Happy Birthday To The Man Who Gave Me His Name, But Not His Looks!

Big Austin & Little AustinToday is my Father’s birthday, Modern Philosophers.  I used to tease my Dad, aka “Big Austin”, that I was so lucky that he’d given me his name, but not his looks.

While I do look like my Mom, I was blessed to inherit my Dad’s sense of humor, and I’ve tried very hard to share his upbeat view on life.  My Dad was a people person.  Everyone loved him.  He was the sweetest man, who called strangers “Chief”, and always had a smile on his face.

My Dad died while I was a sophomore at NYU, long before I found any success as a writer.  He always believed in me, and even though it went against the future that my Evil Step Mother wanted for me, Dad pushed me to chase after my dream and go to Film School.

When I was promoting “The Retirement Party”, I would try to imagine what he would think of his only son being on TV and the radio.  The way it played out in my head was that he was proud of me, really loved the script, but would tell me to stop being so silly and not allow one bad relationship to make me give up on love forever.

SparrowsAs hard as is might be for you to believe, Modern Philosophers, I wasn’t exactly a ladies’ man in my youth (look at how darn cute I was…why weren’t the girls interested???).  This meant Dad never had to sit me down and talk to me about girls (which probably explains why I’m still so awkward around the opposite sex today).

Right before he died, I started seeing the young lady who would grow up to be my ex-wife, so at least he knew his son had found love.

People often ask me why I like to write stories about bank robberies, and I’ll often reply that it’s my way of getting back at Citibank for taking so many years from my Dad’s life.  He worked at that bank for over 25 years, and I could sense that it wasn’t his dream job, but he did what he had to do to support his family.

My Mom died when I was 3 (we never talk about it, so the details are still very vague to this day) and I have a little sister who is a year and a half younger.  Suddenly, my Dad was on his own with two little rugrats, while also having to deal with the grief of losing the love of his life.  It could not have been easy.

FootballI know that my life was a fashion nightmare in the first years after my Mom’s death.  My Dad had a horrible fashion sense, and I still cringe at the childhood photos of me in plaid pants and a striped shirt.  Maybe now you understand why I just wear a simple toga?

Check out the get ups we’re both wearing in this photo!  Dad’s lucky no one called Child Welfare on him for how he dressed us!

I will always remember my Dad’s ugly ties.  They were short, fat, and weird colors.  In his honor, I wore one of my ugliest ties to work today.  I didn’t tell anyone why I had it on because I just wanted it to be between Big Austin and Little Austin.

I could ramble on and on about dear ole Dad (he liked to call himself that), but that’s only going to make me cry.  I think he would really enjoy this blog, especially the posts by Seamus the Leprechaun since Dad is the reason why I love Notre Dame.

I hope that he would think I’ve done his name proud.

Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you and really miss you…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Love, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Happy Birthday To The Man Who Gave Me His Name, But Not His Looks!

  1. What a cool story, Big and Little Austin!

  2. Ahh I think you have done him proud alright Little Austin, if you’re the measure of your Dad then I am sure he was a fine man! Happy Birthday Big Austin from the land of the leprechauns!

  3. What a sweet post. Thanks for sharing those very precious memories.

  4. floridaborne says:

    That was a terrific testament to a loving father.

  5. ksbeth says:

    very bittersweet and a lovely tribute to a special father. happy birthday to big austin, you’ve done him proud. )

  6. A lovely tribute to your dad. You are so fortunate to have had such a great relationship. Happy birthday to your dad!

  7. markbialczak says:

    You were lucky to have Big Austin guiding you, rooting for you, loving you when you needed him so much, sir. This is a tribute any and every dad in the whole, wide world would be proud for their child to write. Well done, Little Austin.

  8. Janine says:

    What a nice post. And since I know you, I’m absolutely positive your Dad is proud of you! Happy Birthday Big Austin! On a side note, I really hate that there are evil step mothers in this world that give us the rest of us a bad name! 😉

  9. Jet Eliot says:

    I think the football outfits are great, and I really like the first photo where Little Austin is wearing the Boss t-shirt. You two look like a sweet pair…something good to celebrate.

  10. Drops of Ink says:

    A very happy birthday wish from me to Mr Toga Senior. 🙂

  11. What an awesome way to keep his memory alive. 🙂

  12. Baad Seher says:

    You were lucky to have such a loving father (many are not). I loved your story. It made me cry, though. I lost my mom last year I can feel your heartache.

  13. Happy Birthday to your Dad! He sounds like he was a really awesome guy. Sigh. I just can’t imagine how hard it must have been to have two little ones to take care of, but look how much he cared: he even managed to get you to wear a helmet in case you fell off your chair! What a star 😀

    Thank you for sharing these stories with us.

  14. Almost Iowa says:

    A wonderful tribute.

  15. Catherine Johnson says:

    Great tribute to your dad, Austin. Thanks for sharing these memories.

  16. This is such a touching tribute to your father. I am sure he is still proud.

    When my father passed away 15 years ago, while I was at the funeral my husband had to stay with our children and attend his own brother’s wedding. So he ended up having to dress my daughter (who was 2 at the time). He ended up choosing the wrong outfit with the wrong socks and her hair was all a mess. His family tried to help him but it was too late. In the midst of the sadness of a funeral and the happiness of a wedding, we could all laugh about my daughter’s mismatched outfit chosen by my husband. 🙂

    I too miss my father, terribly.

  17. Pamela Edwards says:

    What a wonderful way to honor the special man who was your Dad ! If he could tell you Austin , he would tell you how incredibly proud he is of you & how much you are loved ! Great Job ! 😊

  18. adamjasonp says:

    What a great tribute to his memory. (I think.)

  19. What a lovely way to remember your Dad, and share a little bit of him with the rest of the world who didn’t get to meet him. Thank you. You made me tear up over here, Austin, but in a sweet way. I love the mismatched outfit photo. And let’s face it, anyone growing up in the 70’s has been there too 😉 I love how you’re kinda copying him with your crossed legs. It’s a sweet captured moment in time. Happy Birthday, Big Austin!! ❤

  20. Ritu says:

    Happy birthday Dad! Aka big Austin!

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