So it’s come to my attention that the kids these days have taken to calling their idols and mentors “mom” and “dad,” or “mommy” and “daddy.” I dunno who started it, or why. But hey, The Culture does what The Culture wants, yeah? Are they appropriating kink culture? Or maybe parent culture? Do ‘millennials’ care about anything? Can you trust a bodega if it has a hypoallergenic bodega cat? What’s the circumference of Serena Williams’ amazing calves? (Love you Serena, truly. Call me?) What in the entire fuck does 2016 have in store for its final act?
These are all questions we’ll never have answers to. And maybe we never will. It’s not relevant right now and I don’t have the answers, like my mysteriously behatted brother Sway. We wish we did. But we don’t.
What I do know though is that one man was “Dad” for us before this was a thing, and he deserves to be recognized: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. From his totally not humble beginnings as a sportsball player in Florida, to his storied career as an ever-smiling, ever-muscled, ever-employed movie star, The Rock, or simply Dad, has given us so much. And, like the spoiled brats we are, we’ve never really thanked him for it.
It’s about time we wiped the snot off our upper lip, pulled up our pants, and paid homage to the greatest tan man to ever grace our lives (besides Barack Obama). So in honor of the premiere of Dad’s Disney film, Moana, about mythic Pacific Islanders, which has been set on a holiday built to commodify America’s First Season of Tragedies, let’s look back at the times that he taught us some things via the boob tube.
Dad Gave Us Life Lessons
Every good dad teaches their children things, like how to tie their shoes, how to do algebra and most importantly: how to win sportsball with a team of misfits. No film exemplifies how good our Dad is at this than the heartwarming Surrogate Dad Moment™ Film, Gridiron Gang. In it, Dad showed us that even behind bars (okay, maybe not bars here, but you get the point), we can be somebody. And to think, this is also one of the first times that we realized there’s a big softy inside that Samoan lump of sheer human.
Look at that. No red-blooded American Dad is complete without some good ole’ tough love by way of masculine ritual. In this case, it’s a one-to-one test of one of our brothers’ mettle. Sure, the kid has chutzpah. But does he really believe in himself? Dad knows there’s only one way to make him see. And he does. I’m sure that scene actually caused a few man tears on set too. Because Dad’s at his best when he’s able to heal our wounds and reveal major keys to success in ways we didn’t even know were possible.
Dad Gave Us Options
In life, everything is about choices. As a responsible parental figure, Dad knew this, so he always showed us that you have options. In his blockbuster hit The Rundown, whose plot was completely stolen by our sad Uncle Liam Neeson, Dad laid it all out in the first 7 minutes of the film.
Seriously, do we not have the best dad ever? In this scene, he’s able to show us that everything doesn’t have to resort to violence. In fact, it’s the last thing he usually wants. What adult man wants to fight other adult men over money? The idea is just ridiculous! But Dad knows that, if you must fight over money, or at all, you should at least do it well and with style.
Violence and choices, however, aren’t the only thing we learn about here. We also learn that being considerate may not always be rewarded. But kindness, no matter how unseen, is a virtue unto itself. As long as you stay true to your responsibilities, you can go far in life.
Thanks for that lesson Dad. I mean it.
Dad Gave Us Morals
Just when you thought he was confined to one chapter of the Parental Bible, Dad switches it up on you. In addition to proving that his star-power could warrant a spin-off film franchise in The Scorpion King, Dad had even more to teach us.
Sure, revenge is cool. And probably a dish best served cold, so I’m not sure if you’ll actually smell it being cooked. But it’s not the be all, end all. Even if it means getting back at a conspicuously caucasoid guy in a historically not-quite-caucasian region of the map.
But I digress.
The best parents don’t subscribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” doctrine, because they’re real ones. And Dad is no different. In this case, it’s all about looking out for the underdog, even if it means delaying the larger fight at hand. Given this particular scenario, I wonder who Dad voted for this year? I’d love to know how he feels about this year, considering he’s probably still a registered Republican. I really do pray it’s “complicated.” I’d even settle for “upset, but hopeful.” I could live with either option.
Just please, don’t ever tell me who you voted for Dad.
Dad Gave Us Teamwork
There was a time where only one bald, racially ambiguous and be-muscled man could be the title act in a movie. That time was very short. If anything, Dad has shown that his huge smile and personality are too big not to share. Even if it’s a friendly rivalry. So with the help of Uncle Vin, we learned about teamwork and the power of friendship in the Fast & Furious series. New friends though they were, the two firmly established that family is built on earnest, collaborative moments and tons of one-liners.
With this powerful mixture, Dad sought to teach us that anything can be overcome — not least of them being menacing foreigners with vague accents. Again, while Dad teaches us that violence never the final answer, he’s okay with it being a solid plan B when your enemies don’t have a Dad as cool as him.
You’re the coolest, Dad.
Dad is a Beam of Racially Ambigious Light
It’s hard not to continue this post forever in pure, childhood adulation. In fact, I had this whole scrapbook ready for this. But I couldn’t figure out how to take it to Kinko’s and not be judged, so you’ll deal.
The Rock is America’s Dad, without the dad bod, who’s managed to father generations across racial and cultural lines. From sportsball to wrassling to the silver screen, his parentage and reach is unparalleled. Somehow, he’s managed to unite the bitterest of adversaries in a happy gumball of capitalistic celebrity culture. And we love him even more for it, albeit separately and equally.
But hey, that’s America right now (and since like, forever). Dad knows this and wants to help change this fact. Which is why he fights to be relevant in damn near every cultural facet of our lives — no moment is too corny or too serious. Because Dad believes in bringing us together. And he also belives in hope, no matter how small or how big. And that warms my heart. My hope is that one day he reads this and knows how much one of his sons looks up to him. Because we really don’t deserve him. So the best we can do is thank him, endlessly, for his ability to love us all as his own.
Love you Dad!
Dap owns Timberland boots and is committed to loving black women, eating good food and diversifying media as he sees fit and while he can. He can be found yelling into the abyss and being snarky on the following: IG | Twitter