Should a sense of humor be mandatory for fathers?

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Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

Some fathers are entirely too serious.

They’re paranoid about their children finding out that they had their own youthful indiscretions and regrettable choices.

(“I don’t make mistakes. You can ask any of your six stepmoms.”)

My late father ‘fessed up to his own errors in judgment, like when he was in the schoolyard and a classmate yelled to him from a second-story window to toss up some of the abundant hedge apples (a.k.a. Osage oranges) that littered the ground.

Just as the classmate accumulated an armload of the fruit for some immature plot, a teacher suddenly opened the door. Down went the fruit right on top of Dad. As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the cranium, elbow, spleen…

Another time, Dad and his cousin Bill amused themselves with the old string-tied-to-a-wallet gag. But one passerby spied them in hiding and cut the string, gaining a free wallet. Guess Dad and Bill didn’t skip the extended warranty at the five-and-dime again!

When he was a little older, Dad was plowing in the hot sun. He brainstormed the bright idea of lying down in the spring to cool off. The shock of the contrast nearly killed him, which of course, would have set off a ripple in time affecting MY existence. Brrr. I suddenly felt someone plowing on my grave.

Adulthood did not stop Dad’s impulsiveness. He particularly enjoyed good-natured pranks pulled on a slow-witted co-worker named Eric (or “EAR-ick,” as everyone pronounced it). Once Dad invited, “Shake a leg, Eric.” Eric obliged. “Now shake the other leg.” Eric obliged again. Finallly, Dad suggested, “Now shake both legs.” Eric gamely achieved some prototype of what would later be dubbed “hang time” — before falling flat on his keister.

But Dad’s favorite Eric incident involved invading Eric’s personal space with an accusatory inquiry of “Eric, what’s this I hear about you slumbering in bed???”

Caught off-guard, all Eric could offer was a spluttered denial. (“It’s a damn lie! Not in three years! Three years!”)

Codger-hood did not see a decline in mischief. When the ad salesman for the local paper came by Dad’s workplace to drum up business, Dad hit him up with a puzzle. (“When I was 40 years old, our bookkeeper was 10 – one-quarter of my age. When I was 45, she was 15 – or one-third my age. Now that I’m 60 and she’s 30, she’s half my age. When will we be the same age?”)

The little gears started turning in the salesman’s head as he counted on his fingers. He finally said, “I know there’s an answer to this. Let me drop off some papers at the office and I’ll be right back.”

The salesman did not reappear until the next scheduled advertising spiel. And the matter of the bookkeeper’s age went mercifully unmentioned.

If your father is still living, be sure to thank him for the fun he has brought to your life.

Me? I’ll reminisce about the fellow who boasted of his new gazebo.

Dad faked a “sour grapes” demeanor and sighed, “I’m proud for you, but I wouldn’t even know what to feed the darned thing!”

Thankfully, Dad’s humor lives on in my son.

And for those of you quipping, “Guess these things skip a generation,” I’ve got a big pile of hedge apples and a warmed-up pitching arm…

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

Controversial author Harlan Ellison once described the work of Danny Tyree as "wonkily extrapolative" and said Tyree's mind "works like a demented cuckoo clock."

Ellison was speaking primarily of Tyree’s 1983-2000 stint on the "Dan T’s Inferno" column for “Comics Buyer’s Guide” hobby magazine, but the description would also fit his weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades" column for mainstream newspapers.

Inspired by Dave Barry, Al "Li'l Abner" Capp, Lewis Grizzard, David Letterman, and "Saturday Night Live," "Tyree's Tyrades" has been taking a humorous look at politics and popular culture since 1998.

Tyree has written on topics as varied as Rent-A-Friend.com, the Lincoln bicentennial, "Woodstock At 40," worm ranching, the Vatican conference on extraterrestrials, violent video games, synthetic meat, the decline of soap operas, robotic soldiers, the nation's first marijuana café, Sen. Joe Wilson’s "You lie!" outburst at President Obama, Internet addiction, "Is marriage obsolete?," electronic cigarettes, 8-minute sermons, early puberty, the Civil War sesquicentennial, Arizona's immigration law, the 50th anniversary of the Andy Griffith Show, armed teachers, "Are women smarter than men?," Archie Andrews' proposal to Veronica, 2012 and the Mayan calendar, ACLU school lawsuits, cutbacks at ABC News, and the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

Tyree generated a particular buzz on the Internet with his column spoofing real-life Christian nudist camps.

Most of the editors carrying "Tyree’s Tyrades" keep it firmly in place on the opinion page, but the column is very versatile. It can also anchor the lifestyles section or float throughout the paper.

Nancy Brewer, assistant editor of the "Lawrence County (TN) Advocate" says she "really appreciates" what Tyree contributes to the paper. Tyree has appeared in Tennesee newspapers continuously since 1998.

Tyree is a lifelong small-town southerner. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. In addition to writing the weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades," he writes freelance articles for MegaBucks Marketing of Elkhart, Indiana.

Tyree wears many hats (but still falls back on that lame comb-over). He is a warehousing and communications specialist for his hometown farmers cooperative, a church deacon, a comic book collector, a husband (wife Melissa is a college biology teacher), and a late-in-life father. (Six-year-old son Gideon frequently pops up in the columns.)

Bringing the formerly self-syndicated "Tyree's Tyrades" to Cagle Cartoons is part of Tyree's mid-life crisis master plan. Look for things to get even crazier if you use his columns.