Papa Kusz and I go way back. We go back even further than before I was born…
Sometimes when I piss him off he says, “I brought you into this world, I can take you right back out!” I have a feeling he will say that when he sees this blog, and sees that I’ve posted pictures of him like this, publicly:
He’s been an outstanding father to me my entire life, even though he gets on my nerves more than anybody I’ve ever met. But hey, that’s family, right?
Today, February 27th 2019, is his 60th birthday – 60!!! When I asked him how he felt about hitting the big six-oh, he said, “I thought it would be different”. I asked, “you mean you thought you’d be at a different stage in your life?” He responded with, “Well, I didn’t think it would come so fast.”
As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
60 years old sounds pretty old, but if you’ve met my father, he’s the biggest little kid you’ll ever meet. If he’s serious, he’s only serious for a few sentences before he has to crack a joke. He gets his humour from his father, and his kindness from my grandmother. He’s the king of dad jokes, and he gets almost all of his quotes from my grandpa, which makes sense, look how identical they are:
They both love getting hair makeovers.
One quote I hear whenever I begin singing along to the radio is, “just because your head is shaped like a sewing machine, doesn’t mean you’re a Singer”. ‘Singer’ is a brand of sewing machine – this would be the perfect example of one of his dad jokes. It’s not that funny… Actually, the nature of my dad saying it has now become funny over the years. In his case, over the decades. Most of the other quotes my father says cannot be posted online due to their vulgar nature, but I assure you, they are hilarious.
Beyond the goofy comments, my dad is more than just a clown – he’s also one of my best friends. Ever since I moved to New Zealand and came back, him and I have grown closer than ever. You seem to appreciate the people in your life more-so when you go without them for a while. “You never know what you have until it’s gone” – to throw a cliche phrase in there.
My dad never missed one of my football games. He’s always been my biggest supporter. He drove me to every practice, he drove me to every game. He stood in the cold and suffered with an icicle moustache so he could watch his boy play. He came to bowling every Saturday, he took me practicing up to 4-5 times per week, and he came to every tournament, even when I went to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for my nationals bowling tournament, where I placed 3rd best in Canada when I was like 14 or something. My dad was there when I started underage drinking, and I denied it every time even thought he could smell it on my breath and my eyes were googly and cross-eyed. He would say, “your eyes look like two piss-holes in a snowbank” and I would lie to his face. We both knew the truth, but it was best left unsaid. He was never overly harsh towards me, except when we had parties at his house and wreacked havoc on the place. That’s the one regret I have – being a selfish high school/early university student having parties and taking advantage of my dad staying out at his girlfriend’s house.
I’ll never forget the times where he came home and I was hungover to the max, with the place in a state. He ripped into me those times and I deserved it. He still hates Tristen for sleeping on his couch every Saturday night and still being there every Sunday morning.
One time, my dad received a large sum of money, so he decided to share it with his kids and my mom because he thought it was fair. I was a young kid and he gave me thousands of dollars because it’s what he
thought felt it was the right thing to do (he has a lot of feelings even though he pretends to be a hardass). He’s always been the most selfless person I know. Sometimes Jess and I would show up at his house unexpectedly, and he would be cooking dinner for himself and just offer half his food to us. He’d sacrifice his food/hunger to be hospitable to his uninvited guests. He’s the most generous person I ever met, in conjunction with my mother – makes sense they created me and my brother I suppose.
We’ve always been spoiled kids. We used to get $500 gift cards to Chinook/Market Mall that I would go blow on art work and booze. Then one day, the stock market crashed… I asked my father, “how much money did you lose in the stock market?” and he said, “XXX dollars, and your Christmas presents will reflect that.” That is something I will never forget. It didn’t matter, the joke was more memorable than the decline in Christmas gift monetary value.
My dad is always a phone call away, and he usually answers on the second ring. Any time I have car troubles, he becomes a telephone-Mechanic. Almost every time he has solved my car problems over the phone. If not, he points me in the right direct, and if he can’t, he comes to my rescue.
He’s a man of his word, he respects your time (and pays you if you help him with anything), and you’re always welcome in his home, if he knows you/likes you. He asks for little, and gives a lot. I don’t think he could be any more awesome than he is, but then sometimes he does some crazy shit, like pay for your university education even when you switch programs three times and stay in uni for 5.5 years during your “4-year” degree.
As you may have noticed, I only take candid photos of my father, as does my brother. One time we accumulated some photos and created a Facebook account for him, one that he had no knowledge of. He did find out, he saw the unflattering photos, and he was pissed!!! I thought he was going to give me a ‘butch” (pronounced “butt-ch”), which refers to a swift backhand in the Kusz family. Since then, we don’t post photos like these anymore. However, since I am 3,330 km away from my papa, sitting at Craft brewery in Ottawa on his special day, I felt it imperative to show his true colours on this momentous birthday occasion.
My dad is a great man, I know this for certain. I hope I’m just like him when I get super duper old. Just this month I’ve started to see many grey and white hairs atop my head, and I couldn’t be more proud to resemble that Nascar-loving goofball.
Happy birthday Dad.
The most love, from across the country.