My whole life. I was blessed to know and experience my entire life with my father. He was a great (and sometimes bad) example of what it truly means to be a father. Bartholomew Erik Thompson was the youngest boy of eight children. He grew up as a little waterhead boy in California where he met and married my mother, Kathy Thompson. Yes, her maiden name was Thompson before they married. I’m just going to take everyone’s word that my parents aren’t distant cousins. I’m going to pray about it. Didn’t take long for both of them to create some trophies of their love. Eventually, Bart became the father of four children. I was the third.
Everybody: “Oh, so you’re a middle child? How did that go?”
Me: “I’m not the middle child! Leave me alone! Why does everybody pick on me! This isn’t fair! I thought I was the baby?
My dad is a hard-working, God-fearing, Republican, law enforcement officer. (Now do you see where this whole right world thing started?)
Bart Thompson worked hard for the money. Ever since I’ve known my father, he’s always been a working man. As a little kid, my brother and I would stay up late and wait for him to come home. We would hide, sometimes in the same places twice, and he would always pretend it took him awhile to find us. There were times we would even run down to the end of the street and wait until we saw his headlights coming down the road and tried to race his car home. No matter how many graveyard shifts he worked or how easy it was to find us, he always played along. When I was really young, my dad was a fork-lift driver for one of the biggest wholesale companies in the United States. It was awesome. I remember back when it was difficult to buy a new video game console or special edition toy on day one, I always had the upper hand because my dad was one of the first people in the store. A short time before my little sister was born, my dad made a big decision and became a law enforcement officer.
Wait, you mean Myke Thompson who’s constantly calling out cops has a dad who is…wait…this is juicy. (Yeah, I know. That’s why I’m a writer.)
There was a time when he worked both as a fork-lift driver and law enforcement officer at the same time. I know there were times when he probably wanted to just sit at home and hang out with the family, but I understood the hard work necessary to provide bigger and better things for his family. My dad had to make sacrifices, and I will be forever grateful, that I wasn’t the sacrifice he chose. I have many friends and family who are without their fathers. Even my mother lost her father when she was only fifteen years old. He might be the one person on this planet who can defeat me in a game of “who can be biggest bitter b*cth” but, he’s present, and that is quality I can admire. He was always a hard worker.
The shit dads say. Seriously, I understand dad jokes are a thing, but my dad was the Richard Pryor of dad jokes. I don’t think there was anything he said that didn’t warrant a visit to my therapist. I never had a therapist. Growing up with Bart, I always thought it was typical of a dad to have a unique vocabulary filled with nonsense words, old idioms, and hyperbole. Bart Thompson was no exception to the rule. Here are a few of his favorites from my childhood. Sometimes my dad is on some other sh**t, but that’s how dads get down.
|what he says||what it means|
|You came out of these nuts, boy.||I’m your father.|
|You couldn’t bust a grape.||You can’t fight.|
|Oh, so it’s dad bashing time?||Why is everyone ganging up on me?|
|That’s some ol’ Mickey Mouse/bubblegum shit.||It’s a waste of my time.|
|Lil’ punk/chump.||Me, but mostly my big brother 😉|
|Psycho-dad from hell shit.||Anything he says or does.|
No matter how hard we tried to be the typical rebellious brats, I realize that my brother and I became more and more like our father every day. As I struggle to build my career, I remember that it’s my psycho-dad from hell who taught me hard work and tough love pays off. Thank you for giving my name. Thank you for speeding down the freeway to the hospital because I decided to come a month early. Thank you for teaching me that being a black man in this world is a challenge and not impossible. Thank you for showing me different perspectives on life, philosophy, religion, and politics. Thank you for teaching me the difference between right and wrong isn’t always black and white. Thank you for leaving my naked oiled up baby body in the sun because you thought that light-skinned child might not actually be your kid. ←This really happened. Today, you are recognized, but every day you are honored.