So I’m on the bus yesterday, and I’m eavesdropping on these two girls and a guy to my left. I wasn’t really following the arc of the conversation, but I did manage to hear Non-Sequitur Girl posit the following to her cohorts:
“What do you call your dad?”
I was riveted. Like so many things these days, this suddenly concerned me. Oh yeah, I could totally relate to this; right up my alley. BTW, who cares what you call your dad, Non-Sequitur Girl (more on that in a sec)—what would Bub call Me Me Me?
Well, what exactly were the options here? I pondered nearly-aloud. I guess there are a number of choices when you think about it, each with its own subtle nuance about it. Monikers are very particular, very specific. We make assumptions based on terms of address—it’s important, it matters.
Think about the guy that calls you ‘buddy.’ Not your buddy. Ditto for ‘brother,’ ‘pal’ and ‘friend.’ ‘Dude’ or ‘Man’ is okay in my book, but ‘guy?’ Come on, guy.
My point is only that this same stringent set of rules and stereotypes carries over to Daddy Land. As it were, Non-Sequitur Girl apparently calls her dad ‘Padre.’ Aside from having no idea what this means, it just seems kind of casual to me, almost dismissive. She continued that she used to call her Dad Pops, but then changed his name to Padre. Have some self-respect there, Padre. Name thyself.
Now I certainly don’t expect Bub to salute me and bounce a quarter off his bunk, but this padre stuff is not going to cut it for me, either. I’m sure I’ll forget some, but let’s do a cursory examination of the options here…
There’s Dad (comfy, cozy even), Daddy (juvenile), Papa (see Daddy), Pops (punk-rock), Old Man (condescending), Pa (backwoods), Sir (sarcastic), Pop (1950s), Patriarch (antiquated), Father (formal). And then there’s Padre. No further comment.
This begs the question, though: How do kids decide on one of these names, anyway? It’s true I introduced myself to Bub as Daddy, but does that mean I’m stuck with it now? I don’t remember when I started calling my dad Dad, but that one sure stuck. Uh-oh.
But I would like to suggest a few lesser-used names that could easily be introduced into the common vernacular, for example Lifegiver. A bit unwieldy, sure, but it’s got a nice ring to it. Or how about Generator? Maybe too appliance-y. Maker and Creator both sound a bit too all-purposely. What about Promulgator? Too close to pomegranate—delicious but too much work. Originator? Sounds kind of like a Transformers Superboss, but the best of the bunch for sure.
But until Bub can pronounce that, I guess I’ll just stick with Dada. It works for me.