Most men and many women have had a fallout with their Dads at some point...over money, jobs, boys/girls, clothing length/density and probably football. It's not pretty and I have mates who would rather wax their privates than have a sit down with Pater and chew the fat. The years of Christmas dinner fallouts, ruined holidays because bird watching isn't a sport and birthdays forgotten, ignored or ruined. Leading to never-agains, he's-not-coming-arounds, or-no-way-is-that-old-bugger-my-father. It's over.
But my friends, please allow me to present an alternative approach to managing the father in your life, one which I guarantee will bring long-term gain (ok, with a little short term pain)... you play the long game, and trust me, everyone will win.
How do I know? My Dad's been dead since May 1992... He got cancer and the only good thing about that period was we watched Leeds United win the title on the telly, 18 years since we shared their last title triumph.
He was never an emotional guy, a quiet, mild mannered old schooler born in the 30’s, but even though he worked 5 1/2 days a week we did loads of stuff, including him taking me to the games, which was probably the one constant in our lives as the golf on a Sunday at Gut’s Park never caught on. His quietness worked both ways: you knew you'd never get a tanning but the worst thing was the silence. After pranging his new gold Capri (2.0l brown vinyl roof) (below), he waited for me to come up the drive, spotted the scratch and went "Aaargh!" and then never spoke to me for 2 weeks. It hurt more than a strap. Really.
He'd worked as an electrician since 14, and though he never shared my interest in Punk, Russian constructivism or Kerouac, I think he understood me. His best bit of advice, and god love him, he supported me on all the way on, was "Do what you love". That got me into Art School, moving to London, coming back to run a club, a clothing shop and then a band. Yeah, I did some shit jobs, but my sole aim was doing something I loved... 'That way" he said, "it won't seem like a job" and he was right. Best thing he ever said.
We never had major fallouts- not his style- so you might think there was less to recall, to remember, but here's the thing. In the years since he went, I always think of all the stuff he/I missed… setting up a magazine, buying my first house, and getting a job at his beloved Leeds United. (I'd have shown him round, got him in the Boardroom, in the dugout, dressing rooms, treated him like a King). Of course, he never met my wife and then the big one, my daughter... I'm blubbing now. And it's the other stuff... helping on the house we bought - a wreck that needed major and he'd have been in his element, doing the electrics, woodworking, a bit of plumbing even, it'd have been fantastic (and saved me about 20k!) - and advice on the big stuff, whether choosing a car, schooling, hols, or little things - best garages, deals etc, the things you go to Il Padrone for. And the stuff that diminishes when he’s not there to share it with.
So why play the long game? It struck me talking to mates who have poor relationships with their Dads that they were wasting time they'd never get back.
So if you've still got your Dad, treasure him. I didn't appreciate what he did for me until it was too late to do anything about it, so don't make the same mistake. You can never hug enough, talk enough or connect enough to make up for the times you'll need him and he might not be there. So give him a kiss and tell him you love him, because you do. I've still got my mum, thank god; 80 next year and he'd have been 82. But honestly, the world is a lonely place without your dad in it, so enjoy him while you can.