This One is for My Dad
Hi dad. How you doing, son? (The irony of that sentence is that you are neither my son nor do I really give a crap about how you’re doing). First time on Medium, is it? Welcome then father. A little briefing as to what you’re about to encounter; I’m going to mention biscuits, a lot. You might even feature in here once or twice, too. I’ll probably ask to pinch a tenner. Perhaps launch some digital abuse at you. Only one way to find out, I guess.
My Dad, The Teacher
“Sir!” a kid from the back left of the class shouts over all the ruckus, “is that an oh or a zero?” There’s a pause. A breath. A moment. And there he stands, my dad the teacher, blinking patiently back at the young inquisitive child. With a polite glance, he steps towards the board and draws an entirely identical circle beside the one in question. Throwing a brief look over his shoulder, acknowledging the class as a whole who have now begun to settle down, curiosity taking over, he turns back to the board and slowly, strategically, draws a diagonal black line through the circle. “That,” he says, pointing to his most recent scribble, “is a zero. That,” my dad raises his arm then, pointing at his earlier O, the face of his £73827392 watch glinting in the sunlight, “that is an oh. This diagonal line allows you to distinguish between the number and the letter, so that there’s no confusion.” The entire class, if not the whole entire world, gasp in awe. And just like that, life has improved greatly.
NO GUYS, he’s not a literal teacher. (I mean, well yeah actually, when you’re lingering beside a projector in front of several European car manufacturers, then I guess you are, Mr Dad. But you know what I mean).
However, my dad? He’s my teacher. And here are only a handful (if you have Hulk-sized hands whilst wearing the Hulkbuster suit) of the things he has taught me throughout the years:
- How to tell the time (a year before the rest of my class, you suckers).
- How to tie my shoelaces (and every single pair also residing in the house that afternoon).
- How to click my fingers (whilst on a bus, zipping around a hot Portuguese city).
- How to purchase SEVEN sandwiches for only THREE POUNDS AND SEVEN PENCE (turns out food tastes so much better when it’s as cheap as cheap things).
- How to catch (for the most part).
- How to practise golf putting on your very own tiny landing.
- How to sustain your entire existence via a chunk of extra mature cheese and a spoonful of yog.
- How to reset a router.
- How to make an entirely unconventional milky cuppa (your preferred cup of tea, and one no other human would drink. Conveniently).
- How to sneak sixty chicken nuggets into the cinema.
- How to absolutely ACE level one of Crash Bandicoot on the PS1.
- How to catch a second wind.
- How to slyly lean to the side, wherever you might be in this world, and slip out a silent if not slightly aerated fart.
- How to ride a bike (repeatedly, round a tiny little island up your nearest cul-de-sac, until you’re revolving around at at the exact same speed that Earth revolves around it’s own axis. That’s 1000 mph, just fyi).
- How to suppress the violent trembles born from deep within the Riotous Rage controlled section of our brains, every time somebody sips or chews or rustles a packet of crisps too often, too loudly.
- How to play (and promptly forget) chess.
- How to turn a selection of ingredients (namely fiery chilli pesto, crap tonne of pasta, few tins of tuna and whole pack of cherry tomatoes) into wholesome hunger-helping happiness. Serves eight. Feeds one.
- How to belly flop, repeatedly (side affects include inadvertently learning how to swim like a bloody pro to the point where they stick you in the year above’s swimming class in primary school because you’re just that proficient).
- How to swindle a free PS3 (have a debit card. Let somebody pinch it. Contact your bank. Hope for the best).
- How to have a raging appetite, larger and more durable than any elephant. Or American.
- How to count to twenty-two in German (haven’t utilised this yet. But the moment will come, I can feel it).
- How to throw up inside and outside of a car, simultaneously (remember that, dad? That was fun).
- How to wash up expertly (all you need is a bit of elbow grease and to swap your entire kitchen sink for a large yellow bucket).
- How to literally tackle a mountain.
- How to retain heat in the living room (close the bloody door when you leave the room!)
- How to movie-marathon correctly — anything less than two movies and sharer-sized portions of fast food (each) is incorrect and you’re doing it wrong.
