The Thirteenth Tuesday: We Talk About The Man You Can Thank for My Jokes

Lucky number 13. Not that I’m a lucky person at all, but I just had to say it.

There’s been a lot on my mind recently. Even though a day hasn’t gone by where I don’t think about my dad, recently more than ever, I can’t get him out of my head. I don’t know if it’s because it was just the holidays, or because I’m in the home stretch of treatments and shit is getting real, or because January is just a slow month, but he is in almost every thought I have. He was my go-to guy when I was sick. He used to tell the same joke every time I had strep throat, which was often. “What did one tonsil say to the other?” What, dad? “You better get dressed up, the doctor’s taking us out tonight!” Lol. I never got my tonsils out though, I didn’t qualify, which was weird. It’s like you had to go to an Olympic qualifier event to get your tonsils out. Even though my tonsils seem to be some sort of freak show attraction (every time a doctor takes a look, he always call in someone else to “get a load of this”) and I get sore throats constantly, it was never enough to get the gold medal, which in this case, is an operation.

I wonder about what awful jokes he would tell my oncologist, and the surgeon who did the biopsy. Would he try and modify that tonsil joke, saying “what did one weird lump on your neck say to the other? You better get dressed up, the doctor’s taking us out to dissect us and see if we’re cancerous tonight!” I actually probably would’ve made that joke to him, and he would’ve laughed as if it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard. Say that to anyone else and they would probably think I was nuts.

I know he would give the nurses a hard time because that’s what he did. He was a chain-yanker. Every time we went to get new cellphones, he argued with the sales person. Once, I was so embarrassed, I walked out of AT&T, took his car and left him there. Not my nicest, but it was something we were eventually able to laugh about. It rubbed off on me though because when I went to get an iPhone 6 without my parents help, I messed with the sales person, making sure I got the best deal. He was proud.

He would get overly involved, as he did with every sport I ever played. If he could coach it, he would coach it. If he couldn’t coach it, he would get a rule book and learn everything he could about it. He would have googled all about lymphoma, and he would have looked into the best doctors, as he did when I had a shoulder injury in eighth grade.

He would try his best to make light of an awful situation, which is probably a huge reason why I have stayed positive through this whole thing. He would lighten the mood at every appointment. He would, without a doubt, embarrass me. He would make the physician’s assistant uncomfortable, by asking questions she wouldn’t have answers to. He would ask the doctor “If a rooster lays one egg over here and three eggs over there, how many eggs did the rooster lay?” And she would probably say four. And he would laugh and say “Wrong! Roosters can’t lay eggs.” And she would fake laugh, and me and my mom would look at each other and sigh, and he would smile, because he just duped a doctor.

He would take me to get ice cream because that’s what we did after we were finished at the doctor when I was younger. And no one shares my appreciation for a DQ blizzard like he did.

He would text me pictures of window mannequins in NYC, and say “Hey girl, how are you feeling?” Because that’s what he did when I was in college.

He would do anything for me because that’s who he was.

Rather than focus on what he would do, I focus on what he is doing. He is looking out for me. You might not believe in guardian angels, but I do. When I was in Africa, a trip that I wouldn’t have gone on if he didn’t say yes (my mom gave me a hard no when I asked to go, so I asked him for approval, knowing he would, and could, not say no to his little girl), we were walking around the V&A waterfront, and there was a little hot dog stand named “The Hot Dog King.” That was the name of my dad’s hot dog stand. He was literally the Hot Dog King (which makes me, ahem, a princess). And here, on a totally different continent, in a place where I didn’t even think people ate hot dogs, was a sign. One of my best friends texted me and said she had a dream that we were with my dad and a Frank Sinatra song, that she had never heard before, was playing. Frank Sinatra was his favorite. I did an autobiography report in fifth grade on Sinatra because my dad loved him so much. Another sign.

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Said hot dog stand

I don’t get signs a lot, so when I do, they are extra special, more meaningful. Just as he would be doing if he were here, he is keeping me safe. He is making sure I keep my head up. He is making sure I keep cracking jokes when things aren’t suppose to be funny.

He’s my number one dude. Always and forever. I push through every day, good or bad, with him in mind. His sense of humor, and nail biting habit (could’ve done without that one), lives on in me. And as long as I have that, I know I can’t lose.

The coolest dude 

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