car?"

"HELMET."

[OK. I conflated a couple of different things so it'd be a better story. I don't remember what I was doing to humiliate him that specific day, but I do know it wasn't the helmet thing.]
posted by ernielundquist at 9:48 AM on June 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is wonderful, thanks for posting it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:57 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is wonderful. And bonus points for the sheer volume of cross-dressing.

How can anyone complain about a dad who is so creative, involved, and committed to interacting with his kid at the point of adolescence when kids and parents usually move apart?

My only caveat is, I hope he balances his own attention seeking antics with time and attention to his kid's interests and feelings. ie: I hope it's not all about dad in that relationship. But my intuition says that this is a really good dad and I take my hat, helmet, tiara, etc off to him.
posted by serazin at 10:08 AM on June 4, 2011


This is an interesting thread to read because the lens of whether this is "awesome" or "lame" is so very tinted by personal fatherly experiences.

From my perspective, this is incredibly awesome. The kid may be embarassed from time to time now, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will recall this with fondness in later years, and be grateful to have had a father that is vibrant, creative, and involved in this small, weird way.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:17 AM on June 4, 2011


delmoi: "... What? I mean that's technically correct..."

It's the Anakin helmet the little kid wears when he's pod-racing.
posted by notsnot at 10:17 AM on June 4, 2011


Its things like this that make life rich.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:17 AM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sure this is better than an absent dad. No doubt. But this is far from awesome, more like really lame.

You don't see the irony or ableism in calling a one-legged man's behavior "lame"?
posted by liketitanic at 10:18 AM on June 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


23skidoo: "I could have a dad that embarrasses me everyday, and spends more than a car's-worth of money on 170 costumes while I ride the bus to school everyday."
"The ideas are anything I can think of at this point," Dale said. "I try to do it without spending money. That hasn't worked, but I have spent less than $50 for the entire year. A lot of it is stuff you have sitting around the house. Our neighbors have given us random pieces and we just put them together."
Source
posted by Memo at 10:19 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is an interesting thread to read because the lens of whether this is "awesome" or "lame" is so very tinted by personal fatherly experiences.

No, seriously. Y'all can't find some word other than 'lame'? Here are some synonyms for EMBARRASSING:

awkward, bewildering, compromising, confusing, delicate, difficult, disagreeable, discomfiting, discommoding, discommodious, disconcerting, distracting, distressing, disturbing, equivocal, exasperating, impossible, incommodious, inconvenient, inopportune, mortifying, perplexing, puzzling, rattling, sensitive, shameful, sticky, ticklish, touchy, tricky, troublesome, troubling, uncomfortable, uneasy, unpropitious, unseemly, upsetting, worrisome

There's no goddamned shortage of other words.
posted by liketitanic at 10:19 AM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


The haters can stuff it. I'd trade a school year's worth of mild embarrassment for one more day with my dad in a New York second.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:21 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you actually read the article it's clear the kid was pretty into it and the father got costumes bits and ideas from everyone in the neighborhood - spent less than $50 on the whole year. Sounds like they all had fun with it. Inspired lunacy!
posted by leslies at 10:24 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


You think if the costume dad stopped by this thread he would be freaking out because someone used the word "lame"? I suspect he's the type that wouldn't be bothered by something like that.
posted by andoatnp at 10:27 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


You think if the costume dad stopped by this thread he would be freaking out because someone used the word "lame"? I suspect he's the type that wouldn't be bothered by something like that.

I think that the possibility that one person would not be offended doesn't make something inoffensive.
posted by liketitanic at 10:32 AM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Between this and the Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll thread, I'm surprised at the split amongst mefites on the embarrassing your kids issue. I also wonder how many of the people who think Hitler would do this to his teenaged son are actual parents themselves.

It just seems totally inherent in being a parent that you think your own kid is so special and wonderful and makes you feel so silly that you *have* to do stuff like this. If there is a counter perspective to this, from a parenting perspective, I'd honestly like to hear it. If the argument is that your teen might be embarrassed or bullied or ostacized, I'm not convinced that the problem here is with the parenting style.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:33 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't see the irony or ableism in calling a one-legged man's behavior "lame"?

Naw, never thought about it.

"Ableism".

What'll they come up with next?

-----

No, seriously. Y'all can't find some word other than 'lame'? Here are some synonyms for EMBARRASSING:

awkward, bewildering, compromising, confusing, delicate, difficult, disagreeable, discomfiting, discommoding, discommodious, disconcerting, distracting, distressing, disturbing, equivocal, exasperating, impossible, incommodious, inconvenient, inopportune, mortifying, perplexing, puzzling, rattling, sensitive, shameful, sticky, ticklish, touchy, tricky, troublesome, troubling, uncomfortable, uneasy, unpropitious, unseemly, upsetting, worrisome

There's no goddamned shortage of other words.


But see, I wasn't looking for a synonym for "embarrassing", I was looking for one for "sucks".
posted by BigSky at 10:34 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread shouldn't be about discussing whether the word "lame" is okay to use or not. This thread should be about discussing a dad who dressed up every day to wave at his son's school bus.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:35 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fantastic. I can’t wait to see what this kid creates as he becomes older. He won’t be afraid, we know that.

I don’t have children, and really the only thing I miss about it is the fun my friends have harassing theirs. So I help harass theirs. One of my friends kids would always pick at his food and whine "what is this?" and "what’s in this?". They would always tell him "monkey brains" "bug puree" and the like. I don’t think he ever got a straight answer. He’s a chef now. I just realized that as I was typing this, I don’t know if there is a connection.
posted by bongo_x at 10:36 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread shouldn't be about discussing whether the word "lame" is okay to use or not. This thread should be about discussing a dad who dressed up every day to wave at his son's school bus.

Huh. I guess that's what I'd be doing if the word "lame" hadn't been used in the first place!
posted by liketitanic at 10:36 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. I guess that's what I'd be doing if the word "lame" hadn't been used in the first place!

That's also what you should be doing right now.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:37 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's also what you should be doing right now.

You know what? No. It isn't. I think ableist language is offensive. I also think that when offensive language of any kind is used, when we witness it and do not call attention to it, we are complicit in it. I think responding as though people who are offended by such things are overreacting or irrational just amplifies the problem. As GayProf at Center of Gravitas once said, "I have simply never understood the knee-jerk hostility to being “politically correct.” Opting to chose words that are inclusive or don’t hurt another person’s feelings hardly seems like a major chore to me."

Use whatever language you want. But you cannot also insist that no one else call attention to it.
posted by liketitanic at 10:42 AM on June 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


What a fucking asshole of a dad. Hey dickhead, take your wannabe viral "maybe we'll get a book deal and pay fer yer college, son" bullshit and take it out on someone else.
Of course a parent only has to breathe to embarass a 16 year old, that's human nature. This stunty bullshit does NOT make a good dad. Is an attention seeking dickbag better then an abusive or absentee dad? Yes, but not by much.
Thinking he's doing this for his son is like thinking Balloon Boy really wanted to hoax the national media so badly and his dad finally gave in.
Please, young dads of MeFi, do
NOT get inspired by this. Your children will become serial killers.
posted by BillBishop at 10:42 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


At first I thought it was funny and cool but now I'm having second thoughts because it breaks the first rule of being a great Dad which is:

It's not about you.
posted by storybored at 10:47 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


[Derails about language use should really live in MetaTalk, folks. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 10:47 AM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Use whatever language you want. But you cannot also insist that no one else call attention to it.

Then call attention to it in Meta rather than shitting up the thread, please.
posted by rifflesby at 10:48 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


BillBishop: You need to go for a walk.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:50 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I clicked the link, saw the pirate outfit and was then sold at once. It's the overthetopness and creativity that does it, he arranged a toilet out there for goodness sake. That's not just a simple wave, that hours of arranging bits here and wedding dresses there for the wave that tops yesterdays wave. Every day. For 170 days.
Makes me wanna hug my dad.
And yes, some parents are so head over heels in love with their kids they just want to do crazy things for them as much as they can. I don't know how I will top this, but by golly, I will.
posted by dabitch at 10:59 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


To offer another possible validation:

I rode the bus to school for a couple years in early high school. The school I went to was out an out-of-district International Baccalaureate school, which meant that the bus route also picked up a lot of the young, poor, black kids that attended the regular HS program that also housed the IB program.

At the time, I was a very unhappy child. My folks were going through a messy divorce, I was in trauma therapy for sexual abuse, my older sister was acting out in increasingly violent and dangerous ways, and school itself was a torturous black hole of social rejection that I dreaded being sucked into every single day.

I know I couldn't have been the only one having a rough time of it. I know this because I made friends with some of the other kids not in my program, who would frequently join the bus with bruises, without food for the day, without books or supplies, and dressed in clothing that wouldn't pass muster with social services had they not been of a demographic that the south didn't really give a shit about.

The bus was a 30 minute period in between leaving a depressing house and entering the pressure-filled world of high school drama. That 30 minutes was about the best time of my day, and was usually spent trying desperately to engage in normal interaction with my bus mates, or bury myself in a fantasy book in the hopes that the tendrils of magic and mystery would continue to float in my head, providing an insulatory barrier against the jocks who wanted to beat me, the teachers that thought I was a smart ass for ignoring the lessons and acing the tests, and the girls that thought I was a greasy loser.

I can say without reservation that a father dressing up in a different costume every day to wave at the bus would have been so, so helpful. To get onto the bus every day with a sense of an actual routine, with a positive and happy adult figure paying attention to us, and with something to distract, unify, and entertain the sad little people on the bus would have made our mornings interesting and something to actually look forward to.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:00 AM on June 4, 2011 [30 favorites]


I dunno if this stunt makes him an awesome dad, as such, but it makes him a pretty awesome person. He's kind of trading his son's current embarrassment for great stories for the other 20 people on the bus. I can live with that!
posted by furiousthought at 11:01 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The dude wore costumes and waved at his son on the bus every school day, for fuck's sake. Is a debate over his parenting skills or the potential for future emotional scars really necessary? This guy's a badass in my book.

Plate of beans...
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 11:07 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


This guy is great right down to his shoes. Absolutely hilarious.
posted by heyho at 11:10 AM on June 4, 2011


When my daughter was about 16, I was out of work for a few months recovering from a major operation and some unforeseen complications. It was a perfect time to grow a scraggly beard. I walked up behind Elizabeth a couple of times and rubbed my beard on her shoulder AND SHE HATED IT. I eventually got better and it was time to shave off the beard and go back to work. I put all of the beard clippings in a "To Elizabeth, Love Dad" envelope and put it in her backpack with her calculator. She opened it the next day in the middle of math class, which her friends found hilarious. The three kids all think this kind of joke is funny when it's happening to the other one. Everybody gets a turn. I can personally attest to the fact that it's entirely possible to have a loving, well adjusted family relationship even if you embarrass your kids in a loving way in front of their friends.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:13 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


All I know is that if I were back in high school, sophomore year, and there was a kid on the bus whose father dressed up in a unique outfit every single day...and got all the other kids wondering what costume it would be today, taking their minds off papers and tests and high school drama...I would go up to that kid and say:

"Hey man, your dad is awesome."

If the kid took it in good stride, high school rules dictate that he would be awesome too.
posted by jnnla at 11:17 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


My opinion of this dad is that he's a real fucking asshole. He's intentionally embarrassing his own son every day in front of his peers. That makes him a world class asshole. I don't know what drugs some of you are taking to make this seem "awesome" but I actually don't want any, because this is ridiculous.

*chuckles* Hey, everyone, remember what you were like after your first beer too?...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:23 AM on June 4, 2011


[Turn down the venom a couple of notches, please, folks. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 11:23 AM on June 4, 2011


I suspect it was actually only embarrassing for the first couple of days. After that it just became a thing.

I also rather strongly suspect that if the kid was actually and genuinely embarrassed about it, it would have stopped. The sort of guy who is going to make the effort for 170 costume changes is probably not entirely clueless to how his kid is handling it.

In short, it appears to be mostly harmless fun.
posted by jscalzi at 11:32 AM on June 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


The sort of guy who is going to make the effort for 170 costume changes is probably not entirely clueless to how his kid is handling it.

Could not disagree more, Scalzi. The kind of guy who makes the effort for 170 costume changes seems like the kind of guy who's hellbent on doing his own thing, no matter how much it hurts his son.

High school is a jungle. You don't know what that kid is going through every day. You think he or anyone need the stigma of the wacky dad?

A one-off joke is one thing, being a little kooky in front of the kids close friends is another, systematic daily embarrassment is just cruel.
posted by BillBishop at 11:39 AM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Awesome dad is awesome.

Dad anecdote: I skipped 1st and 2nd grade and went through elementary school the first time (long story) a couple years younger than the rest of the kids which led to a lot of social awkwardness for me. My dad taught my Sunday school class for at least a couple of those years, he was one of the leaders of my Girl Scout troop, and would sometimes take the day off work to substitute teach in my 5th grade class. He made me an awesome robot Halloween costume one year with blinky lights that worked and he was never above putting on a clown costume - with full makeup - to make kids laugh. At the time I didn't think much off it and was a bit too young to be embarrassed, but now in retrospect I know that he was watching out for me. He died in 1995 and I'm sorry that I never got the chance to tell him that I finally figured out what he was up to.
posted by bendy at 11:51 AM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, the beard story reminds me!

One of our neighbors worked at his daughters' school, and his daughters were just horribly, terribly humiliated and embarrassed by his beard, which he'd managed to grow to some impressive length.

So to make it cooler, one day he allowed some of his daughters' friends to style it with some nice braids, bows, and beads, then proudly approached his kids in the hall to show off his new, fancier and less humiliating beard.

