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Mendo Lake Family Life

Great Moments in the History of Dads

By Shannon Carpenter

Prehistory, the Dawn of Man And behold Thag, who put two pieces of wood in the fire that warmed his family’s cave. He squatted and then stood. Deep in thought, he rubbed his caveman belly and burped. Taking one of the pieces of wood off the fire, he suddenly discovered the perfect thermostat setting of exactly 72 degrees. This occurred 5,000 years before the invention of the wheel or hot wings.

Greece, 508 BC Greek Philosopher Parmenides gave a rousing dad-lecture on how today’s youth need direction in their lives. “A bird in the hand is worth a penny saved,” he said. “Let no man control your destiny but manifest it yourself!” Young men and women everywhere heard his talk and suddenly sprouted hair on their chests. Thus, Democracy was born.

Russia, 912 AD At the Battle of Weeds, mighty King Oleg led his troops against the unstoppable Constantinople army. Upon his steed, John Deere, Oleg mowed down the enemy. His edges were so sharp and his steed so strong, it changed how fathers look at fields for all time. It is in his honor that dads everywhere recreate the Battle of Weeds every summer weekend. May your brew always fit inside your cup holder; your radio never be turned away from AM; and your yard lines be as straight as King Oleg’s, to whom we offer the tribute of our yard clippings. 

England, 1562 Harold, aged 32, told a dad-joke so profound it forever changed the life of his son. Feeling emboldened by his son’s interest in obvious and apparent humor, Harold told another dad-joke. At that moment, his boy became a man. 

Chicago, 1871 Steven Tullard laid down his head to rest his eyes for a minute. His snore, guttural and full of dad-power, sounded like a large horn. It woke his neighbors, the O’Leary family, who quickly discovered that their cow had exploded in their barn. As a result of Tullard’s snore, thousands of pounds of product were saved from the Great Chicago Fire. This is the world’s first known use of the Emergency Broadcast System. 

Paris, 1922 In a moment that struck the fashion world numb, American dad Paul Russell accidentally stumbled onto the Paris Fashion Week runway. Sporting a sleek ensemble of cargo pants, socks with sandals, and a t-shirt from a burger joint in Cleveland, the crowd went wild. 

Cape Canaveral, 1969 With just seconds to spare, and armed only with a Dewalt 18V cordless drill, a Phillips-head screwdriver, and duct tape, Richard “Hammer Hands” McConnell quickly replaced the blower motor on the A/C unit in Apollo 11. 

Mars, 2099 They told George Mercer that Mars couldn’t be terraformed. Taking off in a homemade rocket, Mercer said, “Screw that!” and traveled to the red planet, which he quickly started terraforming. Eventually, Mercer found Mars’s thermostat and set it to 72 degrees Earth. Humanity was saved, and Mars was renamed Planet Thag, to honor the father of us all.

Shannon Carpenter is a professional humorist, co-host of The Dadhouse Pod, and the author of The Ultimate Stay-at-Home Dad Manual (Penguin, 2021).