Father's Day brings memories of many phrases


With Father’s Day approaching, there is only one thing on my mind — the final round of golf’s U.S. Open.

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Will Tiger get his major tournament mojo back? Can Phil add another pelt to his formidable wall? Will one of golf’s young guns stake claim to this year’s national championship? Will there be more than 75 Cialis commercials during the airing of the final round?

I do look forward to this year’s Open, as there are a ton of possibilities that could make this one to remember. I was fortunate enough to attend the final round of last year’s Open at Congressional Country Club in Potomac, Md., and the atmosphere was electric — quiet, mind you, but electric.

Actually, if I was a professional golfer, the silence that accompanies every shot would drive me crazy. It just seems to escalate the tension, and I would be distracted by a lone bird chirping in the distance or a single camera shutter clicking during my backswing. Give me chaos. Give me anarchy. Give me my father pretending he was going to punch me in the gut every time I tried to take a jump shot as a kid, or coughing loudly right before every shot I took playing pool.

See, my father was big on competitiveness when I was younger. He would throw pitches to me at the park, and as soon as I started feeling pretty good about myself, the next pitch would be closer to my head than home plate. He would tug at the bottom of my shorts when I went up for a rebound on the basketball court, and he would take great delight in watching me land on his hotel-filled property in Monopoly — and I can’t prove this, but I always felt like he was adding a few hotels to his properties when nobody was watching.

Of course, my digressing mind being what it is, that train of thought got me thinking about his little sayings. Remember that television show with William Shatner called, “$#*! My Dad Says?” Oh, I could have filled a few episodes of that series with some of the expressions my father launched on us as kids:

• “Is your name McCann, or McCan’t?” — This little doozy popped up without fail any time the word “can’t” would escape somebody’s lips in my household. He would take offense at the notion that one of his children believed there was something that was impossible to accomplish. Sounds good, right? Wrong. All it did for us was expand our vocabulary so we could come up with new ways of expressing that there was something we couldn’t achieve.

• “Life is all about PMA.” — Another nugget from my father’s lexicon. Again, he took umbrage with any negative thoughts in his house, and worshipped at the metaphorical altar of Positive Mental Attitude.

• “You’re not sick. It’s all in your head.” — Yup, my father believed that nobody actually got sick. It was all about mental strength and perseverence. The moment you allowed yourself to believe you were sick was the moment you were defeated. Of course, there were rare exceptions — like when he got sick.

• “Did anybody ever tell you life was fair?” — Just like saying “can’t” was taboo in our house, so was complaining about something being unfair. These were just phrases and words you learned to avoid over the course of time, lest you be verbally accosted by the guy with the runny nose complaining that he was the only person in that house who has ever actually been sick, and the rest of us ...

But I digress.

• “Does your face hurt? It’s killing me!” — This was one of those jokes that would get you when you were feeling particularly vulnerable. You know, right after something awful happened to your face.

You would complain that a bee stung your eyeball, or a baseball ricocheted off your jaw, and he would come out with that one, instantly turning your soft crying into rage-soaked tears. Of course, when somebody else in the family (my little sister was top choice) would have a facial injury, everybody would chime in at once, and we would laugh. Well, most of us would laugh.

I’m sure many of you are sitting there right now thinking of phrases your own father might have been known to say a million times or so in your household, and you’re probably remembering them fondly now, even if they drove you bananas at the time.

Treasure those memories, and treasure your fathers if you were fortunate enough to grow up with them. Happy Father’s Day, all.