And when he wasn't busy styling himself to look like a super-cool rock star for their benefit, you could usually find him outside running and wrassling and setting up tents and forts in his front yard with his own daughters, and eventually, most of the other kids in the neighborhood too.

The girls are all teenagers/young adults now, and that's still the house where all the kids congregate. (It gets kind of loud and raucous sometimes, but I can't stay annoyed about it because they're just plain fun and happy people.)
posted by ernielundquist at 11:54 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


BillBishop:

"High school is a jungle."

Maybe yours was. My high school was very nice, and my experience of it was actually rather positive. I think we may allow for the possibility that there is some variance in such things.

"You don't know what that kid is going through every day."

I invite you, BillBishop, to detail your intimate knowledge of what this kid is going through every day. Because it does seem to me you have no more knowledge of such a thing than I do. But if I am wrong about this, I'm happy to be corrected.

What I do see, from what little information given to us from the article, is a kid who was tolerant, possibly a little exasperated, but who also explicitly says what his father was doing was "fun." Which as I noted does appear to suggest that it was, indeed, mostly harmless fun.

You are of course entirely free to disagree.
posted by jscalzi at 11:54 AM on June 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Count me also in the "awesome dad" camp. I'm a little saddened and confused by all the people who are condemning this guy or claiming this is damaging to his kid. When I was in kindergarten, I had a bookbag with 12 identical bears printed on it, in neat rows and columns. One of the bears started wearing away, so I asked my father, who was artistically inclined, to repaint the bear. Like some kind of picky customer, I demanded that the bear be drawn back identical to the others, because even at the age of 5 I knew what he was like-- prone to subversion and embellishment. He drew it back, adding a top hat, monocle, spats, and a cane and I remember now, over 30 years later, being livid at the time, because I had wanted a bag that was the same, that fit in. How could I possibly be seen at school with such an adulterated bag?

While my friends' fathers did things like watching sports or playing golf, my father spent much of his free time playing drums, painting and hand-embroidering replica WWII military patches, gunsmithing, cooking, and singing improvised off-color ditties in both French and English in falsetto to the cats and anyone else in earshot. Why couldn't my family be "normal"?

My father was a nudist. My mother also was prone to lounging around the house in her underwear after coming home from work, and I was mortified-- mortified-- when throughout high school I had to leave my friends on the doorstep and go inside to check if my parents were naked or not before letting them in the house. The fact that I told them that that's what I was doing, however, probably meant that I had some sense of not completely needing to live my life in accordance with what others considered acceptable.

While I was in college, my parents came up with the "money-making idea" of "buttocks-on-a-stick", which you could hold up to your car window to moon passers-by without going to all the trouble of doing it for real. I was home one weekend with my roommate and some friends, when we found not one, but two, life-size bums lovingly rendered in oil on wood, mounted on handles like protest signs, leaning against the wall of the garage.

In my mid-20s, while between jobs and back living at home, some friends from college were in town visiting and my father, more-or-less apropos of nothing, loudly proclaimed the c-word at the dinner table. Oh yes, did I ever cringe, but long had I had in mind a line from the execrable Caddyshack II: "I stopped apologizing for my dad a long time ago."

A few years ago my parents were in town and we went to eat at Carrabba's. The manager was making the rounds of the tables, making conversation and trying to put a friendly, down-home spin on his mediocre chain restaurant. When he got to our table, my father turned the conversation to "Puss in Boots", and the poor guy looked so confused-- "What is this guy talking about?" It was mildly awkward, but by that point I was no longer the least bit hung up on how my father could have been more blandly normal and engaged in the customary banal small talk.

My father was talented and literate, extremely gregarious and friendly (much moreso than the rest of my family), confident, optimistic, a wit and a wag. I spent so much of my youth cringing at his actions (from which I have only thrown down a few moments that stick with me off the top of my head) and fearing the inevitable humiliation if he appeared anywhere near my social circle, but in truth I have yet to meet someone who knew him who didn't absolutely love him. It took quite a few years to realize it, but you know what, I never had to apologize for my father. The shenanigans that so tormented me I remember with fondness, and I wish now that I still had that bag with the bears on it. sonascope's comment is so right-on, and I hope that his delightful profile picture is of himself, and is at least partially the result of the dad he grew up with.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 12:10 PM on June 4, 2011 [37 favorites]


My dad was/is a banker...stuffy and sometimes overblown, a hard ass and a saint. The same guy that corporations walk up to hat in hand for a loan, that have to go through the business version of the same grilling my brothers and sister went through for our allowance or an accounting of our doings also would routinely occupy his weekends and evenings working on the children's theatre company that for about 15 years my whole family revolved around.

I spent much of my teenage years, and I suppose my 20's horribly embarrassed by him, and often for him. God what a spoiled little unworldly fuck I was. My dad, the banking executive, who by all accounts inspired terror in underlings and co-workers spent weekends, week nights, and summers dressing as a pirate and other characters, learning lines and verses to show tunes so he could act on stage in front of hundreds of strangers and spend time with his kids. So that we would have the memories we do now.

I'm 34 now and have a 7 month old. I am, by all accounts the spitting image of my father, except in a different field professionally. To what would I suppose be my younger selfs horror, I revel in being as goofy and odd as possible around my daughter. I want desperately for her to pay attention to me and to remember just a few seconds of our time together. I can pretty much guarantee that I would try and do something like this if I thought it would get her attention when she was 15, and hope that she would have the same memories I have of my father, now seasoned with time, that I now reflect on. If my behavior embarrasses my daughter when she is older, but leaves a mark of dedication to being goofy just to get a laugh, even if it's 10 years down the road it will be an investment in effort that was spell spent.
posted by iamabot at 12:13 PM on June 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


High school is a jungle. You don't know what that kid is going through every day. You think he or anyone need the stigma of the wacky dad?
It's the dad that is the problem? He should just be quiet, keep his head down and hope to get through it yeah?

That's some toxic subservient bullshit you're raising your kids on over there.
posted by fullerine at 12:16 PM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I remember being in junior high school and thinking it was "lame" to actually be enthusiastic about something, or to drop your hard shell of cynical apathy for even a second about anything. And being junior high school, doing so usually did get you relentlessly mocked until you managed to prove you didn't really care, after all.

I'm glad I outgrew that, and I'm always disappointed to find out how much of the world never did. And yeah, maybe this kid is hugely embarrassed now, but that's because now the most important thing in his social life is fitting in with everyone else. It's like that Churchill quote - "I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." This kid may not fit in now, but a decade from now, he'll fit in just fine and those kids with the absentee dads will still have a hole in their childhood where their dad should've been.

take your wannabe viral "maybe we'll get a book deal and pay fer yer college, son" bullshit and take it out on someone else.

There are a lot of things in this world I am cynical about (banks, governments, self-help books, to name a few) but I can't even imagine being so cynical as to look at this and immediately assume the guy's main motivation was to go viral and get a book deal. That's uncharitable to a completely ludicrous degree.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:19 PM on June 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


Mr Scalzi: My experience of high school was quite mixed. The best of times and worst of times. It all worked out well for me, despite how strongly I am opposed to this idiot dad's attention getting stunt that only seems to serve him to the detriment of the son.
When you're in high school and in the midst of the worst of times, or even ok times, the last thing any kid needs is one more reason to feel weird.
I don't know what he's going through any more than you do, and don't claim to. I do know that the peer pressure is stronger than ever, everything is accelerated and amplified by technology, and if whispers behind your back were bad in your day (they were in mine), having texts flying around the school about what an asshole your dad looked like that morning is probably mortifying.
I can think of an infinite amount of ways a dad can express his love and interest in a teen without making it all about himself.
I strongly support parents being themselves. I have a silly mom I was embarrassed about. Still kind of am. But she never went out of her way to embarrass me, she was just being her happy silly self. And that's fine.
This guy couldn't show up to every game, concert, or chess club competition and just be awesome supportive dad? Just be the dad that takes the kids out for pizza and lets them be themselves, talks to them like adults and not little idiots, or picks you up at 2AM when you're 15 and drunk and doesn't mess with you because he knows your hangover will teach you better than he ever could?
Maybe he does those things and many more, or maybe he's too busy preparing tomorrow's costume.
I understand how you and many here are equating this daily behavior with interest in his son, which equates to "he CARES so much," but I just think you're dead wrong.
This screams of a man who needs to be the wacky center of attention so badly that he'll make his son the butt of the joke, and that is a fucking asshole of a dad.
posted by BillBishop at 12:30 PM on June 4, 2011


I was in preschool the Hallowe'en around when Empire Strikes Back was released. We were playing outside in costume (I was wearing a Boba Fett costume complete with vinyl jerkin decorated with Mr. Fett's name and visage, which even back then struck me as odd) when two REAL LIVE GODDAMN WOOKIES walked up the sidewalk to our playground. Of course, all the kids freaked out as the Wookies raised their arms in the Wookie victory pose, making throaty Wookie noises and picking the kids up for rides and Wookie hugs. When the brown one got to where I was standing, utterly dumbfounded beneath my plastic Boba Fett mask, he knelt down and whispered "Hey Jess! It's Dad! Happy Hallowe'en!"

And then I got a Wookie ride.
posted by jtron at 12:31 PM on June 4, 2011 [48 favorites]


Fullerine: Of course Dad's in general are not the reason why high school is hard for kids in 2011. They just don't need to exacerbate the difficulty of navigating being a teenager by being "stunt dad."

mstokes650: I don't think this d-bag deserves any charity. The kid needs some charity. This feels like "I'm going to do this thing every day and make a blog about it and get a book deal and maybe we'll all get rich and famous and be on the TV."
posted by BillBishop at 12:34 PM on June 4, 2011


I'm leaning strongly toward the BillBishop side of this debate.

"Fucking asshole" may be a bit strong; to me, the dad seems like a pathetic, attention-hungry and media-whoring fool.

To say "at least the dad isn't absent from the child's life" is silly. There are certainly responsible, solid middle ground between acting like an embarrassing overgrown child and being absent from your son's life.

To my way of thinking, the dad's behavior sets a poor example of triviality. Fathers (indeed, parents) should be figures of dignity in their children's lives; not without a sense of humor, but overall setting examples of steadfast strength and responsibility. To devote hundreds of hours and no telling how much money and energy to, what, putting on a stupid whimsical show in front of your teenage child's schoolbus, is not sending an example of strength and solidity. At best, it's sending the messages that life is a big goof, dad has his priorities fucked up, dad has no sense of dignity or decorum, dad has no self respect.

At worst, it sends the message that dad thinks his best chance at a big payday and "meaning" in life is to conduct a yearlong, embarrassing spectacle in the hope that he will profit from it and finally feel like he accomplished something in his otherwise-vacuous suburban existence.
posted by jayder at 12:35 PM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Re: embarrassing your children...

To be a parent is, for at least the first decade, an exercise in public humiliation. The time I had to to leave the train 3 stops early, in the rain, because my kid's diaper stink was so horrific it was making other passengers retch, and then beg the local CVS manager to let me use the employee bathroom to clean him up. They poop on you, they vomit, they eat their boogers in public, they ask you loudly why that man is so fat.

On the bus two weeks ago my son and I saw a couple leaving a church after being married. He asked if they had kids, I said probably not, he indignantly said "Then why doesn't the man put his penis in the woman's vagina and make some???"

What I'm saying is, if I want to embarrass him as a teen, well, fair's fair kiddo.
posted by emjaybee at 12:36 PM on June 4, 2011 [28 favorites]


In case it wasn't obvious, contra Bill Bishop, this is one of my most treasured memories, not an attempt to show what "a fucking asshole of a dad" my dad was.

but what do I know, I'm lame

posted by jtron at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This discussion sure is polarized, isn't it? Wow. Douchebag bookdeal dad makes me sad, so I'll stick with my happy awesome dad view.
posted by Nelson at 12:38 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


An embarrassing dad is a million times better than an absent dad

Setting the bar pretty low here, aren't we?
posted by grouse at 12:40 PM on June 4, 2011


I agree that these days there are a lot of unseemly look-at-me parents in the news and in the reality shows etc. And I agree it would be shitty to make your kid the butt of a joke.

But I don't necessarily see either of those here - admittedly I've only read the one article and skimmed the blog, so who knows. But it doesn't seem like the kid is horribly embarrassed, it seems like he has a sense of humor about it and the other kids like it, and I don't see any reason to think the dad is doing this in the face of the son's strong objections. Why not read it as a warm relationship where the goofy dad ribs his kid, rather than famewhoring or cruel selfishness? Jeez.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:48 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dad knows how to stop the embarassment and make the kids think he's really cool: he vigorously stumps onto the bus, then tells the kids a long, dramatic story about how he lost the leg saving a surfing Eddie Vedder from a vicious shark attack.

At the end the kids remain quiet for a moment, then one says: "Who's Eddie Vedder?".
posted by Twang at 12:59 PM on June 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Someday, this Dad is going to die. And for years and years after the funeral, the son is going to remember this most of all.

Well played, sir.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:01 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


An embarrassing dad is a million times better than an absent dad

Setting the bar pretty low here, aren't we?


You've apparently never met my Dad.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:02 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


OK, the dad is less interesting than these reactions now. Too bad we can't do a graph of posters' stats - I'm betting the polarization would break down by age, or even economic status (i.e., I can't imagine teens admitting they'd like their dads to do this, much less inner city kids).

(Being neither, I LOVE this guy.)
posted by Surfurrus at 1:02 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see any reason to think the dad is doing this in the face of the son's strong objections

Does objecting strongly to a parent embarrassing you EVER get them to stop? No, it just makes them want to do it more. At some point the kid probably gave up on objecting, because it wasn't going to do him any good.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2011


For the record, there's a video linked from the blog, where the son also gets interviewed by tv and saying "now I find it funny... but it's also embarassing", and he's smiling.

