Friday, June 13, 2014

The Tao of My Dad

Happy Father's Day! Let me tell you all about my dad and by extension, all about why I am the way I am. This post originally ran about 18 months ago, but I thought it might be time to dust it off. 

My dad is a handsome old geezer named Ed Miller. He lives in the woods in Maine. If the truth be told, he is a bit of a character. There is really no way to describe him, so I won't try. Instead, I will share with you some of his bon mots which over a lifetime have collectively become (what I call) "The Tao of My Dad". If you've ever wondered why I am this way, perhaps this will give you some insight.

Background: I am 9 and it's 1982. I'm telling him all about the Just Say No stuff we learned about in school.

Me: So it's easy because when the bad guys try to give you drugs, you just say no.
Ed Miller: Nancy Reagan is a moron. Here's what you need to know about drugs: stay away from speed.

Background: I have just turned 15 and it's right before my first date with a boy I really like from the church youth group.

Me: Daddy, please don't let the dogs hurl themselves at the door and then growl at him and jump on him and stuff. They're twice as big as he is and my friend Jessy says they look like hell hounds.
Ed Miller: Why should I do that? He needs to know what his very short future will be if you come home pregnant.

Background: I'm a 7 year old second grader and I want to watch a movie.

Me: How about this one?
Ed Miller: You may not watch Lady and The Tramp. Because it's social programming for children. No daughter of mine is going to act like that cocker spaniel when she's a teenager.

Background: I'm 19 and I'm fondly regarding my beautiful 2 year old sister toddle around.

Me: She is so adorable. Was I that cute when I was little?
Ed Miller: No, not really. All the little girls in our family are a cross between Shirley Temple and Stalin.

Background: I'm in 8th grade and I'm making my dad listen to The Smiths in the car. He's not amused.

Me: I love this band so much. The singer of this band, Morissey, says he's celibate. What does that mean?
Ed Miller: It means he doesn't like girls.

Background: I'm 17 and I know everything. I decide to call my father out on a questionable parenting choice.

Me: Why did you always call me "Pigface" all the time when I was growing up? That was kind of mean.
Ed Miller: It wasn't mean. It was deliberate. I didn't want you to be vain.

Background: 6th grade. A local man has opened a fancy new gourmet bakery around the corner from our house in New Jersey.
Me: Can we go in, daddy? Please? It's right here and it's called La Charcuterie.
Ed Miller: La Charcuterie? That guy is from Hoboken. He should call it La Pretenserie.

Background: I'm 30 and I call to tell him that I'm a mother and he's a grandfather. It's a girl!

Me: So, dad... Any words of advice for me?
Ed Miller: Welcome to The Blur. It lasts for ten years and you won't remember anything.

Background: I'm in 8th grade and we're listening to one of my favorite bands, Scritti Politti.

Me: And they're from England. And the singer is soooooo cute and his name is Green! And he's a Marxist. What's a Marxist?
Ed Miller: It means he acts like he hates rich people. Now turn it off.

Background: We're at the WaWa on Nassau Street in Princeton, NJ in 1986, waiting in line to buy my dad's Camels. The man in front of us is providing his thoughtful commentary on the AIDS epidemic to the harassed-looking cashier. His analysis is as follows: "AIDS is a natural response to the Earth's most serious problem. This is natural selection - all the gays are dying so that over-population can be ameliorated. [shrugs smugly] A lot of people don't know that."
Me: [looking at my dad, pretty sure that can't be right]  ??
Ed Miller: [in loud, patronizing tone] That idea makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Of every population on Earth, nature has undoubtedly targeted gays. They reproduce in such high numbers.
[The entire line at WaWa then partakes in some excessive smirking]

Background: I'm 22 and about to graduate to college. Ed Miller has just a met a boy I was dating who was a big jerk (although very polite to my father).

Me: He's actually kind of a dick, dad. And he makes me feel terrible about myself. I don't want to see him anymore.
Ed Miller: That guy? You let that guy make you feel bad about yourself? Jesus Christ. He's a vegetarian. Who drives a BMW. With leather seats. ::shivers::

Background: I'm in 8th grade and I want a ride to go to my friend's swanky house in her swanky neighborhood.

Me: Daddy, can you drive me to Trina's house? It's right behind Stuart Country Day School. It's kind of far.
Ed Miller: I know that neighborhood. [makes  sweeping hand gesture] Beautiful Radon Hills.

Background: Last November, right before the election, we were chatting on the phone.

