So, this is late and he’ll never see this anyway, but my dad is legitimately the coolest there is. I was thinking about it a lot yesterday because I really wanted to place my finger on exactly what it is about my dad that I love so much. But I realized that Dad is just the coolest. It can’t be more specifically quantified.
He’s my barometer for if I’m engaging the world on the right note or not. When I get dressed to leave the house, if I look in the mirror and think “Bruce would never go out like that,” we’re hitting reset. We don’t have the same fashion sense or style, though we both hang the hell out of a suit and aren’t afraid to rock a thigh showing short, but there’s just a general level of quality and suaveness one must have to be a James man in public. Crisp ironing, crisp hairlines, and a small shade of “yeah, I know” is required to play. William Bruce James’ have a reputation to uphold. Speaking of, he’s been in for real quarantine for almost 4 months. He’s in his late 60’s, diabetic, with a heart condition. My mom hasn’t let him go ANYWHERE. I facetime them at random with no rhyme, reason or predictability. I have still not caught him slipping. He’s never looked like he needed a cut, a shave or nothing. Clean, always clean. I can’t keep up with that.
He’s always in control. Always has a funny retort. Always cuts directly to the chase. Always leads by example.
He’s my renaissance man. My dad is good at everything. He’s not a magician but he’s got a few tricks. He’s not a sports fiend but he’ll handle you on the court. He supposedly can’t read music but can play anything on the piano. (I say I can play anything, but I cheat and transpose stuff to keys I like, he can actually play anything.) He’s a great singer, beautiful tenor voice, but when I was little and trying to sing a long to Boyz II Men he was like “oh just use your falsetto like this…” When I was in TKD, I broke a board with my patented step behind side kick. It was one of those boards for kids, not like real wood, but I felt like a true ninja after. Like I could kick through Skeletor’s ribcage or something. We got home and Dad grabbed an extra board and punched right through it with his bare hands. I thought he was black Rambo or something. My son is TKD now. He came home after breaking his board, so I tried to give him the Black Rambo show too. Damn near broke my whole arm.
He worked at a grocery store for years before I came around, until they decided he was too melaninated for management. He quit and became an accountant at a bank. Got so interested in technology, as a hobby, that he taught himself how to fix the banks computer problems and ended up becoming the Senior VP of Technology for a massive regional bank system with his own office building and staff. Who naturally understands the innerworkings of computer hardware AND software but grew up with out any of it? He’s a freak of nature.
Literally every random thing I know how to do, I learned how to do it so I could be as cool to my kids as my dad is to me, and my kids don’t care one. little. bit. I taught myself to juggle when Deanna was pregnant with Tripp because I thought it would impress him. It didn’t. I learned magic tricks to show the kids, and they figure them out immediately. The only thing I’ve ever really impressed Tripp with is a rubix cube and I watched hours of YouTube videos for that, and his cousin can do them in a minute. I’ll be my dad’s age before I figure out which of my many talents actually impressed my little man, but I think that’s the legacy.
I’m never going to stop trying to be Tripp’s hero and the coolest dad he can think of because my dad has never stopped being my hero or the coolest I can think of. My dad is the reason that I’m a good one. That was the best talent he had out of the innumerable many, and he made sure to pass it along. Happy Father’s Day, pops.