(I guess that may be read as a sign of denial of the horribly traumatic experience of seeing his dad dressed in costumes every morning waving at him and his schoolmates, but, it may also mean that maybe he does like his flamboyant dad after all. If that's not too simplistic a reading of that smile on the kid's face, that is. I don't know. I'm not really qualified to express judgment on such delicate matters. I guess the complete work of Freud should be consulted, just to check if this wasn't listed in one of the parental behaviours causing irreversible neuroses in children, but I will happily leave that task to someone else.)

In the video, dad is also shown getting ready with the devil's costume and bright red wig and saying "I always wanted to have hair like this". Well. It is a fabulous wig. Forget about the kid, I'm wondering how much fun the wife is having with all this. From that video it seems, quite a lot...
posted by bitteschoen at 1:06 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]



While I was in college, my parents came up with the "money-making idea" of "buttocks-on-a-stick",


Best parents EVER.
posted by Forktine at 1:10 PM on June 4, 2011


BillBishop, you do realize you're letting him win by giving him all this attention, right? Did you try that walk that was suggested?

I salute this man and suspect the only attention he really wanted was his son's, to show him through dedication and thoughtfulness how much he was there for him, and to make sure he'd never forget it. As far as putting it online, good way to archive important stuff, and also to shout even louder how much you love someone. I'm pretty sure it's possible to find a lot of attention whores on YouTube with much less to say; I wouldn't know, don't pay attention.
posted by hypersloth at 1:23 PM on June 4, 2011


having texts flying around the school about what an asshole your dad looked like that morning is probably mortifying.

My dad would say (as he says about so many things) that being embarrassed in high school "builds character!" (Mowing the lawn, doing homework, walking home from school, and an amazing array of other things also build character, according to my dad; but being embarrassed or humiliated is always especially high on the list.)

But you know what? My dad wouldn't be wrong (also, my dad is awesome). Being embarrassed in high school is not the end of the world - but if it never happens to you, it might well seem like it is. You get mortified in high school, but much to your surprise at the time, you survive it; and then years later you wonder why it seemed like such a big deal back then, if you remember it at all. This kid will grow up more resistant to peer pressure, and way less worried about being embarrassed in life, than he would if his dad weren't so over-the-top enthusiastic about waving to him. And the price? The price is simply that his experiences in the "jungle" of high school are a little worse than they might otherwise be.

(Surfurrus, I'd bet the graph of posters' stats breaks down into "had an awesome/embarrassing dad" or "didn't have an awesome/embarrassing dad" pretty cleanly. Though "not traumatized by high school" and "still traumatized by high school" might be another influential couple of variables.)

At best, it's sending the messages that life is a big goof, dad has his priorities fucked up, dad has no sense of dignity or decorum, dad has no self respect.

Would you consider Jeff Goldblum to have a sense of dignity and decorum? A sense of self-respect? (No wait, this is a serious question!) What if I tell you he dressed up as a pansy, put-upon Big Bad Wolf in a ridiculous kid's show? And he wasn't the only person to get into a silly costume to entertain some kids with that show. I'm really not sure where you're getting the idea that silly costumes and self-respect are mutually exclusive.

Me, I would consider the idea that your sense of self-respect shouldn't be based on what other people think of you to be one of the most important lessons you can teach a kid.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:36 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just wanted to pop in here and say that as a lame person, I don't mind the use of "lame". I guess it's just the unrepentant ableist in me. Carry on!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:39 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just came in here to project my anger issues on this entertaining bit of modernity. Do I need to take a number or can I just jump right in?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:40 PM on June 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


Hell, my step-dad beat me and psychologically tortured me for 12 years and I didn't turn into a serial killer.

I'd trade that for this dad and his embarrassing costumes in less than a heartbeat.
posted by loquacious at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


I find the contrary comments a bit alarming as well. I'd have thought the worst negative comments would be more like "kind of schmaltzy" or "best of the web?" but calling him an asshole...I don't even know where that's coming from, especially after watching the video linked above. About the money -- It sounds like he already had some of the costumes, and went as the pirate to some company party. The video also says neighbors helped out with the costumes. Also the way he'd done up his house for Halloween, it seems like he just goes big for everything. And yeah, the kid doesn't really seem that bothered, so how is this guy an asshole exactly?
posted by sweetkid at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would say that the kid is not all that embarrassed, and his schoolmates probably think the guy's dad is actually kind of cool.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:52 PM on June 4, 2011


Hypersloth: I've had my walk, thank you.
I'm just shocked that a community of intelligent people mostly think this is awesome. I see a HUGE disconnect between showing his kid that he's there for him, and doing this.
posted by BillBishop at 1:52 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is totally awesome and hilarious. Though I imagine the strangest part would be shopping for dresses big enough to fit his "in drag" days.
posted by mathowie at 1:55 PM on June 4, 2011


Me, I would consider the idea that your sense of self-respect shouldn't be based on what other people think of you to be one of the most important lessons you can teach a kid.

I would consider the idea that you're a man who has better things to do than dressing up in a stupid costume 170 consecutive school days in a row and making an ass of himself, to be the important lesson. My dad was way too busy with his job for this kind of silliness, and that was a much better example/message.
posted by jayder at 1:57 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had a dad when I was young, this guy is a pretty good template of who I would have wanted that dad to be. All I had were "father figures," and that isn't nearly the same as a present and creative spirit who goes out of his way to show genuine affection. So keep on doing what you do, Bus-waving-don't-give-a-fuck dad.
posted by tmt at 2:07 PM on June 4, 2011


My dad was way too busy with his job for this kind of silliness, and that was a much better example/message.

Seriously? What message is that?

I am firmly in the "this is awesome" camp and really don't understand where the unbridled hostility is coming from, at all.
posted by cj_ at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


When you're in high school and in the midst of the worst of times, or even ok times, the last thing any kid needs is one more reason to feel weird.

Maybe that was true for you. I was unrepentantly weird in high school and enjoyed it. If I had done the keep-my-head-down and pretend to be normal thing, I don't think I would have had any more friends (I had a few, which was all I needed), but I certainly would have enjoyed it less and had more shame about myself. I'm glad I didn't.

My dad was way too busy with his job for this kind of silliness, and that was a much better example/message.

I think the opposite is true. I'd be sad if my job kept me so busy I didn't have time for silliness in my life, I'd consider that a failure.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


loquacious: yes, for sure this asshole dad is not nearly as much of an asshole as a guy who would physically hurt a child, or verbally abuse, etc...
BUT, making a project out of embarrassing your kid on the daily makes you a real fucking asshole.
How about doing something every day that supports your kid instead of embarrassing him?
This might be a little more cute if the kid was 6. But doing this to a 16 year old?
Christ, what an asshole.

wildcrdj: I was unrepentantly weird, too. I took my share of bullying for it, and I got my share of cute weirdo girls for it. It all works out in the end. But let the kid be weird or not on his own. It's his high school experience, not the dad's!
posted by BillBishop at 2:14 PM on June 4, 2011


I don't think the dad's an asshole, but I don't see how anyone can say he's doing this "for his son." If his son objected, and the dad persisted, then the dad is obviously doing it for himself, not his kid. I'm glad the son's managing OK, but I definitely agree with some people here that it could have turned him into The Weird Kid At School. What's the point of it? If Dad wants to play dress up then why doesn't he find a theater group or SCA chapter? Why forcibly involve the kid?
posted by desjardins at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Listen: When Felix was ready to fetch Celia, Father wasn't even in his painter's costume. He was wearing a sweater and slacks, and he promised Felix yet again that he simply wanted to catch a glimpse of this girl, and that he wasn't going to put on any kind of a show for her. It was all going to be very ordinary and brief, and even boring....

So Felix burbled off towards the black part of town in that flabbergasting apparatus. He was wearing a rented tuxedo, with a gardenia in his lapel. There was a corsage of two orchids for Celia on the seat beside him.

Father stripped down to his underwear, and Mother brought him the uniform. She was in on this double-cross of Felix. She thought everything Father did was wonderful. And while Father was getting dressed again, she went around turning off electric lights and lighting candles. She and Father, without anybody's much noticing it, had earlier in the day put candles everywhere. There must have been a hundred of them.

Mother got them all lit, just about the time Father topped off his scarlet-and-silver uniform with the busby.

And I myself, standing on the balcony outside my bedroom on the loft, was as enchanted as Mother and Father expected Celia Hildreth to be. I was inside a great beehive filled with fireflies. And below me was the beautiful King of the Early Evening.

My mind had been trained by heirloom books of fairy tales, and by the myths and legends which
animated my father's conversation, to think that way. It was second nature for me, and for Felix, too, and for no other children in Midland City, I am sure, to see candle flames as fireflies — and to invent a King of the Early Evening.

And now the King of the Early Evening, with a purple plume in his busby, gave this order: 'Ope, ope the portals!' - Vonnegut, Deadeye Dick


This is what this dad reminded me of - the King of the Early Evening. Too much "father", and not enough "father and son".
posted by Meatbomb at 2:26 PM on June 4, 2011


My dad never did anything this elaborate when I was growing up, but he definitely did a lot of things that were embarrassing at the time, but that I can look back on now and laugh. For example, sticking little rolled-up pieces of napkins in his nose at restaurants to look like boogers (and whispering excitedly to me as our waiter/waitress approached, "Does this look like a real booger?"). Or coloring my placemats for me when I got to that age where I thought I was too old to be getting a kiddie menu and placemat with crayons. I remember one fall where he became obsessed with a pair of "butt shorts," (those costume boxers with fake buttcheeks sticking out of the back) which he'd bust out any time I had friends (or my boyfriend) over.

I was always mortified, but all my friends loved my dad, and in the end, the most valuable lesson he ever taught me was not to take myself too seriously. Seeing this "Wave at the Bus" dad brings back all those memories and makes me wish I didn't live so far away from my parents now, because I really just want to give my dad a big hug and laugh with him.
posted by rebel_rebel at 2:26 PM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


But BillBishop, does it really seem like the kid is all that embarrassed? I agree for some kids, in some horrible junglish high schools, this would be awful - but for other kids, in relatively non-junglish high schools (which do exist), not so.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:27 PM on June 4, 2011


When I was 16, I would have given anything to have a dad like this. Mine (the biological one) was a few hours away and too engulfed in his religion, and my mother's husband (who raised me, I suppose) was pretty physically abusive. Neither of them really had a sense of humor, either.

I don't think I really had the capacity to be embarrassed by parents, anyway. I had terrible social skills, so I didn't really make friends in high school, and I was on pretty neutral terms with my classmates, pushed into lockers a few times but nowhere near as bad as middle school's daily beatings, which was good enough for me. It was a relatively non-junglish high school, and I was outside the social competition. Thinking back, I may have had little understanding of embarrassment in general. So many things I did then are just mortifying to remember.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:32 PM on June 4, 2011



I don't think the dad's an asshole, but I don't see how anyone can say he's doing this "for his son."


He's doing it for his son in that he's involved in his life, doing something his son will remember, entertaining the other kids, encouraging individuality, and generally just continuing behavior that seems to be a big part of who he is. He's a costume wearing, motorcycle (used to be) riding, disability not hiding example of individuality and that's something that he wants to encourage in his family.

Kind of the opposite of stage parents who cajole their kids into commercials and pageants and say they're doing it "for their kid."
posted by sweetkid at 2:40 PM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Damaging"? No, more like "tedious".

-----

I salute this man and suspect the only attention he really wanted was his son's, to show him through dedication and thoughtfulness how much he was there for him, and to make sure he'd never forget it. As far as putting it online, good way to archive important stuff, and also to shout even louder how much you love someone.

This sort of thing reminds me of men (hope that's not sexist!) who want to propose marriage in public, preferably on the jumbotron screen at the ballpark scoreboard. They just want their wife to know how much they are there for them, how absolutely dedicated they are to the relationship, and for it to be an experience their wife will never ever forget. Sure, sure.

All of these grandstanding displays of love just make me cringe. I never witness one and think "How loving!" instead it's "How self indulgent". Does anyone really believe that folks who make these ostentatious declarations of love are more dedicated, attentive partners than those more restrained in their emotions and who just generally exercise greater decorum?

I've also found that when people do something "for the story", the actual experience tends to be pretty weak sauce.
posted by BigSky at 2:40 PM on June 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know, the kid doesn't seem to have a problem with it. The wife doesn't seem to have a problem with it. The (fairly staid, conventional) Utah press doesn't seem to have a problem with it. The (presumably temperamental, judgmental, obnoxious) teenagers on the bus don't seem to have a problem with it.

I can't help but feel that having a problem with it says a whole lot more about the person who's mad than the situation described here.

(And though I can't imagine my dad doing this - or my stepdad - it seems way too jovial and kind-hearted to be anything but neat.)
posted by SMPA at 2:41 PM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


LobsterMitten: Just because the kid doesn't live in as much of a war zone as some, doesn't give dad an excuse to to make it all about him and his wacky antics.

Again, Dad's can be wacky, they can be embarrassing, they can be individuals, etc. All good.
How about not being "stunt" dad and just letting the kid have his life and make his own way. There are so many better ways to show a teen that you are an engaged parent who cares, that it's impossible for me to read the situation that way.

Also, just because the kid doesn't do interviews saying how much he hates it, doesn't mean he doesn't hate it.
posted by BillBishop at 2:51 PM on June 4, 2011


You know, the kid doesn't seem to have a problem with it.