Me: So dad, who are you going to vote for?
Ed Miller: They're all.... assholes. I just wish I could vote for Putin.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2013


  1. LMAO! My dad says stuff like that too :)

  2. Such pearls of wisdom wrapped in snark...this explains so much. :-)

  3. Cure = robert smith, the smiths = worries though since you are still in the blur ;)

    1. OH MY GOD. I have no idea how I got that wrong. Corrected. Yipes.

    2. It's all good, my lady crush on you has not diminished.

  4. You seriously need to get your dad a twitter account. Or start one for him. You could call it S#!t Lydia's dad says. It would be epic, maybe someone would even make a tv show out of it. But seriously, get this guy on twitter, I'd follow.

    1. I'd sign up to Twitter for *the sole purpose* of following Lydia's dad. That is how much I love this guy...

  5. I received all kinds of pearls of wisdom from my mom. One of my favorites was about workplace dating. "Don't sh*t where you eat".

  6. Sounds like my dad! haha!

    Background: We are on the phone talking about facebook. We both have a mutual friend who is sort of like his adopted granddaughter. (Her mom was like a kid to my parents. They practically raised her in the 12 years they while they were trying to have kids of their own. )

    Me: It just annoys me all the stupid stuff people post...

    Dad: yeah. I am thinking of deleting Amanda. All she does is post pictures of her kid everyday. I mean, HELLO!? Why do I want to see pictures of your kid just laying there. It's not like she was even married when she had him.

    Me: Dad. It's not 1962.


  7. I agree with wax_eagle. Something tells me he'd think Twitter was stupid, though. Love this! Thanks for sharing these little conversations!

  8. your dad's pretty much my new favorite.

  9. Your dad is awesome. Shirley Temple mixed with Stalin sounds a lot like cupcake baked by the devil.

  10. Your dad and I would get along swimmingly. Great post!

  11. Well, I didn't like the Pigface one, but aside from that I think your Dad is pretty cool!

  12. As someone who lives in Russia, you have no idea how amazing it is to me your dad wanted to vote for Putin. Heck, maybe he did!

  13. Every time you talk about the The Blur I have images from the movie Night Watch that go through my head. It's a Russian movie, but it's completely awesome in a what the h3ll am I watching kind of way. Then it turns good just when you're like WTF. I think you'd highly enjoy it and then you'd have a whole new way of looking at The Blur. :D It's not for children's consumption but husbands enjoy it, ok mine dragged me to it. But now I am promoting it on my own. If you do it you have to write about it just so I know what you think, well I realistically think you couldn't help yourself but it had to be said anyway.

  14. I think I would actually open a twitter account and follow him....seriously. My dad has some tao, but it wasn't shit I would pay forward to my kids.

  15. LOL! I wish my dad was more like this.

    The "La Pretenserie" made me LOL at work. It was worth it.

  16. Oh my. I reallly enjoyed this! Your dad is quite a character!

  17. Yep, aren't dads of this generation the best?
    My dad used to say sarcastic things to my simple earnest questions but I didn't know what sarcasm was at age 7.

    In a family restaurant, looking at the communal coat/hat rack by the door:
    "Daddy, why do people hang their coats there?" "So they can get them stolen."
    For years, I wondered why people would want that.

    While watching football on TV:
    "Daddy, what happens when the guy runs out of bounds?" "It's time for a commercial."
    Sometime later while at someone else's house, saw a football game where a guy ran out of bounds but NO commercial break. I got very upset that they weren't playing the game right. My host and his parents were a combination of flummoxed and annoyed.

    I got my revenge though because throughout my teens, I made my dad listen to Depeche Mode in the car--he was also not amused.

  18. Can I borrow your dad for a Sunday afternoon?! Please, i'll be a super host.
    I wish he lives a loong life and keeps on passing these pearls of wisdom

  19. Love this! A few years ago, my younger sister went through a "rap" phase. It was great. She listened to music on her headphones for the most part of it, and we didn't have to hear it. She would wear a hoodie with the hood up and would bop her head with the beat. I lovingly referred to her as "Feminem". She foolishly asked to listen to a cd she had made of Lil Wayne in the car once, headphones were left at home. My fathers reply: "No. We're not listening to Little Wayne....and no Big Wayne either." Then he laughed uproariously at himself. Dads.

  20. Seems all of my dad's friends died a horrible death - sticking their hand out the window of a moving car, getting on the escalator with his shoes untied . . .

    But my favorite memory of my dad was the special cologne he always wore when he was wearing his one and only suit (i.e. going to a funeral). It wasn't until his own funeral that I realized that wasn't the smell of expensive cologne after all - it was the smell of funeral bouquets! His suit just always smelled that way because it was the only place he ever wore it!

  21. I don't know how I missed this post the first time around, but then I did the math and realized it ran about a month after I had my daughter (a month in and eyeball deep in the Blur). So glad you reposted it! Some real gems here. In addition to Horrifying Conversations with Mini, you could have Sh*t Ed Miller says.

  22. Omg... I am in tears from holding back laughter at work! That is too funny!




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