I want to talk about my dad tonight.
He is an immigrant from Italy. His family came over when he was five and they live in New Jersey for a few years before moving out here to California. He joined the US Airforce after high school and then got an awkward recruitment letter from Italy after which he was forced to give up his dual citizenship so he could stay in the US Airforce and not serve in the Italian military.
After that he went to art school in LA and met my mom. And they for married and had babies and so on and so forth.
My dad was a commercial artist and worked as a printer. Eventually he opened his own printshop but sadly that went out of business and we filed for bankruptcy when I was a wee lass.
My dad only had his art then and as any hard working man does he decided to pursue a new career with it. He became a high school graphic arts teacher. He was hired with an emergency credential because they could find no one else for the job and over the years he went to school for his credential and worked two jobs.
Not only did he become a full fledged teacher, he is now one of the most popular teachers at his school. Every morning he commutes 45 minutes to work and every time I visit the city his school is in we run into one of his students and they are always happy to see him.
Not only is he a hard worker, he is the most encouraging father a girl can ask for. He set the example for us kids by always helping out at church and in my brother’s boy scout troop.
Whenever I needed help with a graphic art project he ALWAYS made time to help me (still does). He also does silk screening so naturally I had custom shirts of whatever design I wanted growing up.
With a deep love for the arts and for pop culture, my dad has always been there to encourage and support me in my nerdy interests. When normal literature courses bored me, he shelled out a crap ton of money for me to take the Torrey Academy classes for all three years.
When I wanted to design a Dr. Horrible shirt for my crush, he worked with me step by step to make possibly the raddest shirt design ever. He also made me shirts with elvish script, Captain Hammer shirts, etc.
He also has great respect for music. I bought tickets to see Panic! at the Disco and when my sister couldn’t come as a chaperone he stepped in last minute and took me to see them. ON FATHER’S DAY NO LESS.
He also believes in me as a writer. He’s a bit of a realist so for him to say that I’m good at writing and it was what I’m born to do is a huge comfort.
He encourages me in my art too. He kept trying to sneak into my art class last semester to spy on my work and on the teacher. He finally got to peak in and was pleased with what he saw.
He encourages me as a woman. One evening two family members ganged up on me and started saying how I needed to be more girly, flirt more, dress better, and wear make up. He was so livid when he found out. He took my mom and I out to dinner and gave me a talk about how beautiful I am and how valuable I am. And one day I asked him if he was ok with me going out with a certain guy. His reply was, “Are YOU ok with it? Because that’s what matters.”
When I said I wanted to go to comic con last year he asked me, “Well, who are you going with?” “I don’t know yet.” “Well… I guess I HAVE to go just so I can make sure you stay safe…”
Oh he was so giddy for this. He even went on his own to a graphic arts panel. He even made two special shirts for it. One said “Trust Me, I’m a Jedi” and the other was a Warhol styled Stan Lee color block shirt (seen in the picture).
This picture is him at Comic Con.
When I wanted to see the midnight premiere of the Hobbit this last december, I couldn’t go early to save a spot in line because I had a paper to turn in. So my dad went for me and WAITED IN LINE FOR ME. Grah that man.
And to top it off he parked the car in a valet spot right next to the theater so I wouldn’t have to walk far in the dark to it when I drive home.
I got in my first solo accident a couple weeks ago. Hilariously, it was one of my best friends who backed into me. Not only was my dad chill with it, he even wanted to invite her to family stuff to make sure she knew she was ok in his book.
For my choir concert this last saturday, due to illness and busy schedules, my dad was the only one who showed up to support me. And he brought me flowers.
This year our plan for Comic Con is to go as Princess Leia and Obi Wan.
Honestly? Not having a boyfriend to do nerdy and fun things with isn’t so miserable when I have an awesome dad like mine.