Imagine that you are the kid in this situation. Imagine that you know your dad is just doing this to have some fun, but you're still totally embarrassed and you wish he would stop. Newspapers and TV crews come to your house to do fluff pieces on your dad. Are you really going to say "Hey reporters, I know you're here to put my dad on TV, but I think he's being a jerk"? No, you're going to find something nice to say about what your dad is doing.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:55 PM on June 4, 2011


You know, the kid doesn't seem to have a problem with it.

I don't know where people get this idea. The kid clearly finds this embarrassing. Yeah, he also says "it's fun" at the end of a quote about the other kids, but that might have been taken out of context, being at odds with the whole embarrassment thing. He seems more resigned to it than happy about it. I bet he wishes that his dad hadn't done this.

I can't help but feel that having a problem with it says a whole lot more about the person who's mad than the situation described here.

I really hate this sort of personalization of a discussion. It is possible for people to have a different opinion of the situation without it being a reflection of some deep-seated psychological issues, or that it's appropriate to cast someone's different reaction in terms of the same.
posted by grouse at 2:56 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am sort of getting the feeling that commenters feel that this is the sum total of the dad's parenting. I'm guessing it's just a few minutes of silliness a day and is thus insufficient data from which to judge his overall parenting skills.

I can see my dad doing something like this (for about a week, or possibly once every couple weeks) and it would have been embarrassing but not crushingly so. Crushingly so is your mom coming onto campus to hit up your friends for coke money (not my mom, thank god, but a friend's mom).

I also love the fact that he just rolls with the peg leg. Hooray!
posted by small_ruminant at 3:00 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's just terribly sad that my kid is going to have to go to high school with the kids of people who've taught them that it's more important to keep your head down, conform so you don't ever feel different so that when you grow up and are a father you can have a decent, honorable job that gets you out of the house before your kids go to school. Furthermore, you're a "fucking asshole" if you buck that trend. Hell, a serial killer.

You've given us a lot to think about Mr Bishop. I realize you're just trolling here, but the world you live in seems so utterly bleak. Like many people here, I grew up in that world and every day I wake up and thank the gods I don't live there anymore, and that I am able to show my children, by my example, that being an individual is wonderful, that one needs to live a life of lightness and humor, that family and relationships are far more important than work and school. Any future high school discomfort is merely the dissonance between what's good and true and whatever it is that you believe.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:20 PM on June 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


This thread makes me sad. Its making me think about all the embarrassing things my dad used to do to me as a teenager. Like when he took me and my cousin out and tried to get us dates by going up to random teenage guys and telling them his two daughters needed partners to go ballroom dancing with and offering them bribes if they would take us. I don't know where this was going as none of us knew how to dance....

Strangely enough a decade later him not showing up or forgetting important events in my life and embarrassing me when I had to explain his absence to people (who I now know probably felt badly for me) is much worse.

I have a lot of sympathy for costume dad because I can think of a lot worse things than teaching your kid that there is time for whimsy and fun in life and that what others think isn't everything.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 3:27 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Slarty, your suggestion that BillBishop lives in a dark, sad, emotionally cramped world because he disagrees with what this father does, is exactly the kind of "personalization" of this discussion that Grouse so rightly condemned a few comments up.

My family and I had tons of fun when I was growing up, with delightful in-jokes and lots of laughter. But never would my parents make a spectacle of themselves to show me that you don't have to be a conventional, boring drone.

One can think the dad's antics are stupid and cruel without being an emotionally stunted person without a sense of humor. Why is it either/or for you? If we're talking about the worlds people live in, I'm glad I don't live in your world of black and white where people who disagree with my opinion are fit to be maligned as small, emotionally niggardly, joyless people. Sad world you inhabit.
posted by jayder at 3:30 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have a lot of sympathy for costume dad because I can think of a lot worse things than teaching your kid that there is time for whimsy and fun in life and that what others think isn't everything.

If I had a parent who did this, the lessons I would've learned would be "The time for whimsy and fun is whenever you feel like it, regardless of how the people around you feel" and "The opinions of other people don't matter. Especially not those of your kids."
posted by 23skidoo at 3:48 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


The world is pretty small, if a man can dress up and become the center of it.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM on June 4, 2011


Thank you, Jayder.

I am not trolling and I did not come in here pointing fingers at other commenters for their opinions, or suggest that people who disagree with me "take a walk."

I am really not suggesting that any kid be denied their individuality in any way. I don't know how what I'm saying is interpreted like this, but this is not my intent.
A good dad would let the kid find his own flavor of weird, not be forced into the role of "the kid with the kooky dad."
Again, Dads (and Moms) can be silly. Fun! Whee!
Embarrassing your teen sometimes CAN teach great lessons, and CAN be cute, and CAN be seen as "this is my kid and I'll raise him how I want and do what I want and be silly if I damn well want to."
To pull a childish stunt every damn day at your kids expense when he is on the verge of manhood and trying to navigate his way through American high school 2011 is not so silly anymore.
Having a dad do a one-a-day stunt is about the dad trying to be an individual at the son's expense on a serial, systematic basis. It is fucked up.
posted by BillBishop at 3:54 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Any kid with a one-legged dad is going to be embarrassed by that, and then at some point be horribly ashamed of himself for being embarrassed by a handicapped dad.

This dad decided to head that dismal progression off at the pass by giving his kid a more legitimate place to put that inevitable embarrassment that won't make him so ashamed of himself later.

But at the same time, the dad is taking something away from his kid by being so zany: the chance to feel that your own wild craziness intimidates the old man and that the world had better watch out.

This kid is going to have trouble getting out from under his father's shadow, and that can be bad.

Perhaps worse, dad's depriving his kid of the chance to confront and overcome the real issues:

Learning to stand up to a mocking world and keep loving someone when they have real problems that can't be laughed off, no matter how embarrassing those problems may be, and no matter how much those problems seem to rub off on him.
posted by jamjam at 4:03 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joining a discussion with "fucking asshole," "dickhead," and "bullshit" writ large in the first two sentences of a comment, or launching into a critique with the not-at-all educated assessment, based on nothing more than photographs and a sketchy human interest piece in a newspaper, that the guy in question is "a pathetic, attention-hungry and media-whoring fool" just makes me glad that I had a terrible, humiliating, and occasionally attention-getting father who was still somehow able to convey to me in a lasting way that you can enter into a debate with something other than invective, lazy language, and hostility.

Being all butthurt and revisionist once the troll move is out there, on the other hand?

That's embarrassing.
posted by sonascope at 4:11 PM on June 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


My dad would go to lengths to embarrass us in front of people in minor ways. Not quite to this extent, but probably only because he didn't think of it.

Eventually our dad became the weird dad in the neighborhood, and our house became the house all the other kids came to. And in large part, that was because of my dad.

My dad also doesn't hesitate to embarrass my mom.

A few months ago a customer of his asked my dad if he wanted to buy a raffle ticket for a charity or school function the customer's kid was involved in. My dad said, "Sure." But he didn't have a dollar on him, so he goes back out to the car where my mother was waiting for him. And from the door to the car, he did his infamous rendition of a burlesque dance. My mom, having put up with 32 years of this behavior at this point, played along and stuck a dollar bill in his belt loop. My dad the burlesque dance back to the door --- the entire time his customer and other people in the office watching.

I only heard this story, and at nearly 30 years of age, I was embarrassed the heck out of it. But it also brought back fond memories of my dad doing other embarrassing things --- embarrassing things that did show us he was paying attention to our lives.
posted by zizzle at 4:16 PM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I can't help but feel that having a problem with it says a whole lot more about the person who's mad than the situation described here.

I really hate this sort of personalization of a discussion. It is possible for people to have a different opinion of the situation without it being a reflection of some deep-seated psychological issues, or that it's appropriate to cast someone's different reaction in terms of the same.


God, yes. Smuggest bullshit ever.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:23 PM on June 4, 2011


I have an awesome dad whose actions will live with me the rest of my life and he didn't embarrass me once. Nope, not once. I'm sure lots of you would find him boring, as he doesn't dress up or dance around, but so what, he's just as much of an individual as any of you and he's one of the hardest working people I've ever met. There's no need to create this false dichotomy between zany crazy awesome dad and absent, abusive, or conformist father.
posted by desjardins at 4:29 PM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sonascope: The guy in the story is a fucking asshole. I did not sling those words at commenters.
I am not revising my opinion of him. He is an attention-whore sacrificing his son's feelings for no good reason.
I am also not butthurt. My butt is well and I am far from embarrassed. The behavior of the dad in the story makes me a little angry, a community of intelligent people online thinking it's awesome behavior makes me confused, but you sound a lot more angry than I am.
Why you gotta get all personal, dude?
posted by BillBishop at 4:31 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sonascope, you wrote --

... just makes me glad that I had a terrible, humiliating, and occasionally attention-getting father who was still somehow able to convey to me in a lasting way that you can enter into a debate with something other than invective, lazy language, and hostility.

Don't you see that you are the one taking this debate into the gutter? You're criticizing the other commenters in a very sharp, personal way ... Just for disagreeing with you! To use colorful language to characterize one's distaste for this man's behavior is not lazy. It's insulting for you to suggest that it is. One gets the impression that you are taking BillBishop's and my opinions so personally that you're not content with just maintaining your position ... You must accuse of of using "lazy" language! That is bad enough, but then to suggest that we weren't appropriately parented ... wow.
posted by jayder at 4:34 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


This comment thread has taught me a lot about the opinions, neuroses, and barely-suppressed traumas of some Internet commenters. It has exposed some really startling opinions about what 'love' consists of and how it should be demonstrated. It has provided no information whatsoever about this weirdly focused dad and his kid and that busload of other kids. Thanks, guys!
posted by waxbanks at 4:34 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


not true, waxbanks. there's a link to a news story on the family that has some more information.
posted by sweetkid at 4:37 PM on June 4, 2011


Bill Bishop, you directly insulted the parenting skills of people who appreciated this. You said our kids would turn out to be serial killers. Did you not use the words "fucking asshole" in your first comment?

Any valid point you may have had about this was inaudible to the rest of us because your tone screams that you have a very deep hatred and fear of silliness. If you'd care to step down, explain your choice of words, and rephrase your criticism, I really would like to hear it. Until then, I really have to believe you think that parents who embarrass their teenagers are bad parents who are causing the deaths of innocent people, and it makes me sad that this mindset exists and I will do what I can to protect my children from people like you.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:39 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it true that (older) Mefites with embarrassing dads tend to take this more lightly? It's just my impression from reading the comments, but I haven't done statistics. (I understand how horrible this might look if one is 18)

Some time ago I met my high-school beau. I talked about losing my dad and how terrible that was, and he said, I'm confused: you always seemed to be embarrassed by your dad. This was the guy with the most embarrassing dad ever! His dad was shown naked in popular magazines and insisted on having conversations with innocent teenagers. Mine only cross-dressed at every possible occasion, sang out of tune in public, and had horrendous opinions published in major newspapers. Both dads were belligerent atheists, taking up the fight at every opportunity and always more knowledgeable than their opponents.
In retrospect, I think the difference was that my boy-friend was the youngest of four and I was the oldest of four. I had to keep some semblance of order, while he had his elder siblings to sort out the mess.

Both our dads were high-level officials, extremely dutiful and honored by society. They did the strange stuff in their free time. I resent the idea that weird people cannot contribute to society or do their jobs.

And I love and miss my dad, as do my siblings and all our kids
posted by mumimor at 4:40 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to reddit this guy is pretty well known in Utah as the proprietor of some sort of paintball superstore.

Those other little kids on the bus, the only ones worth caring about are the ones that think it is cool to have an awesome dad.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:52 PM on June 4, 2011


One angle on this, that escaped me in all the back-and-forth over BillBishop's views -- this kid is SIXTEEN! Almost an adult! It would be entirely different if the kid were five years old and this was dad's way of getting his child used to riding the school bus.

But to do it to a sixteen year old ... It's almost infantilizing the child. A sixteen year old should be getting advice from dad about the work world, about dating, about whatever else will prepare the child to step into adulthood. The sixteen year old is way past the Chuck E. Cheese years and entertained by silly costumes ... That's evidence enough that this is all about the dad's need for attention, and not about the teen at all.

It's quite sad.
posted by jayder at 4:53 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Slarty, I stand behind calling him a fucking asshole. I did not say appreciating this or enjoying it makes you or your children bad. I employed some hyperbole and I believe that doing this kind of thing will fuck up a kid for a long time and it really sucks, and I beg of fellow MeFites to not be inspired by this assholery. I did NOT condemn individuality or insult any other commenter until I was told to take a walk, and since that one comment I have been civil even though some of you are interpreting my opinion as an attack on you or your family.
Be silly, go for it, enjoy your lives! My mother is over 60 and still goofy and silly and embarrassing. It is just her way. If I thought she was doing it to teach me a lesson or to try and get on the local news, I would be as angry as you all assume I am for simply having a different point of view.
posted by BillBishop at 4:56 PM on June 4, 2011


I have two daughters -- well, one's a step-daughter -- but they both react very differently to parental embarrassment possibilities. One would just as soon shrink into a ball and die if we so much as wear the wrong shirt, and the other would be just fine going to karaoke night with either of us dressed in drag. I would totally never do something like this to daughter A for fear that she would murder me in my sleep on day three, and I suspect daughter B and all her friends would gather in the windows of the school bus each day in joyous anticipation of fresh antics.

Kids have different responses to their parents, one to the next, and none of us can presume to be inside the head of this kid, based on a pile of photos, a couple minutes of video and some text on a website. They've got a lifetime together, and the dynamics of their relationship are almost totally unknown to all of us. I would venture a guess that people's responses in this thread are largely proportionate to their own potential parental embarrassment factor, and would like to posit that it might be healthy to not assume that the way we react is the way anyone else would react, regardless of what's socially normal, or prevalent.

