This certainly has been a landmark year for fatherhood. The president of the United States takes the role seriously. He eats ice cream, goes to the zoo, rides bumper cars. Within weeks of taking office, he chose Tony Dungy—Peyton Manning's thoughtful and sensitive former coach—as a fatherhood adviser. And three times this year, he has summoned the White House motorcade for 20-minute trips to parent-teacher conferences.
Sam Halpern is more old-school, so to speak. But he is now a favorite for Father of the Year. Why? Well, late in the summer, the 73-year-old Vietnam vet—like many a beleaguered parent—grudgingly took one of his three sons back under his roof in San Diego. Justin wasn't unemployed. At 28, he'd simply tired of life in Los Angeles. Now, Sam, who had spent his boyhood toiling from sunup to sundown on a tobacco farm in Kentucky, who had served in an unpopular war, who had devoted his life to doing classified research in nuclear medicine for the University of California, could easily have chosen to turn away his adult son and enjoy his retirement in peace. But apparently he saw his son's return as a teachable moment. So, like some gruff old professor, he began offering bluntly worded life lessons. "Oh, please," Sam told Justin, "you practically invented lazy. People should have to call you and ask for the rights to lazy before they use it." And: "You're like a tornado of bullshit right now. We'll talk again after your bullshit dies out over someone else's house." Justin's friends found this homespun wisdom so entertaining that, on August 3, he started to share it with them via Twitter. Within 21 tweets, he had 131,164 followers.
Today nearly 750,000 people subscribe to ShitMyDadSays. And Justin has a book contract with HarperCollins and a deal with CBS to write and executive produce a TV show. "Keep the money from whatever you get," Sam told his grateful son, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I have my own money. I just don't want to do interviews." How sweet is that?
__Five more gems from ShitMyDadSays:
__ "Your brother brought his baby over this morning. He told me it could stand. It couldn't stand for shit. Just sat there. Big let down."
"The worst thing you can be is a liar... Okay fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but THEN, number two is liar. Nazi 1, Liar 2."
"I turn the kitchen faucet on and the shower burns you, yes, I get it... No, I'm not gonna stop, I'm just saying yes, I get that concept."
"I wouldn't worry about money... No, it has a lot to do with happiness, I just mean YOU shouldn't worry, cause you'd just piss it away."
"I like the dog. If he can't eat it, or fuck it, he pisses on it. I can get behind that."