Recently my sister asked me why I never wrote about our father on here. 'You slag everyone else off, including me;' she said, 'why not him?'
Slagging everyone else off is meant in jest, I pointed out... See where I'm going with this?
Recently I asked my father for a favour. This is typically a complicated procedure involving bribery, false flattery and platitudes. Yes, I'll buy you a drink if you do this; yes, I'll pay you back next week; yes, I know how fantastic a father you are for doing this for me; yes, I am amazingly lucky to have a selfless man such as yourself for a parent. My sister is better than me at it because she has the power of a younger, prettier child who can still stamp her foot and demand and he will give in. My approach is to rarely ask him for anything if I can at all help it, since his granting of a favour requires about 3-5 years of effusive gratitude and grovelling.
Occasionally circumstance overrules principle, such as yesterday. My father's response to every request for his time, for lifts places, for a lend of money, for his help is to sigh heavily and ask, after a long pause: 'Why can't your mother do it?'. Repeated requests do nothing but strengthen his resolve and further his powers of invention thinking up alternative solutions that let him off the hook. Eventually, my pride will kick in and I will say 'fine. It doesn't matter. I'll manage' and he hangs up, sated. He just waits for me to fold.
I realise of course that fatherhood should not be dependent entirely on what your father does for you, but when your father's entire concept of fatherhood is to stay as friendly as possible with his children while listening to them for the least time and doing the least amount of stuff for them he possibly can, it throws a bit of a spanner in the works. Occasionally having to do stuff for other people: the prickly part in having children.