I watched Christmas Vacation last night, one of the regular movies in my holiday rotation, and as I watched it, I realized something.
My dad is Clark W. Griswold.
Okay, so maybe he doesn’t staple himself to the house when putting up lights or walk around in the attic and drop through the ceiling of the room downstairs - he’s usually very careful about things - but, by and large, it’s Dad.
Like when they find the squirrel in the tree and it jumps out at Clark and the whole family runs around the house screaming? That’s Dad. Or the plan to catch the squirrel in the coat and smack it with the hammer? Dad.
Running around with an electrical diagram of how the lights on the house all wire together? Dad.
Dad doesn’t say stuff under his breath the way Clark does, but he’s thinking it. Like when Cousin Eddie is talking to Clark in the living room and Clark says, “Can I refill your egg nog for ya? Get ya something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?” I don’t think Dad would actually say that out loud. We’d hear that later, once Cousin Eddie was out of the room.
When the lights on the house don’t light up and Clark kicks the crap out of the plastic reindeer and Santa? Ooooh, Dad.
I think the epitome of my dad, though, is when Clark goes off after finding out his Christmas bonus is a membership in the Jelly of the Month club:
Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?
That’s my dad.
A little anecdote. Picture this:
A small house in the country. One-story ranch. Surrounded by a fair-sized yard and a lot of trees. Next door neighbor’s a quarter mile down the road.
Zoom in on the pastiest skinny white guy you’ve ever seen. He’s wearing blue jean cut-offs and knee-high rubber boots. Glasses, brown hair parted on the side. No shirt.
The guy is checking out this swarm of bees that seems to be coming from a hole in the ground. No, wait, not just bees, but hornets. The hornets have themselves a nest in the ground in the backyard.
He thinks about it for a while and heads to the garage. He comes back out with a cup of gasoline and some matches.
I think you see where this is going.
He dumps the gas down the hornet nest hole, drops the match, and runs. A reasonable cloud of fire jumps out of the hole, followed by a very angry cloud of hornets. That cloud of hornets proceeds to chase the guy around the house, like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon.
That’s my dad. And I couldn’t love him any more than I already do. He’s the best.