I was making a sandwich the other day, and as I opened a loaf of bread I observed the heel customarily unclaimed by other members of the family. I, of course, took it to build my sandwich. Only then did I stop to think how many times I had done this over the years as my family seems to have an aversion to eating the heel and, consequently, it was always earmarked for my consumption exclusively. It’s not that I relish eating the heel, I just don’t want to see it go to waste. I then started to think about the other attributes that distinguish fathers. For example:

It is the father’s job to kill spiders, bugs, and any other potential vermin frightening the household. In Florida, this includes man-eating grasshoppers, ants, armadillos, opossums, snakes, and the rare alligator that may wander by the house.

It is the father’s job to take out the trash, not just the regular kitchen garbage but virtually anything that can be shoved into, on top of, or next to a trash can. This includes items from the attic, bio-hazardous material stored in the garage, and anything that can be hacked off on the property. When the receptacles are full, it is the father’s job to somehow transport it to a dumping station, usually in the cleanest car available.

It is the father’s job to mow the lawn. More than mere mowing, this includes edging, hedging, pruning, sodding, raking, fertilizing, and blowing debris off the property. Hopefully the father is assisted by his offspring, but most find it an imposition for the child and therefore pays for Mexican laborers to perform the task instead.

It is the father’s job to change the oil and wash the car. I don’t mean running down to a car wash or quick-lube either. Every father should know how to use a hose and bucket of suds, not to mention wax. Further, they should be able to change the oil, miss the pan, and cleanup the slop spilled on the driveway. Hopefully the father is assisted by his offspring, but most find it an imposition for the child and therefore pays for Mexican laborers to perform the task instead.

It is the father’s job to eat leftovers and anything else the family refuses to consume. This distorts his palate which explains why father’s have a passion for such things as lima beans, Brussels sprouts, artichoke hearts, rutabaga, lamb shanks, liver and onions, black eyed peas and collard greens, grits, tapioca pudding, Rhubarb Pie, and Bosco.

It is the father’s job to help the children with their homework when they hit a problem. It is also his job to look as helplessly puzzled when he doesn’t know the answer (or understand the question).

It is the father’s job to make simple house repairs, such as changing the garbage disposal, fixing the toilet, repairing the door bell, or electrocuting himself when he should have called an electrician.

It is the father’s job to be the computer technician of the house, to hook up wires and strings, to buy and replace printer cartridges, and to curse Microsoft.

It is the father’s job to take the blame for whatever goes wrong, large or small, regardless if he is at fault or not, pick up the pieces and try to mend things.

It’s not easy being a father. They get all the dirty little jobs to do, and the leftovers to eat. They only ask for a little love and attention in return.

Just remember, fathers eat heels.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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