Put down that plain-ass sweater. It’s time to get your dad something that makes him feel like what he is: the coolest motherf*cker you know
Things you realise as you get older: the importance of a pension, blue WKD isn’t an acceptable drink to order with dinner, your dad is way cooler than you gave him credit for.
And who better to extol the virtues of dads than the planet’s ultimate bad-ass sexagenarian and superdad, Samuel L Jackson?
As you might be able to guess, he’s not exactly the most laid back of fathers.
“A lot of people think cool dads are the dads who let their kids smoke, or drink, or talk any way they want. They aren’t. Cool dads are the ones who’ve established a relationship with their kids, where they can come to talk to them about anything, because they’ll get an honest opinion rather than an authoritarian answer. Cool dads are the ones who are perfectly integrated into their kids’ lives. And their friends think they’re cool because they’ll actually talk to them. I asked my daughters’ friends about things, like what music they were listening to, even though I didn’t like much of it.
“The world is set up in a certain way and if kids haven’t been out there just yet, they really don’t know what they’re talking about. I hear kids talking about their parents ‘disrespecting’ them and I’m like, ‘Excuse me?’ You earn respect. Before I paid my own way, why should I expect my parents to respect me? I didn’t run sh*t. They ran it.
“I always wanted my daughter to have two parents, so she could understand what a stable relationship was. My mom was a single parent, but I saw that from my grandparents – they were together and married for 67 years.
“My daughter was raised with lots of lessons about who we were, where we came from. And when people ask me why I work so much, I tell them that when I was a kid, all the adults in the house went to work in the morning. I just assumed that’s what grown people did. Fortunately for me, I have a cool-ass job that I don’t mind going to. When my daughter asked me what she should do for a career, I said she should pick something that makes her want to get up every day, not feel like she has to get up every day. Granted, she wasn’t under the same pressure that other people are, but she works hard. She wants to take care of herself. At some point everything I have will be hers, but she has to learn how to manage it. So many people would waste it because they never learned how to work or how to have a boss. That’s important.”
The natural question is: what about when his daughter brought boys home?
“Her dad’s a bad motherf*cker, so when they come in the house they try saying ‘hi’, so I’m like ‘Why are you talking to me? I know why you’re here. We’re not friends. Let’s understand that. You hurt her, you break her heart – you got to deal with me.’ There were a few boys that I didn’t like who I banned from the house.”
Spoken like a true bad-ass dad.
And if your dad is similarly wise and deserving, you shouldn’t need an excuse to mark your thanks to him. But as Father’s Day is imminent, now seems as good a time as any.
Do what Sam says
And go get dad and yourself checked out
“If guys get a bruise or a bump, they tend to figure it’ll go away; tough it out. They don’t understand that if you smoke, you don’t just get lung cancer, you can get all kinds of cancer. You can get testicular cancer, or stomach cancer, or breast cancer. Most men don’t realise they can even get breast cancer. Being in the sun, you can get melanoma on your skin, that’s cancer. Our campaign is about getting men to be aware of their bodies the way women are.
“It comes from how we were raised. You get a bump or a bruise – suck it up. If you’re hurt, play through it. Man up. Walk it off. And that’s what we always do. We don’t tell our friends, ‘Man I’ve been feeling bad for a week,’ or ‘I’ve been p*ssing blood.’ If you get testicular cancer, you don’t tell your friend ‘My balls hurt.’ A lot of men would rather talk about erectile dysfunction than cancer.
“And nobody tells their friends, ‘Yeah man, I had a rectal exam today.’ But let’s change that. Any time, dude. Any age. Get that done. Go now.”
Samuel L Jackson is Chairman of One For The Boys, which unites men in the fight against male cancer
(Photography: CHRISTIAN AMMANN)