Also, I don't know about anybody else's take-away from this thread, but folks, sonascope was ON TV!
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:01 PM on June 4, 2011 [11 favorites]



FWIW:

Actually Rain has gotten used to the idea and enjoys laughing with his neighbors and bus friends who check out his dad Dale's new costume every day of the school year...

...As things progressed, Rain became used to the idea.

"The first day of high school I have my dad waving at the bus," he said. "It was really embarrassing. But the last couple of months it has turned into more entertainment."

"Even two months into it, he posted it on Facebook," Rochelle said.

His friends have looked forward to the daily event.

"Some of my friends walk twice as far to the bus stop to see it," he said. "I have a lot of friends who are going to miss it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

"Sometimes the driver says 'enjoy the show,'" Rain said. "We all laugh. Everybody else on the bus learned to like it a lot sooner than I did. It wasn't their dad dressing up like a fool."


Also, video.

Sounds like Rain was embarrassed at first, and then started to enjoy it.

I'm coming down on the side of 'awesome troll dad is awesome', myself.
posted by magstheaxe at 5:14 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love this man.

If you love it, put a ring on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:15 PM on June 4, 2011


Slarty, I stand behind calling him a fucking asshole

I wish you didn't, BillBishop, because I mostly support the points you've been trying to make here, but feel the f***ing a-hole stuff is the definition of hyperbole.

You know, the kid doesn't seem to have a problem with it.

From the actual story for those who may have missed it:

... "or embarrassing," according to Rain. He doesn't plan on thanking his dad at all. "I'm not going to reward him for this; his reward is seeing my embarrassment," Rain said.

Sounds to me like he does have a problem with it, which his dad has every right to ignore, perhaps teaching his son an important lesson about something-or-other connected with conformity.

I guess what bugs me about this whole thing is the degree to which the dad here conforms to the sort of Hollywood cliche of the "quirky" dad, without which no poignant coming-of-age tale could ever be complete. That is, it look goods up on the big screen, and is good for a few laughs, but life ain't the big screen. It's way more complex and, being 51 myself, my experience with most of my contemporaries these days (many of them dads) is that they really have forgotten what it's like to be 16, which as many have pointed out here, is a bad time to be forced to stand out in a crowd. Indeed, it can be quite painful.

One would hope that no dad would knowingly inflict pain on his son. Mine sure didn't do it to me.
posted by philip-random at 5:23 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Ableism".

What'll they come up with next?


Wow. It's not often that you see such a blatant display of privilege and offensiveness.
posted by kmz at 5:58 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


BillBishop: While you are entitled to your opinions, you seem to be displaying a disproportionate response to the topic. It's clear you're expressing a very strong and visceral emotional reaction, and perhaps it's an emotional trigger for you. I'm not sure if your anger about this is from a natural and personal sense of propriety and reservation or due to some trauma, but in either case it's out of scale.

If you're able to take a step back and objectively look at this thread and your comments, how people reacted to them and your further reaction to that - perhaps you'll be able to see how your response is disproportionate. The amount of anger, energy and vitriol you're distilling is rather alarming, and apparently I know something about being a cynical and vitriolic curmudgeon.

There are far worse things in the world to be angry and upset about.
posted by loquacious at 6:09 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


20 years from now this kid (despite name Rain) will get how cool this was. I'm lucky to have an eccentric father (sans costumes, but usually sporting a distinctive array of trade bead necklaces) who all the people I'd gone to school with still remember fondly. This kid will get over the teen BS and figure out the cool. How many kids are neglected & would love to have a parent this active in their lives?
posted by ironbob at 6:13 PM on June 4, 2011


Kid's gonna cry about this one day, thinking back, and no, not from shame, or dread or embellishment; but missing those embarrassing, long-passed-days... which will never come again or repeat. I hope he tells his dad the love is reciprocated while he has the chance. When he comes across an old copy of that newspaper clipping, or an archive.org copy of the blog... and it will be viscerally painful. Not for the reasons that some seem to assert. That's all.
posted by infinite intimation at 6:15 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


owe you a coke.

Since that was not all, it actually was an Anakin Skywalker helmet... it is both technically, and descriptively correct.
posted by infinite intimation at 6:17 PM on June 4, 2011


Why are the kid's predicted future feelings more important than his present actual feelings? We have zero idea how he'll feel in 20 years - you only know how YOU would or do feel. We have at least SOME idea how he feels now, which is apparently embarrassed and perhaps a bit resigned.

There is a ton of projection going on here. I know how I, personally, would have felt at 16, and I have some guess as to how I'd feel now (I'm 36, so exactly 20 years). It seems like most of the people who think this dad is cool had either dads who were equally eccentric, or dads who were abusive/absent, and anything would have been an improvement.
posted by desjardins at 6:41 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think there's a different way to come from this.

I don't think for one instant that this was an out-of-the-blue random idea from a guy whose never done something like this before.

So, this is what I think.

I think it is an extension of the silliness that his dad engaged in when Rain was younger, and this is why I think this. When we are at the park, and Toddler Zizzle is fortunate to get the one baby swing, Toddler Zizzle prefers Dr.E to push him. And by "push him," I mean, Dr.E jumps around, lies on the ground under the swing to tickle Toddler Zizzle's feet, pretends to fall back when Toddler Zizzle manages to kick him, shouts out in fractions when counting to three for an underdog etc. The other little kids at the park watch this and at first seem to be surprised, and a little puzzled or confused, then they giggle, and then they're asking their dads to push them "like that!" For the most part, the other dads refrain from doing so, and give Dr.E some, "Why'd you put me in this position?" looks. And Dr.E gets some additional disapproving looks from mothers at the park --- particularly when holding Toddler Zizzle upside down by the ankles.

But Dr.E doesn't care. Because Toddler Zizzle is tied up in giggle fits over his dad's antics. But I think this same silliness in Dr.E that Toddler Zizzle loves now is what becomes the embarrassing things later on --- silly embarrassing things. But by that point, it'll have more or less gone on for all of Toddler Zizzle's life that he should be able to say to his friends, as I said to mine about my dad, "Yeah. He's weird. Ignore him if you can," and his friends, if they're like my friends, will only be the more interested and think his dad is kinda cool --- even if Toddler Zizzle ceases to think so for a few typical teenage years.
posted by zizzle at 6:56 PM on June 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why are the kid's predicted future feelings more important than his present actual feelings? We have zero idea how he'll feel in 20 years -

The one dad I knew growing up who was most like this one was quite liked by me and my friends. But his son mostly frowned at his antics, and bit his lip. Twenty years later, he (the son) was on his third marriage, drinking and drugging hard. He died before he made it to thirty years later. So yeah, in one case at least, fun-loving-dad does not guarantee happy future for son.
posted by philip-random at 6:59 PM on June 4, 2011


Also, I will note that as I was typing my most recent comment, Dr.E wandered by the computer, read what had been written, and said, "You're weird" as matter-of-factly as possible.
posted by zizzle at 7:29 PM on June 4, 2011


With regard to Rain's future feelings ....

My guess would be that he may feel sorry for his dad. Sixteen year olds are not stupid, and he is definitely aware of what this says about his dad's need for attention. I can imagine his dad being all "isn't this great" with a big dumb smile on his face every day and Rain is basically biting his lip and stiffly playing along with it because, hey, it's the decent thing to do. He doesn't want to hurt big oafish dad's feelings, he may feel his dad is just a little too vulnerable having invested so much in this endeavor. The kid is tolerating it, and in doing so, is exhibiting a Christ-like magnanimity and equanimity. I've got all the respect in the world for this poor kid.
posted by jayder at 7:36 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm totally missing why people think this is awesome. I see a dad who's an attention whore. Sixteen is shitty enough without Daddy making it worse every damn day.
posted by 26.2 at 7:43 PM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Slarty, I stand behind calling him a fucking asshole. I did not say appreciating this or enjoying it makes you or your children bad. I employed some hyperbole and I believe that doing this kind of thing will fuck up a kid for a long time and it really sucks, and I beg of fellow MeFites to not be inspired by this assholery.

....Dude, it's not like he's flagellating his son daily on the bus.

Honestly, the depth of your ire is just making me, for one, wonder whether something about this may be striking you just a tiny bit close to home?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 PM on June 4, 2011


Yeah. I don't understand the vitriol in the comments calling this guy an asshole or suggesting he's a dick or that 16 is always a shitfest at school, in life, etc.

I didn't have a positive high school experience by any means, but my dad being embarrassing to high waters hardly had anything to do with that. As in, it had nothing to do with that.

I'll agree that in absence of knowing much about this family, people are projecting their own experiences on to this. I'll admit to being one of them.

But because of that, I can only imagine that the posters who are so viscerally responding to this father are either similar to the dads at the park we encounter --- that there can be no room for silliness in life.

And let's not forget, Rain has a younger brother. And much as this focuses on Rain, I am sure the younger brother had nothing but a wonderful time with this endeavor as well.
posted by zizzle at 7:55 PM on June 4, 2011


Yeah, fun-loving-dad does not guarantee happy future for son. Serious-hard-working-dad doesn't either. There are no guarantees for kids being happy in the future. You do the best you effin' can and hope it works out.

Bill, too damn bad we can't forward your comments to the son so he can feel your sympathy.

I'll bet he'd want to dick punch you for saying what you've said about his dad.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:58 PM on June 4, 2011


I'm not really projecting anything into this. I had a decent enough high school experience and a really good relationship with my Dad (still have one).

I don't get how this was in any way beneficial to this kid. I understand that dad likes the attention and likes his blog and mentions in the media. It's apparent how the father benefits from this activity. Why is it somehow an awesome thing for his son?
posted by 26.2 at 8:09 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a ton of projection going on here. I know how I, personally, would have felt at 16, and I have some guess as to how I'd feel now (I'm 36, so exactly 20 years). It seems like most of the people who think this dad is cool had either dads who were equally eccentric, or dads who were abusive/absent, and anything would have been an improvement.

For the little it's worth, my dad wasn't absent or eccentric -- thankfully, for if he had done this I would have been intensely embarrassed and would have been hurt and quite probably hostile about it.

But I still think that in this case the costumes seem cute/harmless/what-have-you. Spending the entire length of a school year on this project if the son was totally discomfited with it would seem nearly malicious to me, and while it is true we don't have much to go on, the mother, the neighbors and the out-of-town relatives the blog was created for seem OK with it. They would know the relationship between the kid and the father better than I would. Plus, the kid seemed all right with it in the blog post by some earlier reporter.

So insulting the man for what he's done involves too many leaps of faith for me to follow along.
posted by rewil at 8:22 PM on June 4, 2011


jscalzi writes "My high school was very nice, and my experience of it was actually rather positive. I think we may allow for the possibility that there is some variance in such things."

I've discussed high school experience with a lot of people and in Canada/the US at least it appears that any school with enough students to have several English classes was both good and bad depending on who you are. And for the students who thought high school was bad it was routinely the worst years of their lives even 50 years later. I know that certainly applies in my case.
posted by Mitheral at 8:23 PM on June 4, 2011


I don't get how this was in any way beneficial to this kid.

Because it shows that life doesn't have to be taken so damned seriously all the time. It shows that it's okay to be goofy and ridiculous. And it shows that being who you are instead of trying to fit in and trying to conform can have a, sometimes, more positive outcome than not.

Overall, I think it's incredibly beneficial for most people not to take life so seriously, and people like this dad (and my dad) show us ways in which to back off on the stiffness and, well, lighten up a bit.

Actually, you know what this dad reminds me of? It reminds me a lot of "You Can't Take It With You."
posted by zizzle at 8:43 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, my parents taught me that by including me in their fun. I learned not to take things too seriously by laughing with my folks.

Hopefully, the kid found some value in it. From his comments, I sort of doubt it.
posted by 26.2 at 8:57 PM on June 4, 2011


Because it shows that life doesn't have to be taken so damned seriously all the time. It shows that it's okay to be goofy and ridiculous. And it shows that being who you are instead of trying to fit in and trying to conform can have a, sometimes, more positive outcome than not.

What you're not getting is that when the other person's not into it, it's a fucking drag to be around. Period. And all the platitudes about life lessons and being who you are and bucking arbitrary social pressure, do not change that. Still a fucking drag. For some of us, this is an imposition. Yeah sure go ahead and do what you like, but this pretense that it's all being done for the benefit of the other party is just the figure of whimsy imposing his will that much more.

I never thought that pushing one's preferences onto others was a lesson that 16 year olds needed to learn. There are appropriate and inappropriate times for acting silly and goofy. Most of us learn early on that the moods and desires of others are a key element in distinguishing between those two times.
posted by BigSky at 9:01 PM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Aside from everything else, don't some of these seem a tad, er, sort of racist? Maybe it's just me.
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 PM on June 4, 2011


This might be kind of cute if Rain were six. I wouldn't dream of humiliating my teenaged sons, or myself like this. While there's clearly some affection at work here, his dad strikes me desperate for attention and validation and kind of sad. When my kids are of that age, my plan is to continue to provide an inconspicuous source of stability, support and dignity for them. Atticus Finch this guy ain't.
posted by Scoo at 10:39 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I had an uninvolved dad and I would have adored a dad like this.

BillBishop's profile says: Occupation: Provocateur. I think this sums up his function in this thread.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:42 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Arab oil baron costume is questionable as it plays on the negative stereotype, but there's nothing "racist" about dressing up as a pachuco or a Viet Cong guerilla. Those are not negative stereotypes. If you think they are, maybe you're the racist.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:57 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


As for how we project our feelings about our own fathers onto the subject of this thread, here's a data point. I had a very, very weird and embarrassing father that I adore. Seriously, my Dad is easily the most eccentric person I've ever met. And I'm firmly in the camp that this guy is completely awesome for doing something weird for his kids, regardless of how they react at the time. Are we really so jaded to think that every time someone does something silly in public that he's just a fame whore?
posted by no mind at 12:26 AM on June 5, 2011


I loathe the way some people here can't seem to differentiate between 'someone who has a really different opinion about X than me' and troll.

