Dads Versus Sons: Culture Wars

by Mary Liza Hartong and Andrew Kingsley | 4/19/16 5:06pm

As dawn breaks on another beautiful Hanover day, Dave and his buddies crack open a couple of PediaSure bottles in the hopes of curing their hangovers. Strewn across Collis porch like the miscreants they are, they stew over last nights events.

“Dude, I was so wasted, I changed my D-Plan on Banner! I’m going on the French LSA next winter now. What a trip,” Biggie boasts.

“I was so wasted, I treated a woman with respect,” Ron laughs. Dave and Biggie spit out their Pediasure in shock.

“Wait til you hear this,” Dave guffaws, “I was so wasted I — ”

Dave’s ringtone, “Errbody in the club getting tipsy,” cuts him off. He looks at his phone to see who’s calling.

“Ugh, it’s just my dad. I’ll call him back. Way too hungover to hear about my nana’s peripheral neuropathy again. Or Bass Pro Shop. Or his memories of college. Geez,” Dave laments.

“Hey, I wonder what our dads did this weekend,” Biggie ponders as PediaSure dribbles down his chins.

“They probably just sat around. Lame,” Ron offers as he absentmindedly flips through a nude magazine.

“What losers. We run this town, am I right?” Dave says.

The scene dissolves into a hazy mist. Out of it, the fathers of Dave, Biggie and Ron appear. Dave’s father, Doug, wears a 1995 striped polo shirt, khakis and white tennis shoes. With his cellphone secured to his belt loop via Velcro strap and his hair deftly disguising his bald spot, he’s clearly the leader of the pack. Biggie’s papa, Dong, plays it cool in a football jersey, sweat pants and a backwards baseball cap. Classic Dong! Ron’s sperm donor, Pat, rounds out the group with a purple button down, just slightly too short white shorts and flip-flops from the men’s section of Vineyard Vines.

As the dads walk into the mall to buy anniversary gifts for their wives, they psych each other up. Pat delivers a rousing speech, exhorting the values of bran cereal, nine holes of golf each Sunday and roomy bathrobes. He reminds his comrades of their motto, YODO, you only dad once. His fellow fathers choke back tears, just like their fathers taught them.

“Dong, give me your best dad joke now!” Pat screams.

“Okay, okay. What do you call a jedi who delivers babies?” Doug spouts.

“I don’t know, what?” Pat answers.

“OB/GYN Kenobi!” Doug responds.

“Ayyyoooo!” Dong cheers.

“Now let’s get our butts to Bed, Bath and Beyond and prove that we do know what our wives want!” Pat exclaims.

The ferocious pack struts past the temptations of the Buffalo Wild Wings and Victoria’s Secret, determined not to get hot and bothered so early on in the shopping trip. For a moment they break their vows and partake in free Auntie Anne’s samples. In the process, they unwittingly subscribe to the Starved Orca Whale Foundation and support the defunct Carly Fiorina campaign. Finally Bed, Bath and Beyond beckons them with its 20 percent off coupons and made-for-TV products.

They gravitate towards the Hole Blaster, a nifty little machine that shoots donut holes into a tiny basketball hoop. It’s a real slam dunk, but the Pussy Whistle soon catches their eyes. The made-for-TV, feline-shaped pan flute really sets the mood, whatever that mood might be. However, the dads simply cannot resist when they see what is clearly the perfect gift for their loyal wives.

“Pam’s gonna love this. She might even start sleeping in our bed again!” Dong beams.

“Sheila always says, ‘Don’t buy me crap from the mall.’ But I know she didn’t mean this!” Doug cries.

“I think I saw this on ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ My wife loves that show. More than me. She’s taking the kids. I live in a Denny’s. Hehe!” Pat stutters.

The newly empowered patriarchs approach the shimmering packaging. It glows like the messiah and smells like youth.

“It’s so beautiful,” Doug whispers, shedding the tear his father never let him shed.

“What is this ethereal bliss?” Pat murmurs.

“Snuggie, the blanket that has sleeves,” Dong says lovingly.

Triumphantly, the men cradle their respective Snuggies — pink, cheetah print and rainbow — and bring them to the cash register. All is right in the world. They feel hope. They feel joy. They feel peace.

The scene dissolves back into a hazy mist. Dave, Biggie and Ron simultaneously receive texts from their mothers.

“I’m leaving your father,” they all read.

“Woah,” Dave observes. “They must have had some sick weekends, man!”

“Nice,” Ron responds, fist bumping Biggie.

“I guess we underestimated them. Hey, now we can chase tail with our dads!” Biggie smiles.

“Ayyyooo,” they all shout, clinking their PediaSure bottles.