Do you ever think about why you like something, say vanilla ice cream instead of strawberry? Why on earth does a week camping in the wild mountains of Arizona appeal to me more than a pampered weekend in a Sedona resort? Personal taste, I’d guess, and, that’s cool… but, why? Sometimes, as I flit around in the blog world, I wonder what it is that appealed to me about a certain post. I’ll give you a few examples and wonder aloud as to why.
I don’t know hockey from cricket. Both seem to hit things, so, there, I do know something about them. So, why, I ask, would a blog called I’m A Hockey Dad even catch my attention? Now, honestly, I’ll check out any blog once, no matter the title, so, I thought I’d give J. Riddall – aforementioned hockey dad – a look. I am glad I did. Were there references I didn’t get? Yep. Were there terms I didn’t understand? Sort of… Were there undertones of love, commitment, devotion and honor? Without a doubt. J coaches his son, I have coached my sons. It takes deep integrity to mentor and cherish young minds and bodies and, as I read more and more of his posts, that integrity shouted between every line.
Imagine you are a big guy, morbidly overweight, you have a family, and you get a bike and loose a shit-ton of weight. Now… blog about it. That is just what Big Boned Biker is doing. I can’t tell you how much I admire him. I don’t bike, except around the neighborhood with my kids mostly to be sure they don’t do stupid stuff, and I am not seriously overweight, so, why do I now find myself looking forward to hearing from a big guy on a bike? Because, this man has something to teach me about courage – one-hundred-and-eighty-six pounds of courage, to be precise. His whole damn story is told with a quiet humility and awesome positivity. Read “Vindicated” and try not to want to hear the rest of his story.
I like style. I do not mean, nor do I like, panache. I don’t want to be wowed, stunned, or otherwise assaulted. But style, the way and the shape and the form of your work, is so very welcome when you find it. Dude’s got style at Threestorks (a very cool name). In “He Already Thinks He’s Smarter Than Me,” a poem of a title, you get fast, intelligent, witty, urgent somehow, prose. It is tightly edited, well crafted and poignantly funny. All done in a new voice I hadn’t heard before… his. His ‘about page’ says, simply, “I’m a father, a husband, a pilot and a nerd.” It takes great style to weave those disparate threads into a clean fresh fabric. Go, look around, he’s good.
What’s wit? I am asking because I am not sure, and, I wanted to see if that question looked as funny as it sounds – it does. Like style, you know it when it is there, and miss it when it is not. It was not missing in “How Not To Teach Children About Nursing.” Joseph Ellis-Gage made me outloud laugh, like three times, snortingly, in his story about speaking to his daughter’s class about his profession as a nurse, his puking, near naked baby and an nonplussed stranger at the door. “Dr Nurse man, are you a fireman?” Funny stuff, but, that’s not wit. Wit is leading up to laugh, telling a clever story. Wit is not a funny thing, wit is telling me about the funny thing. It’s a gift, and Joel’s got it.
What about being right? Is that rightness? I am not sure, but I know the truth when I read it. Every sentence the dad at Man On Third writes in a very strong piece titled “Parenting on the Margins” seemed to be right, correct, on-the-mark, whatever that is. I found myself nodding, and smiling and wanting to thank him at the close of every paragraph. “But selfishly I wonder in my own family whether we’re “under-parenting” and actually not doing all that we can for our children.” The truth is not heard in his words, not seen in his actions, but, more accurately, felt in his grasping and lurching towards his own truths, his own right. And right he is, for him, and, I for one, greatly value his kind of right.
So, integrity from a hockey dad; courage from a big boned biker; style from a very cool, nerdish dad; wit from a British nurse; and good old fashioned rightness from an anonymous man on third. I guess that is what drew me to each of these fine men, these fine bloggers and dads. Oh, there is one more thing – each of the posts I am linking you to, is the first post I ever read from each of these guys. None will be the last…