Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Dad is Cooler Than Your Dad. He's a Snoop Dogg Fan.

Act #204: Don't limit yourself.

My dad is 64 years old.  He suffered a massive heart attack seven years ago and has since been retired because suddenly, the world began to move at a pace he just couldn't keep up with.  My dad grew up in Bangkok, Thailand.  A devout Buddhist, he is a thoughtful man of few words, who has always been viewed as the "quiet one" in his marriage to my mom.  A few weeks ago I was visiting my parents when I noticed that my dad barely looked up from his television set to acknowledge me.  When I was little, I remember how painfully boring I thought my dad's TV taste was.  His programming of choice consisted of 60 Minutes and anything sports-related:  football, basketball, horse-racing, and by far the most exhilarating television-watching experience of all time - golf.  So there I was, just a regular evening visiting my sweet, quiet, aging dad. 

Hold up, is that Snoop Dogg??????? 

Of course not, it was Snoop Lion.  Geesh, Snoop Dogg is SO last year.  Everyone knows, he has since converted to the Rastafari movement and has assumed a new alias - Snoop Lion.  Where have you been, people?  My dad was GLUED to the television set.  I asked him what he was watching, but he didn't hear me.  He was too busy watching R. Kelly's performance of Bump and Grind. Fascinated, I asked him again, what he was watching and he mumbled something about a music awards show.  Clearly, he wanted me to shut up and just leave him alone.  One thing I failed to mention is that my dad was a musician in his younger years.  One of those naturally musically-inclined, self-taught people who could pick up just about anything and begin to play it.  But to the best of my recollection, his favorite bands included Beatles, the Eagles, and Bread.  Definitely NOT Jamie Foxx or Nicki Minaj. 

Me:  Oh, you're watching the BET awards, huh dad? 

Dad:  Nah, it's just a music awards show.

Me:  No, dad, that's the BET awards, really.

Dad.  Oh, I see.  What is BET?

Me:  You don't know what BET stands for?

Dad:  No.

Me:  It stands for Black Entertainment Television. (Still fascinated I press even further)  Do you watch BET often?

Dad:  I guess when there's good music like this.  Did you see Stevie Wonder and Charlie Wilson on there?

My mom would later report to me that my dad stayed up way past his bedtime that night watching every last bit of the three and a half hour show.  And more than twenty years after I grew up and left home, my father is still teaching me valuable life lessons.  That labels like BET are meant to celebrate, not exclude.  That skin color neither defines nor limits music appreciation. That you might actually gain and enjoy a new experience if you don't confine yourself to societal expectations of your role.  That life would be so utterly boring if you didn't allow yourself to divert from the Eagles and enjoy Snoop Lion every once in a while.

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