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East County Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2010 7 years ago

OBSERVED: In honor of Dad and his drawer

by: Michael Eng Executive Editor

When I was a little boy, I loved professional wrestling. Whenever my dad would let me, I’d hijack the TV, pop my worn and weathered copy of "WWF Wrestlemania IV" into the VCR and watch Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage battle for the belt.

I even had a box full of the action figures complete with accompanying plastic wrestling ring, all of which supplied endless fun.

Until one of the ring’s four posts snapped, rendering it a useless pile of plastic and elastic string.

Panicked, I carried the mess into my dad’s office; he knew how to fix anything. My dad always has had a curious way of peering both into and above his glasses. After examining my broken toy, he reached into his drawer full of tools, fasteners, wires and who knows what else and pulled out a screw, a drill and some super glue. He drilled the screw through the bottom of the ring and into the broken post and smoothed the crack with the glue. In minutes, my beloved wrestling ring not only was repaired but also stronger than it was before it broke.

This Father’s Day, I’ll call my dad and remind him of this story. And although it always has carried power and weight for me, I’m almost positive he won’t remember. Growing up, I must have come to him with hundreds of broken toys, shoelaces and scraped knees. And every time, he knew just how to fix them.

That’s just what dads do. And maybe that’s why Sears has been bombarding me with e-mail blasts full of Craftsman tools “just for Dad.” He’s the default fix-it man with the plan. And yes, he needs another screwdriver set.

Hardly. My dad is the most difficult person on Earth for whom to buy gifts. He has everything he needs crammed into that drawer: rechargeable batteries, fuses, light bulbs and hundreds more unrecognizable pieces of metal and plastic. He even seemed to have all the answers tucked somewhere in there.

And now, with two children of my own (but with significantly less ingenuity than my dad), I am trying to fill those enormous shoes in Lyric’s and Aria’s lives.

Luckily for me, their problems, so far, have been well within my capabilities. At 2, Lyric sometimes needs help putting the two halves of his plastic Easter eggs together. Don’t worry. Daddy’s got this one. Puffing my chest out and proudly taking the egg, I snap the egg together and hand it back to my beaming son.

Other times, he’ll accidentally break one of his crayons in half. I’ll take the pieces and peer at them both above and into my glasses. Then, I’ll tear a tiny piece of the paper wrapper away from the end and hand them back.

“Now you have two!” I’ll tell him.

I know. Sometimes, I even amaze myself.

And at 5 months old, Aria’s problems mostly involve eating, sleeping and burping. Don’t worry, little girl. Daddy is a master at all three.

But I know things will get harder. Someday, Lyric will realize those two broken pieces really aren’t two crayons. Aria may come to me not with two halves of an Easter egg but two halves of a broken heart.

And then what? I’m not finding anything in the Sears ad for those. And I don’t have a drawer with any answers but rather a tiny toolbox stocked with a variety of contraptions — most of which I do not know how to use.

But I do have a dad of my own and a phone. And I can rest easy knowing he’s there.

And for that, I thank you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

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