Happy Birthday to My Dad, In Four Acts

by Melissa Chiasson

I.

I am three. I am minigolfing for the second time ever. Based on my first minigolf experience, I can tell you that I am very good, maybe even the best three-year-old to wield a club, period.

What’s this? I have hit the ball but it is not going into the hole. They say that parents are supposed to protect their children from pain, yet you just stand there, nervously watching as a line starts to form behind us as I continue to flail. Hoping to assist, you ask me what is wrong.

I do not mince words: “The fucking ball won’t go in the fucking hole.”

You may claim you have prouder moments as a father, but you would be wrong.

II.

I am eighteen. I am selling a TV on craigslist. A man interested in buying it comes to the house and is quickly distracted by the small zen garden we have on a side table. Earlier that day, I had written “FUCK” in large letters in the sand, and we both hold our collective breath as this guy closely inspects the garden, waiting for him to notice the obscenity. He doesn’t, and we high five when he leaves with the TV in tow.

Wow, these fond memories involve way more use of the word “fuck” than I thought they would.

III.

I am twenty. I am very depressed. I spend my winter break crying in my bedroom, on the couch, and, most notably, in the drive-through of a Whataburger as I order a honey butter chicken biscuit.

One day, as I lie sobbing on my bed, defeated by this hopeless haze that refuses to lift, you tell me that we will get through this.

And, for a moment, I can believe it.

IV.

I am twenty-six. I tell you about the donut I ate this morning. You tell me about the donut you ate this morning. While we may no longer play minigolf, I’m grateful for every fucking day I can eat a fucking donut and talk about it with my fucking dad.

Happy birthday, Pops! Ratemyprofessors.com may give you a 4.7, but I’d give you a 5 any day.

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