There’s a poignant moment in John Singleton’s classic 1992 film Boyz n the Hood where the main protagonist Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr., only before he’s being played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sitting by the ocean, fishing with his father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne). They’re talking about making babies or whatever, and Furious drops the following wisdom: Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.
This is a little true, and a little not true.
The “any fool with a dick” part is mostly true– though it fails to account for those with exceptionally bad sperm– but the “only a real man can raise his children” thing is pretty suspect, because frankly, lots of shitty guys can raise children. Now that’s not to say they do a good job of raising them, but they can raise them, nevertheless.
But I digress.
Father’s Day is here, and it’s not really about those who don’t raise their kids, or those who raise them up to be shitbags; It’s a holiday for honoring the dads who did it right, those who not only had dicks and made kids and raised those kids, but those did it so that the kids didn’t turn out to be school-shooters or telemarketers or some other type of soulless cretin.
With that in mind, here are history’s 10 greatest dads, ever.
10) Cliff Huxtable: Father of Rudy, Vanessa, Theo, Denise and the older one who was out of the house and of virtually no importance, Dr. Huxtable spent each week doling out life lessons to his children with a smile, an eye-roll and a lot of nonsensical syllables strung together like “with the bippity and the boppoty-be-boop and *weird laughter*.” Though he never shied away from being stern– remember when he found the joint in Theo’s history book and beat him with a cinder block tied to a towing-chain?– he always let the kids know why they disappointed them. It wasn’t because he didn’t love them; it was because he loved them too much.
9) Bill Clinton: Despite being a nefarious cocksman and professional philanderer, Ol’ Slick Willy never allowed that to negatively impact his relationship with his only (known) daughter Chelsea. According to Wikipedia, “during the first days of Chelsea’s life, Bill took her on father-daughter walks around the hospital, singing to her, rocking her and showing her off.” Oh, sure, we all know now that he was probably just trying to impress the sexy maternity ward nurses, but it’s still pretty sweet.
8) Thomas Lincoln: Father to 16th president Abe, Thomas was a deeply religious man who, despite his own educational shortcomings, firmly believed in instilling the importance of learning to his three children. Oh, but he also treated a young Abe a little like his own personal slave, disagreed vehemently on their religious differences, and didn’t attend Abe’s wedding to that crazy bitch OR ever meet any of his grandkids. So… okay. Maybe he wasn’t a good dad. Shit. Pretend this didn’t happen.
7) Dad’s Root-Beer: Delicious, refreshing, and a mainstay of beverage aisles since 1937, Dad’s can also be found in outstanding flavors such as: Red Cream Soda, Blue Cream Soda, Orange Cream Soda, and of course, Regular Cream Soda! Forget mom– make sure you’re taking Dad’s to your next family function!
6) Brad Pitt: He has all of the money in the world, could sleep with anyone he wanted– including you– and yet there he is, puttering about town with his six adopted foreign children. Love him or hate him, he seems like a pretty devoted father. (Well, and it’s not like he can change his mind now, or fake his death and become a new person because he’s very recognizable. Not that he’d want to. I’m just saying. He’s a good dad. Probably.)
5) Joe Jackson: Hahahahaha. J/k. Joe Jackson is a total dick. And a TERRIBLE dad. Like, one of the worst. I can’t believe he’s still alive! Wtf. He’s 85! Cool joke, God.
4) Homer Simpson: Yeah, he’s a cartoon, and frankly, he’s a bad-dad more often than he’s a good-dad, but for every time he’s strangled his only son Bart, he has forgone watching the Super Bowl to hike with eldest daughter Lisa on Daddy-Daughter-Day, and stuck with his menial, soul-sucking job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to ensure that his youngest daughter Maggie (who he sometimes forget exists) will never go without. I mean, do you even know how dusty the room must have been the first time I saw the end of season six’s “And Maggie Makes Three” when he modifies the plaque reading, “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever” into the very touching “Do it for her”? I mean, talk about some ALLERGIES or something.
3) Your dad: I bet your dad was pretty cool, right? Took you fishing? Made hamburgers on the grill? Tough, but loving? Tossed the ol’ pigskin around with you? Yeah, your dad is a pretty good dude. Congrats!
2) My wife’s dad: Jim is really, really great and I lucked out when it came to father-in-laws. (And no, I’m not just saying this because he might read this; chances are, he won’t.) It’s not just that he trusts me with his daughter– and his granddaughter who is on the way– it’s that he’s one of the kindest, most thoughtful guys I’ve ever met. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for me or anyone else he knows, and that’s the kind of quality the world could use more of. Bonus: he also likes good beer and good, OLD country music– back before it got awful.
1) My dad: He took me on vacations. He taught me how to draw. He taught me about good music. He always made sure I had decently good food to eat. He never exploded in anger, even when I kicked out all of the fencing that surrounded our apartment complex’s pool as a kid. He didn’t say a word when I stole his porn magazines. (Probably because it would have been awkward, but whatever.) He taught me a lot about right and wrong. He instilled within me the value of a dollar and drove home the point that hard work trumps almost anything. He taught me that education is valuable, but being curious is probably just as important. He made me who I am today, and I can only hope that I do as good of a job in nine (HOLY SHIT) weeks when I have a kid of my own.
Dads are great. Happy Father’s Day.