There is something about being Dad at my age that I find rather attractive and, well, nice.
No, it is not about getting up at 3 in the morning to change nappies, or wiping clean pooey little bottoms – those days, mercifully, have long since receded into distant memory, though I am happy, if any of my children are contemplating having children, to point out the downside. Nor is it about fetching home drunken teenagers in the wee hours, or separating squabbling siblings, or wondering if your kids are off somewhere snogging with boyfriends or girlfriends.
I guess it is something to do with feeling useful; by serving as a repository of some sort of institutional and familial memory, being the archivist of one’s own errors and failings, so that one can draw on memory and anecdote for the purposes of advice and guidance – simply being turned to, with a problem or a question. For example, we’re doing prawns tonight – dad, how do you make that stock of yours, from the heads and shells? Dad, there are chicken leftovers in the fridge, that have been there for two days – do you think its still safe to eat?
Sometimes its about work, or study, or those pesky things called human relationships; sometimes its just about one of those things that are at the tip of your tongue, that you just can’t remember. Jonathan, for instance, sms’d me from London last night: ‘dad, what was the name of that sixties movie we used to have where they drove around a lot? It had all the good music in it.’
Damn! It was not ‘American Beauty’ (a great movie); not ‘American Pie’ (a cheesy one) – but it was something with ‘American’ in the title, of that I was sure. And so, after mulling it over for a while in a leisurely bath, I went online, and googled, ‘movies with ‘American’ in the title. And there it was: ‘American Graffiti’ – a fabulous movie!
These kids humour me, I know, with their questions and queries. But it doesn’t matter. I like it. And thank you, Jonnie, for reminding me of ‘American Graffiti’ – one of the perks of old age, when the memory starts to go, is being reminded of things by your children. And here it is, the trailer, courtesy of YouTube.