Also, hunting in a poster's profile for ammunition is not ok.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:41 AM on June 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


To my way of thinking, the dad's behavior sets a poor example of triviality. Fathers (indeed, parents) should be figures of dignity in their children's lives; not without a sense of humor, but overall setting examples of steadfast strength and responsibility.

Wow. Man, am I glad you weren't my dad. Got no sense of humor ...
posted by krinklyfig at 3:15 AM on June 5, 2011


they really have forgotten what it's like to be 16, which as many have pointed out here, is a bad time to be forced to stand out in a crowd. Indeed, it can be quite painful.

Yeah ... but then you get over it and move on and maybe even laugh about how embarrassed you were at the time, and you grow up.

Or ... you cling to your bitterness.

Your choice.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:30 AM on June 5, 2011


Hitler was responsible for millions of deaths. This guy dressed up five times a week for a year. More importantly, does it never rain in American Fork?
posted by doublehappy at 4:15 AM on June 5, 2011


Said in response to a comment of mine:

Wow. Man, am I glad you weren't my dad. Got no sense of humor ...
posted by krinklyfig at 3:15 AM on June 5 [+] [!]


No ... my sense of humor is just fine, but thankfully my father set a different kind of example. A board-certified surgeon, he easily worked ninety-hour weeks for years on end but showed my and my siblings that he loved us in far too many ways to count ... None of which involved acting like a damned fool. He's in his mid sixties now. Still working very hard, a couple of years ago he went on two separate long treks with my teen brother at two Boy Scout High Adventure Bases (Philmont and the Florida base). He's a very funny, humorous person ... But life is not a big joke to him, and I'm proud to say my dad was working too hard to indulge in attention-grabbing stunts like this to, er, "show me he is there for me."
posted by jayder at 4:34 AM on June 5, 2011


No ... my sense of humor is just fine, but thankfully my father set a different kind of example.

That's fine. I'm just wondering why you feel the need to be so critical. My dad was a bit like this. Not quite as over the top, but he would have been if he had thought of it. Sometimes he embarrassed me but I mostly thought it was funny, and that he was doing it because he loved me. Well, maybe we're all deluded or something, but I grew up happy anyway.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:08 AM on June 5, 2011


And I wouldn't trade the memories of my dad embarrassing me for anything. Humility is an important lesson as well as not taking your adolescent or teenage self too seriously.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:11 AM on June 5, 2011


By the way, my mom taught at the high school I attended, and my step-dad was the assistant principal. There is nothing more embarrassing to a teenager, although my mom was liked by most of her students (I was one myself). Even so, dad in costume is small potatoes in comparison. Honestly, I think I would have wanted to join in the costume making if it were my dad doing this. I was in stagecraft anyway ...
posted by krinklyfig at 5:31 AM on June 5, 2011


Oh wow, mom as your own teacher, that's gotta feel strange at that age (when younger it might be awesome, i dunno.)
posted by dabitch at 5:33 AM on June 5, 2011


It was a great class, otherwise I imagine it would not have been a good experience overall. My step-dad was not well liked by the students, but he was in charge of discipline and spent a lot of time dealing with that end of things. I was a shy kid growing up but high school cured that quickly, and I'm grateful for that.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:36 AM on June 5, 2011


By the way, my mom taught at the high school I attended, and my step-dad was the assistant principal.

I knew a guy in high school in that exact situation (english teacher mom, discipline principle father). He was always embarrassed by his parents, but it was all internal -- it was not like anyone was saying "dude, your mom reads poetry in a funny voice, so you are such a dork!" or "wow, your dad is a weirdo hardass who probably likes to dress up like a baby and get spanked on the weekends, so let's all laugh at you!"

For everyone else, it was just background context, like knowing who was in the honors class or whose older brother had just gotten married. But for him, it wasn't background, it was front and center and he really struggled with it, and I can remember being aware and feeling bad that he felt that way.
posted by Forktine at 6:10 AM on June 5, 2011


they really have forgotten what it's like to be 16, which as many have pointed out here, is a bad time to be forced to stand out in a crowd. Indeed, it can be quite painful.

Okay -- I remember what it was like. I have had therapy to help me cope with remembering what it was like.

I would have given up my left boob for something like this when I was 16 -- because it is much, much, much better to be known as "the girl who's got the silly-but-cool dad" than it is to be known as "the girl who broke wind during a chemistry lecture".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:12 AM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


But because of that, I can only imagine that the posters who are so viscerally responding to this father are either similar to the dads at the park we encounter --- that there can be no room for silliness in life.

I have no idea why you would expand "Dressing up every day for a year to embarrass your son is negative thing" to "There is no room for silliness in life". That's ridiculous. There is totally room for silliness in life. Silliness is great. That doesn't mean every situation needs to be infused with silliness. If you're at the park, goofing with your toddler who loves the crap out of it? That's a great time to be silly. It's not the silliness that people are objecting to, it's the part where the dad is going out of his way to embarrass his son.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:46 AM on June 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that a lot of assumptions are being made on the basis of not much information. We don't really know if the son found it mortifying or amusing or wonderful or horrific that his dad put all this effort into a gag. There isn't enough information available from what's actually stated by the kid to tell. I think everyone who feels passionately that this was horribly terribly abusive may be extrapolating from their own experiences. FWIW my own 16 year old son thought it was extremely funny and that the guy was a cool dad but that perhaps tells you more about my son than what we can actually infer from what is stated BY THE SON in the story. There's an awful lot of indignation in this thread on behalf of someone for whom it may or may not be necessary.

As the parent of two teens and one early 20s kid I'm acutely aware of how painful a time high school can be. Being silly with one's kids can really help offset some of the pain and in no way destroys one's validity as a person who works hard and sets a good example. My husband embodies this to me - he can by truly giddy with our kids but also works very long hours but is very involved in their lives. Would he or I do the daily costume thing? No way - far too much effort at a time of day when we're barely conscious.
posted by leslies at 7:26 AM on June 5, 2011


Well, hey. I went to high school in American Fork for a semester as an exchange student. Having just moved away from my parents' home in Essex, UK, for the first time and washed up in suburban Utah, every single thing was frankly so strange that I think if I'd seen a man in fancy dress on his doorstep waving at the school bus every day, I would barely have batted an eyelid.
posted by penguin pie at 9:34 AM on June 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah ... but then you get over it and move on and maybe even laugh about how embarrassed you were at the time, and you grow up.

Or ... you cling to your bitterness.


Who's bitter? Personally, I just remember the humiliations, sometimes viscerally. I actually break out in sweats or whatever. And we're talking almost forty years later ... and I had a mostly good adolescence, not really bullied, excelled in school both academically and socially, no great family meltdowns to endure. Adolescence is just a tough, emotionally delicate and raw phase that, to my mind, isn't necessarily served by exacerbation of potential humiliations. Yeah, we grow out of it, but not until we grow out of it, which generally happens sometime in our late teens, early twenties ... and that's assuming that the humiliations haven't been that severe. For instance, as I recall reading in research about "what makes a terrorist" -- it's not physical injury or personal or financial loss so much as emotional injury, humiliation.

And penguin pie -- I hope you're going to write that memoir sometime.
posted by philip-random at 10:13 AM on June 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someday, this boy, Rain, will be a man and his father will be dead. By that time, he may have children of his own. He will think often about what his father did during that school year long past.

Sometime later, he will find the strength to look through the pictures of his departed father in all of those silly costumes. Then the tears will flow freely, an overwhelming mixture of the sorrow of loss and the joy of remembrance will fill his very being.

This boy is so very fortunate but it will be a long time (hopefully) before he realizes how truly great his fortune is.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:16 AM on June 5, 2011


Or just as likely, he will flip through the photo album's pages with a mix of sorrow that his father is gone, and pity that his father was so greedy for attention that he pulled a stunt that got national attention because his father acted like an overgrown child. He will admit to himself, that despite his love for his father, he always sort of felt sorry for him and couldn't totally respect him after that costume stunt, because it showed how poor dad's judgment was.
posted by jayder at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese: “The Arab oil baron costume is questionable as it plays on the negative stereotype, but there's nothing ‘racist’ about dressing up as a pachuco or a Viet Cong guerilla. Those are not negative stereotypes. If you think they are, maybe you're the racist.”

Why would it be racist to think certain things are negative stereotypes to be avoided? I don't understand.
posted by koeselitz at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2011


Why would it be racist to think certain things are negative stereotypes to be avoided? I don't understand.

I'm guessing, because some of those stereotypes are embraced by many of the people being stereotyped. Like suggesting all Canadians are brawling hockey players. It's definitely a stereotype and one I find tedious, but they're certainly not afraid to use it to sell beer, or whatever.

The classic for me is the "My name is Joe and I'm Canadian". Sold a lot of beer but man did I HATE IT, as observed elsewhere.
posted by philip-random at 10:51 AM on June 5, 2011


I don't get calling the Vietcong Uniform a stereotype, racist or otherwise. The costume is a fair representation of a Vietcong uniform considering his budget (though he probably should have added a web belt). A jungle hat may have been more typical but the straw hat wasn't unknown.
posted by Mitheral at 11:28 AM on June 5, 2011


What a fascinating thread! I think if the father had wanted to embarrass the son he would have chosen costumes meant to put down the son - I dunno, like maybe wearing the son's football uniforms after the son lost the game, or his scout uniform after getting kicked out of the troop (yes, dumb examples, too little sleep this weekend to be witty). But the father chose self-deprecating outfits. If nothing else, the fact that the father was dedicated in maintaining this every day for a whole school year shows what a priority his son is to him.

Several people upthread pointed out that their fathers proved their love for them by working everyday. Eh, to me, a father in paid employment is just as likely to be working for his own reasons (ego-gratification, financial independence, getting away from the much harder work of being an in-person father than the instant gratification of paid work that is respected by society). My father worked hard, crappy factory jobs as a sacrifice to support his family - deliberately choosing the early morning shift so he could be home for us every day after school. I love him for both choices (working hard and being a fun goof in person), but it is the times together that I remember. I wish you all had fathers as wonderful as mine.
posted by saucysault at 12:07 PM on June 5, 2011


Maybe it's the fact the costume is labelled Charlie? Or the fact that U.S. cinema spent much of the 1980s endlessly shooting and blowing up such figures?

It's a wee bit like if he had his bathrobe on, a towel wrapped around his head, and an AK-47 in his hands, and then labelled the costume was Haji. Minus label and context, the photo might look innocent (?) but, with the context and the creator's own label included, yeah, it totally comes off as - at best - very questionable.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:05 PM on June 5, 2011


stinkycheese: “It's a wee bit like if he had his bathrobe on, a towel wrapped around his head, and an AK-47 in his hands, and then labelled the costume was Haji. Minus label and context, the photo might look innocent (?) but, with the context and the creator's own label included, yeah, it totally comes off as - at best - very questionable.”

Yeah, uh, he sort of did that one too. But this one doesn't say "Haji." Still, I felt uncomfortable. His linking it to a disgustingly-racist Jeff Dunham sketch (ugh) probably didn't help that feeling.
posted by koeselitz at 2:41 PM on June 5, 2011


The kid does not like this, and wants it to stop. The fact that you think it is awesome is irrelevant. This prick of a parent is ignoring his kid's discomfort and that, absolutely and incontrovertibly, makes him an utter louse and and a horrible parent. Anyone who can't understand that is being wilfully obtuse.
posted by Decani at 3:06 PM on June 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Most of them like it and we roll down our windows and wave. It's fun," [Rain] said

Sounds like he likes it even though it is embarrassing. It is totally possible to feel both emotions at once.
posted by saucysault at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2011


The kid does not like this, and wants it to stop.

Yeah, I think this is the point where we're diverging. I don't get that feeling from what I've seen. I get the sense the son is a little embarrassed and a little amused and that his peers mostly think it's just fun.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:39 PM on June 5, 2011


A difference of opinion is one thing, the hate and name calling that’s been going on here is very weird and moved right into creepy. I had to quit reading the comments.
posted by bongo_x at 4:51 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is tl:dr, so, tl;dr, fathers with "big goofy self-satisfied smiles", as they "do mildly embarrassing antics" are not the worst thing in the world. In fact, they may be a non-renewable resource. I'd love to see documentation on how others do things so much "better", or "more right". No, I am not saying "at least he isn't violently abusive"... The world isn't divided into "awesome and evil". It isn't "awesome" for the son (now [unless it secretly is, maybe they used to dress up, all the time, and HS was the cusp, where the son stopped... he will miss those dress-up days, and perhaps more deeply cherish when his own children dress-up with costumes]). Some things just 'are', and trying to "evaluate", or "judge" the participants is simply impossible without something closer to a full set of facts, and details about complex (evolving) human relationships, as opposed to 10 short one line comments, and a local news article. To those who hold onto the pains inflicted by mean people from their childhood, I just wish I could shake their hand, and say, let those jerks go... they don't hold power over you, and you are far stronger then they. Bullies are unleashing their own weaknesses and pain, you were collateral damage, and did not deserve mistreatment, but please don't let them continue to hold that power over you.

It seems like most of the people who think this dad is cool had either dads who were equally eccentric, or dads who were abusive/absent, and anything would have been an improvement.

