Who is Dale? Good question. The short answer is: Dale is my dad. And, having known the man for 27 years, his behavior seems normal to me. Though looking at things from an outside perspective, I can certainly understand why there is cause for concern. There must be something wrong with Dale. He is awesome. But there must be something wrong with him.
I have no problem saying this, as this is a fact that he freely admits himself and even draws a strange sense of pride from; usually after farting at the dinner table and exploding into a five-minute giggling fit while he struggles to mutter “There must be something the matter with me.” between his own hoots and hollers.
Whether it’s barking at dogs on the street, quacking at passer-byers in the grocery store, or coming up with new ways of trapping us in the vicinity of his most recent fart – these small, inane acts are the source of wild amusement for him. I would seriously consider showing him those Nutty Professor movies where the entire plot consists of Eddie Murphy farting in a fat-suit, but I’m genuinely concerned he’d shit himself from laughing too hard. But, while I could endlessly list my father’s quirks, what better way to provide an insight into his psyche than with a story?
In addition to flatulence, another quirk that defines my dad is the yelling of random phrases during inappropriate times. “That’s it! Your pants are coming down!”, “You think you’re a piece of meat!?”, “Dogs in the saddle!”, “You’re gonna get the big banana!”, and “Who’s a whore-biscuit!?” are a just a few of his favorites.
Now it’s very important that I point this out: my dad does not have Tourette’s. He makes a very deliberate choice to yell these things out – usually to interrupt and force an end to a conversation he finds particularly boring, or as a way to gain everybody’s attention before he makes an announcement (akin to a grade-school teacher flicking the lights on-and-off). Our family refers to these phrases as “Dale-isms.”
A few months ago, my brother, Jason, had the genius idea of having custom fortune cookies made with Dale-isms on the inside. The genius of this plan was second only to its execution: Jason and his wife were coming to visit for the weekend and as they neared my parents’ home, Jason called offering to pick up Chinese food for lunch. As you can guess, he swapped the real fortune cookies with the Dale-ism cookies.
We expected this small prank to generate a few laughs. “I’m prepared to very underwhelmed.” Jason whispered. This phrase may go down as the worst prediction mankind has ever seen.
My dad finished his meal and cracked open the first fortune cookie. Protruding from the shell was a note, and the letters “cuit.” were all that remained un-obscured by the outer cookie. Not missing the opportunity, Dad snatched up the note and covered the remaining text with his thumb.
“Hey look it says, ‘whore-biscuit’!” He joked as he waved the small slip of paper around.
“No it doesn’t.” we all insisted, doing our best to keep straight faces and feign disinterest. My father slid his thumb a little bit to the left revealing a full word: “biscuit.” He took pride in the small victory. “Ha! See it does say ‘whore-biscuit’!” he beamed.
“Would you give it up already, Dad?” we retorted. Keeping a straight face was getting harder.
Finally, Dale removed his thumb revealing the entire fortune. The fortune actually said “You’re a whore-biscuit.” For a few moments he sat in shocked silence and you could literally see the excitement rising up in his body and making its way to his eyes as they slowly widened. To suggest that Dale “looked like a kid on Christmas morning” would be a complete understatement. This moment defined his existence – his eyes channeled the joy of all the kids on all Christmas mornings. Ever. And every other holiday for that matter.
“Fuck me.” He said quietly. “Fuck me.”
“Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me!” He started trembling with excitement as the words got faster and louder. “Fuckmefuckmefuckme!” he said as if it were one long word.
Finally, he had reached his boiling point and could contain his excitement no longer. “FUCK ME!” he screamed as he jumped up from his chair, sending it crashing behind him.
He was rapidly pacing around the kitchen table now. “Fucking me! Fucking me! FUCKING ME!” he screamed pumping both fists in the air in triumph. As Dale would later explain, he was so excited that he couldn’t decide whether to yell “Fuck me!” or “Fuckin’ A!” so the result was “Fucking me!”
He stopped his pacing and faced the corner of the room and placed both hands over his mouth in an attempt to muffle his excited cheer. “FUCKING ME!!!!!!” he bellowed. The muffling was useless and jubilant cries of “fucking me!” echoed through the house.
We thought all the profanity was simply Dale’s way of showing appreciation for a well-executed prank, but the real reason he was so excited is actually way more hilarious.
For you see, my dad was not aware that this was a prank fortune cookie. Rather, his conclusion was that because he had been saying things like “Whore-biscuit” for so long, these phrases had finally caught on in popular culture and been accepted into modern vernacular. In his mind, he had invented the phrase “Whore-biscuit” and having it show up in a fortune cookie was proof of how popular the phrase had become. Because, you know, “You’re a whore-biscuit.” Is obviously something that everyone says and is totally appropriate enough to find its way into a fortune cookie.
Neoclassical, Realism, Post-Modernism. All of these were now historically insignificant, because at this moment, my dad believed he had ushered in the “Whore-Biscuit” cultural movement. This was his greatest triumph.
“I’ve been validated!” he yelled. “You can’t get mad at me for saying ‘whore-biscuit’ anymore!” he said to my mom (who has never been the largest fan of his often lewd and profane Dale-isms), rapidly waving the fortune in her face.
But before she even had the opportunity to respond, Dale had taken out his cell phone and began calling his friends to share in his victory. Wouldn’t they be honored to know the figure-head of the Whore-Biscuit movement? However, his victory did not last beyond the first phone call, as his friend interrupted his excited story with “That’s not a real fortune cookie.” And despite the best protests of my father to the contrary, when he opened another fortune cookie to reveal “Dogs in the saddle.” the magic was over.
He slumped back into his chair. Dejected. Deflated. Defeated. The Whore-Biscuit movement did not exist. It was just a prank. But that’s okay, because for one shining-moment in history, Dale had finally discovered the answer he’d been seeking his whole life: “Who is a whore-biscuit?” You are, Dad. You’re the whore-biscuit.