But why does dad get blamed?


But why does dad get blamed?

Published: Thu 31 Oct 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 8 Nov 2019, 12:03 PM

Poor daddy. From habits that cannot be overcome like drinking, smoking or even being flirtatious, to an earthquake in the Russian Far East, we shamelessly pass the buck to dads. While Sigmund Freud suggested that our personal development is pretty much determined by events in our early childhood, he never expected daddies to become the punching bag.
I am aghast that we even have a genre called dad jokes which, according to Wikipedia, are "stereotypically told by fathers among family, either with sincere humorous intent, or to intentionally provoke a negative reaction to its overly-simplistic humour". But I will never forgive the guy who invented the English phrase, dad-blamed, which is a euphemism in expressions of surprise, disgust and anger, such as in sentences like, "It's a dad-blamed shame."
Actual dad-blaming happens in every continent, every country and every family, including Yours Truly's.
"Mum, why do you keep the soap tray so damp and full of foam?" That's my daughter, during her pre-bath survey of the washroom.
"Dad might have used it." Pat came the reply from the teacher-mum who was poring over answer sheets.
"Dad, did you open my cosmetics pouch?"
"I can't find my mascara."
"Oh my! It has gone missing again. Suresh, did you open my bag?" That was  wifey again.
"My shades are missing."
When was the last time I saw the inside of her bag? Maybe when she called from the supermarket some time last year to see if her debit card was there.
"Mum, the lights and exhaust fan were on in the kitchen after you left for school." That's how daughter greeted her mother as she returned from work.
"Dad might have forgotten."
Sincerely speaking, I hadn't even stepped into the kitchen for two days either to cook or to take a glass of water.
"Suresh, did you open my medicine drawer?"
"I cannot find my Lipitor."
"Suresh, did you chat with your son today?"
"He did not call me. You might have said something that hurt him?"
"Dad, how many times have I told you not to use my lappy?"
 "What happened, baby?"
 "I found the Friends episode I downloaded in the trash box." She is asking someone who has a laptop and a workstation all for himself".
"I am sure this is your dad's job."
"What happened, mum?"
"Can't find my credit card."
"Mum, you had passed it to me after paying in the hypermarket. I have kept it in your bag. Please check."
"Mamma, did you see the TV remote?"
 "Dad might have hidden it somewhere and forgotten. There was a cricket match last night."
"Suresh, where's the shopping list?" She said it after I had driven 4km to take advantage of the Super Sale.
"Why are you asking me?"
"I had kept it on the table. How can you drive me all the way here without taking the list? Isn't the responsibility on everyone in the family?"
"Oh God, eLife isn't working," Daughter has barely woken up.
"Go and wash your face before you switch on the TV," I shouted.
"Dad might not have paid the bill." The asariri came from the kitchen.
"Listen, your daughter has not yet returned from her friend's birthday party." Past 10.30pm, I was concerned like any father of an adult daughter.
"Like father, like daughter. You have set an example."
"Are you there? See how neatly your daughter keeps her room." I said after surveying the graffiti she had done and the new-found tidiness and order.
"Mums inculcate discipline."
"I can't kick this late-night sleeping habit. Dad, my friends say there are quite a number of habits I have inherited from you."
"It is unfair to blame your dad for your actions. You know what JK Rowling says? There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction."
"Whatever! Dad, why did you recharge my SIM? I was about to drop this connection and switch to a cheaper provider. Can you please ask next time?"
"There was an earthquake in Russia," daughter said, scrolling on the phone.
"Something or the other happens wherever your dad sets his foot." It was meant to be a mama joke, but I wasn't amused.
"It's a dad-blamed shame to always find fault with your dad. Do you understand?" I screamed. And with that, I scampered to a neighbourhood watering hole to learn some dad jokes from fellow journalists.

By Suresh Pattali

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