It was Father’s Day in Sweden this past weekend and while talking to my kid, she joked that this week’s blog entry should be about her. I decided to take her seriously, which just goes to show how joking with me can go terribly wrong.

One might think that fatherhood would be a vein I’d be all too happy to mine for material, but I never do. I’ll gladly lampoon my wife, but she’s also a comic and can take it. I know I’ve mentioned my daughter in two separate jokes in the past, both being complete fabrications, and I’d be surprised if I even told a third joke once. I can joke about marriage and pretty much anything else, but being a dad is something I take very seriously, maybe even too much.

When Eva and I got married, we had a roast during the reception. People were surprised that we wanted to do that, but modern roasts originated from Jewish weddings. I doubt they were as raunchy, however. Anyway, during the roast, one of the comics mentioned my kid in a joke. Not making fun of her at all, only me (in fact, there’s a photo of Eva and I reacting exactly after the punchline), but my immediate thought was, okay, she mentioned my kid, the gloves are off. When it was my turn to retaliate, I was meaner than I’d first intended.

I’ve thought many, many times, and will always continue to do so, about nature versus nurture. Those things my daughter and I have in common, how much of that is in the DNA, how much did I teach her, intentionally or otherwise. Probably the last nice thing my ex-wife ever said to me, she’d seen our daughter laugh so hard she literally fell off her chair, and that reminded her of me. She got her sense of humor from me, for sure; I often “joke” that she got all her good qualities from me exclusively, and I put quotes on “joke” because I believe it and my kid is all too aware of that. Because she’s clever and insightful, which she gets from me.

Our taste in music is extremely similar, not necessarily in specifics, but because it’s so broad. We also hate being DJs, because when you like a little bit of everything, it oddly makes it difficult to put together a playlist that appeals to a general audience. The weird thing is that, over the years, my wife was much more likely to have music on at home, and while her taste in music is also broad, it doesn’t quite line up in the same way.

I’m relatively certain that sarcasm is taught and she can go toe-to-toe with me. I’m not exactly sure how to feel about that. Example:

Her (loading the dishwasher): Hand me that wineglass.

Me: I’m still using it.

Her: Of course you are, because you’re an alcoholic. Get it?

Me: You’re going to get it.

Her: Yeah, because it’s a gene.

On the one hand, I’m glad I handed her such a powerful weapon. Life can really suck and being able to laugh at problems is a proud family tradition. On the other hand, it’s a double-bladed sword, and sarcasm requires a degree of viciousness. One doesn’t need to shoot to kill, but no one shoots anyone peacefully. I sometimes wonder if giving my kid abilities in the Dark Arts really qualifies me for Dad of the Year, but I doubt it was something I could’ve not passed on to her, one way or the other.

She has a great sense of humor, she can be sarcastic, and she has a great head for standup. She told me of one comic, “He spends more than a minute talking about something and then it goes nowhere,” which is something I’d hoped the comic would’ve realized after saying it two hundred times. Unlike me, however, she has zero desire to go on stage. It took me until my mid-thirties to grace a stage for the first time and I while never particularly sought out the spotlight, I never minded public speaking or being the center of attention. We are polar opposites in that regard, although she’s improved with age. For example, while it took most of her life, people can now sing Happy Birthday to her without her bursting out in tears.

I can only see her reluctance to do standup as a good thing. I had a good upbringing and don’t have any serious notes to give my parents, but as I’ve said to death, comics are broken. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted, but it takes a special kind of damage to seek it from drunk strangers and then also not accept it when given. It’s not a world I regret stepping into, but it’s not for everyone, and I’m glad it’s an interest for her that she can observe from the outside. Not to say I’d be disappointed if she does try it someday, of course, but it must be a positive that she doesn’t have a need for it. I know that parents typically want their kids to follow in their footsteps, but maybe my legacy can be that she doesn’t have the Darkness.