- How to be a super sports fan (shout at tele. Attend games. Obsess over pie and chips. Buy merchandise. Stay up late and lose money on a one-off bet. Shout at tele again).
- How to snap the tendon in your ankle. And then the other one. And then the first one, again (this was an involuntary lesson, but a lesson nonetheless).
- How to be a Leader in a world full of Followers. And that leads me on to my next point.
My Dad, The Leader
As you can see, my dad has clearly taught me a lot of tangible things (I literally still have the grease stains on the inside of my NASA top after slipping a full box of twenty McChicken nuggets up under there. A Wilcox war wound, if you will).
But, you see, he’s done so much more that. He’s taught me, through the way he leads his own life, exactly how to experience the world, how to embrace opportunities and how to evolve through some of life’s tricky little tests (such as kidney stones and a complex relationship with mushrooms).
I mean it. My papa might spontaneously shriek into the air just to watch me crap myself a little, thus inducing a rage within me that has resulted in me fake squaring up to him as a mere child (wanna piece of me, do ya?), but he’s also one of the wisest, most dedicated blokes I know (clearly I don’t know many blokes). If you want to see what Hard Work visibly looks like, then you better rise at 4am and haul ass in the car, through the dark, for hours, only to arrive at work and pour your entire soul into whatever task is at hand for the next eight hours, to then repeat that lengthy journey home, only to paperclip your eyelids open long enough to squeeze in one, perhaps two episodes of Peaky Blinders before the whole process begins again before even the sunrise herself has woken. Every. Single. Day. Ever. Except Christmas — that’s when we lock him in the kitchen to sweat and steam sprouts.
Dad led the way, forging this path from the very nightclub in which he stood as a kiddo, bound in nothing but an open waistcoat, to the empire he has built for himself now, bound in eclectic shirts and novelty cuff-links. He is the best leader this or any version of the planet will ever know. Better than any president or team captain or the fella at the front of the world’s longest conga. Dad is a superhero.
He is the architect of his own fortune, after all.
My Dad, The Athlete
Try to laugh a little quieter if you can. He might hear you.
As is the nature of a true Wilcox Warrior — we are physically incapable of not being friggin’ spectacular at any and all sports. I walk several thousand miles a day and have legally defined biscuit ingestion as an Olympic Sport. I put the dinner into winner.
So here are some of the lesser, but still pretty damn cool athletic activities dad has embarked upon:
- London Marathon dressed as a chicken? Clucking aced it.
- Triathlon? Completed it (well, technically only a third of it. He did it with my uncle and cousin. So I guess yeah, just an athlon).
- Seasoned golfer, footballer, squash-player, badminton-er, swimmer, cyclist and once ran up and down the road we lived on? That’s papa.
- Swam the length of Lake Windermere whilst his loyal and equally as athletic daughter leisurely kayaked alongside him under the premise of being his feeder and/or watchful guardian but really only inhaled all the snacks herself and peed directly into her own leggings? Yeah. Did that.
Still, though. There was no finer feat than us ploughing through the entirety of Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii in like the space of a week (in and amongst dad’s full-time job and my full-time biscuit obsession). It was a team task and we remain triumphant. Don’t even get me started on our conquest of Abe.
My Dad, The Provider
It’s 5:12am on a chilly Thursday morning. The front windscreen is slowly defrosting, my kneecaps are quietly trembling and the empty emergency milk carton resides silently behind the drivers seat. All is calm, serene, still mostly asleep. As dad opens the drivers-side door, hops in and unwraps a tiny red Lindor truffle, I await the moment eagerly. No not the fake punch or the “you hear that?” fart. But the moment. You can never quite be sure when they will next arise, but what with dad being a full time icon and all, you can be sure that it will happen pretty regularly. You know; the next time words of Wilcox wisdom will whizz into the crisp car air. He says something profound even seven and a half minutes, I tell ya.
Dad initiates the engine. The fog on the screen begins to dissipate. A large Asda truck zips past us. And then it happens. My father’s newly bought dashcam whirrs to life, ready for action after a mere four seconds of charging up. “You get what you pay for,” he whispers contentedly towards the high quality piece of tech. The thing is — he’s right. He always bloody is (except when distinguishing between the terms borrow and lend. And all the times when he’s wrong. Which is equally as often).
