Just home from a whirlwind Santa Fe adventure with Sammy (Marcel and Shrek were on their own for three days- a post unto itself) to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday in grand style. For the occasion, my brothers and I were asked to “roast” Dad in two minutes or less. After a conference call and several emails we each decided on the content area of preference and had at it. Unfamiliar overall with the “roast” genre, it took me a bit to figure out how to honor this man I love dearly, and poke fun at him at the same time. The post event praise for my part in the roast, assures me that for my first time around anyway, I managed to roast in style, and leave the audience wishing for more.
When Put Went Public
By the time you’re old enough to understand the meaning or unbearable weight a nick name could carry through life it’s too late to do anything about it. That particular configuration of syllables that your hopefully well intentioned parents bestowed on you when you were say, 3, is inextricably linked to your future, for better or worse.
Princess. Angel. Sugarplum. Those are the kind of names I like to imagine a dad would gravitate towards if he had a precious little girl, finally delivered to him after years of living in the land of all sons for the last six years.
For a writer so keenly aware of his audience-be it the editorial page of the newspaper, the short story reader, Amazon (Dad is a very high rated reviewer) or the Supreme Court- you’d imagine the man could come up with an attention grabber that could capture all that sentiment and more.
“Go Put! Put it in the goal!! Go PUT!!!! “I can still hear him holler from the sidelines of a soccer game during my illustriously awkward middle school career. I can still feel the dirt searing into my chin and knees as I proceeded to not only miss that particular goal, but lose my balance along with my ego when Put went public.
That car ride home was probably equally memorable for him. My silent treatment was as legendary as my corner kick.
If you ask him he’ll insist that the origin of this dreadful moniker was a loving little ritual of singing “Katie Put Pie High in the sky..” with me on his lap being tossed high in the sky and sweetly caught as I giggled and screeched.
Of course, as I sit on the bleachers every Saturday watching my 8 year old son racing down the court on a fast break and I hear myself screaming “go Slammy! Slam-dunk-a-rammy” at the top of my lungs, I don’t seem to care one wit about what anyone thinks. I’m just as proud of him, as my Dad was of me.
A gift I just had to learn to PUT where it belongs.