Guitars, allergies and weirdness

What I’m leaving to my daughter when I depart this earth (sorry)

It sounds morbid, but I often think about what I will leave my daughter when I’m gone.

Not “her mom and I went to Florida without her” gone, though that seems to happen more often than the Awesome Dad Handbook would recommend. I mean “the ninjas and alligators finally caught up to me” gone.

There’s the obvious — a sense of right and wrong, how to treat people and a strong set of morals and ideals. But there are also the more immediate things, like my Fender Telecaster, which her mom bought me in 1999. And the mid-life-crisis-era convertible with the Allman Brother’s Greatest Hits jammed into the CD player — even if it means she really won’t appreciate it until 2052.

There’s more, of course, so after a bit of thought, I came up with a list of things to bequeath to my daughter, whether she wants them or not:

Annoying allergies

Sorry. My bad. My daughter has food allergies (egg, nuts, fish) and environmental allergies (birch, pet dander). Some of them are inconvenient, while others can be life-threatening. I can only assume she gets them from me, since I’ve got walnuts, honey, pollen and shoveling the driveway on my allergy list.

Being irrationally, maddeningly, weirdly early for everything

I’m that guy that’s sitting in his car and you can’t figure out why he’s there. I’ll tell you why: It’s because I have a meeting with you. It’s just not for a while yet. The way I see it, it’s a matter of being considerate of everyone else’s schedule. I’ve hammered that into my child’s psyche. You’re welcome to everyone else who has an appointment with her someday.


I like sad songs and depressing movies, but she loves them. There are exceptions, though. She won’t watch movies where the dog dies (which is a lot of them). Another time I made her watch the Inner Light episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” I think she still harbors resentment toward me about this absolutely heartbreaking hour of TV. If you know the series, you get it. If you’ve never seen it, please continue thinking I am an excellent father.

Good taste in music

I took my daughter to see Queen in concert, and it was a transformative experience. For me. She loved it, but to hear her screaming the words to “I’m in Love With My Car” a few seats away was the fulfillment of every father’s dream. Or, this father’s dream, at least.

To my child: I wish I could leave you more, but this is what’s available. Remember to be early, treat people with respect, work hard and don’t listen to your mother when it comes to the Allmans. They’re awesome.

In the end (ahem), I’ll be comfortable when the ninjas arrive because along with all that other weird stuff, that Tele is pretty great.

Bill Burke is a writer who lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and daughter, who will never know the joys of a Fluffernutter. He is also the Managing Editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.

Categories: Dad on Board