It’s applicable in most scenarios (except the SEVEN sandwiches. That was some kind of cosmic costing, that) and dad has always prided himself on providing top tier things. Not for himself. But for those he loves. And I don’t just mean materialistic items, either. I mean lifestyles and experiences and elements necessary for survival (we have never not had several packets of biscuits in the house since I departed from the womb). But that’s the thing, you get what you pay for applies to all the monetised elements of life, sure. But it means more than that, too. You get what you pay for. You reap what you sow. You achieve what you put effort into. You get trapped wind if you eat an entire packet of Maryland cookies in one sitting. Dad provides these lasting life lessons as well as loving trips to Rome. And regardless of any monetary value, he will provide tirelessly and endlessly not because he can, not because he has to, but because the universe made him into this hydrogen (and pound sterling) rich star, whose light radiates not just on one or two tiny planets within his orbit, but whole entire galaxies.
So if you want to see what a Kind Soul visibly looks like, then you better just occupy the space beside my dads shoulder, just behind the tiny upside down cat paw tattoo in honour of my first feline brother, and follow him around all the live long day. Whether he’s providing a home for his entire direct family or delivering a foot-long subway and a 14-piece KFC bargain bucket to the poor souls who don’t have a home, he’s never not doing something for somebody.
My dad is a provider of quality — lessons, luxuries and lives. (And a large quantity of European pencils).
Still hasn’t got me a dog, though.
My Dad, Sometimes Known as Mark
Thing is, my dad is not just my dad. He’s Full-Time Human and Part-Time Pop-Up Banking Facility, Mark.
To some, my dad is a known as a friend. A colleague. A neighbour. He’s somebody’s old teammate. Somebody’s son. Somebody’s brother and cousin and partner. He’s a cat parent (cough purrent cough) and an employee and an organ donor. He’s a business partner and silent investor and advocate of achieving your wildest dreams. He’s a recycler and a dolphin adopter and an Amazon Primer. He gives to charity and pays for Netflix and makes a bloody top tier mooli soup. He’s driven eight million and forty-two miles and listened to Darude Sandstorm eight million and forty-two times. He’s decked it out of a plane and scrambled to the top of a Welsh mountain. He’s a Villa supporter, a marvel fan, an OG Peaky Blinder (if you swap out the razors for malted milks). He’s a whole heap of things to a whole heap of people and that’s great, it really is.
But Mark? Our Mark?
He’s a whole lot more to me.
My Dad, My Daddio
My best pal. (Even though I often want to utilise my physics degree to somehow harness a pinch of cosmic dark matter, formulate some kind of rapid hair growth serum, spread it on his bare scalp, admire the speedy resurfacing of our genetically luscious Wilcox locks — Wilclocks? — with awe, and then damn well tear it all out again).
My spider-saviour. My long-distance driver. My cinema sharer. My solid supporter. My business buddy. My Baz bringer. My athletic advocate. My fellow fight-night fanatic. My same-shoe-sized-smate. My blue-door-blue-bear painting, pins-and-needles-on-your-shoulders carrying, over-sized-pizzas-in-Looe building, wall-map-and-space-wall giving, frisbee-practise-in-the-garden training father. My biggest believer. My hero.
So here’s to the anniversary of you emerging from nan. You led your way out the womb and straight into the heart of the universe, where you kicked off your size-sevens, slipped on your yellow-bottomed slippers and forged a life I will never not be in awe of.
I guess this is the only time I ever truly want to remain a follower (other than on Robert Pattinson’s Instagram) — to forever follow your lead. Proud of you papa. Still want to punch you, though.
I love you in astronomical sized chunks (of cheese. Teeth marks and all). From mars to the milky way to every galaxy ever — all of which are some top tier chocolate bars, am I right? Especially Bounty’s.
Happy birthday daddio. Love you 3000.
(Now that I’ve fiercely kissed some ass can I borrow that tenner we talked about?)