Ten Views of Dad

Alex’s PIA: Philosophy In Art class had started well. Inspired by Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji, he had asked the class to look at ten views of various subjects.

Last week they had discussed mothers, and he thought that today they should look at fathers. After all you needed both. Even if you had two mothers – like the boy last week whose lesbian mother was marrying her partner – you still needed sperm.

Alex said, “Okay class, who can tell me what a father is?”

A boy at the front said, “A father is a man who has fathered a child.”

This caused some smirks. Alex said, “Yes, that’s true. But you are using the word father to describe a father. It’s called a tautology – something that is self-referent. The thought is correct, but can you think of a better way to explain it?”

“Like what?”

“Let me help you,” said Alex. “Another word for father is sire.”

“Like we call you Sir? Is it the same?”

“No, it’s a different word. Sire means to produce a child. Sir is just a term of respect. They are related etymologically though. Sire is how you address a male monarch; in olden times they had special rights to women of their estates, and could indeed be anyone’s father.”

“Sir, should you be respectful to your father?” asked the boy. “Should you call your sire Sir?” The class laughed.

“Yes, Sir!”

A woman said, “A father is someone who protects you, or at least he should do. Mine tried his best but I was determined to harm myself.” She rolled up her sleeve to show cut marks. “I only stopped when he died.”

A boy said, “A father is someone who supports you financially. My dad works hard in the auto-shop. He says his job is to make sure that we have three meals a day, two holidays a year, and one happy home.”

“I had a stepfather,” said a woman. “I hated him initially for replacing my real father. God knows why, as he’d left us anyway. But then I got to know my stepfather and grew to love him. He was the best thing that ever happened to me and my mum.”

“My father was a rapist,” said an Asian boy. “My mother was raped by a soldier in Salistan during the civil war.” Alex didn’t know whether to speak or remain quiet. He was about to say something comforting when the boy continued, “So I was born to an unwed mother, which is not an acceptable situation there. I was hidden away at first, and then said to be my grandma’s child. We left there as soon as we could and came here.”

A man said, “I spent a lot of time with my uncle. He was like a second father – he took me hunting and fishing, and taught me how to survive in the wilderness. These were things that my own father didn’t know.”

“I have a father-in-law who drives me mad,” said a woman. “Whatever I do is never good enough for his son.”

“I am a weekend dad. My ex- only lets me see the kids on Saturdays.”

“I may be a DI Dad. When I was at university I sold my sperm for Donor Insemination. It brought in fifty bucks a week.”

A boy at the back said, “I am a surprise father. My girlfriend just told me she’s pregnant.”

The class cheered.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: