Monkey See, Monkey Do

My dad is a bit of a contradiction. He’s one of the silliest people I know, but he won’t admit to being silly. And whenever I’m acting silly in his presence he’s adamant that I cut it out – or else! Or else what?

A few weeks ago I was doing a little jig in the kitchen. My friend and former co-worker Rosanna taught me the art of the jig. She used to walk down the hallway, stop at the doorway of the office I shared with Erin, dance a little jig, and be on her way. It was always fun to watch. I miss Rosanna.

Mid-jig my dad looks up from the paper he’s reading and says, “Don’t do that! Stop it!” I wonder why this little dance – which I thought incorporated some pretty sweet moves – was so wrong.

“Don’t? Stop?” I ask. My mom and I share one of those looks that says, “What a weirdo.” I turn to my dad and ask, “Why?”

“If you dance like that you’re going to make Olivia silly!”

“Huh?” I’m clearly confused. Olivia is my 15 month old niece, and at the time of this conversation she was at home asleep in her crib.

“Okay, dad. I didn’t know that dancing made people silly. And when I have a family we’re going to dance all the time! We’re going to be the silliest bunch on the block!”

“No!” he says, and goes back to his paper. (I think no is one of his favourite words.)

Just a day later we’re at my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner. My dad is showing Olivia his pinky finger – the one that was cut off mid-joint when he was a little boy. He pretends to shove it up his nose, in his ear…all sorts of “silly” things.

“Hey dad,” I say. “Dad! Dad!” I’m trying to get his attention but he’s not listening to me. “Dad! Stop! No! Stop! You’re being silly!

He doesn’t look up. He doesn’t acknowledge me. His eyes are shining. Olivia’s squealing with laughter. He’s too engrossed in his granddaughter to notice anything else.

Fast forward to last night. I was sitting in the Great Room with my mom, acting like my alternate personality, “Cindy.” (As a coping mechanism for road life with BUG, each of us girls developed an alter ego complete with a name and “unique” characteristics). My dad walked in the room and I gave him my best “Cindy smile.” (Picture the ugliest smile you’ve ever seen).

“You’re never going to get a man if you act like that,” he says.

I immediately snap out of my smile. “Dad, you do realize that there are some things you are never supposed to say to your daughter, right?”

“No.”

NO?

“I didn’t realize that.”

I shake my head and let it drop. And then I start to chuckle. The truth is, I’m not offended at all. I know he didn’t mean it. And I know he thinks I’m funny. And beautiful. And gifted. Had he made that comment in reference to something I’m insecure about, then the story probably would have ended differently. But my dad would never do that. He tells me that he’s proud of me all the time. Besides, I’m not insecure about being silly. I love being silly. And I wouldn’t want to be with someone who didn’t love and embrace and engage in my silliness.

I like the fact that I jumped on a stack of fertilizer in the middle of Canadian Tire.

And a pile of pillows in a busy Ikea.

And that I like to hide amongst the curtains in the display at Home Depot so I can jump out and scare my mom. (Yes, even now).

And that I’m known for breaking out into song in public places…or in my basement, right after I met my friend’s boyfriend for the first time and decided to act out “Defying Gravity” from Wicked using a makeshift stage and spotlights.

And how one time Rosanna and I bolted from Erin’s car on a late night drive back from Fort Langley, running down a hill, through a field, and onto a movie set. (They wouldn’t tell us what it was but we think it was New Moon.)

Yep, I like being silly. And my dad can’t deny his silliness. Even strangers comment on it. Like the guy at the Brick the other day.

“He’s a funny guy,” the associate said to my mom. “Bet he’s a riot with a couple drinks in him.”

“Oh…” my mom replied, “He’s a riot without the drinks.”

Well, like father like daughter. But I can’t end this post without saying that my mom is pretty silly herself. In fact, I think she’s in a league all her own!

Dad does a Jig

Mama the Chatterbox

Walter Matthau Look-A-Like

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3 thoughts on “Monkey See, Monkey Do

  1. I am all smiles as I read this today… and feel re-inspired by the goodness of silliness. A toast to therapeutic moments, no matter how they may come across. ~ your partner in crime

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I admire your uninhibitedness (you too, Rosanna) and want to be more like that. Why couldn’t I leave the car with you that time? Who cares if some random security guard thought it was silly?

    Next time I see a movie set, I’m running down the hill and through the field. Hold me to that.

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