Every year, my social media feeds fill up with statements of paternal devotion.
“I love you, Daddy” and “I have the best dad in the world” and “retweet if you have a wonderful father.”
And then there are the pictures.
It seems everyone replaces their profile picture with sepia tone photos of little boys in cowboy hats leaning up against cool cars from another era with good looking men in white t-shirts.
Or beautiful young women in wedding dresses gazing lovingly at older gentlemen in tuxes as they waltz across dance floors.
Every year I have to resist the urge to change my picture to a can of beer or a vodka bottle just to shock the people who claim to have the perfect father.
But while I certainly knew he was “a drinker” and that he was usually drunk on my occasional childhood Sunday visits with him, my father’s alcoholism didn’t affect me much. (Thanks to my brave mother who moved us out when I was two.)
If my twitter avatar or Facebook profile pic really needed to represent our relationship it would just be a blank frame.
I’ve always been pragmatic about my non-relationship with my father. I’m too practical to think that it could have been anything other than what it was and not idealistic enough to truly wish that it was something different.
By the time he (supposedly) stopped drinking, he had re-married and focused his new-found fatherly and grandfatherly ambitions on her children and their children.
I’m sure they were more receptive to the idea.
Other than a few awkward dinners and an appearance at my college graduation, my father and I had no contact. I was an adult by then so the fault wasn’t entirely his.
All I knew of the man was that we had nothing in common other than blood and, despite what the story books tell us, blood is not enough to sustain any sort of real relationship.
I think it was a relief for us both. I probably made him as nervous and uncomfortable as he made me.
So while some perverse part of me would love to claim on my social media pages I was sired by a can of Budweiser or a bottle of cheap vodka hidden behind the seat of a pickup truck just to rattle those who have real fathers, I’m not jealous of them. Not really.
My father was who he was and not every man has the capacity to be the world’s greatest dad.
Even though Facebook leads us to believe otherwise.