I Dreamed I Was On Trial For Father’s Day
Thankfully it was a dream. I was sitting in the witness chair in a courtroom facing my three children who were questioning my parenting skills. I was the defendant and they were prosecutors. My wife was the judge.
ELDER DAUGHTER: please state your name
and occupation for the record.
ME: Jerry Gervase. I’m a father.
ELDER DAUGHTER: Please tell the court how long you’ve been a father.
ME: (hemming and hawing) Er … eh …
ELDER DAUGHTER: Will the court please instruct the witness to answer the question?
JUDGE: Why are you reluctant to answer?
ME: If I answer the question it will reveal the
ELDER DAUGHTER: Perhaps, your honor,
we can move on.
JUDGE: Please continue.
ELDER DAUGHTER: One of the charges
against you is embarrassing your children in
front of their friends.
JUDGE: (emphatically) And not just your children!
ME: I can’t remember ever embarrassing any of you.
ELDER DAUGHTER: Oh yeah! The only time
you cleaned your shotgun was when my boyfriend came over.
ME: You mean butt-crack Billy?
JUDGE: Hah! You were pretty famous for your low-riders, too.
YOUNGER DAUGHTER: Don’t forget the time
you mooned me when I drove by your apartment.
ME: I knew I wouldn’t be seeing you for a while
and I wanted you to have a clear-cut memory of me.
YOUNGER DAUGHTER: It was way too clear
and way too cut. I almost crashed my car.
ME: You’re nitpicking now.
SON: Nitpicking? You rented my room
when I went away to college.
ME: Yes, but you were able to sleep on the floor when you came home to visit.
And you only had to share the bathroom with two other people.
ELDER DAUGHTER: Hah. That’s nothing. When
I went away to school he moved and didn’t tell me.
ME: The post office sent you a change of address notification.
JUDGE: One year for Mothers Day
he bought me a 10-horsepower roto-tiller.
ME: That was during our “Green Acres” period. You said you wanted to start a garden.
JUDGE: A garden yes, not something that
was eligible for farm subsidies.
SON: Speaking of “Green Acres,” how about the time you killed our pet rabbit and tried to pass it
off as chicken at dinner.
ME: It wasn’t a pet. It was a rabbit-making machine. Besides, I was trying to introduce different kinds of protein into your diet. And don’t forget I let you keep the money we made from selling nutrient rich rabbit pellets to our neighbors for their gardens.
JUDGE: For protein, you could have used all the soybeans I planted after roto-tilling 40 acres.
SON: You sent me to first grade at gunpoint.
ME: The gun wasn’t loaded. Besides you were
fourteen years old. It was time to leave home.
SON: I was not fourteen.
ME: You were shaving.
JUDGE: (banging gavel) Stop picking on
my little boy.
ELDER DAUGHTER: You never liked any
of my boyfriends.
ME: I had a predisposition towards felons.
ELDER DAUGHTER: None of them had a record.
ME: None of them got caught.
JUDGE: (banging gavel) All right. Everyone calm down. Let’s have a little civility here.
Isn’t there anyone here who can speak for the defendant?
Suddenly Atticus Finch appeared in the courtroom played by Gregory Peck
(Hey, it’s my dream. I can have anyone I want in it)
ATTICUS: The one place where a man ought to
get a square deal is in a courtroom.
ME: Tell them, Atticus.
ATTICUS: Don’t interrupt me, Scout.
ME: Why can’t I say anything?
ATTICUS: I don’t give reasons. I give orders.
ME: Wait. That line is from Moby Dick, not To Kill a Mockingbird.
ATTICUS: I can be anyone I want in a dream.
ME: Can’t I get anyone to help me?
JUDGE: How about Bill Cosby. He was a great TV father as Cliff Huxtable.
ME: Great. Just what I need – #MeToo coming after me.
ROBERT YOUNG: (As Jim Anderson in Father Knows Best) I can speak for the defendant. Hey kids, were you ever hungry? Did you always have clothes and a roof over your heads?
CHILDREN: (in unison) Yes, we did.
ME: Wait. That’s no defense. That’s the minimum a father can do. That and four dollars will get you a handcrafted coffee drink prepared by a politically correct diversity trained barista at Starbucks. Any father should provide the basics. I tried to do more.
I taught you how to fly.
CHILDREN: (in unison, again) What are you talking about?
ME: Look at you. Two nurses and a teacher. Are there more noble professions? Two of you bring comfort to the sick and injured and their families, whispering encouraging words when despair beckons. And one of you mentors America’s most precious resource, its children. You are all rich in social capital. You are soaring above most of the people in this country.
My buzzing phone woke me up. It was younger daughter wishing me a happy Fathers Day. The other two called later in the day. We talked and laughed about all the good times we’ve had. I thought about how lucky I was to have them. They are a dream come true.
Contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org