If you’re one of those people who insist on keeping time according to the strict decay of the cesium atom, slicing and dicing the temporal plane into neat little quadrants of years, months, days, hours, minutes, nanoseconds and so on and so fifth, then you’re probably of the opinion that Father’s Day was last month. As in June. And while that is technically the time period set aside by our Benevolent Creator of Greeting Card Holidays, Joyce Hall, to honor our patriarchs, I’ve always (well, until I had my own kids, of course) considered Father’s Day to be but a fortnight’s prelude to the real celebration of my dad – his birthday. At the risk of having his identity stolen by a Mountain Dew-swilling hacker dubbed barf1ngLarz777, I’ll divulge that my dad turns 65 on July 6. Due to some anomalies with the aforementioned cesium atom, this makes him 27 years older than me, even though I’m still a fetus-esque 24. Back on Planet Reality, my dad had me, his youngest, handsomest son, eight years earlier than I had my first kids (the twin Nuts o’ Wackiness). Knowing what I know now, I now know that dad probably knew next to nothing about raising no nuts, no way, no how. But I didn’t know that then, and he faked-it-till-he-made-it fairly well. Through the years, I’ve had many reasons to be grateful that my dad is my dad. First, I call him “dad” and not “father” or “Master of Masterbrooke Drive” (a little more personal info for barf1Larz777). I never once considered calling him “my old man,” no matter how cool (43-degrees) Eddie Haskell made it sound on “Leave It to Beaver” reruns. I realize few kids call their fathers “father” nowadays, but I still appreciate not having to speak like I’m trapped in an episode of “Little House on the Prairie.” Especially one with Manly. Seriously, that’s a name? On the playground, where the time-honored argument of “my dad can beat up your dad” would erupt from time to time, I always had the trump card. If I was feeling polite, I’d just say, “My dad could arrest your dad.” If I was feeling a touch of the ornery coming on, I’d opine, “My dad could shoot your dad and get away with it.” As you may have guessed, my dad was a policeman. Or, as my mom lovingly referred to him, a piece of fuzz. And even though he never let me turn on the siren in his unmarked squad car (silly rules), he made up for it by giving me a .357 magnum for my seventeenth birthday. That’s not a joke. It’s a fistful of awesome. Being a cop, my dad worked odd hours, especially when I was younger and he was still on patrol. And while I recall him not always being home, I never recall him being absent. Which is a not-so-subtle distinction too many children understand all too well. (Hold on, let me toss something funny in here to lighten things up: Monkey poo.) He was there for pee wee tee ball (emphasis on “pee wee,” not my own). In Cub Scouts, he worked with me on the hack saw-based construction of my winning pine wood derby entry adorned in “Space Cop” livery – its supremely angular form proving that he only helped and didn’t, you know, “help.” And when my interests shifted to real cars, he spent hours resurrecting a sweet maroon 1980 Honda Prelude that I had, despite it’s front-wheel drive and massive 76 horsepower, managed to oversteer into ditch. He rode motorcycles. British motorcycles. With me on the back. I like to think that I appreciated those moments adequately as they happened, but I doubt it. What kid not named Wolfgang “Amadeus” Mozart or Douglas “Doogie” Howser has that kind of perspective? But I sure do appreciate them now, in case this essay wasn’t a big enough hint. Most importantly, my dad has been an example of what living the life, walking the walk and other alliterative phrases for being a Christian should be. Which is a little amazing considering we’ve been Christians for nearly the same amount of time. See, while our biological ages are, unsurprisingly, a generation apart, our spiritual ages are nearly identical. Our family started attending church just after I turned eight years old. (I don’t think the two incidents are related regardless of what my brother says about the Robert Schuler-shaped birthmark that appeared during my birthday party.) Both my parents accepted Christ shortly thereafter, and I followed suit three or four months after that. Theoretically, we should’ve been on the same Footprints-esque trajectory. I’m going to blame the fact that I was only eight for my subsequent lollygagging in the spiritual growth category. I don’t know if my dad was ever really cool when he was younger, despite his motorcycles and muscle cars. By the time my memories were forming, he was soundly ensconced in the suburban dream world of the 1970s. A dream tinged avocado green and harvest gold. But he was cool where it mattered, when it mattered and to whom it mattered. It was in college, when I was trying to figure out my own place in a world seemingly bent on tearing me down, that the thought first struck me: If I turned out like my dad, I’d be doing more, much more, than a little all right. I can only pray my own kids someday think the same of me. Even if I don’t ride motorcycles. Yet.