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Even NASCAR dads deserve a special day

My brothers, may Allah squish a thousand dead mice into their walls, know how thin-skinned I am. Years of teasing have revealed the nature of my disposition. For example, when they called my husband NASCAR dad, my immediate reaction was to run to my room crying.

Unaffected by my predictable display, they laughed and said to my oldest child, loudly, "That makes you guys NASCAR kids."

I put my hands over my ears, yelling, "Leave me alone you big meanies!"

Eventually, however, I started questioning exactly what they meant by NASCAR dad. Then a harsh fact hit me: they think my life partner is dull.

After all, what's exhilarating about cheering for people driving in circles on a one way street? Friday afternoons on I-285 in Atlanta offer more thrills. Has a NASCAR event ever featured an overturned chicken truck and a hundred hens crossing the road?

Or five miles of racers backed up, exchanging hand gestures, obscenities and occasional gunfire, while EMTs responding to a red flag clean up slick poultry poop.

Has a NASCAR contender ever stood on the side of the track, next to his broken down auto, with no make-up on and curlers in his hair, wearing a bathrobe and slippers, or, worse, a towel wrapped around his wet bikini?

Still, knowing I had to defend family honor, I bravely walked back to the screened porch, where my brothers sat devising more methods of torture. "He's not boring," I sassed. "He drives on the wild side. Believe it or not, he can turn left and right."

With amused smirks, they listened. "Most of the time, he has only one hand on the wheel while he checks flying French fries in the rearview mirror and tailgates the granny in front of him."

As one of my younger brothers tried to put the breaks on, I ignored the yellow flag. "While leading into the curve, he can gather juice boxes, pierce them with straws, and defy fate by waving the drinks behind his back until connecting with human hands. Furthermore, he can threaten a child with a side-of-the-road leg switching, respond to, é─˛How much longer é─˛til we get there,' and road rage at drivers ahead, behind and next to him, all while maintaining control of our vehicle at speeds topping 80 miles per hour."

The checkered flag came into view.

"And he never raises his voice in response to reports about who is touching who."

(Okay, so I stretched the truth a little.)

"I have personally witnessed him drive and dodge a bright orange pool noodle, for at least 5 minutes, before snatching it out of the hands of a 6 year-old and swinging the unwieldy weapon vigorously in his blind spot, trying to swat children as hard as is possible with a cylindrical strip of foam. From the passenger seat, that looks downright electrifying."

Bending over a bit, with my hands on my hips, I finished with, "Besides, he doesn't even watch NASCAR."

My brothers whistled my goat into the nearest paddock. One waved a black flag and said, "Good gosh, Lucy. Calm down." (I hate when they tell me to calm down.) "We never said Brad is boring."

"Then what does NASCAR dad mean, anyway," I demanded, unable to hide my edge.

Another brother, his fingers drawing circles around his mouth and chin, challenged, "I guess you can't see his oval beard from the passenger seat." (Allah, please plague them with rats instead of mice.)

A black flag with a white X fluttered in my face. I absorbed defeat.

Happy Father's Day NASCAR dad.

Web posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006

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