Well, that sort of describes a spectrum that could include just about all forms of "father"... cool--->eccentric--->absent.
But it doesn't put this guy in a box of "bad dad" automagically. As in all cases where the internet is judging someones value and worth, based on the barest of glimpses into the most public thing that person has done (and unlike others, I don't consider "doing something publicly" to be inherently a bad thing)... I'd need either something more, or something beyond anecdotes and assertions to claim this guy is "doing it wrong". It doesn't describe why I commented, and I don't know that it defines others specifically.

Just to clarify; neither of those options is particularly why I made my comment. I felt that he would feel the way I suggested... regardless of if his dad dressed up or not... whether his embarrassment is of the "aw shucks, yeah I'm embarrassed [and really, which sixteen year old says they love their dads antics of ANY sort? Kids whose parent coached the local team get embarrassed about it, kids whose parent is a teacher at their school get embarrassed... and on, and on... doesn't mean the parent ought to quit teaching there, or stop coaching; it is a child's duty to get outwardly embarrassed by their parents peculiarities, and yet to hold in their memory the things that caused embarrassment, because parentally induced embarrassment is not a simple analogue to 'pain', and it grows into appreciation] really, I wasn't saying that people advocating the opposite of what I said was one of those mirror tests... why must mine be?
People miss other people when they are gone.

It is not always the memories that you expect which cause reminiscence. I guess I ought to note that yes, I am not "certain" he will cry over these memories... but it sure seems like something that is not "malicious", and certainly not "evil". And like wine or something, perspective adds flavor. Yes, he may think "ooo that attention obsessed dad, always grabbing the spotlight"... but then will remember all the days, hours, years and minutes, the instants, the moments that they shared (which none of us are privy to) and will see the whole person who was his father... so yeah, even in the most "bitter" potential future, missing his father will include missing his peculiarities, failures, and mistakes, alongside the warm times, the good, and the caring.

It just happens that this is a thing that is memorable (some are arguing strongly that it is a "false" memorable... I am not qualified to judge if this is a cynical or "malicious" abuse of costuming to create a "forced" memorability), and that is why I suggested it could be one of the many/interconnected memory things that cause the flood of memory, the torrent of time, to come rushing back one day down the road, breaching the levy of repression, and swallowing the sluice gates of emotional restraints.

If he was a dad who wore Chewie costumes, then that would be the memory, or if he fixed up old cars, and put them in shows, that would be the memory... both of which have embarrassed children in the past, I guess my comment was less a "judgement of coolness" of the father, and more a comment on the reality that HS BS is just that HS BS... and even in that arena, his peers seem less "mocking", and so much more "cool with it".


Why are the kid's predicted future feelings more important than his present actual feelings? ....which is apparently embarrassed and perhaps a bit resigned.

OK, why? First, the "present actual feelings" are also asserted, and essentially "predicted". Secondly, because those are healthy things. His dad being crazy is not evil, does not kill him, and does not destroy his being... Those costumes are not abuse (note for posterity I do not argue that they "automatically" classify this dad as 'cool' either). Because the son provides just a bare minimum of protest, a bare minimum of requisite "ashamedness"; if he told the paper, and blog that he thought it was the coolest thing ever... he would get mocked. Because that wouldn't be cool.

Those are not mistreatment. Those do not themselves cause drug addictions, serial killing, nor divorce forty years later. They just don't! Even IF the antics caused this boy to be outcast (which, clearly, they have not), there is new life after highschool. And then there is (hopefully) college (or any of many alternatives), and if he is embarrassed there, there is post college, and if he is embarrassed in the workplace... then maybe he is embarrassed about a much deeper rooted thing and needs to talk to people... it still is not his fathers "doing".
His father would be one factor of a multi-variable formula.

HS BS is as such because none of it matters long term (*noting that it matters as it happens, to the people it is happening to; but they have voices, and can speak for themselves... if he wanted someone to come adopt him, he could publically ask for this [but that might be seen as seeking publicity, so that might put him on some people's bad guy list] but it ends, it is but one phase of life, and when people portray this time as if some 'singular' defining, or deciding factor... are limiting themselves to endlessly battling long gone ghosts, and a limited value of self worth... the most important parts of any life are NEVER the bullies who hurt someone). If he can get away from his town (and he can)... he can do/be whatever he wants... so unless someone is suggesting he might "literally" die from the shame of this... then he will survive. And very likely be so much stronger than many others. Where some seem to think he ought to be ashen faced falling over embarrassed, feeling like a loser; he may well be able to laugh at the assertion of such a timid and meek outlook.
But he likely already had that lesson, his father is already different from "average". Even the so called 'enlightened' lol at "lame", how do you think people of ignorance, and bigotry would talk about his dad? Used to getting looks.

P.R. honest question; do you really attribute that story directly to "antics of a father which are silently frowned at"?

I'd uh, look elsewhere (unless a new "quirky father causes divorce, drinking and drugs" theory going around). Some new theory that Quirky Dads anecdotally may cause hard drugging, and alcoholism. Seriously... if that is the "metric"... how can anyone "be" a good father. What "is" a good father (if that story is supposed to be about cause and effect [the reality is that there is no one way for someone to be a father, but who likes nuance these days... this guy must either be all good, or all evil]? Should I give my anecdote about a friend with a weird father who turns out fine? How do we not know that it wasn't "bad influences from friends", who he believed saw his good father as embarrassing which led to divorces and other choices asserted as bad (maybe they were bad marriages)?

That people are reacting so viscerally to this seems interesting; what if it were the student himself who loved dressing up, who had a physical difference, and took peoples attention, and forced it away from the unchangeable thing, and onto something that he CHOSE to do. I don't mean to tell you that "embarrassment cannot=abusive"... it 'can'.

Would there be appreciation of that? I'm not saying this man is "the best" maybe he is a jerk, I DON'T KNOW, do you? How? Are you certain? Are you certain that the son would take your "angry" or hateful side... over his own fathers? People forgive family members for "offences" far worse....

Let this be a lesson not to say "that is all".
posted by infinite intimation at 5:27 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have an interesting question --

Some of the commenters in here are accusing the father of doing this to "get attention." But I just realized I'm not clear which thing is the attention-whorey part -- the dressing up in costumes, or the blog?

So -- anyone care to weigh in on that?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


On behalf of my totally awesome constipated transvestite pirate father, I am deeply offended at the way this guy is blatantly mocking our family.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:19 PM on June 5, 2011


Hell, my step-dad beat me and psychologically tortured me for 12 years and I didn't turn into a serial killer.

Cousin!

People who are into what I do and ask questions about how I was raised invariably come to the, "What were your parents like?" question.

It is an ode to them that I am able to share without batting an eye that I was raised by cannibals and werewolves.

Embarrassment maybe smiling good morning waves and goofy costumes. But not to me it isn't. To me, embarrassment is your parents having open cursing spitting projectile throwing warfare in front of your schoolmates from ages 5-10. Embarrassment is your dad calling you "faggot" or "Little girl!" publicly for missing pop-flies at the game. Embarrassment is your mom and dad fist fighting.

God bless pirates and princesses! I am so all for this that it reinforces the hope that I might even have kids of my own some day. Kids who are loved and cherished and nurtured and saluted in so fine and extraordinary a manner. In fact, I think the best part of this is that it gives all the (us) kids (grownups) hope who didn't or don't have parents even close to this great.

I don't want to wax on about this but I have a dream. And it is that one day—regardless or because of what I went through—I can be a great dad. So this? It's how I learn where the bar can be.
posted by humannaire at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


In fact, I think the best part of this is that it gives all the (us) kids (grownups) hope who didn't or don't have parents even close to this great.

PS My mom was pretty great regardless of the badness. And she gave me a love of reading and writing. Credit given where credit due.
posted by humannaire at 10:09 PM on June 5, 2011


humannaire: that is the saddest any comment could possibly make me. None of the harsh stuff said to me comes close. I don't even like kids, but that makes me feel bad for yours. Be a happy, silly, goofy, happy go lucky, super-caring awesome dad and good luck to you, but please, not this way.
Can't you see that no matter how much this guy is saying "I'm doing this all for my son!" He's doing it for himself!
Let your kid make a spectacle out of himself, and support him. Don't make a spectacle out of yourself to "support him."
posted by BillBishop at 11:41 PM on June 5, 2011


That is great humannaire that you are seeking other role models! That enthusiasm will help you become a great dad.

BillBiship, you are really projecting your own ideas of parenthood on this family. Rain has said he waved back from the bus and that it was fun, why are you invalidating his own experience? Clearly you are more comfortable with a restrained, stiff-upper-lip kind of parenting where social anxiety and "what will the neighbours think" colour all public parent-child interactions. But other families think love should be shown openly, and loudly, and don't mind opening their hearts for all the world to see because they think loving their kids is the most important thing they can ever do and love shared is love doubled. Yes, it makes the parents vulnerable, and maybe the kids get teased by other kids who don't feel secure in their own parent's love but I for one would rather have dinner with Rain's family instead of some of the "proper", ever-so-well-behaved families I have met.
posted by saucysault at 12:03 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


saucysault: I've never even met a stiff upper lip person, really. I think the kid is faking his response to not make this worse than it is for himself.
He's doing his best in an impossible situation and being a million times the adult his father is being.
This gesture is appropriate for a SIX YEAR OLD. This is first day of school shit. You don't do this to an American high school student age 16 in 2011. It's fucking mortifying for a 16 year old!
Let this poor kid have his experience without stunts. There are a million ways to show love and support on a daily basis besides this, and that is not an indictment against public displays of love!

This is my opinion and my read of the situation and I understand it is an opinion only shared by a few other vocal commenters.
posted by BillBishop at 12:43 AM on June 6, 2011


This gesture is appropriate for a SIX YEAR OLD. This is first day of school shit. You don't do this to an American high school student age 16 in 2011. It's fucking mortifying for a 16 year old!

Even when (as the article states) the other kids in school think it's awesome and the son involved is therefore also awesome?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:09 AM on June 6, 2011


This was on Morning Edition today.
posted by TedW at 6:43 AM on June 6, 2011


Even when (as the article states) the other kids in school think it's awesome and the son involved is therefore also awesome?

Can you point me to the article that says that other kids in school think the son is awesome because of this? I don't think it says that anywhere.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:26 AM on June 6, 2011


But equally where in the article has the kid become the subject of ridicule because of this?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:29 AM on June 6, 2011


Hey, everybody, let's form opinions based on assumptions, them state them as facts!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dignity? Seriously? People are caught up on the dignity aspect of this? That really baffles me. I guess it's just a really different approach to the social dynamics of families than I'm used to. I think this was epic and awesome. Yeah, he did make it somewhat about him - by documenting his efforts and all that. But I see that as just another awesome thing about it - some day Rain is going to grow up and realize that his dad really spent his time doing this. That parents are just people, too, even when they're doing ridiculous stunts like this. This is coming from a girl who regularly wears silly plushies on her head, but still, I think it's great Personally, I don't really give a plate of beans about dignity, and I'm really grateful that I got that trait from my awesome dad.

Obligatory awesome dad anecdote: The first boyfriend I had over to dinner to meet my dad was a nice enough kid, but really rather dull. After a rather anxious dinner, my dad put on some music and went out onto the porch to enjoy the moonlight reflecting on the river and the Florida night air. It was, in fact, a full moon. I came out and joined him, and my boyfriend sort of tagged along and loitered nearby. It was only once I was outside that I really started hearing the album he'd put on. Warren Zevon. My dad looked over at me and grinned, and howled up at the moon. I joined him. The boy didn't. That's how I knew he wasn't for me.
posted by lriG rorriM at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, look, there's a huge update on the blog itself. What could it possibly say?

Well, first it says, "About Rain: He is genetically predisposed to having a good sense of humor. He’s a fun, likable guy, with a 4.0 GPA in Honors classes. He plays the trumpet in the American Fork High School Marching Band (state champions). He’ll be marching in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade (in Pasadena, California on January 2, 2012). And he’s on the verge of earning his Boy Scout of America "Eagle Scout" award. And yes, he did laugh at the waves. If you look closely at some of the pictures, you’ll see that he and his friends were waving back. He knows how to laugh. He’s a great kid. "

And then it says, "Dale: is now a stay at home dad, actively parenting our three kids. He’s a pretty decent mechanic, landscaper, housekeeper, trophy husband (complete with a kickstand), and an amazing dad. We've been happily married for over 22 years."

So it would seem that Rain had a great time with the waves, and it would seem that Dale is a stay at home parent who is really involved with all of his kids' lives.

I think we can stop arguing over the damage this may have done to Rain as it doesn't seem there was ANY AT ALL!
posted by zizzle at 7:52 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


You've never before had a parent be confused about what you actually liked and what you begrudgingly tolerated, have you?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:55 AM on June 6, 2011


23skiddoo, have you had one who checked with you to make sure that you were okay with certain things happening?

Why are you assuming the other side here?
posted by zizzle at 8:03 AM on June 6, 2011


Why are you assuming the other side here?

Because no matter which article you pull up, the point is very clear: the dad did this to embarrass his son. This was not something that the dad did with the kid's blessing. The whole point of it was to make the kid embarrassed. Did it all turn out okay? Depends on how one interprets soundbites in fluff newspaper articles. But I don't think it's crazy to assume that the dad didn't make sure that his son was okay with this when the original point of it was to make his son embarrassed.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:21 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


And then it says, "Dale: is now a stay at home dad, actively parenting our three kids. He’s a pretty decent mechanic, landscaper, housekeeper, trophy husband (complete with a kickstand), and an amazing dad..."

Dale's wife says that he is an amazing dad. Case closed.
posted by grouse at 8:46 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


23skiddoo, there is embarrassment and there is embarrassment.

