Sunday, 19 June 2011

I'm Jim Kirkpatrick...and you're not

For those of you who might suspect this to be a blog post, you’re wrong. I’m just sharing my thoughts on fathers, given that it’s Father’s Day. Most of us are reflecting on fathers today, so to accuse me of writing a blog post would kinda be like saying that you too, are blogging. See what I mean?

It’s no secret that I love dads. Ever since I breathed "Dads do it for me" while watching Jon Bon Jovi perform on American Idol circa 2006 it's not something I've been able to hide from my friends (or even been ashamed of.) To my benefit, big cities are filled with them. Business dads, hippie dads, dads on bikes. Every morning on my way to work I have the pleasure of passing well-dressed Dads dropping their adorably dressed kids off at the Montessori School, just down the street from my building. (It’s better than a Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich.)

You know, they say that after kids your sex life goes out the window. I personally find that very hard to believe. What isn’t attractive about a responsible, caring man, fully frontal-lobed, and presumably good at fixing things and BBQing up some delicious meals? But I digress.

The title of this reflection piece on fathers is a quote from my favourite dad – my own Dad. It was an opener to a speech he was delivering at an awards dinner. I wasn’t there, but I imagine there was a dramatic pause after Kirkpatrick, as indicated by the ellipses. I should perhaps ask my mother the specifics one day. She was there to hear the line, and she was there to hear the crippling silence afterwards.

My father has been barred from giving a speech in her presence since.

I would have laughed, Dad. I would have laughed.

Jim Kirkpatrick is not a talker. I would wager that he was extremely pained upon being asked to deliver that speech. He probably rubbed his forehead and exhaled at least once before nodding, dutifully.

But he is a listener. So when he does decide to speak, it’s usually worth it to be around. He spends entire nights with friends just soaking up the conversation, and then wraps up the evening with a thought-provoking, and typically humorous, one-liner. (Or maybe it’s just funny that he’s talking for the first time that day. But I prefer to think of him as brilliant.)

I admire this in my Dad. He doesn’t fill rooms with nonsense. No one could say he was annoying, or affected, or full of hot air. Politicians, I say, could learn a thing or two from him. Imagine a world where they could win campaigns not talking, just listening.

It's been over a decade, but the “I’m Jim Kirkpatrick…and you’re not” line has stayed with me. I might try it out myself one day. Maybe it was the delivery? Or maybe it was just the crowd. Either way, if you have a speech coming up, I encourage you to borrow the opener (using your own name, of course). Let me know what happens. If it tanks, you know who you can call to commiserate with. You'll have his full attention.

Father/Daughter Dance, 1991. 
(AKA I've fallen asleep on the dance floor, and he is mid-way through picking me up.)

1 comment:

Caitlin Rose said...

oh, I love dads too! I love my dad too!