By Joey Jackson –
Every day I live in the world of Larry Jackson. For those who don’t know him he may very well be the loudest, most critical person in all of Lancaster county.
I’ve had my share of experiences to prove it, anywhere from baseball to golf to swimming, and in almost every single one of the sports I’ve played, there’s my dad, Larry, screaming about something, almost all of which is directed at me.
“That’s my boy!” My dad hollers to the crowd when I mess up.
In more private times he often chides, “I love you like the kid I meant to bring home from the hospital.”
The worst thing is that people actually encourage this madness. No matter how frustrated I get he just keeps yappin’ away at every opportunity, and everyone except me enjoys it, giving him small incentives such as the classic, “You’re so funny Mr. Jackson,” or, “Joey hates it when you make fun of him.” And these things actually encourage him to make fun of me even more.
This behavior is not limited to the playing field however. Everytime a person comes to my house for even five minutes my dad manages to slip a satirical critique about me and my athletic abilities, or, in his eyes, lack there of. It is never anything too demoralizing, but it’s never a good feeling to be called out in front of your friends.
Although the critique usually only comes out in front of others, even when no one is watching Larry, he is still just not a normal dad.
His most famous hobby is singing. It doesn’t matter what song or who’s listening, he likes to show off his vocal ability, which I must admit, isn’t bad. The most famous songs among his playlist would probably be “You Should be Dancing” by the Bee Gees and “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child, but he adds his own adjustments to the lyrics, substituting in the names of the people around him into the lines, “____, can you handle this? ____, can you handle this? ____, can you handle this? I don’t think you can handle this,” meanwhile shaking his 50 year-old butt. These self-serenades come at the most inopportune times, sometimes waking me up in the early hours of the morning.
It is not unusual for our neighbors to be upset about this, and to actually come over to our house to politely tell my dad to, well, “shut up.” Unfortunately for them, and us, he rarely complies.
Another peculiar trait of my dad Larry, is that he could compete with Ken Jennings in trivia. Somewhere in Milton Hershey school or St. Joseph’s University they must teach a class of random facts because they’re more random facts in that man’s head than anyone I’ve ever met. This trait complements his obsession with singing, allowing him to remember song lyrics to a song he heard once in 1971.
Even though I wish that he would tone these activities down just a little bit, his personality adds some interesting twists on normally boring events, and occasionally he has his genuine moments. All in all, I’d have to admit, I’d rather have my abnormal dad over a quiet and boring one any day.