Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grumpy Father Knows Best

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grumpy Father Knows Best

Article excerpt

On my Facebook wall, my wife recently posted a picture of a signboard that said: "Being a Dad seems to consist mainly of being grumpy and knowing things."

My daughters instantly agreed that the sign summed me up completely in just 13 words. I'm OK with that job description, especially the grumpy part.

Being a dad is a thankless job in which you are called on only to give advice, fix things and, once a week, hand over your entire paycheck without crying. And the other part? Knowing things? I'll own up to that, as well. I pride myself on having the answer to anything and everything, even if it drives my family crazy.

It's not that I'm a genius. (Well, I have my suspicions but have not actually been tested, at least not for intelligence.) I am a font of wisdom because I always have the answer at my fingertips - literally. It's called Google. No matter what issue comes up, someone, somewhere on the internet has asked the question, and someone else has posted an answer or even a video of a solution.

When the toilet kept running and the handyman said he'd adjusted it, I was able to tell my wife within seconds that this was a Toto model CST634, and its factory fill valves cannot be adjusted. They must be replaced by part No. 4010. When the washing machine dial thingydoo wouldn't pull out, I informed her we needed a replacement controller unit No. 2601850.

The other day, my wife was in a panic because her car was stuck in the driveway in park. As I walked out to the car, I Googled her make and model plus "stuck in park." Sure enough, there was a video of some guy explaining that you had to pull this secret panel off the center console, reach inside and pull on a little yellow knob. Five minutes later, I walked back in the house, tossed her the keys and said, "All fixed!"

I do all this without acknowledging that, like Maria Sharapova or Lance Armstrong, I need just a little boost to achieve amazing results. The trick is to look it up while not looking like you're looking it up. …

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