There is the embarrassment that you get when someone surprises you with a balloon bouquet for your birthday or tells a funny anecdote about something foolish you did at your birthday party; yeah, you feel a little foolish, but you are surrounded by people who love you and you know that they do it with love, and that they are laughing with you because they find those kinds of things endearing, and you also trust that if they had any indication that you didn't like it they'd stop.

Then there is the embarrassment that you get from people who are being malicious about it -- they want to belittle you, and you know that if you complain it'll only get worse.

Do you think both kinds of embarrassment should be avoided? If not, can you explain why you're sure that this is the latter kind of embarrassment rather than the former?

(Personal anecdote time - my friends "embarrassed" me for my 16th birthday by turning up by surprise on my doorstep and saying they were taking me to a fancy restaurant, and that I should get dressed up; they then blindfolded me because they wanted our location to be " a surprise." When we got to where we were going and they took the blindfold off, what I saw was that all our other friends were standing around me dressed in jeans and t-shirts -- while I was still dressed to the nines -- and that we were in McDonald's. ....you know, I don't believe I found their actions to be malicious, and rather than feeling hurt by this "embarrassment," I instead made a big show of eating my Big Mac with little pinky extended and spent the whole rest of the afternoon dressed up -- even though my friends had brought a change of clothes for me just in case -- and then when they finally brought me home, I walked in the door, looked at my mother, and sobbed, "I have the best friends in the world!" something tells me Rain's "embarrassment" is akin to my own.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then there is the embarrassment that you get from people who are being malicious about it -- they want to belittle you, and you know that if you complain it'll only get worse.

Do you think both kinds of embarrassment should be avoided? If not, can you explain why you're sure that this is the latter kind of embarrassment rather than the former?


"The school bus for the first time ever came down our street this year," he said. "This was his first year on the bus. My wife came running in the room and suggested we go wave at him to embarrass him. Later I overheard him talking to her, 'Mom, don't let Dad go out there again.' What a challenge."



The parents did something they knew the kid would hate. The kid complained. It got worse.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:44 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah. I missed that.

I was responding more to this line from the same article: "Actually Rain has gotten used to the idea and enjoys laughing with his neighbors and bus friends who check out his dad Dale's new costume every day of the school year."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on June 6, 2011


If you bold a different selection from that same sentence, you get "Actually Rain has gotten used to the idea and enjoys laughing with his neighbors and bus friends who check out his dad Dale's new costume every day of the school year", which doesn't sound like he enjoys it, it sounds like he tolerates something because he knows that other people enjoy it.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:59 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then again, if you read the entire article, it sounds like he didn't like it at first, but now he's okay with it, and his father is going to stop anyway, so it's effectively moot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 AM on June 6, 2011


Seems to me, if the kid really hated it so much, he'd ride his bike/walk/whatever to the bus pickup beyond his house on the route and avoid the whole situation. I'm certain I read somewhere that some kids were coming to his stop just so they could be on the bus to see his dad wave, so apparently, there's another stop nearby after the bus has passed his house and his dad ... and that Rain not being on the bus when it drove in front of his house would have ended the whole thing rather quickly.
posted by Orb at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2011


Oh Christ! No one here knows if this kid loves or hates his dad's waving. We've clearly established: some people would like this, some wouldn't. I have yet to hear from the kid in this thread so can we freaking drop the speculation one way or another?
posted by serazin at 10:49 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


No? Speculation is this instance isn't hurting anyone, at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2011


When I was 15/16, my dad picked me up after my shifts at the ice cream store in a red Corvette. Which was awesome. And he had the T-top off, which was awesome. But he also smoked his corn cob pipe while the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Gray" played, and sometimes I had to ride in the back squashed under that big rear windshield. Which was not awesome.

But I thought of him this weekend as I drove over to pick up my daughter at her friend's house, with my elbow out the car window and my stereo on, and I wondered whether I embarassed my kids now...and it made me smile that we were starting to close the circle. Which is awesome.

Love you, Dad!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:11 AM on June 6, 2011


An interesting aspect of this is the length of the streak.

One appearance by a dad in costume would be embarrassing. A week of them would be cringe-worthy. But after like twenty-five? It's part of the bus route now! The story even says, "His friends have looked forward to the daily event." What do you want to bet that, on the days that Dad is home sick in bed, someone on the bus yells, "Hey! Where's your dad today?"
posted by wenestvedt at 11:34 AM on June 6, 2011


I used to write for some small community newspapers, and we got a lot of stories like this. Believe me, if this guy (the dad) didn't pass the sniff test for the reporter and editor, these stories would never have been written, and coverage of the weird dude and his blog would have gone off in some other direction altogether.

My editor, an old school Perry White-type dude ("Copy! I want copy!"), would tell me, "slide over there and check it out. It sounds like a bunch of hooey, but let's just see." When I got back, he'd say, "Well? Was it real?" and then we'd decide if I'd write it or not. Weird stuff with kids, especially feel-good stories, better not be fake or everybody gets bit in the ass. Family dynamics are all different, and you wouldn't believe what brings some people together. Or what doesn't.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:59 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rain's sister posted a comment about Rain's attitude toward the entire thing.

It's fairly far down, so just do a ctrl+f for "Rikki"
posted by zizzle at 5:59 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course a parent only has to breathe to embarass a 16 year old, that's human nature. This stunty bullshit does NOT make a good dad. Is an attention seeking dickbag better then an abusive or absentee dad? Yes, but not by much.

I had an abusive dad, and fuck me if I didn't want the kind of dad who would do this kind of stuff. So, as sixteen year olds everywhere say, STFU.
posted by mippy at 7:15 AM on June 7, 2011


Rain's sister posted a comment about Rain's attitude toward the entire thing.

You wouldn't expect the detractors here to actually read and accept that at face value, would you? Obviously, she's been bullied into writing that by an abusive, domineering and controlling father, for his own nefarious ends, if you read between the lines and draw the proper assumptions.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:23 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


You wouldn't expect the detractors here to actually read and accept that at face value, would you? Obviously, she's been bullied into writing that by an abusive, domineering and controlling father, for his own nefarious ends, if you read between the lines and draw the proper assumptions.

Yeah, every single one of the detractors in that thread thinks that the dad is a bullying abusive, domineering, controlling father. EVERY single one. You've perfectly and eloquently summarized the viewpoint of those who disagree with you.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:40 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


that thread = this thread
posted by 23skidoo at 7:42 AM on June 7, 2011


Well then, what do you take away from the sister's comments?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:42 AM on June 7, 2011


To pull a childish stunt every damn day at your kids expense when he is on the verge of manhood and trying to navigate his way through American high school 2011 is not so silly anymore.

You know, I was 16 in British high school 1998 and I can tell you being embarrassed by your dad is 1000x better than having your dad tell you how much you embarrass him. But then, I spent some of my teen years dressing up in costumes as part of shows so I generally think costumes are awesome.
posted by mippy at 7:45 AM on June 7, 2011


Wait, the kids names are Rain, Rikki and Riot? Really?
posted by desjardins at 7:47 AM on June 7, 2011


I can tell you being embarrassed by your dad is 1000x better than having your dad tell you how much you embarrass him.

I hope we can all agree on this.
posted by desjardins at 7:48 AM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


You've perfectly and eloquently summarized the viewpoint of those who disagree with you.

I was actually trying to summarize the extent of the assumptions being made more than anything, and perhaps made that point in a slightly ham-handed way, but it still stands as a point I think, after reading her (the sister's) rather pointed remarks. The negative assumptions appear to be wrong, and now I'm curious to see if anyone who made that mistake owns them, or if they'll find a way to reinforce those assumptions based on her expansion.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:51 AM on June 7, 2011


I'm not seeing the big a-HA! that you see in what the sister said. Here's how I think it all played out, taking the sister's comment into account:

Dad waves at son to embarrass him. Kid hates it, asks mom to get dad to stop. Dad doesn't stop, and instead starts dressing up in costumes. Kid continues to be embarrassed by dad for months. Kid eventually accepts that his loving father is going to continue to embarrass him for an entire school year. The internet hears about it, some people hate it, and his sister defends her family on her dad's blog.

I'll even take the sister at face value for most of it (except for the part where she says her brother enjoyed it as much as her dad did, that's just a defensive whitewashing of his months of embarrassment). It's great that Rain's got his head screwed on straight and that people aren't making fun of him for it.

But just because things turned out great in the end doesn't mean that I can't still think that the dad is a jerk for doing something that had a high chance of embarrassing him (which it totally did) or getting him made fun of (which it thankfully didn't.)
posted by 23skidoo at 8:07 AM on June 7, 2011


It's interesting the different ways in which people process information, one to the next. Not a knock, just an observation. We all come at things from a unique perspective, and it completely colors the way we interpret things. This says less about the rightness or wrongness of any point of view, and more about the uniqueness. Despite our ability to effectively communicate, we're all still stuck in our own heads. I'm taking this as a teachable moment about myself, as well.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:20 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the past days I've been catching up on a tv series that I'd missed first time round, Lie To Me. After going through the rest of this thread down to the bottom, I am imagining an episode where Tim Roth gets called up to interview Rain Price and ask him "are you happy about what your dad did? how embarassed are you now? do you think your dad is an idiot? do you like his sense of humour? DID YOU LAUGH AND WAVE BACK?! see, you twitched your eyebrows, you're lying!!" and study his reaction carefully through monitors and voice analysis and the whole team goes nuts trying to dissect the microexpressions on the kid's face to assess his feelings towards his father and predict whether his social life is now doomed, or if he is after all just an average teenager with a goofy dad.

But they can't get a reading so they go on and do the same to the sister and the mother/wife, the other kid, and the neighbours, the bus driver, the other schoolkids, until they find out who's lying about the kid being REALLY entertained by the little daily driveway cabaret. And it still leads nowhere, then Tim Roth has a moment of reflection where he wonders, what am I doing? why did I take this job? what's the purpose of life? can anyone in this world ever be trusted?? and just breaks down and tells the team to go home and runs away to Brasil to live in the forest avoiding human contact forever. This man who dealt with serial killers and dictators and kidnappers, broken by the endless, unresolvable doubt over the sincerity of a 16 year old about his dad's costume-wearing bus-waving stunt.

And what a sad and boring episode that would be!
posted by bitteschoen at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know, I would never have gotten involved in this thread were it not for the overwhelming pro-Dad enthusiasm of many of the early posts. Suddenly, something I had no particular position on demanded I take one ...

Because I've learned to be suspicious of easy majorities, because forced to think and remember, I was struck by the memory of just how intolerably embarrassable I was as an adolescent (and how much it hurt) ... because, as I already pointed out, the kid I knew growing up who had the most overtly happy-go-lucky dad went on to have a very unhappy and short life. And his dad at his memorial service -- were those the tears of a clown?

So yeah, if you're a dad or thinking of being one -- try to remember what a shit-storm adolescence can be for a young boy trying to become a man, and if you can't remember, then trust me and others who do: it is.
posted by philip-random at 10:12 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So yeah, if you're a dad or thinking of being one -- try to remember what a shit-storm adolescence can be for a young boy trying to become a man, and if you can't remember, then trust me and others who do: it is.


Why are you so certain that the pro-dad contigency has forgotten this, rather than being people who remember what it was like and think this would have helped them?

It wouldn't have helped you, and that is perfectly alright. It may not have helped others, and that is perfectly alright. I remember how awful my own teen years were just fine, thanks, but I would have loved this.

Which means: every kid is different, every kid would have reacted to this differently, and every parent is different. All we have to go on for this kid is his own reaction, and his sister's. They've both said it was okay. So...if people are hand-wringing, you may want to ask whether you're doing so for Rain, or your own selves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on June 7, 2011


humannaire: that is the saddest any comment could possibly make me. None of the harsh stuff said to me comes close. I don't even like kids, but that makes me feel bad for yours.

Thhpppppppppppppppt!
posted by humannaire at 1:33 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


what a horrible person!
posted by philip-random at 1:43 PM on June 7, 2011


All we have to go on for this kid is his own reaction, and his sister's. They've both said it was okay. So...if people are hand-wringing, you may want to ask whether you're doing so for Rain, or your own selves.

Or whether you're doing it for those fathers who are thinking about doing stuff like this because they couldn't even IMAGINE that someone would hate it.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:13 PM on June 7, 2011


Every time I take my son to the zoo (he turns 3 in a couple of days) I take him to a zookeeper and try to return him. I pretend like he's an escaped monkey that I found. Right now he's still too young to get the joke. One day he will, and I will continue to do it and embarrass the hell out of him until the day he preempts me by pretending I'm the monkey and he's the one doing the returning. On that day my work will be complete.
posted by sciurus at 7:15 PM on June 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Or whether you're doing it for those fathers who are thinking about doing stuff like this because they couldn't even IMAGINE that someone would hate it.

If the reason you're consumed by this kind of thing is because you had one of those fathers yourself, then you're wringing your hands for your own self.

If the reason you're consumed by this kind of thing is because you're just worried about kids you've never met, then...God bless you for having such an uncomplicated life free of personal concerns that you can fret about hypothetical parents of hypothetical children who you haven't met.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I doubt anyone here is "consumed" by this any more than you are, EmpressCallipygos. That's rather an odd way to frame your opponents. More accurately, people are having a discussion as part of an internet community.
posted by grouse at 8:32 PM on June 7, 2011


Hey, I'm just reacting to what looks like increasingly-more-complicated mental gymnastics to cast something in a bad light when the family directly involved has said that "it wasn't that bad, actually."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2011


CBC's Definitely Not the Opera program features a segment with Rain and his dad for their Father's Day episode: What Lessons Did you Learn from Dad? (Starts at 16:20.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:18 PM on June 18, 2011


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