Here's my dad with Liam the first time they met, when Liam was about three weeks old:
See the resemblance? I do.
My dad is a pretty cool guy.
Growing up, he was a dad. He wasn't always the most hands-on dad, but he was always there when it mattered. He did dad-things with us, like teach us how to throw a baseball, how to change a spark plug on the lawnmower (so we could mow the lawn), and how to identify weeds in the garden (so he could make us weed his garden). You know, standard run-of-the-mill stuff.
But I'm not going to write about that stuff today. I'm going to write, instead, of how my dad influenced me to go vegan.
If he's reading this, he probably just muttered something less than positive under his breath. And he'd be justified in doing so. My dad, the man I love and respect as a father and a fine human being, trys to catch fish on hooks any chance he gets. He even tries when the lakes are frozen over with feet of ice. That's how bad he wants to eat those fish. He also loves milk, beef, pork ...
You get the point. He's not a vegan, not a vegetarian. He's a man who wouldn't consider a meal a meal unless it involved meat.
But here's the thing, when I was growing up and when we asked him why he didn't hunt he had this to say:
"I'll hunt when the deer can shoot back."
He saw (or at least he claimed to see at the time) hunting as a lopsided venture. An unfair match between a helpless and harmless animal and a human with a high-powered boom stick.
Here's another thing, when I was a kid and had some friends over and they decided to throw rocks at a birds nest ... Well holy shit, you'd better run your ass off as fast as you can away from my father if he catches you throwing rocks at nests. The man has a yelling voice that used to make me nearly piss myself. He gave my friends a verbal lashing asking them what kind of sick fucks would ever try to knock down a bird's nest (OK, he didn't call them fucks, but you get the picture).
Here's yet another thing:
One day I was probably sitting in my bedroom playing Sonic the Hedgehog when he all but burst in and said, "Come with me. You gotta see this."
We jumped in his pick-up (truck) and he drove me out to the country (where I grew up, it was a 30 second drive to get out to "the country," but we drove about 10 more minutes than that on this day) to a dam out in the middle of nowhere (or 10 minutes and 30 seconds from the middle of nowhere, depending on how you define "middle of nowhere"). We drove to the middle of the dam and he stopped the pick-up, got out and told me to look.
There, sitting on the man-made lake, were ducks. I don't remember what kind they were, but there were a lot of them. He commented on their beauty. "Don't tell anyone they're here," he said. "Hunters would love something like that mounted in their house. Let's just let them be."
And that's my dad.