Friday 18 June 2010

'Just worry about living, dying is the easy part.'

Sh*t My Dad Says
by Justin Halpern

It's Father's Day on Sunday (apparently) so here is an alternative look at the mentoring and guidance that us dads are meant to provide. Some of you may roll your eyes in disgust at the use of such phrases as 'Twitter sensation' or even the idea that a book (and forthcoming sitcom starring William Shatner - I sh*t you not) could spring from utterances of less than 140 characters but, as anyone who has followed the wisdom of Justin Halpern's father on Twitter or in the press recently will know, sometimes you don't even need that many to cut the bullshit and get to the point.

Justin Halpern was 28 when his long-distance relationship finished after he attempted to close the distance to within the same four walls and was met by flat refusal. Having terminated his own lease he was forced to move back in with his parents for a while and experience all over again the wise words and sage summations of his 73-year-old father. After friends suggested he create a Twitter page to air some of these Halpern saw his followers increase after a small start to a thousand, ten thousand, and then hundreds of thousands. Then the calls started to arrive from reporters, literary agents and TV producers. Sh*t My Dad Says was a phenomenon. The only person who was completely unaware was Halpern Senior himself .

For this book Halpern has thankfully fleshed out the tweets themselves with a memoir of sorts. Most families can mine their past for an interesting tale or two but with such an outspoken patriarch there seems to be an endless list of bizarre advice, wisdom and maxims. In his acknowledgements Halpern says that the best part of writing the book was the time spent with his family simply remembering all of the occasions where his father's outbursts had provided so much entertainment and as a result the book is filled with love. It is clear too that despite the filthy language Halpern Senior is a man who loves his family and has supported their decisions and mistakes as well as their successes (I guess that's how you end up with your 28-year-old son under your roof once again). All that said, it's a pretty light read, one destined for the loo, where you'll chuckle happily if you like any of these examples.

On Being Teased
'So he called you a homo. Big Deal. There's nothing wrong with being a homosexual...No, I'm not saying you're a homosexual, Jesus Christ. Now I'm starting to see why this kid was giving you shit.'

On My Bloody Nose
'What happened? Did somebody punch you in the face?!...The what? The air is dry? Do me a favour and tell people you got punched in the face.'

On Managing One's Bank Account
'Don't get mad at the overdraft charge...No no, see, there's your problem. You think of it as a penalty for taking out money you don't have, but instead, it might help to think of it as a reminder, that you're a dumbshit.'

On Whether To Vote For George W. Bush or Al Gore
'Gore seems kind of like a pompous prick, but every time I see Bush I feel like he's probably shit his pants in the last year and it's something he worries about.'

On The Right Time To Have Children
'It's never the right time to have kids but it's always the right time for screwing. God's not a dumbshit. He knows how it works.'

Happy Father's Day!


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